Back to prior page


Lester F. Scott Jr.

1892 - 1958

Full name:
Lester Fremont Scott, Jr.

Lester F. Scott Jr., 1922


Scott's Action Pictures logo cropped from a 1927 trade ad.


Prologue: while researching the life and films of Wally Wales / Hal Taliaferro, I took a detour to find out more about Wales' silent movie producer Lester F. Scott. That turned out to be an interesting and time consuming journey. Here 'tis.


Movie producer Lester Fremont Scott, Jr. was born March 14, 1892 in Los Angeles to Lester Fremont Scott, Sr. and Carrie Betts. Father Lester was a busy and respected real estate developer, broker, and mining engineer and involved in several mining ventures in the 1910s - 1920s.

Newspapers and trade publications from 1915 - 1916 have Scott as an assistant director with the Lasky Film company; assistant to director Francis J. Grandon at Mutual; and then, assistant to director Oscar Apfel at Fox.

In 1916, he married actress Irene Hunt (real name: Irene A. Murtaugh), and there was a messy divorce in February, 1920 (with Scott admitting that he caused their breakup).

In the 1920s, Scott was handling sales and distribution for producer Bert Lubin, and later, for C. C. Burr. Striking out on his own in early 1924, he formed the independent Approved Pictures Corporation which quickly became Action Pictures, Inc., and he hired three real westerners as cowboy movie heroes ... and all three got name changes to improve saleability of their cinema adventures:

   Kenneth Stanhope Sanderson became "Buddy Roosevelt".
   Wilbert Jay Wilsey became "Buffalo Bill, Jr.".
   Floyd Taliaferro Alderson became "Wally Wales".

The Buddy Roosevelt and Buffalo Bill, Jr. features began in late 1924. Wales' first for Scott was released in 1925. From 1924 - 1928, Scott churned out over sixty western features with those three.

Appears that Scott established a "team" for those westerns:

The end came for Scott's Action Pictures company in 1928. Times were changing: talking pictures had arrived; there was an economic upheaval due to the 1929 stock market crash and the Depression; lots of shufflin' was occurring with cowboy heroes at the major and minor movie companies; and while theater patrons wanted talking westerns, Tinseltown had concerns about utilizing the primitive sound recording equipment in outdoorsy films.

In the 1930s, Scott supervised some B grade films and also did some distribution / sales work:

In 1939, he married Dolores Emma Voght (1897 - 1981) and they were together through his death in 1958. Dolores was secretary to Roy and Walt Disney from 1930 - 1965.

Circa 1940, Scott disappears from Hollywood ... and based on his death certificate and other information, he did a career change and got involved in California gold mining. Guessing he learned that trade from his father.

His death certificate confirms a March 14, 1892 California birth date and parents as Lester, Sr. and Carrie Betts. Suffering from arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular - renal disease, 66 year old Lester Fremont Scott, Jr. passed away from a heart attack on September 10, 1958 at Braewood Sanitarium, South Pasadena, Los Angeles County, California. His employer and occupation were "self employed" and "Gold Mining operator". Forest Lawn was in charge and he was cremated at Forest Lawn Crematory.

Some sources (including the IMDb and Wikipedia) have Scott dying in a 1954 automobile accident in Mesa, Arizona. That wasn't Hollywood's Lester F. Scott, Jr. You'll find a link below to a newspaper report on the April 17, 1954 accident in Mesa, Arizona that claimed the lives of 71 year old Lester F. Scott and his wife Florence. The article had a lengthy bio on him and noted that "From 1916 to 1943 he was a national executive of the Camp Fire Girls."



1916

Above and below are Scott biographies from 1916 and 1927 Motion Picture News studio directories available at the Internet Archive. Throop Polytech was the forerunner of California Institute of Technology. His college time is suspect because of his 1912 - 1920 work activities noted in Los Angeles City Directories, trade publications, etc.


1927




Trade ad for the 1926 - 1927 series of silent oaters starring Buddy Roosevelt, Wally Wales, and Buffalo Bill, Jr. from Scott's Action Pictures ... and released through Pathe's Exchanges.



Trade ad for the 1927 - 1928 release season which was the last batch of silent westerns from Lester F. Scott Jr.'s Action Pictures ... and our three heroes are now two. Buddy Roosevelt had jumped ship and in early 1928, he did westerns for Rayart.



(Image courtesy of Jay Wilsey's granddaughter and
daughter, Tamera Mankini and Frances Eldene Wolski)

Above is a production still from THE INTERFERIN' GENT (Action Pictures/Pathe, 1927). The man on the left is prolific director Richard Thorpe (1896 - 1991).

Thorpe directed many of the Wilsey silents and he spent most of his later years at MGM where he directed many Tarzan films, spectacles such as IVANHOE (MGM, 1952) with Robert Taylor, Mario Lanza in THE GREAT CARUSO (MGM, 1951), and Elvis Presley in JAILHOUSE ROCK (MGM, 1957) and FUN IN ACAPULCO (MGM, 1963). Thorpe was the director on the Judy Garland THE WIZARD OF OZ, but he was replaced by George Cukor ... who was replaced by Victor Fleming. Thorpe also directed many of the Wally Wales and Buddy Roosevelt series for Scott and Action Pictures.




(Image courtesy of Jay Wilsey's granddaughter and
daughter, Tamera Mankini and Frances Eldene Wolski)

Above - Buffalo Bill Jr. (Jay Wilsey) shares a tender moment with future A list actress Jean Arthur (1900 - 1991) in FAST AND FEARLESS (Action Pictures/Weiss Brothers-Artclass, 1924). Title lobby card shown below.

With Scott's Action Pictures, Jean Arthur was the leading lady in six with Wally Wales, four with Buffalo Bill, Jr., and a couple with Buddy Roosevelt.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)




(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above lobby card from the silent THE SADDLE CYCLONE (Action Pictures/Weiss Brothers-Artclass, 1925) starring Buffalo Bill Jr. (Jay Wilsey). From left to right are Wilsey, an unidentified player, and a youngish Lafe McKee on the right (with dark hair and a dark moustache).



(Image courtesy of Jay Wilsey's granddaughter and
daughter, Tamera Mankini and Frances Eldene Wolski)

Above are Harry Todd, Lafe McKee and Buffalo Bill Jr. (Jay Wilsey) in THE RIDIN' ROWDY (Action Pictures/Pathe, 1926). Todd often portrayed Wilsey's sidekick.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is the title lobby card for THE OIL RAIDER (Mayfair, 1934) which Buster Crabbe did on loan from Paramount. Note the "Courtesy of" under Buster's name to reference his Paramount status. The "Scott-Bennet Production" in the lower left refers to Lester F. Scott, Jr. (producing) and Spencer Gordon Bennet (directing). Earlier, Crabbe did BADGE OF HONOR (1934) for the Scott-Bennet team. Mayfair existed from the late 1920s through mid 1930s and Crabbe's THE OIL RAIDER was the last - or among the last - of Mayfair's films.


Links

  Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on:
     Lester F. Scott: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0778778/
     Scott's first wife, actress Irene Hunt (real name: Irene A. Murtaugh): https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0402475/

The IMDb has a "People working together" search:
Scott did about four dozen films with director Richard Thorpe: https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?roles=nm0778778,nm0861703
Scott did about three dozen films with writer Elizabeth 'Betty' Burbridge: https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?roles=nm0778778,nm0120762

Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the American Film Institute (AFI) has a list of Scott's productions: http://catalog.afi.com/Person/98427-Lester-F-Scott-Jr?isMiscCredit=False

Some sources (including the IMDb and Wikipedia) have Scott dying in a 1954 automobile accident in Mesa, Arizona. That wasn't Hollywood's Lester F. Scott, Jr.
The April 18, 1954 Albuquerque, New Mexico Journal reported on the April 17, 1954 automobile accident in Mesa, Arizona that claimed the lives of 71 year old Lester F. Scott and his wife Florence. The article had a lengthy bio on Scott and noted that "From 1916 to 1943 he was a national executive of the Camp Fire Girls.": https://www.newspapers.com/clip/77942884/albuquerque-journal/

More on Dolores Voght Scott, secretary to Roy and Walt Disney from 1930 - 1965: https://www.waltdisney.org/blog/forgotten-disney-heroines-disney-secretaries

Photo of the newly married Lester F. Scott and actress Irene Hunt in the December, 1916 issue of Photoplay at the Internet Archive ... and check out his spiffy wardrobe and white shoes: https://archive.org/details/phojuldec1011chic/page/n984/mode/2up?view=theater

UCLA Film and TV archives has some elements from SECRETS OF HOLLYWOOD (Lester F. Scott, 1933): https://cinema.library.ucla.edu/vwebv/holdingsInfo?searchId=13&recCount=50&recPointer=0&bibId=113046


On the trail of Lester F. Scott, Jr. / Lester Fremont Scott, Jr.

Family Search (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), newspapers, trade publications, and the death certificate provide more on Lester F. Scott, Jr. and family.

As of May, 2021, I found no family trees for him on Ancestry.com.

Common threads in the info below is his mother Carrie Betts and I've highlighted her in this color. And Scott's various movie occupations are highlighted in this color.



Back to prior page