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The Three Mesquiteers

Republic Pictures

51 films released
from 1936 - 1943

(From Old Corral collection)

Above from left to right are Max Terhune (as "Lullaby Joslin"), Ray 'Crash' Corrigan (as "Tucson Smith") and Bob Livingston (as "Stony Brooke").

Of the various 3M teams or cast groupings, the most remembered are:

My favorite 3M films are RIDERS OF THE WHISTLING SKULL (1937) and THE PURPLE VIGILANTES (1938).  And for those who haven't seen it, take a look at RKO's POWDERSMOKE RANGE (1935).  The gunfight between Harry Carey and Tom Tyler is unique (as Carey goes to the gunsmith and obtains a pair of .32-20 calibre Colt single actions to insure that he would only wound Tyler by using the smaller, less powerful bullets).

Heroines in the 3M sagas include a mix of forgotten starlets as well as a few that found some degree of fame in Hollywood.  Rita Cansino (later Rita Hayworth) was the love interest in HIT THE SADDLE (1937).  Carole Landis, who would commit suicide in the mid 1940s, was in COWBOYS FROM TEXAS (1939) and THREE TEXAS STEERS (1939).  Phyllis Isley, before a name change to Jennifer Jones, was in NEW FRONTIER (1939).  Louise Brooks, once a big name star in Tinseltown, had been relegated to B films and made her final screen appearance in OVERLAND STAGE RAIDERS (1938).  Gale Storm, of TV's MY LITTLE MARGIE fame, was the gal lead in SADDLEMATES (1941).  Jacqueline Wells (Julie Bishop) did THE KANSAS TERRORS (1939).  If you liked the beautiful and mysterious rider of THE PAINTED STALLION in the 1937 serial, you'll find Julia Thayer (real name: Jean Carmen) in GUNSMOKE RANCH (1937).  And later in these webpages, you'll also become acquainted with pretty Lois Collier, who appeared in seven of the later Mesquiteer adventures.

The Three Mesquiteers are a prime example of a successful formula being copied by others.  Monogram brought out the Range Busters (1940-43), Rough Riders (1941-42) and Trail Blazers (1943-44). And little Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) came out with the Texas Rangers (1942-45) and Frontier Marshal series (1942).  Universal even tried a short-lived trio group in the late 1930s featuring Johnny Mack Brown, Bob Baker and Fuzzy Knight, and a few years later, Brown was joined by Tex Ritter.  Of course, Bill Elliott and Ritter had done some films together at Columbia Pictures, using sidekicks Dub 'Cannonball' Taylor and Frank Mitchell.

The Motion Picture Herald and Boxoffice polls were conducted from about the mid 1930s through the mid 1950s.  With a few exceptions, the annual results would list the 'Top Ten' (or 'Top Five') cowboy film stars.  In most cases, the winners were what you would expect --- Autry, Rogers, Holt, Starrett, Hoppy, etc.  The Mesquiteers were the only trio series to be specifically named and ranked in these polls.  Mesquiteer members John Wayne and Bob Livingston were ranked individually during their Mesquiteer days, and I've included them in the information below.

Popularity Rankings of the Three Mesquiteers' Films
Year Motion Picture Herald
Poll Ranking
Boxoffice Poll
1937 8th .
1938 5th 10th
1939 6th
(John Wayne ranked 9th)
(John Wayne ranked 6th)
(Bob Livingston ranked 10th)
1940 8th .
1941 8th .
1942 10th .
1943 7th .

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above from left to right are Max Terhune, Bob Livingston and Ray Corrigan on a school tablet cover. Below is the reverse side.

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above from left to right are Max Terhune, Bob Livingston and Ray Corrigan in their range costumes for HIT THE SADDLE (Republic, 1937).

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