|Unkempt, rough and tough looking members of the gang, or lynch mob, or vigilantes, or posse riders, or cow herders. They had minimal or no dialog, not much screen time, and were generally not listed in the film credits. Some would show up as a face in the crowd, portraying townspeople, barflys, deputies, wagon drivers, ranch hands, etc. We tend to recognize some of their faces, but have no clue as to their real names.|
|Special thanks to Diana Serra Cary for help on this webpage on her Father. Diana was "Baby Peggy" Montgomery and she starred in over a hundred comedy shorts in the 1920s. Diana and I first connected via e-mail and telephone back in 2011. Her father was Jack Montgomery, a real life cowboy who came to Hollywood and became a silent and sound B-western performer and stuntman. Click HERE for more on her book The Hollywood Posse: The Story of a Gallant Band of Horsemen Who Made Movie History and a separate window/tab will open.|
Sad to report that 101 year old Diana passed away on February 24, 2020.
When I did the profile on Hank Bell, I was reminded that I also needed to do a similar profile on Jack Montgomery. He was one of the so-called "Gower Gulch men", a real cowboy type that came to Hollywood and found his livelihood doing stuntin', ridin' and doublin' in silents as well as A and B grade talkies.
In sound westerns, Montgomery was most often uncredited, portraying a henchman, rancher, gambler, lawman, etc. He also shows up playing townsmen, barflys, etc. in 1950s TV shows CISCO KID, HOPALONG CASSIDY, RANGE RIDER, ANNIE OAKLEY, DEATH VALLEY DAYS, more.
Montgomery was the father of "Baby Peggy", the silent screen youngster that starred in over a hundred comedy shorts in the 1920s. Diana Serra Cary wrote about her father and the western in the book "The Hollywood Posse: The Story of a Gallant Band of Horsemen Who Made Movie History" (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1975). Diana includes much emphasis and history on her parents, the western, and a bunch of real cowpokes who did movies. Also in the book are many stories and anecdotes on Hank Bell, Charles 'Slim' Whitaker, Bill Gillis, Shorty Miller, Ed Hendershot, Jack Padjan, Neal Hart, Leo McMahon, brothers Bob and Fred Burns, Artie Ortego, and many others. The book includes interesting tidbits about her Dad and the film business, and I'll mention a few of those:
Diana adds more info on her father and family (excerpted/paraphrased from several of her e-mails):
"One way I have of checking on his films is that he was out of Hollywood for the entire summer of 1941 (leasing a Dude outfit near Kalispell, Montana). He was also out of town and away from movie work from April, 1943 until October or late September of 1945. This was the period when he was running his own ranch in Grand Lake, Colorado which he finally soured on and sold in 1945.
Altho he arrived in Hollywood and soon doubled for Tom Mix, he was busy with my Baby Peggy career from April, 1920 until we returned to Hollywood in June of 1932. He was also busy with our Wyoming dude ranch venture from June, 1929 until we lost it in May of 1932.
My father didn't get into full time "riding extra" work until 1935. Of course from then on, those were the Golden Years of Republic, Hopalongs, DeMille's big epics and John Ford's greatest Westerns, the best times of all for the cowboys."
Suffering from cancer, 70 year old Jack Travers Montgomery passed away on January 21, 1962 at the Motion Picture Hospital, Woodland Hills, California. Pierce Bros. Hollywood was the funeral director and interment at San Fernando Mission Cemetery.
Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Jack Montgomery: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0599799/
The Los Angeles, California Times newspaper website has a March, 2011 article by Susan King titled "Highs and lows of child star Baby Peggy - Diana Serra Cary, now 92, has fond memories of her 1920s Hollywood run as Baby Peggy, but it's tempered with the family ruin that came post-fame": https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-xpm-2011-mar-19-la-et-baby-peggy-20110319-story.html
Family Search (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), California Death Index, death certificate, and other sources have more on Jack Montgomery and family:
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above from left to right are J. Farrell McDonald, Lois January and Jack Montgomery (as the local lawman) in a scene from the Bob Baker COURAGE OF THE WEST (Universal, 1937). This was one of the few roles in which Montgomery was credited.
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above is the title lobby card from THE RENEGADE (PRC, 1943) with Buster Crabbe on the right sneaking up on Jimmy Aubrey (blue shirt) and screen veteran Jack Montgomery.