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The 'brains' and 'action' heavies who had meaty roles and lots of dialog ... and the players who were fathers, ranch owners, lawman, mayors, judges, lawyers, storekeepers, newspaper editors, wardens, etc.

Al Bridge

Real name was probably:
Alfred Morton Bridge

Many name variations:
Alfred Morton Bridge
Alfred Bridge
Alford Morton Bridge
Alan Morton Bridge
Alan Bridge
Alan L. Bridge

1890 or 1891 - 1957

(Courtesy of Jack Tillmany)

I've always enjoyed the performances of Al Bridge - the scowl, the growl, and that mean, cantankerous voice.

He served in the infantry during World War I. Before and after his military stint, he and sister Loie Bridge toured the U. S. doing musical/comedy stock. In the 1920s, Chill Wills and future Hollywood leading lady Joan Crawford were members of the Bridge company. Al and Loie worked together for over fifteen years and in the early 1920s, they went out on their own. Following are a few highlights from issues of Variety at the Internet Archive website:

Above is a 1919 theater ad for Al and Loie Bridge when they worked for the Hi Jinks Musical Comedy Company. That's Al on the left and Loie on the right.

(Courtesy of Ed Tabor)

Above is Al Bridge's sister Loie Bridge in a crop/snapshot from an unidentified film.

(Courtesy of Bruce Hickey)
Al began doing films circa 1931 and continued working into the early 1950s.

His earliest westerns were with Tom Tyler, Bob Steele and Rex Bell for various Poverty Row companies including Syndicate, Tiffany, Monogram, Sono Art-World Wide and Monarch.

Then came more sagebrush adventures - and Al often portrayed the brains / dress heavy or second-in-command. You can spot him doing villainy against Ken Maynard, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Johnny Mack Brown, Bill Elliott, John Wayne, William ' Hoppy' Boyd, lots more. And he shows up in about a dozen of the Columbia Charles Starrett oaters.

Mascot Pictures boss / owner Nat Levine had a "stable of dependables" and Al was a member. For Mascot, Al worked in a couple non-western features as well as a half dozen cliffhangers (THE HURRICANE EXPRESS (1932), THE DEVIL HORSE (1932), FIGHTING WITH KIT CARSON (1933), BURN 'EM UP BARNES (1934), MYSTERY MOUNTAIN (1934), and THE ADVENTURES OF REX AND RINTY (1935)).

He did other serials - examples include meaty roles in ACE DRUMMOND (Universal, 1936), JUNGLE JIM (Universal, 1936), WILD WEST DAYS (Universal, 1937), and THE GREAT ADVENTURES OF WILD BILL HICKOK (Columbia, 1938).

Al shows up in bit parts and minor supporting roles in dozens of higher grade features. He was the veterinarian tending to the injured THUNDERHEAD, SON OF FLICKA (20th Century Fox, 1945) which starred Roddy McDowell and Preston Foster. In the screwball comedy THE AWFUL TRUTH (Columbia, 1937), Bridge (and Edgar Dearing) are motorcycle cops who unluckily get involved with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. Other A grade films with Bridge include: Frank Capra's MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (Columbia, 1939), Alfred Hitchcock's SABOTEUR (Universal, 1942), Rene Clair's I MARRIED A WITCH (Paramount, 1944), Elia Kazan's A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN (20th Century Fox, 1945), John Ford's THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (MGM, 1945), and William Wyler's THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (Goldwyn/RKO, 1946).

There's a nice, minor role for Bridge in Capra's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (RKO, 1946). At the end of film, the townsfolk drop off money to Jimmy Stewart. Bridge plays the sheriff, tears up the warrant for Stewart's arrest, and then smiles, laughs, and fades into the crowd.

Bridge seems to have been friendly with director Preston Sturges - or a member of Sturges' production team - for he appears in most all of the Sturges movies including SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS (Paramount, 1941), THE PALM BEACH STORY (Paramount, 1942), THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK (Paramount, 1944) and HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO (Paramount, 1944). A good example of Bridge in a Sturges production is THE LADY EVE (Paramount, 1941) with Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda. In the opening minutes, Al has several lines of dialog as a ship's steward in the bar and restaurant.

In the early 1950s, Al does some television work and appears in episodes of THE RANGE RIDER, GENE AUTRY SHOW, ANNIE OAKLEY, WILD BILL HICKOK, a few others.

Al was also buddies with several B western players. Charles 'Slim' Whitaker's daughter Leota Whitaker Gandrau recalled that "Wally Wales, Charlie King and Al Bridge were like her uncles. They spent so much time at her house that it was as if they lived there."

Les Adams' database shows Bridge in 250+ films, of which 113 are westerns and 17 are serials. During the period 1935 - 1954, Bridge worked occasionally for Republic Pictures, appearing in about three dozen westerns and other features ... but no Republic cliffhangers.

Suffering from heart disease and emphysema, Al Bridge passed away at his Los Angeles home on December 27, 1957.

There is confusion over Bridge's first and middle names as well as his birth year. The death certificate and California Death Index have him as Alan Morton Bridge, born February 26, 1891 in Pennsylvania, mother's maiden name of Blackburn, and he passed away on December 27, 1957 in the Los Angeles area. However, the grave marker (photo below) shows his first name as 'Alford' and an 1890 birth year. Various production encyclopedias, casting directories, etc. are of no help in clearing up the confusion with his name - he's listed as Allen Bridge, Al Bridge, Al Bridges, Alan Bridge, more.

(Courtesy of Dale Crawford & Jim Sorensen)
Army veteran Alford M. Bridge is interred at Valhalla Memorial Park, North Hollywood, California, Lot 1, Section 11348, Block I.

The Family Search website (free), (subscription), death certificate, California Death Index, and military veteran headstone application provide more on Bridge (with many conflicting name variations for he and sister Loie):

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Al Bridge and his sister Loie Bridge:
     Al Bridge:
     Loie Bridge (1889 - 1974):

Find A Grave has both Al and Loie interred at Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park, North Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California:
     Alford M. Bridge (1890 - 1957):
     Loie Bridge (1889 - 1974):

Daniel Neyer's "The Files of Jerry Blake" serial website has a webpage on Al Bridge doing cliffhangers:

Boyd Magers' Western Clippings website has a profile on Al Bridge:

In the 1920s, a future Hollywood A movie player was a dancer in the chorus of the Bridge Company - she became Joan Crawford:,1970369&dq=loie-bridge+joan-crawford&hl=en

(From Old Corral collection)

Left to right are Al Bridge, Harry Carey Sr., and Yakima Canutt in a duotone lobby card from chapter 3 of THE DEVIL HORSE (Mascot, 1932).

(From Old Corral collection)

Above - Al Bridge menacing Johnny Mack Brown in the cliffhanger, FIGHTING WITH KIT CARSON (Mascot, 1933).

(From Old Corral collection)

Left to right are Syd Saylor, Verna Hillie, Wally Wales/Hal Taliaferro, Ken Maynard, Jack Cheatham, Al Bridge and Jack Rockwell in the chapterplay, MYSTERY MOUNTAIN (Mascot, 1934). This is somewhat typical of scene stills which are staged for the photographer. Thus, a photo is often different than what appears in the actual film. And that's the case with this photo. This occurs at the beginning of Chapter 6 and Al Bridge is killed with a dart from the Rattler. While Wales/Taliaferro and Cheatham are in this still, they are not in the actual film scene.

(Courtesy of Ed Tabor)

Above from left to right are Roy Bucko, Al Bridge, Marion Weldon, Art Mix (George Kesterson) and Blackie Whiteford in a scene from DODGE CITY TRAIL (Columbia, 1936), which starred Charles Starrett.

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