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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.

Above - B western henchman George Kesterson/Art Mix circa 1936 and about forty years old ... and wearing his customary and easily recognizable hat.

Right is an arcade card from the 1920s showing a young George Kesterson during his silent starring films as cowboy hero "Art Mix".

(Courtesy of Ed Tabor)

Art Mix

Real name: George Washington Kesterson (Junior?)

1895 or 1896 - 1972

George Washington Kesterson (Junior?) was born in 1895 or 1896 in Pike County, Illinois and parents were George W. Kesterson and Nancy Manker. He listed June 17, 1896 and Atlas, Illinois as his birth information when he registered for the World War II draft. Atlas is located in Pike County, Illinois.

The family resided in Seattle, Washington at the time of the 1900 census. Circa 1912, the Kestersons relocated to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. There, George met and married Grace (unknown last name) and they had a daughter, Frances Lorraine Kesterson. George may have played some baseball with the Edmonton team and he also did some amateur boxing as a lightweight.

In the 1920s, George was in California.

George Kesterson, AKA Art Mix, became one of the more familiar B western performers - he starred in a few silents and early talkies and then slipped into supporting roles and bit parts, generally uncredited, and most often portrayed a henchie/gang member and occasionally a townsman, barfly, driver, etc.

Don't confuse this George Kesterson (1896-1972) version of "Art Mix" with that of ultra low budget western film creator Victor Adamson, AKA Denver Dixon, AKA as the first "Art Mix". When Adamson became too busy behind the camera, he hired Kesterson to become Mix.

As Mix, Kesterson's starring silents and early talkies included ACE OF CACTUS RANGE (Aywon, 1924), ROMANCE OF THE WASTELAND (Aywon, 1924), WEST OF THE ROCKIES (Davis, 1929), SAGEBRUSH POLITICS (Hollywood Producers and Distributors, 1929) and THE RAWHIDE TERROR (Security, 1934). Many of Kesterson's lead roles were for Victor Adamson/Denver Dixon ... you know, the "other" Art Mix.  The arcade card above right shows a young, good lookin' Kesterson during his brief career as a western movie hero. In his silents as well as later henchman roles in talkies, he wore a tall hat, probably to disguise his short height and give the impression that he was taller.

In 1927, he married part-time actress Inez Gomez. It was the second marriage for both and they were together through Inez's death in 1942.

Left is a May, 1924 theater ad for the lost/missing A RIDER OF MYSTERY RANCH (Victor Adamson/Art Mix Prod., 1924), which is probably the first with George Kesterson as "Art Mix".

Mix/Kesterson was frequently employed by Columbia Pictures - during the years 1936-1942, you can spot him in about three dozen Charles Starrett and Wild Bill Elliott oaters as well as several Elliott cliffhangers. Les Adams adds that Mix was often higher on the henchie list, performing some action that set him apart from just being the third, fourth and fifth man on the gang's henchmen pecking order.

He remained a busy guy through about 1943. Then something happens and his 1944-1946 movie work is sparse ... and comes to an end. Perhaps he was injured or ill. This was also a difficult period as wife Inez passed away from heart problems on November 19, 1942 at their home.

His Hollywood career spanned about twenty five years, from approximately 1922 - 1946 and Les Adams has him identified in about 175 sound era films, of which 157 are westerns and 17 are chapterplays. As to the "Art Mix" name, Kesterson continued using that for the remainder of his life. There were lawsuits where Kesterson's use of that Art Mix name was in jeopardy. But that was resolved - the December 11, 1929 issue of Variety summarized the December 10, 1929 Los Angeles Superior Court ruling:

"... enjoined Denver Dixon and Dwain Esper, producers, and Art Mix Productions, from giving the name of 'Art Mix' to any other player. George Kesterson, cowboy player who adopted the name (Art Mix) seven years ago, can use it no matter who his employers are, the court ruled."

Kesterson passed away on December 7, 1972 and is interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California.

The December 6, 1964 Los Angeles Times newspaper has an article about the Commodore Hotel in Los Angeles. Living at the Commodore is "oldtime cowboy actor Art Mix, 68 ...". Not much detail on Art except for a photo of him sittin' in the hotel lobby:

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Mix/Kesterson and actress wife Inez Gomez:
     George Kesterson/Art Mix:
     Inez Gomez (1891-1942):

The Family Search website (free), (subscription), the California Death Index, and the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) have info on Kesterson/Mix and his second wife Inez Gomez:

Find A Grave has a photo of the marker for Art and Inez Mix who are interred next to each other at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California:
     Art Mix:
     Inez Gomez Mix:

The BoxRec website has info on Canadian amateur lightweight boxing champion Clonie Tait. One of his bouts was a November 11, 1915 win over George Kesterson in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada:

The Internet Archive has T. S. Andrews' World's Sporting Annual Record Book for 1918:
Booklet cover:
Canadian amateur lightweight boxing champion Clonie Tait's record including a win over George Kesterson in 1916:

Bridget Carroll lives on the east coast and her family roots are in New York and Connecticut. While going through some family photos, Bridget was surprised when she found these photos. Handwritten on the back of the topmost photo is "Denver Dixon". Handwritten on the back of the second photo is "Mother". Bridget's search for info on Denver Dixon brought her to the Old Corral website.

(Photo courtesy of Bridget Carroll)

Above is Art Mix/George Kesterson with an unidentified woman sitting in his lap. And it looks she is also in the other photo.

Could this be Inez Gomez (1891-1942) who did a few silent and early sound era films and was married to Mix/Kesterson through her passing in 1942? Kesterson and Inez married November 24, 1927 in Los Angeles County, and the license noted that was the second marriage for both.

Or is this photo his first wife Grace and their daughter Frances?

(Photo courtesy of Bridget Carroll)

(Photo courtesy of Bridget Carroll)

(Photo courtesy of Bridget Carroll)
Above - a crop/blowup from photo #3.

The photo right is Albert Victor Adamson (1890-1972), acting under the name Denver Dixon, in a bit role in a 1942 Range Busters oater at Monogram.

Adamson was AKA Denver Dixon, Al Mix and Art Mix (but not to be confused with the 'other' Art Mix whose real name was George Kesterson). Adamson produced various ultra low budget silent and sound western shorts and features starring himself as well as Buffalo Bill, Jr., Wally Wales, Buddy Roosevelt, Wally West, and Art Mix/George Kesterson. Adamson/Dixon was also a prolific bit player in scores of westerns. His production companies had various names including California Motion Picture Enterprises and Security Pictures. There's a section on the Old Corral devoted to Adamson/Dixon and his films.

(Courtesy of Ed Tabor)

Above from L-to-R are Roy Bucko, Al Bridge, Marion Weldon, Art Mix (George Kesterson) and Blackie Whiteford in a scene from DODGE CITY TRAIL (Columbia, 1936), which starred Charles Starrett.

(Courtesy of Ed Phillips)

Above are Charles Starrett and the short and balding Art Mix (George Kesterson) sluggin' it out in Starrett's OUTLAWS OF THE PRAIRIE (Columbia, 1937).

(From Old Corral collection)

Above - Russ Hayden is about to mix it up in this lobby card from OVERLAND TO DEADWOOD (Columbia, 1942), one of the Charles Starrett series in which Hayden played the second lead. Standing on the far right - and wearing his trademarked hat - is Art Mix (George Kesterson) who was a prolific henchman in Columbia oaters.

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