Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My wife and I, as well as Lucky the Wonder Bichon, were in Virginia last week visiting my mom and as usual I visited Whiting's Old Paper, part of an antique mall in Mechanicsville.

I've found some great stuff there over the years and at reasonable prices, but I was thrilled to find this there:

Now normally I don't look at old movie magazines, but for some reason I did and was amazed at this page:

What the heck was Tom Tyler doing at a party with the likes of Charlie Chaplin? Like any other industry, the movie business ceretainly had its levels. People such as Jack Oakie and Richard Barthelmess weren't huge stars in 1935, but their careers drew far more mainstream attention than someone like Tyler who slaved away in very low budget Westerns from independent producers.

Although in 1935, Tyler did work in two movies at RKO, his output since the beginning of the talkies had been with the producers whose films mostly got play in smaller often rural theaters or as Saturday matinees in more urban markets.

Looking at the comteporary press, one assumes that a guy like Tyler largely flew underneath the radar of the media. In fact the folks that made B program films, serials and cartoons – with the exception of Disney – all seemed classified as not very interesting.

The only two B-western stars who broke out into the bigger media scene were Gene Autry and Roy Rogers and undoubtedly that is because both guys were singers as well as action stars.

That's why I was floored by this photo spread. How did he get an invite to such an affair? I was equally surprised when I accidentally saw a Hedda Hopper gossip short on TCM from the 1940s with Tyler at some night club partying with Desi Arnez!

Another interesting part of the life of the cowboy star who wanted to be an actor.

© 2009 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

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