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(Courtesy of Paul van der Vegt)
The photo on the left is Tom Mix in Rotterdam Netherlands in 1925.

Next to Mix and wearing the cowboy hat and checkerboard shirt is Paul van der Vegt's Great Grandfather Arnold van der Vegt (1883-1955).

The photo right has a yellowish tinge and was taken by Debra Featherston's grandfather. The notation on the back reads 1925 at Yellowstone Park. Her grandfather's last name was Stover and he was a cousin of Mix.

Look at the back of the chair and you might be able to make out Mix's TM-Bar logo, and you can view it on a Ralston Purina ID card by clicking HERE.

(Courtesy of Debra Featherston)

(Courtesy of Ed Phillips)
Left are Carmelita Geraghty and Tom Mix in THE LAST TRAIL (Fox, 1927).

Carmelita was the sister of two familiar names in serials and westerns - Gerald 'Gerry' Geraghty (1906-1954) and Maurice Geraghty (1908-1987). Both Geraghty brothers were at Mascot in the mid 1930s and worked on the story and script for Mix's THE MIRACLE RIDER serial.

(Courtesy of Bruce Hickey)

Above - Tom Mix and Caryl Lincoln in a lobby card from HELLO CHEYENNE (Fox, 1928), one of the films in Mix's final season at Fox.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is a lobby card from HELLO CHEYENNE (Fox, 1928).

From left to right are Mix, Al St. John and Joe Girard.

About a dozen years after this film, St. John had developed his screen persona into a whiskered, comedic sidekick named "Fuzzy" who became a memorable and prolific hero helper to many western film stars including Bob Steele, George Houston (Lone Rider), Bob Livingston (Lone Rider), Buster Crabbe and Lash LaRue.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)
On the left is a crop from a lobby card from OUTLAWED (FBO, 1929), and from left to right are Mix, Al Ferguson and Hank Bell (without his customary moustache).

This was one of the five silents that Mix did for FBO in the late 1920s.

Tom concluded his silent film career in five western features for Film Booking Office (FBO) that were released in 1928 - 1929. His pay was susbstantial, with some biographies mentioning the sum of $7,500.00 or $15,000.00 ... WEEKLY.

In the late 1920s, FBO was doing westerns with Buzz Barton, Tom Tyler, Bob Custer and Bob Steele. Some suggest that Mix may have opted not to sign another contract with FBO. Other scuttlebutt was that FBO was getting out of western films, because of financial difficulties and/or confusion and concern about deploying the new sound recording equipment on the dusty back lots. In a couple newspaper articles from February, 1929, there's confirmation that FBO was quitting westerns and the contracts of their cowboy heroes were not renewed. Custer, Tyler and Steele quickly found employment with W. Ray Johnston's Syndicate Pictures.

Mix was nearing the half century mark in age, and probably glad to be done with the movie grind. His next job - headline the Sells-Floto Circus. Tom and the original Tony would be with Sells-Floto for three seasons - 1929, 1930 and 1931 - and his salary was reported to be about $10,000.00 ... WEEKLY.

The late 1920s - early 1930s was a tumultuous period for Mix. During this time period, he was injured, and later became gravely ill and was near death. He was also embroiled in several lawsuits/legal actions as well as a divorce, his fifth marriage, and daughter Ruth's elopement. Following is a brief summary of some of the major events during these years. I've also included a few newspaper headlines:
  • In February, 1928, Mix cracked three ribs and suffered other injuries during the filming of one of his FBO silents.
  • There was a May, 1929 tax fraud indictment of Mix with the government contending that his deductions for years 1925, 1926 and 1927 were excessive. Tom, as well as other Hollywood notables, got in hot water because they used a tax advisor who wound up being indicted for fraud. About a year later, Mix settled and paid $177,420.00 in fines, penalties and interest.
  • Zack Miller of the Miller Bros. 101 Ranch show sued Mix for $342,000.00, claiming that Tom had verbally contracted to appear with his 1929 show, but had joined the Sells-Floto Circus. In January, 1931, Miller won a $90,000.00 judgement. There was an appeal and a new trial and the suit was settled in January, 1933 with Miller being awarded $66,000.00.
  • In Summer, 1930, Mix tried to stop the elopement of his seventeen year old daughter Ruth to actor Douglas Gilmore in Arizona. The marriage occurred on July 9, 1930 since Arizona law allowed a girl to marry without parental consent once she reaches sixteen years of age. The pairing was short-lived, and Ruth was granted an annulment in July, 1932 in a New York state court.
  • A short time after Ruth's marriage to Gilmore, Mix stopped paying a monthly allowance to his daughter. There was legal action to reinstate the payments. However, the court found that Tom could forego that allowance since Ruth was now married.
  • A January, 1931 divorce decree disolved the marriage of Tom and Victoria Ford. Victoria remarried. And there were headlines when she sued Mix a couple years later for $50,000.00 ... and lost.
  • During November-December, 1931, Mix had his appendix removed after it ruptured. But he became seriously ill with peritonitis that resulted from the ruptured appendix.
  • In February, 1932, Tom and Mabel Hubbell, a trapeze artist with Sells-Floto, planned to wed in Yuma, Arizona but the government offices were closed. Instead, they tied the knot in a marriage ceremony in Mexicali, Mexico. In attendance were Mix's daughter Thomasina along with Mix friend and actor Monte Blue and Blue's wife. The following month, they went through a re-marriage ceremony in Yuma. Mabel was Tom's fifth and last wife.
  • Tom broke some ribs and suffered a concussion in a riding mishap on October 21, 1932 near Lone Pine, California during the filming of FLAMING GUNS.
  • Just before Christmas, 1932 - after completing nine sound films for Universal - Mix announced his retirement from movies citing illnesses and injuries.

(Courtesy of Fred D. Pfening, Jr.)

(From Old Corral image collection)

The change from silents to talkies was a rather chaotic and turbulent period as film production companies and theaters went through the conversion. For their 1929-1930 release season, Universal had Hoot Gibson and Ken Maynard as their resident range riders. But the studio discontinued their series westerns and the contracts of Gibson and Maynard weren't renewed.

A few years later, Universal decided to get back into B-western film-making and gave Mix a call. They wanted Tom to headline a new group of sagebrush adventures to be released during 1932-1933. In all probability, the main reason that Universal was able to entice him back to the silver screen was the money, as he had lost a bundle in the stock market crash as well as his marriages, divorces and legal troubles.

In 1932, Mix was in his early fifties and he hadn't made any movies for about three years. And he had never worked with a microphone. Injuries and age also had to be in his thoughts --- but he was THE Tom Mix and ego probably dictated that he do a lot of his own stunts and ridin', a tough job for an old man who had suffered many bone breaks and injuries during a long career.

Carl Laemmle Sr. and Jr., the bosses at Universal, gave Mix his own production unit and budgets of about $100,000 to $150,000 per film. Mix had approval over the cast, script, etc., but apparently did not get involved in the production nuts and bolts like Ken Maynard (who would be Mix's replacement at Universal, and be regarded as a pain-in-the-posterior).

Universal wanted a big name to mark their return to westerns ... and the advertising and poster art for the first film, DESTRY RIDES AGAIN (Universal, 1932), proudly proclaimed:

"Carl Laemmle announces the triumphant return of the monarch of the plains"

The initial plans for the 1932-1933 release season were for six adventures with each taking about a month to film. Apparently, the fans flocked to the theaters to see the born again screen legend. In response, Mix and Universal turned out nine entries.

(From Old Corral image collection)

The above photo of Mix is used in a variety of articles and books, and often has a caption/description that he is riding Tony (which is incorrect). This is Mix on Tony Jr. (four white socks). There's more on Tony Jr. and Tom's other horses in the Trusty Steeds section on the Old Corral

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