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Buster Crabbe Comic Books

Lansing Sexton did some investigatin' on the comic book run of Buster Crabbe, and provides the following report:

Buster Crabbe comics, published by Famous Funnies Publications, appeared in late 1951 (#1 is dated November) and ran until the September, 1953 issue, #12.  All 12 issues have a black and white photo of Buster in a cowboy hat in the upper left-hand corner.  The first 4 issues have taglines such as "Your Television All-American Cowboy" and the first 3 have drawn covers of Buster dressed as a cowboy, although #3 has green aliens as well!  After that, the covers vary from space to jungle, #6 features a shark attack, with only issues 11 and 12 returning to Western themes.

Almost immediately following the demise of his Famous Funnies series, Lev Gleason Publications began a new series, The Amazing Adventures of Buster Crabbe The All-American Hero. Issue #1 is dated December 1953 and has a (partial) autographed photo cover of Buster in modern dress. Issues #1 and #2 as reproduced in Ernst and Mary Gerber's Photo-Journal Guide to Comic Books offer free autographed pictures and also bear the legend "Space * Jungle * Western* His 3 Greatest Adventures".

Robert Overstreet's Comic Book Price Guide says that issue #4 (dated January 1954), the final issue of the short series, has a Flash Gordon cover.

Finally, in 1955, Charlton Comics published issue #1 of Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion which had a 4 issue run ending with the September, 1956 issue.  #1 has small black and white headshots of Buster and his son Cuffy in the upper corners; these became drawings on issues #2 and #4, and a full-page photo of Buster on the inside front cover. There may be other photos inside as well.  #1 was also issued as a Heinz Foods giveaway, which Overstreet says has ads in place of some of the photos.

The Grand Comic Book database website has images of the covers of Buster's comics:
     The Amazing Adventures of Buster Crabbe:
     Buster Crabbe Comics:
     Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion:

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above from left to right are a quartet of swimming legends - Johnny Weissmuller of Tarzan and Jungle Jim fame, Eleanor Holm, MGM star Esther Williams, and Buster Crabbe ... at the Swimming Hall of Fame, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, circa 1972.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above - Buster Crabbe and Flash Gordon co-star Jean Rogers doing autographs at a 1970s film convention.

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Buster, with a big smile for the camera, doing autographs at another of the 1970s film conventions.

(Courtesy of Donn & Nancy Moyer)

Crabbe - circa late 1970s.

Karl Whitezel authored a book on Crabbe which was published in 1997.  The softcover, titled Buster Crabbe, A Self Portrait measures about 8 1/2 x 5 1/2, has 339 pages, a bunch of photos, and a Crabbe filmography. The ISBN number is 0-9662313-3-3.

There's lots of details on Crabbe's life, including the Olympics, Flash Gordon, PRC westerns, Fuzzy St. John, Captain Gallant TV show, etc. ... as well as coverage of difficult family matters such as the death of Crabbe's daughter Sande from anorexia.

Go to the Books-Print Media-Newsletters link on the Old Corral homepage and check various new and used book stores.

Crabbe Links - general

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Buster Crabbe, Al 'Fuzzy' St. John, as well as "Sig and Sam", PRC's producer and director brothers:
     Buster Crabbe:
     Al 'Fuzzy' St. John:
     Producer Sigmund Neufeld:
     Director Sam Newfield (Sam Neufeld):

Brian Walker's Drive-In Theater website has a page with lots of photos on Crabbe:

As mentioned earlier, Crabbe never received a Golden Boot award nor has he been recognized at the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 - but that was for his television work. Go to:

At the Senses of Cinema website, there's a lengthy article titled "Fast Worker: The Films of Sam Newfield" by author and film historian Wheeler Winston Dixon which covers the life and career of director Sam Newfield:

There's a gallery of Crabbe photos on Flickr:

Census, birth records, obituaries, etc.

The Family Search website, California Birth Index, Social Security Death Index (SSDI) obituaries and other sources have information on Buster and family:

The New York Times newspaper website has an obituary on Crabbe which was originally published on April 24, 1983:

The Los Angeles Times newspaper website has an obituary on Crabbe which was originally published on April 24, 1983:

The Google Newspaper archive has article on Buster's 1983 death from a heart attack at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona:,2932161&hl=en,4213691&hl=en,5664616&hl=en

Find A Grave website has info on the interment location for Crabbe at Green Acres Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Scottsdale, Arizona:

There's several articles on the April 10, 1957 passing of Buster and Virginia's daughter Caren Lynn Crabbe (nicknamed "Sande") from anorexia:,4376023,4653111

Links - on Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers

Judy Harris has the cast and plot synopsis on the three FLASH GORDON serials:

Images Journal has info on Buster Crabbe and the FLASH GORDON serial.  Go to:

There's a profile on Flash Gordon creator Alex Raymond at:

Links - on the Olympics and swimming

YouTube has a four minute, 16mm color film showing swimmers Eleanor Holm, Esther Williams, Buster Crabbe and Johnny Weismuller during their work on the Billy Rose Aquacade Swim Show at the 1939 - 1940 New York World's Fair. Weissmuller appeared in the 1939 show and was replaced by Crabbe in 1940. Go to:

The New York Public Library Digital Library has two photos of Crabbe in their Billy Rose Theater collection:

The Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame has a page on Crabbe:

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has a page on Crabbe:

Crabbe was inducted into the University of Southern California (USC) Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994:

The New Zealand website for Cascade Pools has a history of the pool manufacturing company, endorsements by Crabbe and Esther Williams, the Crabbe swimming pool company, etc. The website notes that Crabbe was associated with Cascade Pools for about 30 years, beginning in 1949:
The Cascade Pools website has a November, 1969 Cascade Industries Inc. dealer convention photo of Vice President of Sales (USA) Clarence Linden (Buster) Crabbe and others:

Buster Crabbe's Camp Meenagha for Boys was located in Onchiota, New York and existed from about 1952 - 1975. There was a website for the Camp, but is no longer working:
YouTube has a video on the 2008 reunion of Camp Meenagha attendees:

A September, 1952 issue of Billboard has an article about the opening of the Buster Crabbe Health and Swim Club at the Hotel Shelton in New York City:

The Google Newspaper archive has an article on Buster's "Aqua Parade of 1949" playing Toledo, Ohio:,4629037&hl=en

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