(From Old Corral collection)
When Ritter began his western films with producer Ed Finney at Grand National Pictures in the mid 1930s, they used rental horses. A year or so later, Tex acquired his own White Flash, and in fact, had several animals to use in films and personal appearances. Glenn Randall was the trainer. During Tex's Grand National and Monogram series, the pressbooks and poster art generally showed a credit of 'and his horse White Flash'. That credit disappeared during Ritter's 1940s work for Columbia, Universal and PRC. The real White Flash was about 25 years old and blind when Ritter had him put away in 1961. You'll find more about Tex and White Flash in the Trusty Steeds/Movie Horses section of the Old Corral.
(From Old Corral collection)
Above and below - Tex Ritter with one and two of his several "White Flashes".
(From Old Corral collection)
|In the prior pages, I've noted some of my favorite Ritter films. To round out the life and chronicles of Tex Ritter, I asked Les Adams and Boyd Magers for their particular Ritter favorites:|
|Les Adams' Favorites|
|SONG OF THE GRINGO: nearly all of the Ritter films, especially and primarily those involving Robert Bradbury, Robert Tansey or Lindsley Parsons, have roots back to John Wayne's Lone Stars or early Republic's. This one stretches back to 1930 and Bob Steele's OKLAHOMA CYCLONE, written and directed by J. P. McCarthy. No coincidence that this first Ritter film was also written and directed by McCarthy. For a series B-western, and for the first entry of a new performer, this one is a tad gritty and is unlike anything that followed. McCarthy killed off the good-guy outlaw, Al St. John, in CYCLONE and does the same for Fuzzy Knight in this one.|
|RIDERS OF THE ROCKIES: with director Robert Bradbury, one was virtually guaranteed to get a shot of 40-50 riders outlined against the sky atop a mesa. With writer Tansey, one was virtually guaranteed that those 40-50 outlaws would encounter 40-50 good guys all riding the same color horses or wearing the same costume in some way. Plus Yak Canutt, contrary as usual but on the side of the law here. Other than the first Ritter Grand National, Horace Murphy and/or Snub Pollard had roles of varying degrees in the prior Ritter films, but this was the first one where they worked together as sidekicks with Tex. A little bit of Pollard went a long ways but Murphy, in a whiney way and unsaddled by silent film techniques, was tolerable. Pollard missed the next film, but the last four had them together as a trio.|
|WESTBOUND STAGE: any Robert Tansey script that is not 100% taken from one of his earlier scripts deserves a mention. Tansey was fond of using the first half of this one --- the Nolan Willis character is wrongfully court-martialed --- but he swiped the last half, using the name of John Foster, straight out of STAGECOACH. Phil Dunham and Hank Bell did fall a bit short of Donald Meek and Andy Devine, tho. Willis and Ritter split and combined the John Wayne and George Bancroft roles. I have no explanation of where Chester Gan came from. The major drawback is Nelson McDowell, but Slim Andrews would soon appear and make McDowell look good in retrospect.|
|KING OF DODGE CITY w/ Bill Elliott: it has Bill Elliott and Tex Ritter and does not have Frank Mitchell.|
|CHEYENNE ROUNDUP w/ Johnny Mack Brown: if I hadn't seen the Johnny Mack Brown-Tex Ritter series since I first saw them at the Lyric or Cactus theaters in 1942-43, I suspect I would have remembered one of the other entries more fondly than this one. My fondness for this one revolves around the most inept trio of conniving villains --- Harry Woods, Roy Barcroft and Robert Barron --- this side of the inept, conniving henchmen --- Roy Barcroft, Charles King and Jack O'Shea --- in the last Three Mesquiteer entry, RIDERS OF THE RIO GRANDE. Hard to believe Elmer Clifton penned this one. Oliver Drake must have helped him. I'm sure he did as he also did the same for Frances Kavanaugh when he produced it again as SPRINGTIME IN TEXAS with Jimmy Wakely.|
|Boyd Magers' Favorites|
|From the Grand National series:|
HEADIN' FOR THE RIO GRANDE
RIDERS OF THE ROCKIES
From the Monogram series:
TAKE ME BACK TO OKLAHOMA
From the Columbia series w/ Bill Elliott:
KING OF DODGE CITY
From the Universal series w/ Johnny Mack Brown:
DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS
LONE STAR TRIAL
From the PRC/Texas Rangers w/ Dave O'Brien:
ENEMY OF THE LAW
(Courtesy of Ed Tabor)
Above, issue #7
(Courtesy of Ed Tabor)
Above, issue #17
TEX RITTER COMICS
|For those of you interested in learning all the facts and details about Tex Ritter, including his school days in Texas, law school work at the University of Texas, his stage work in shows like Green Grow The Lilacs, Broadway shows, radio, and more, pick up a copy of Bill O'Neal's great Tex Ritter, America's Most Beloved Cowboy.|
Published in 1998 by Eakin Press (Austin, Texas), the ISBN number is 1-57168-249-X. This 8 1/2 x 11 trade paperback has about 150 pages, hundreds of photos (including many of Ritter's childhood and school days), filmography, discography, and lots more.
Out of print, Amazon has a few copies available: http://www.amazon.com/Tex-Ritter-Americas-Beloved-Cowboy/dp/157168249X
Another definitive work on Tex is The Tex Ritter Story by Johnny Bond (Chappell Music Company, 1976), which is occasionally available via used book shops on the Internet.
On the Old Corral homepage, click on the menu item Books-Print Media-Newsletters-Photos, and then run searches on the various used book websites.
TEX RITTER FAN CLUB
Sharon Richards ran the Tex Ritter Fan Club. Am unsure if the fan club is still operating. Her mailing address was: 23914 Willow Circle, Bothell, WA 98021 and her E-mail was: firstname.lastname@example.org
Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on:
Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website has a picture of the grave marker for Tex Ritter at the Oak Bluff Memorial Park, Port Neches, Texas: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/877
The Find A Grave site also has info on Dorothy Fay Southworth Ritter who is interred at Pioneer Cemetery, Prescott, Arizona: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/8079180
There's a variety of Ritter tunes on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%22tex+ritter%22
Check the Golden Boot award webpage on the Old Corral. At the 1986 awards ceremony, Tex Ritter was posthumously awarded a Golden Boot.
The Country Music Hall of Fame in Carthage, Texas includes a Tex Ritter Museum: https://www.tcmhof.com/museum
The Famous Texans website has a brief bio on Ritter: http://www.famoustexans.com/texritter.htm
The Handbook of Texas Online is a project of the Texas State Historical Association, and their webpage on Ritter is at: https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fri25
The Country Music Hall of Fame winners include Tex Ritter, Bob Wills, Gene Autry, the Sons of the Pioneers, Johnny Bond, Roy Rogers: https://countrymusichalloffame.org/hall-of-fame/members/
The Nashville Songwriters Foundation Hall Of Fame includes Tex Ritter, Jimmy Wakely, Gene Autry, Johnny Bond, Smiley Burnette, Ray Whitley, Bob Nolan, Bob Wills, more. The link below will take you to their website and when you get there, click on 'Hall of Fame': http://www.nashvillesongwritersfoundation.com/Site/inductees
The Western Music Association Hall of Fame winners include Tex Ritter, Bob Wills, Gene Autry, the Sons of the Pioneers, Roy Rogers, Jimmy Wakely, Monte Hale, lots more: http://www.westernmusic.org/hall-of-fame
Johnny Bond's daughter Sherry Bond had a website on her Dad. But as of early 2006, the site was no longer working (http://www.johnnybond.com/).
Jerry Haendiges' OTR (Old Time Radio) site has an orticle on the several radio and TV variations of the 'Bobby Benson' series (also called the H-Bar-O Rangers and B-Bar-B), and there's mention of Ritter and the several New York based radio shows in which he appeared: http://www.otrsite.com/articles/artjf002.html