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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 Jack Tillmany)
George Chesebro

Full name:
George Newell Chesebro

1888 - 1959

Above - George Chesebro circa 1922 and about 34 years old.

Above is a 1918 theater ad for George co-starring with Ruth Roland in the HANDS UP serial. About half way through the filming, George left for Army service in World War I and George Larkin came in to finish the serial.

Above is a 1922 theater ad for George in THE HATE TRAIL (1922), one of the northwoods / mounted police adventures he did for Milburn Morante's production company in 1921 - 1922.
I've always called George Chesebro the "man of many last names", for the spelling of Chesebro was a difficult assignment for folks preparing credits in opening and closing film titles as well as posters and other advertising.

When he was given credit, you can find his last name spelled Cheesebro, Cheseboro, and lots more variations.  But incorrect spelling was not uncommon (and examples that immediately come to mind are Chief Thunder Cloud, Chief Thunder-Cloud, Chief Thundercloud, Edmond Cobb, Edmund Cobb, Bud Osborne, Bud Osbourne, lots more.).

George Newell Chesebro was born July 29, 1888 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to James Fredrick 'Fred' Chesebro and Margaret Belle Grant. He learned acting skills in stock theater and vaudeville. His film career began circa 1915, and in early features and serials, he did bits and support in various productions. One of his early starring roles was in Ruth Roland's serial HANDS UP (Pathe, 1918).

In the middle of HANDS UP filming, George exited Tinseltown for World War I service in the U. S. Army Field Artilery. The March, 1919 issue of Motion Picture magazine had news on his return from military duty:

"Kenneth Harlan and George Cheseboro returned from Europe on the Baltic, having served at the front. Harlan was Dorothy Dalton's leading man and George Cheseboro was last featured with Ruth Roland in 'Hands Up.' "

Returning to civilian life, George did more cliffhangers - he starred with Juanita Hansen in LOST CITY (Selig Polyscope, 1920); with Eileen Sedgwick in DIAMOND QUEEN (Universal, 1921); and Grace Darmond in HOPE DIAMOND MYSTERY (Kosmik Films, 1921). Then he had the lead in a few northwoods / mounted police adventures for Milburn Morante's production company which were released in 1921 - 1922. His starring career ended with WOLFBLOOD (Ryan Bros. Productions, 1925), a feature about a logging camp and him receiving wolf blood in a transfusion (and that film is available on YouTube). George got his sole directing credit with WOLFBLOOD, co-helming it with prolific Bruce Mitchell.

During the 1930s and 1940s he became one of the most prolific of the B western and serial baddies. And he worked at all the major and minor film production outfits, often portraying a gang member and occasionally playing the boss / brains heavy.

I always think of Chesebro as the finest of the weak, shifty-eyed baddies, who sometimes had no backbone and would squeal on his confederates when pummeled by the hero.

Once in a while, he was on the side of the law. For example, in WILD MUSTANG (Ajax, 1935), he's the deputy / helper to star Harry Carey, Sr. Alas - George's name is spelled Cheeseborough in the credits.

And there was the Trucolor TRAIL OF ROBIN HOOD (Republic, 1950). George is one of the guest stars that come to the aid of Roy Rogers and Jack Holt. I always chuckle when he shows up and is temporarily shunned by the several Republic Pictures movie heroes ... until he says to youngster Carol Nugent that "after making twenty pictures with Jack Holt, he reformed me Honey." By the way, Chesebro introduces himself as "Hi boys ... I'm George Chesebro" - and he pronounces his last name as "Cheese bro", not "Chez bro". He was about 62 years old when he did TRAIL OF ROBIN HOOD.

If you want a musical treat (not!), listen to George sing "Springtime in the Rockies" at about the six minute mark in the 1937 Gene Autry film of the same name.

As to his personal and family life, George was married twice. Family trees and other records indicate his first wife was Dolly Higgins Chesebro. However, the April 15, 1908 marriage license has her as Emma A. Higgins. Perhaps Dolly was a nickname. Marriage number two was to Sophie Barman on April 14, 1922 in Los Angeles and they were together through George's death in 1959. There were no children from either pairing.

Chesebro's film career spanned about forty years, from about 1915 through the mid 1950s. Les Adams has him in about 385 sound era films.  That number includes about 300 oaters and 34 serials. His film work at Republic Pictures, from 1935 - 1953, numbers about 70 movies, mostly westerns and cliffhangers.

One of the most familiar B western baddies passed away from heart failure at his Hermosa Beach, Los Angeles County, California home on May 28, 1959.

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on George Chesebro:

The Family Search website (free), (subscription), California Death Index, newspapers, trade publications, and the death certificate provide more on George Chesebro and family. The Chesebro family genealogy website (link further down this webpage) mentions that George's first wife was Dolly Higgins Chesebro. There is an April 15, 1908 marriage license for George and Emma A. Higgins - perhaps Dolly was her nickname. George's second marriage was to Sophie/Sophia Gladys Barman in 1922 and they were together through his passing in 1959.

Find A Grave website notes that Chesebro is interred at the Pacific Crest Cemetery, Redondo Beach, California:

The genealogy site on the Chesebro family includes mention of his full name being George Newell Chesebro, date and birthplace of July 29, 1888 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and passed away May 28, 1959 in Los Angeles.

Go to the Chesebro website search page, and enter George Chesebro in the last name and first name fields. On the subsequent page, scroll down the list of names in the left side column until you find

Chesebro, George Newell

and click on that. When the search is done, you should find a record for George Chesebro, his wife Dolly Higgins Chesebro, and info on his father (Chesebro, James Fredrick "Fred" (1860 - 1907)); his mother (Grant, Margaret Bell (1861-1917)); and their five children (which includes George).

The search page is at:

Boyd Magers Western Clippings website has a profile on Chesebro:

Daniel Neyer's "The Files of Jerry Blake" serial website has more on George Chesebro doing serials:

Chesebro shows up in a few Three Stooges comedy shorts at Columbia Pictures:

George Chesebro's movie stats. A very busy guy.
Includes westerns, serials, shorts, and other films. I've used the RELEASE dates (not filming dates) from the Internet Movie Database so the results may be a little skewed. Total film count in this chart = 425.
1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953-

George's last hurrah as a leading man was in the northwoods / logging camp yarn WOLFBLOOD (Ryan Bros. Productions, 1925), a tale about a man (George) receiving a transfusion of wolf's blood. Some websites and blogs mention the werewolf undertones of this silent.

Above are screen captures from the film - George Chesebro was co-director with Bruce Mitchell ... and George Chesbro had the lead. Poor George and his never-ending surname problems.

You can view or download WOLFBLOOD (Ryan Bros. Productions, 1925) from YouTube:

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Franklyn Farnum, Bob Custer and George Chesebro mixing it up in a scene from Custer's MARK OF THE SPUR (Big 4, 1932).

(Courtesy of Jay Wilsey's granddaughter and
daughter, Tamera Mankini and Frances Eldene Wolski)

Above from left to right are William Barrymore / Boris Bullock (in vest), Duke Lee (suited man with the badge), George Chesebro, Genée Boutell and Buffalo Bill Jr. (Jay Wilsey) in a scene from THE WHIRLWIND RIDER (American Pictures, 1933) which was churned out by Robert J. Horner. Genée Boutell and Wilsey were husband and wife.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Frank Crane, Louise Gabo, a smiling Jack Perrin (billed as "Jack Gable"), Tom Tyler, Roberta Gale, George Chesebro and Tom London in Tyler's MYSTERY RANCH (Reliable, 1934).

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from left to right are Lafe McKee, George Chesebro, Jack Perrin, Slim Whitaker, Benny Corbett (on Whitaker's back), and in the background at the desk is Charles K. French. Scene from RIDIN' GENTS (Reliable, 1934), one of the Bud 'n' Ben shorts starring Perrin and Corbett.

(From Old Corral collection)

Above from left to right are a young Fay McKenzie, hero Buddy Roosevelt, Frances Morris and George Chesebro in BOSS COWBOY (California Motion Picture Enterprises/Superior, 1934). Fay McKenzie is best remembered for her work with Gene Autry at Republic, where she was the feminine interest in DOWN MEXICO WAY (Republic, 1941), SIERRA SUE (Republic, 1941), HOME IN WYOMIN' (Republic, 1942), HEART OF THE RIO GRANDE (Republic, 1942) and COWBOY SERENADE (Republic, 1942).

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is Frank McGlynn, Jr. (as George Armstrong Custer) - and holding the flag is George Chesebro - in a chapter 15 lobby card from CUSTER'S LAST STAND (Weiss/Stage and Screen, 1936). Chesebro plays a cavalry officer court-martialed for drunkenness and spends most of the serial on the wrong side of the law. Transformed at the end, he dies with Custer at the Little Big Horn.

Courtesy of Boyd Magers)

Above from left to right are George Chesebro, Emmett Vogan, Anderson Lawler, Dick Foran, Tom Brower and Patricia Walthall in a scene from Foran's EMPTY HOLSTERS (Warners, 1937).

(From Old Corral collection)

Above from L-to-R are cowboy star Jack Randall, Kenne Duncan, Glenn Strange, Jack Perrin and George Chesebro.  Carl Mathews is in back with the neckhold on Strange. From Randall's LAND OF SIX GUNS (Monogram, 1940).

(From Old Corral collection)

Above - Steve Clark (middle) tries to break up a brawl between hero Jack Randall and George Chesebro in LAND OF SIX GUNS (Monogram, 1940). The mild-mannered Clark was the "brains heavy" in this film.

(From Old Corral collection)

Above from left to right are George Chesebro, Bill "Cowboy Rambler" Boyd, Art Davis - with a neck hold on Glenn Strange - and Lee Powell on the stairs in the title lobby card from ROLLING DOWN THE GREAT DIVIDE (PRC, 1942). This was one of the six 'Frontier Marshal' trio series.

(From Old Corral collection)

Cornering Bob Steele are veteran baddies Al Ferguson (left) and George Chesebro (right) in a lobby card from DEATH VALLEY RANGERS (Monogram, 1943). Both Ferguson and Chesebro were born in 1888, and in their mid fifties. This was the fourth Trail Blazers film ... and the first with Bob Steele (which made the Trail Blazers team a trio versus the earlier duo of Ken Maynard and Hoot Gibson).

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above from left to right are Dennis Moore, Bud Osborne and George Chesebro in a scene from one of the last of the Range Busters series, COWBOY COMMANDOS (Monogram, 1943). Take a gander at Dennis Moore's unique gunbelt with twin six-shooters - it has buckles on the left and right side, not a single buckle in the center.

(From Old Corral collection)

Above - Chesebro with Sunset Carson.

(From Old Corral collection)

In the Roy Rogers "All Star" western, TRAIL OF ROBIN HOOD (Republic, 1950), Chesebro was able to play a good guy when Roy called on his Hollywood cowboy buddies to lend a hand.

Kneeling from L-to-R: Tom Keene, Roy Rogers, William Farnum.
Back Row from L-to-R: Tom Tyler, Ray 'Crash' Corrigan, Allan 'Rocky' Lane, Monte Hale, George Chesebro, and Kermit Maynard.
Not pictured are Jack Holt and Rex Allen.

Chesebro was about 62 years old when he did TRAIL OF ROBIN HOOD.

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