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(From Old Corral collection)

David Hardin Shape
Nicknames of "Davey", "Dave"
1910 - 1980

Click HERE for Mark Hall's 1973 interview with Dave Sharpe.

Once upon a time in Hollywoodland, there was a stuntman named David Hardin Sharpe.

Fondly remembered as the "Crown Prince of Daredevils" for his astounding stunt work in serials such as Republic's CAPTAIN MARVEL, KING OF THE ROYAL MOUNTED, ADVENTURES OF RED RYDER and KING OF THE TEXAS RANGERS, Dave Sharpe enjoyed modest success as a supporting performer and occasional hero in B westerns and chapterplays.

Dave was born February 2, 1910 in St. Louis, Missouri to to Harry Sharpe and Hannah Hardin Sharpe.

When the 1920 census was taken, Dave, sister Eleanor, and their now divorced mother Hannah were living in Los Angeles.

In L. A., Dave attended Polytechnic High School and became a highly proficient tumbler and acrobat on their gymnastics team. He also represented the Los Angeles Athletic Club in amateur competition. And in 1925 and 1926, he won the A. A. U. Tumbling Championships.

He picked up valuable acting experience playing kid and teenager roles in silents and early talkies, including the "Boy Friends" series for producer Hal Roach.

His earliest jobs were stunt and doubling as children / teens in films such as Douglas Fairbanks Sr.'s ROBIN HOOD (Douglas Fairbanks / United Artists, 1922) and THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (Douglas Fairbanks / United Artists, 1924). Sharpe confirmed those experiences in his interview with Mark Hall (on a later webpage). A Dave Sharpe quote from that interview:

"A member of the Los Angeles Athletic Club sponsored me to train under the Club's coach. The place was a favorite Hollywood hangout for Jack Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and others. So if one of them was doing a picture with a little kid, or little girl, or an old lady who had to fall, they'd say 'hey get the kid down in the gym'. Mother would take me to the studio, I'd do my bit and leave."

With his natural athletic abilities and good looks, Sharpe did some nice acting work in 1930s westerns such as: portraying THE IDAHO KID (Colony, 1936) in a Rex Bell oater; he helped Bob Steele in DOOMED AT SUNDOWN (A.W. Hackel/Republic, 1937); and Sharpe had a small role in WYOMING OUTLAW (Republic, 1939), a John Wayne/Three Mesquiteers saga more noted for the emergence of Don Barry as the titled outlaw. In the finale of WYOMING OUTLAW, Sharpe is the one who shoots Don Barry with a Winchester.

Above from the July 26, 1930 issue of Exhibitors Herald-World available at the Internet Archive. Left to right are David Sharpe, Gertrude Messinger, Micky Daniels, Mary Kornman, Grady Sutton, and Dorothy Granger starring in THE BOY FRIENDS series for producer Hal Roach. Kornman was also a member of the Our Gang / Little Rascals.

On the right is actress Gertrude Messinger (1911 - 1995). She and Sharp eloped and married in April, 1932 and divorced in May, 1935. Daughter Gertrude Kathryn Sharpe was born August 6, 1933.

Nicknamed 'Gertie', her Hollywood career began in silents, and as a youngster, she was a member of the brief "Fox Kiddies" series (along with her brother Buddy and sister Marie). Her sound films include producer Hal Roach's THE BOY FRIENDS series and about a dozen B westerns with Bill Cody, Bob Steele, Lane Chandler, a few others.

In 1939, she married cameraman Schyler Sanford who received an Oscar for AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS.

Suffering from various medical problems, Gertrude Messinger Sanford passed away on November 8, 1995 at the Motion Picture Hospital, Woodland Hills, California.

There's a biography of Gertie Messinger on the Old Corral website. Click HERE and a separate window / tab will open.

(Courtesy of Ed Phillips)

(Pressbook ad courtesy of Les Adams)
SOCIAL ERROR (William Berke Prod / Ajax, 1935) was released on May 1, 1935, and was one of several films that future stuntman Dave Sharpe did for producer and director William Berke. Note his billing as the more formal 'David Sharpe'.

Sharpe also did three action shorts for William Berke - those starred Dave and German shepherd 'Flash' and the shorts were CRACK-UP (Imperial, 1934), DEATH FANGS (Imperial, 1934), and WILD WATERS (Imperial, 1935).

Dave's work with William Berke continued - see photo below of he and Jack Perrin in GUN GRIT (Atlantic, 1936).

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above are Jack Perrin, Braveheart, and a very young Dave Sharpe before his stuntman days at Republic, in GUN GRIT (Atlantic, 1936), one of the 'Blue Ribbon' westerns co-produced by Perrin with William Berke. Sharpe was in his mid twenties.

(From Old Corral collection)

In this lobby card from IDAHO KID (Colony, 1936), Sharpe is on the far left with his arm wrapped around perpetual baddie Charlie King, while star Rex Bell has a neck lock on Ed Carey.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are an unidentified bartender (probably Charles Kemper), Warner Richmond, Steve Clark, James Mason, Dave Sharpe, Archie Ricks and Bud Osborne in a scene from the Tom Keene oater, WHERE TRAILS DIVIDE (Monogram, 1937). This is a good one with lawyer Keene finding his brother - portrayed by the youthful Dave Sharpe - working in a gang run by Warner Richmond.

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