Saddle Pals & Sidekicks
The Juvenile Helpers
(Courtesy of Boyd Magers)
| |(Courtesy of Boyd Magers)
On the left, a publicity still signed by Clark circa 1949, and above, Clark and Hoot Gibson during a post-WW2 personal appearance.
(Courtesy of Jack Tillmany)
Bobby Clark (Bobby Clack)
1926 - 1986
|Special thanks to Boyd Magers for the biography on Bobby Clark/Bobby Clack.|
World Champion Junior Trick and Fancy Rope Artist, Bobby Clark (aka Clack - his actual name) co-starred as 'Andy' in Bill Elliott's 1939 Columbia cliffhanger, OVERLAND WITH KIT CARSON, when he was 12. His friendship with Elliott remained close over the years. They performed together on a three month personal appearance tour of eastern states in conjunction with the serial's release. Even years later they remained friends --- working together at a special show in Phoenix in May '49 and in Hollywood in '48, among others.
Clark, born January 3, 1926 (at best calculation) in the small southeastern Oklahoma town of Spiro, received schooling in nearby Talihina. His father, Arnold Clack, a rancher and gas station owner, first noticed young Bobby's interest in roping when they attended the Oklahoma-Arkansas rodeo in Ft. Smith. Bobby first performed at age 6 in Springfield, MO. He had a knack for roping as well as shooting with a .22 rifle and .38 special six-shooter. Among his feats was the spinning of four loops simultaneously, employing his mouth, arms and hips.
Bobby was discovered by a Monogram talent scout at a Junior Chamber of Commerce rodeo in Sulphur, OK, July 4, 1938. In Hollywood, Monogram used him in Jack Randall's TRIGGER SMITH ('39). With his horse, Chief, Bobby (whose surname was changed from Clack to Clark for ease) appeared that year at Madison Square Garden where he captured the World Champion Trick Roping title. It was then he co-starred as Andy with Bill Elliott in Columbia's OVERLAND WITH KIT CARSON. Columbia budgeted the 15 chapters at $200,000 (paying Bobby $250 a week) and lensed on location at Zion National Park, Kanab and St. George, UT. While in Hollywood, Bobby boarded Chief at Tom Mix's ranch. He went on to appear in Cheyenne, at the 17 day Chicago Stadium Rodeo, the Sheriff's Rodeo in L.A. and gave an exhibition with Hoot Gibson during the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus of '39. There were hundreds more.
Returning to Oklahoma for a visit, Clark told the press, "Buck Jones and George O'Brien are the only real cowboys in Hollywood." A pretty bold statement after having co-starred with Elliott, whom he termed " good cowboy." He starred in SAGEBRUSH FAMILY TRAILS WEST in 1940, then finished his schooling in Poteau, OK, and moved to Ft. Smith, AR.
He returned to Hollywood after serving in the Army, including 18 months in the Philippines during WWII. In 1946, he married Ruth Lee of Idaho Falls, ID. Bobby worked in at least six post-war Autry films including BEYOND THE PURPLE HILLS, many TV shows and had a bit in Republic's MAN WITH THE STEEL WHIP cliffhanger in '54. He also has a prominent role in Sunset Carson's RIO GRANDE ('49). He toured with Allan Lane in '47 and continued his rodeo work.
His father, Arnold Clack (who, incidentally, appeared on film once in a non-speaking heavy role for Tim McCoy's TEXAS RENEGADES) later became a used car salesman in Phoenix, AZ. Clark reportedly died in 1986.
You may want to go to the In Search Of ... page on the Old Corral and then to Social Security Death Index (SSDI). There you will find a record for: Robert Clack, born 3 January, 1926, and he passed away in April, 1986, and the Social Security records show his last address/location as 97041 Mount Hood Parkdale, Hood River, Oregon.
|(Courtesy of Les Adams)
The B film production company known as PRC had been formed in the late 1930s by Ben Judell, and had quickly gone through several name variations --- they were initially known as Producers Pictures, then PDC (Producers Distributing Corporation), and finally PRC, short for Producers Releasing Corporation. Above is a page from PDC's 1939-1940 exhibitor announcement brochure.
Plans were for George Houston to star in 8 Billy The Kid westerns. That didn't happen. Tim McCoy was scheduled for a series of 8 (which occurred during 1940-41, initially under the PDC name, and then under the PRC logo). And Bobby Clark was to star in 8 'Sagebrush Family' yarns, and the head of the clan was 'Doc' Sawyer, ably portrayed by fast-talkin' Earle Hodgins. Only one was filmed, THE SAGEBRUSH FAMILY TRAILS WEST (PRC, 1940), which was produced by Sig Neufeld and directed by his brother Sam Newfield (under his 'Peter Stewart' alias). Appears that PDC was a tad optimistic (and underfunded) to accomplish all of the lofty goals set forth in their release announcement brochure.
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above from L-to-R are Forrest Taylor (peering off), Nina Guilbert, Earle Hodgins, Bobby Clark, Joyce Bryant, Minerva Urecal, Archie Hall (wearing the badge), and unidentified player on the far right.
And note the billing for Clark as the
"13-Year-Old World's Champion Junior Cowboy"