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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.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above are Cason and Lash LaRue locked in mortal combat in a lobby card from MARK OF THE LASH (Ron Ormand/Screen Guild, 1948).



(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Cason in 1941 and about 23 years of age.



(Courtesy of Bruce Hickey)

Cason - circa 1951, and in the same uniform he wore in the serial DON DAREDEVIL RIDES AGAIN (Republic, 1951). See DAREDEVIL image further down this webpage.

John Cason / Bob Cason / "Lefty" Cason

Birth name: John Lacy Cason

1918 - 1961

I connected with Cason family member Bob Cason in 2009 and he provided several photos of the Cason brothers. Bob is the grand nephew of John Lacy Cason and his grandfather was actor Chuck Cason.

John Lacy Cason was born July 30, 1918 in Gainesville, Cooke County, Texas to farmer John J. Cason and Frances May 'Fanny' Johns. The 1920, 1930, and 1940 census indicates the Cason family re-located a few times within Cooke County, Texas. And during those years, they were renters, not property owners.

Lacy Cason completed grammar school, and in the mid 1930s, began a career as a boxer. Fort Worth and other Texas newspapers carried reports on prize fighters and matches. In 1937 - 1939, there are mentions of Cason having a few amateur and professional bouts. The pro fights were four round bouts prior to the main boxing event. He'd win one ... lose a couple ... and his boxing record was two wins and six losses ... overall, not very successful. Some bios on Cason mention that he fought - and TKO'd - heavyweight contender Tony Musto (who lost to heavyweight champ Joe Louis in a 1941 title fight). Have found no trace of Cason fighting Musto ... unless it was an exhibition bout which wouldn't count in the win and loss columns. If Cason had won by a TKO, that would have generated some news ... and left a stain on Musto's boxing record.

Circa 1940, Cason is in Tinseltown and starts a new career as an actor. His first screen role was portraying a deputy in Don Barry's THE APACHE KID (Republic, 1941).

Over the next twenty or so years, he does lots of movies and most are B westerns with him as a gang member. And in most films, he is unbilled in the opening and closing titles and credits. In oaters, you can spot him in 19 Buster Crabbe westerns at PRC; 18 with Charles Starrett at Columbia; the six film Russell Hayden / James Ellison group for Lippert Pictures in 1950; four Monograms with Johnny Mack Brown; four with Lash LaRue; four with Gene Autry; three PRC Texas Rangers; many others. Scattered over the years 1942 - 1955, Cason did four serials and eight features at Republic Pictures.

He had many screen fights - a few highlights:

Cason easily migrated to television and appeared in many episodes of THE LONE RANGER, COWBOY G-MEN, CISCO KID, WYATT EARP, ROY ROGERS SHOW, GENE AUTRY SHOW, lots more. Lacy and brother Chuck also did stunting and doubled star Bill Williams in the KIT CARSON TVer.

Later acting work included an occasional movie - example: Cason is an uncredited member of the Ben Wade (Glenn Ford) gang in 3:10 TO YUMA (Columbia, 1957). Check the saloon scene about a quarter way into the film, and Cason is among the gang members at the bar.

His movie and TV career spanned about twenty years, from 1941 - 1961, and he ACTED in about 130 films including several serials. Add in a guesstimated 100 or so acting jobs in television. And he also picked up additional pay for stunting and doubling in movies and TV. Cason was a busy guy in the 1940s and 1950s, and his hefty workload indicates production people valued his talents and reliability.

Cason was married at least once - in August, 1954, he and film starlet and model Joy Reynolds eloped and married in Las Vegas (but he was divorced at the time of his death in 1961). Reynolds was "Miss Van Nuys" of 1953.

He enlisted in the Army in June, 1943, but his military service was brief. In August, 1943, he was discharged due to a nervous system disorder which was "not in line of Duty, existed prior to entry into service." (Cason's movie roles are consistent with those Summer, 1943 Army dates - he appeared in 11 films in 1942; only 4 films in 1943; then 18 film appearances in 1944.)

In real life, he was rough and tough, liked hunting and hunting dogs, enjoyed alcoholic beverages, and had a temper. On screen, he was rough and tough, did great screen fights, and was a memorable henchman with his six-shooter on the left side.

John Lacy Cason passed away on July 7, 1961 at the Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara, California from injuries suffered in an automobile accident on Highway 101 near Buelton, Santa Barbara County, California. He was 42 years old. His passenger and hunting partner Roscoe A. Lents / Lentz was also severely injured and passed away on July 9.



(Courtesy of Bob Cason)

Above are the Brothers Cason - Chuck Cason on the left and John/Bob on the right during a break in the filming of one of the KIT CARSON TV adventures. Check the buckskin and fringed shirt on Chuck as he was doubling/stunting for KIT CARSON star Bill Williams. The difficult to read autograph in the bottom right reads: "To Chuck and Bob, Clayton Moore, The Lone Ranger".



(Courtesy of Bob Cason)

Above - Tex Ritter and a young John Cason on a break during the filming of the Bill Elliott / Tex Ritter THE LONE STAR VIGILANTES (Columbia, 1942).


Cason's brief boxing career.

Found nothing on Newspapers.com and the newspaper archive for a person named Cason participating in Golden Gloves amateur fights in Texas in the 1930s.

The Boxing Records website shows a "Lacey Cason" as a light heavyweight residing in Dallas, Texas, and he's listed with a total of 8 fights (2 wins, 6 losses) and all fights were held in Texas in 1938-1939: https://boxrec.com/en/proboxer/361725

That Boxing Record database also has a listing for a Dallas, Texas light heavyweight named "Steve Cason" with one losing fight in Dallas, Texas in 1939. Is that our John Cason?: https://boxrec.com/en/proboxer/361708

In a writeup below, there's mention of Cason winning a fight against Tony Musto. Musto was a heavyweight contender who lost to champ Joe Louis in a 1941 championship fight. Musto did have a bunch of bouts in Texas during 1937-1938. However, the FightsRec Boxing Record website has no reference to him fighting a person named "Cason" in Texas or anywhere else. Checking newspapers.com and the newspaper archive, I found nothing on Musto having a match with Cason. Perhaps Musto fought Cason in an exhibition bout which wouldn't appear in the record books. Musto's boxing record is at: http://www.fightsrec.com/tony-musto.html


More on Cason.

From Bobby J. Copeland:
Cason was born in Texas on July 30, 1918, and died as a result of a car accident on July 7, 1961.  He had been a prize fighter before entering films.  His crooked nose is evidence of his bouts in the ring.  Although best known as John, he sometimes was billed as Bob Cason.  He was left-handed and often referred to as 'Lefty' on the screen.  That is the only name that many fans remember him by.  He was regarded by his peers as one of the toughest men in the business.  Cason's first billed role was in THE APACHE KID (Republic, 1941) starring Don 'Red' Barry, and he was last billed on TV's WAGON TRAIN in 'The Duke Shannon Story' which aired on 4-26-61.

The following is from badman Pierce Lyden's book The Badmen I Rode With:
"Bob Cason was another good fight man, with a few 'semi-pros' behind him, and the ridge of his nose removed to proof it.  He was one of the craziest guys I ever rode with.  He was all over the saddle on a horse.  Talk about ridin' loose - you would swear he was going to fall off any minute.  Not so, he could really ride and cowboy, it was just his attitude. "Let's git on and git goin'."  I don't think he ever planned anything, it was just hurry up and get the job done.  He scared me once, though.  We were to ride into a bunch of trees, out of sight and then wait for a 'shot' from the director and come out and continue to ride.  We both barreled into the trees out of sight, pulled up and I looked over at Bob.  He was holding his hand over his eye and between his fingers was a small branch!  It looked horrible, like it could be driven through his eye and into his head.  I said, "Don't move, I'll go out and kill the 'shot'."  And Bob says, "No, no, wait, I think it's all right."  He took his hand away and by the grace of God, the stick had hit him below the eye on the cheek bone and he had caught it in time.  Just another freak thing that could happen on a ride."

The following is from Boyd Magers' Western Clippings:
"B-western badman John Cason doubled Bill Williams in many KIT CARSON TV episodes.  He was very noticeable in the 'Hero of Hermosa'.  Cason, a native of Texas, won a light heavyweight Golden Gloves tournament in Dallas.  Turning pro, he fought Tony Musto and won by a TKO.  A group watching this semi-windup took a liking to him and bought his contract.  "You could have knocked me over with a feather", John once said, "because when I was introduced to my new owners it was George Raft and Hugh Herbert."

2004 e-mail from Ron Kathman:
"My dad and others in Muenster, Texas, always said that John Lacey Cason was a school mate of theirs in the twenties and thirties. They knew him as "Lacey Cason" but were never sure where he was born. My dad believed that Lacey's dad worked for the MKT Railroad which had a maintenance office near Muenster. Many of the oldtimers in Muenster always recognized Cason on the screen and commented on having grew up with him." (Muenster is located in Cooke County, Texas and is about 15 miles from Gainesville, Texas.)



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is the cover of the pressbook for PRAIRIE BADMEN (PRC, 1946), one of Buster Crabbe's later 'Billy Carson' westerns. In the bottom right, Buster is duking it out with John Cason.



(From Old Corral collection)

Buster Crabbe and John Cason are mixing it up in the upper right, and Jean Carlin and Fuzzy St. John in the lower left in this lobby card from GHOST OF HIDDEN VALLEY (PRC, 1946).



(From Old Corral collection)

Above - Cason and Lash are battling (upper right) in this title lobby card from DEAD MAN'S GOLD (Ron Ormand/Screen Guild, 1948).



(Courtesy of Bob Cason)

Above - Pat Starling is sandwiched between two no-goods in SUNSET CARSON RIDES AGAIN (Yucca/Astor, 1948). On the left is Stephen Keyes and on the right is Cason.



(Courtesy of Pamela Leigh Powers)

Above from L-to-R are Tom Neal (sitting), Mike Ragan/Holly Bane, Cason, Jack Holt and Byron Foulger in a scene from RED DESERT (Lippert, 1949) which starred Don Barry.



(From Old Corral collection)

Above is the treacherous trio from the serial DON DAREDEVIL RIDES AGAIN (Republic, 1951).  From L-to-R are Lane Bradford (John Merton's son), the great Roy Barcroft and left handed John Cason.



(From Old Corral collection)

Above from left to right are Tom Tyler, Dennis Moore and John Cason, the regulars in the group of six oaters that former Hoppy sidekicks James Ellison and Russell Hayden did around 1950 at Lippert Pictures. In the background on the left is Carl Mathews. Do you recall any other western film performers who were lefties like Cason - I remember singing cowboy Tex Fletcher (who made one western) as well as Dale Robertson. And former President Ronald Reagan was another left-hander.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Left is a pressbook ad for Don Barry's RINGSIDE (Screen Guild/Lippert, 1949) which featured pretty Sheila Ryan (lower left).

One of the fighters in this boxing tale was Cason as the brutal "Tiger Johnson".

Note the upper right drawing of Barry pummeling Cason.


On the trail of John / Bob / "Lefty" Cason

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on John Cason: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0143806/

Wikipedia has info on Cooke County, Texas which includes the cities of Gainesville, Muenster, and Valley View: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooke_County,_Texas

The Family Search website (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), California Death Index, and the death certificate provide more on Cason and family:

Don't forget to visit the Villains and Supporting Players webpage on John/Bob Cason's brother Chuck who did some films and TV work in the 1950s. There's an additional photo of John/Bob (and his brother) working on the KIT CARSON TV show.

Find A Grave website has interment info on several Cason family members. All are interred at Grangeville Cemetery, Armona, Kings County, California:



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