|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.|
Little biographical information was available on prolific B western performer George Morrell. But a search of old newspapers indicate that Morrell and his wife Rosalie performed in vaudeville and toured with various traveling repertory companies.
Circa 1920, they settled down in Los Angeles and performed in local stock theater and vaudeville. And in the mid to late 1920s, Morrell began working in movies.
His Hollywood career spanned about twenty five years and 400+ films from the 1920s through early 1950s. Many were westerns as well as a dozen+ serials.
I chuckled when running through his film listing at the Internet Movie Database - he played a townsman 124 times; he's a barfly/drunk in 51 films; 24 as a rancher; and 16 as a bartender/waiter. And most of his appearances were unbilled / uncredited.
George became a regular in B films helmed by prolific Sam Newfield (Sam Neufeld). He worked in 64 Newfield productions scattered over the years 1928 - 1946. Most were westerns and included a dozen starring Tim McCoy and eight with melodious Fred Scott. In the 1940s, Bob Steele and Buster Crabbe did 42 Billy the Kid/Billy Carson oaters for Newfield at Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC). Morrell had minor roles in 26 of those.
83 year old George Thomas Morrell passed away from congestive heart failure on April 28, 1955 at Los Angeles County General Hospital. Wife Rosalie passed in 1956.
The Family Search website (free), death certificate, California Death Index, newspapers, and other sources have more about Morrell. In the info below, note the two different birth dates for George - November 9, 1872 vs. April 10, 1872.
The University of Washington Libraries, J. Willis Sayre Photograph Collection, has a 1914 photo of stage actor George Morrell: https://digitalcollections.lib.washington.edu/digital/collection/sayre/id/7371
Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on George Morrell: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0606256/
The Internet Movie Database has a People Working Together search function - here's the list of director Sam Newfield's films with George Morrell: https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=feature,tv_episode,video,tv_movie,tv_special,tv_miniseries,documentary,video_game,short&roles=nm0627864,nm0606256&sort=release_date,asc&view=advanced
Theater ad from July, 1913 in Santa Barbara, California and Morrell and wife Rosalie were performing their "Wanted A Nurse" skit on the Pantages vaudeville circuit.
(Image courtesy of Carol Murray and her "Jack Hendricks Photo Album")
Above from left to right are Jack Hendricks (grounded), George Morrell, Merrill McCormick (beard), George Regas (moustache) and Leroy Mason in a still from the Kermit Maynard mountie film THE FIGHTING TROOPER (Ambassador-Conn, 1934).
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above from left to right are Marion Shilling, Frank Yaconelli, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, Roger Williams, Wally Wales (Hal Taliaferro) and George Morrell in a still from the Big Boy starrer GUN PLAY (Beacon, 1935; alternate title: LUCKY BOOTS).
(Courtesy of Ed Tabor)
Above from left to right are Roger Williams, Bob Custer and George Morrell in a lobby card from AMBUSH VALLEY (Reliable, 1936). Jack Evans is on the far left in the shadows, and between Williams and Custer are Buck Morgan (in the center with the moustache) and Ed Carey (dark shirt).
(Courtesy of Ed Phillips)
Above from left to right are Robert Walker, Frank Ellis, Dick Rush, Edmund Cobb, Charles Starrett, George Morrell (behind and right of Starrett). In the background on horseback are Steve Clark and Tex Cooper (Buffalo Bill-looking character). Scene from Starrett's TWO-FISTED SHERIFF (Columbia, 1937).
(From Old Corral collection)
Above from left to right are Hoot Gibson, George Morrell, youngster Sammy McKim, Hal Taliaferro/Wally Wales and Ray 'Crash' Corrigan in a still from Chapter 1 of THE PAINTED STALLION (Republic, 1937) serial.
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above from left to right are Tim McCoy, Bob Terry, Dave O'Brien and bartender George Morrell in a crop from a lobby card from TEXAS WILDCATS (Victory, 1939) which starred McCoy as "Lightnin' Bill Carson".
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Unidentified player (whom we call John Doe #1) on the left with George Morrell in a crop from a lobby card from Johnny Mack Brown's RANGE LAW (Monogram, 1944). Morrell was in his early seventies when he did this film.
Full name: Milne Bryan Kibbee
1896 - 1970
Milt Kibbee's older brother was stage and screen actor Guy Kibbee (1882 - 1956). While Guy was born in El Paso, Texas, Milt's World War I and World War II draft registrations have his birth information as January 27, 1896 in Roswell, New Mexico. Their father, James Kibbee, was a newspaper publisher and editor.
Milne Bryan Kibbee tied the knot with Lois H. Wilson on May 21, 1918 in Ohio, and they listed their occupations as actor and actress on the marriage license. For many years, they performered with touring stage companies and vaudeville, and there's newspaper reports of them with the Lewin Players, Brownell-Stork Players, Chicago's National Theater Company, more. About a week after their marriage, Milt began Army service in a medical unit during the final months of World War I.
In the 1930 census, Milt, Lois and their three children were living in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. A couple years later, the family was in California and Milt's first movie job occurred in 1933. Among his earliest films was an unbilled role in 42ND STREET (Warners, 1933), and brother Guy Kibbee had a featured part in that. Good probability that Guy persuaded Milt to join him in Hollywood and the movie business.
Milt worked in nearly 400 A and B grade films during 1933 - 1953. In most, he had minor/bit roles and was uncredited. At Republic Pictures, he did about 30 B westerns and other features during the years 1938 - 1951. Les Adams has Milton Kibbee identified in 50+ westerns and 4 serials.
The Kibbee brothers worked together in eighteen movies, including 42ND STREET (Warners, 1933), BABBITT (Warners, 1934) and MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (Columbia, 1939). In those, Guy had meaty (and credited) roles while Milt did a bit part and picked up a day's pay. Occasionally, Milt got a few lines of dialog and an example is his portrayal of Judy Garland's father in STRIKE UP THE BAND (MGM, 1940).
In the post World War II years - when Milt had hit the half century mark in age - you can spot him as "Professor Townley" in four of Monogram's 1946 - 1947 "The Teen Agers" series which featured Freddie Stewart, June Preisser, Jackie Moran, Noel Neill, and Frankie Darro.
He played a villain in a few B westerns - examples:
Milt Kibbee passed away on April 17, 1970 in Simi Valley, Ventura County, California. Wife Lois passed in 1996. They are interred next to each other at Oakwood Memorial Park, Chatsworth, California.
Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on:
Milt Kibbee: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0452133/
Milt Kibbee's daughter Lois Kibbee (1922 - 1993) appeared on several TV soap operas in the 1970s and 1980s: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0452132/
Guy Bridges Kibbee (1882 - 1956): http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0452128/
The Family Search website and other sources have information on Milt Kibbee:
A couple blurbs from Rhinelander, Wisconsin newspapers:
June 5, 1931 Rhinelander, Wisconsin Daily News article on Guy Kibbee doing movies in Hollywood, and his brother was Rhinelander, Wisconsin resident Milton Kibbee: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/91758012/rhinelander-wisconsin-resident-and/
November 14, 1936 Rhinelander, Wisconsin Daily News article on former Rhinelander, Wisconsin resident Milton Kibbee who was now appearing in movies: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/91757859/the-rhinelander-daily-news/
Newspaper obituaries for Milt and Lois' daughter, soap opera performer and writer Lois Kibbee (1922 - 1993), mention that she was born in 1920 in West Virginia while her parents were traveling with a stock company and her mother was actress Lois Wilson Kibbee:
Los Angeles Times newspaper: https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1993-10-23-mn-48679-story.html
New York Times newspaper: https://www.nytimes.com/1993/10/21/obituaries/lois-kibbee-is-dead-actress-of-television-and-stage-was-71.html
The Los Angeles Times newspaper has a 1985 article about Milt's wife, 90 year old Lois Wilson Kibbee, singing for a convalescent home audience: https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1985-07-26-vw-5217-story.html
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Left to right are Don Barry, Harry Worth and Milton Kibbee in a scene from Barry's KANSAS CYCLONE (Republic, 1941). In the background between Barry and Worth are Augie Gomez and Matty Roubert. And if you look closely between Worth and Kibbee, you might make out Eddie Dean, about five years before he became PRC's resident singin' cowboy.
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Left to right are Milton Kibbee, Don Barry with the badge and a pair of stag-handled six-shooters, and Fred 'Snowflake' Toones in a crop from a lobby card from TWO-GUN SHERIFF (Republic, 1941), one of the films in which Barry had a dual role.