|The Lone Rider Series from|
Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC)
17 Films Released From 1941 - 1943 starring
George Houston (11 films) and Bob Livingston (6 films)
(From Old Corral collection)
Above is the title lobby card to BORDER ROUNDUP (PRC, 1942). On the left is George Houston with the drop on I. Stanford Jolley. On the right is heroine Patricia Knox assisting injured John Elliott. Notice the billing for Dennis Moore as "Smoky Moore".
We won't rehash biographical information on George Houston or Bob Livingston as there are profiles on both in the Heroes section of the Old Corral.
The B film production company that ultimately became PRC had been formed around 1938 by Ben Judell who initially named his company Progressive Pictures Corporation. The company quickly went through several name changes - Producers Pictures, then PDC (Producers Distributing Corporation), and lastly as PRC, short for Producers Releasing Corporation. For the 1939-1940 release season, PDC announced that George Houston (1896-1944) would star in 8 Billy The Kid westerns. That didn't happen - prolific hero Bob Steele starred in the initial Billy the Kid oaters and these were released in 1940 - 1941. And when Steele left to join Republic's Three Mesquiteers, Buster Crabbe was brought in as the replacement.
PRC and Houston finally did get together. They decided to get into singing cowboy films and Houston, blessed with a booming baritone voice, was selected for the role of Tom Cameron, the Lone Rider. In early 1941, the inital Houston entry, THE LONE RIDER RIDES ON (PRC, 1941), hit the screen. About two years later, the last Houston starrer, OUTLAWS OF BOULDER PASS (PRC, 1942), was released. George Houston did eleven Lone Rider adventures, all of which featured Al 'Fuzzy' St. John as his sidekick. About midway through the series, Dennis Moore was brought in as a helper, probably to add some action content and improve the saleability of the films to the distributors and movie theaters.
There was a Lone Rider theme song which Houston belted out over the opening credits, and the opening titles credit Johnny Lange and Lew Porter for the music and lyrics in the films. The Lone Rider theme went like this:
At Republic Pictures, Bob Livingston (1904-1988) had been a hot property, starring in the Three Mesquiteers series, the second Lone RangerTM serial, as well as various non-westerns. His contract wasn't renewed and so he joined the PRC stable for a short while as their new Lone Rider. Fuzzy St. John continued as the sidekick. After a half dozen, Livingston was gone, called back to Republic to take over the reins of the troubled "John Paul Revere" series which had Eddie Dew as the lead.
After Livingston exited, PRC dropped the Lone Rider, and concentrated on other series westerns (continuing their Billy the Kid/Billy Carson westerns with Buster Crabbe as well as bringing out their new Texas Rangers trio group which featured Dave O'Brien, Jim Newill and Guy Wilkerson). PRC also experimented with singing cowboys - they would hire Tex Ritter as the replacement for Newill in the Texas Rangers, and Eddie Dean would begin a new group of melodic cowboy flicks in 1945 and the first four would be in Cinecolor.
Sigmund Neufeld was the PRC executive and producer responsible for the Lone Riders, and his brother Sam Newfield (real name: Sam Neufeld) helmed sixteen of the seventeen adventures. Newfield may have been ill or out of town and Melville De Lay, a regular PRC assistant director, was put in charge of the Livingston LAW OF THE SADDLE (1943).
11 starring George Houston (as "Tom Cameron"):
THE LONE RIDER RIDES ON (1941) (with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John) (directed by Sam Newfield)
THE LONE RIDER CROSSES THE RIO (1941) (with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John) (directed by Sam Newfield)
THE LONE RIDER IN GHOST TOWN (1941) (with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John) (directed by Sam Newfield)
THE LONE RIDER IN FRONTIER FURY (1941) (with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John) (directed by Sam Newfield)
THE LONE RIDER AMBUSHED (1941) (with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John) (directed by Sam Newfield)
THE LONE RIDER FIGHTS BACK (1941) (with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John) (directed by Sam Newfield)
THE LONE RIDER AND THE BANDIT (1942) (with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John and Dennis Moore) (directed by Sam Newfield)
THE LONE RIDER IN CHEYENNE (1942) (with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John and Dennis Moore) (directed by Sam Newfield)
TEXAS JUSTICE (1942) (with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John and Dennis Moore) (directed by Sam Newfield)
BORDER ROUNDUP (1942) (with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John and Dennis Moore) (directed by Sam Newfield)
OUTLAWS OF BOULDER PASS (1942) (with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John and Dennis Moore) (directed by Sam Newfield)
OVERLAND STAGECOACH (1942) (with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John and Dennis Moore) (directed by Sam Newfield)
DEATH RIDES THE PLAINS (1943) (with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John) (directed by Sam Newfield)
WILD HORSE RUSTLERS (1943) (with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John) (directed by Sam Newfield)
WOLVES OF THE RANGE (1943) (with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John) (directed by Sam Newfield)
LAW OF THE SADDLE (1943) (with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John) (directed by Melville De Lay)
RAIDERS OF RED GAP (1943) (with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John) (directed by Sam Newfield)
(From Old Corral collection)
Above is the title lobby card from THE LONE RIDER AMBUSHED (PRC, 1941). In this yarn, Houston has a dual role - as Tom Cameron (The Lone Rider) and outlaw 'Keno Harris'. From L-to-R are George Chesebro, Jack Ingram, Frank Hagney (kneeling) and an unidentified performer. In the inset on the lower left, Houston is about to launch a right hand at an unidentified player, while Jack Ingram and barkeep Ralph Peters look on. Notice anything unusual about the large image of Houston on the right? Take a look at his six-shooter. Appears this image of George has been reversed. Not the first error in a lobby card or poster - click HERE for a Tom Keene Monogram lobby card and take a look at which side the holsters are slung.
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above from L-to-R are Al 'Fuzzy' St. John, George Houston (atop trusty steed "Lightning)" and Dennis Moore. Crop from a lobby card from THE LONE RIDER IN CHEYENNE (PRC, 1942). Houston was on a paint horse in the earlier films.
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above is Bob Livingston, wearing that drawstring shirt which is similar to the one he wore at Republic Pictures in the serial, THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN (1939) (click HERE). The player wearing the brown leather vest is Lew Morphy, and the other two players are unidentified. Crop from a lobby card from one of the last Lone Rider adventures, LAW OF THE SADDLE (PRC, 1943).
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above is the title lobby card to WOLVES OF THE RANGE (PRC, 1943). Centered is Bob Livingston. On the left is I. Stanford Jolley and on the right is Jack Ingram. Note the B&W inset in the lower left - that's Charles 'Slim' Whitaker (as 'Pasha the Swami') doing a bit with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John.
(From Old Corral collection)
|Alfred 'Fuzzy' St. John (1892 or 1893 - 1963) was a busy guy in the 1940s at PRC. In addition to his sidekick duties in the seventeen PRC Lone Rider westerns with George Houston and Bob Livingston, Fuzzy was the helper to Bob Steele and Buster Crabbe in 42 Billy the Kid/Billy Carson oaters that were released from 1940 - 1946. And in the early 1940s, St. John was also in some Republic westerns with Don Barry. After the Crabbe series ended in 1946, Al went to work with PRC's new hero, Al 'Lash' LaRue.|
Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on George Houston, Al 'Fuzzy' St. John, as well as "Sig and Sam", PRC's producer and director brothers. Click below:
George Houston: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0396829/
Bob Livingston: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0515292/
Al 'Fuzzy' St. John: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0820607/
Producer Sigmund Neufeld: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0626892/
Director Sam Newfield (Sam Neufeld): https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0627864/
Don't forget to visit the George Houston and Bob Livingston pages on the Old Corral. And there's more on Al 'Fuzzy' St. John in the Saddle Pals and Sidekicks section.
|The B film production company that ultimately became PRC began life in 1938 when Ben Judell (1891 - 1974) formed Progressive Pictures Corporation. Over the next couple of years, the enterprise went through some financial turmoil as well as a management shakeup, including the exit of Judell and the arrival of producer Sigmund Neufeld. There were several name changes also - there was Producers Pictures ... then Producers Distributing Corporation (PDC) ... followed by Sigmund Neufeld Productions ... and lastly, Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) which became a subsidiary of Pathe Industries, Inc.
Sigmund Neufeld (1896 - 1979) wound up as the PRC production boss overseeing most everything including their cowboy films. And quite often, those were directed by his brother, Sam Newfield (1899 - 1964) (real name: Samuel Neufeld). Newfield had been involved in films and directing since the silent days, and had a reputation for doing quickies, cheapies, really low-budget flicks.
In the mid 1930s, Sam began specializing in B-westerns, and his directorial work included oaters starring Bob Steele, Johnny Mack Brown, Fred Scott, Kermit Maynard, Rex Bell, Ken Maynard, Tim McCoy, James Newill, Tex Fletcher, Lee Powell, Herb Jeffries, and others. Brother Sigmund was involved in the production on some of these. And yes! Newfield did direct the Jed Buell Midgets in the 1938 THE TERROR OF TINY TOWN.
It appears that the brothers had a close relationship and enjoyed working together. In 1940, Sigmund and Sam were on PRC's payroll. And Sam quickly became one of the more important and prolific of PRC's "house directors".
Over an approximate seven year period - from 1940 through late 1946 - the brothers were responsible for a Tim McCoy series, the half dozen Frontier Marshal trio westerns (with Bill 'Cowboy Rambler' Boyd, Art Davis and Lee Powell), the Lone Rider adventures with George Houston and Bob Livingston, Bob Steele portraying Billy the Kid, and the long running Buster Crabbe Billy the Kid/Billy Carson westerns. There were also some non-westerns.
Want to know more on the life and career of director Sam Newfield, his producer brother Sigmund Neufeld, and Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC)? Read the profile on Sam Newfield on the Old Corral.