Johnny Mack Brown: 1904-1974
At an early age, Johnny Mack Brown became interested in hunting and fishing as well as playing high school sports. Brown was an All-American running back on the University of Alabama football team, and scored two of their three touchdowns in a winning effort against the favored Washington Huskies in the 1926 Rose Bowl. After graduation, he tried his hand at coaching for a short time. Eventually, Johnny Mack Brown was inducted in both the Rose Bowl and College Football Halls of Fame.
He went to Hollywood and began doing bit parts around 1927 in silents. A good looking gent, Brown became a fairly successful leading man at MGM for nearly five years, appearing opposite such famous actresses as Mary Pickford, Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford. Brown's first major cowboy role was portraying the titled gunslinger in MGM's BILLY THE KID (1930), which was directed by King Vidor, and included Wallace Beery as Sheriff Pat Garrett.
By 1933 he was making westerns for low-rung studios like Mascot. More westerns at even lower-rung Supreme Pictures followed, as well as serials like Wild West Days (1937) at Universal. In 1943 Brown took his boots over to Monogram Pictures, where he made over 60 westerns. He started off as "Nevada Jack McKenzie" in the Rough Riders series, but the name soon changed to Johnny. As with most of the early cowboy stars, he was a hero to millions of young children and consistently among the top ten money-makers in westerns from 1942-50. The bubble burst, though, in 1953, as the days of the "B" western came to an end.
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Johnny Mack Brown Serials:
1. Fighting with Kit Carson (1933) - Johnny Mack Brown - 12 Chapter Mascot Serial
A pack train led by Kit Carson (Johnny Mack Brown) is attacked by Kraft (Noah Beery) and his Mystery Riders, who want a government shipment of gold carried by the wagons. Carson manages to hide the gold, but must confront the Mystery Riders time after time in order to prevent them from finding and carrying away the treasure.
2. Flaming Frontiers – SERIAL (1938) 15 Chapters – Johnny Mack Brown
Flaming Frontiers is a 1938, 15-chapter Universal serial.
A partial remake of Universal's Heroes of the West (1932), this 15 chapter serial was based on pulp writer Peter B. Kyne's “The Tie That Binds”.
Tom Grant has found a rich gold vein and Bart Eaton is after it. Tom's sister Mary heads for the gold fields and Eaton and his men follow. Eaton teams up with Ace Daggett who plans to double-cross him and get the gold for himself. They frame Tom for murder and then try to get him to sign over his claim. The famous scout Tex Houston (Johnny Mack Brown) is on hand, escaping the attempts on his life, saving Mary from various perils, and trying to bring in the real killer and clear Tom.
Directed by Alan James, Ray Taylor.
3. Oregon Trail (1939) - Johnny Mack Brown - Universal Pictures 15 Chapter Serial:
Wagon trains are not making it to Oregon and Jeff Scott (Johnny Mack Brown) has been sent to investigate. Morgan, the representative of an eastern syndicate, controls the fur trade and does not want the area settled. So he sends his men lead by Bull Bragg to stop the latest wagon train. Scott is quickly on to Bragg and repeatedly captures him only to have him escape before he can reveal whom is responsible for the attacks. [Deleted from You Tube]
Johnny Mack Brown Movies:
1. The Courageous Avenger (1935) - Johnny Mack Brown
Lawman Kirk Baxter (Johnny Mack Brown) is called in to hunt down a gang of cutthroats who rob gold shipments as they pass through the desert, murdering the escorts with silver bullets. In a bizarre twist, the baddies own a silver mine in which they force a handful of scrawny men to work as slaves
Sideshow sharpshooter Billy Donovan (Johnny Mack Brown), while staging a demonstration in a Texas settlement, is approached by rancher Jean Halloran (Sheila Manors) who needs help in disposing of a "phantom" sniper who has already killed her brother and seems intent upon driving her brother and her crippled stepfather off the land. The superstitious townsfolk believe the intruder is a ghost that haunts an abandoned mine. Donovan accepts Jean's challenge, disclosing an agenda of his own.
After Jim Blake (Johnny Mack Brown) saves Harve Tarlton's (John Merton) life, they become partners in a gold mining claim. After a while Harve reverts to his outlaw way of life. Everyone but Jim seems to know that Harve is bad but Jim merely thinks he needs a chance to go straight. But Jim's wife Helen (Lucile Browne) has a plan to expose Harve as the outlaw he is.
5. Lawless Land (1937) – Johnny Mack Brown: Jeff (Johnny Mack Brown) arrives in town to see the Sheriff only to find him just killed. The culprit is Clay Wheeler. When Jeff becomes friendly with Letty, Clay sends his man Ortega to kill him. Jeff foils the attempt and gets him to confess that Clay was the killer. With only old-timers Lafe and Bill to help, Jeff heads after Clay and his gang.
Doran (Johnny Mack Brown) and the Sheriff have a scheme to bring in an outlaw gang. Doran is sent to prison so he and the gang leader Mitchell can break out. This gets him into the gang but he is in trouble when it's revealed he is working with the Sheriff.
7. Hell Town (1937) – John Wayne & Johnny Mack Brown John Wayne plays the role of Dare Rudd, a drifter who gambles his money away and just can't seem to settle down until he goes back to his relative, Tom Fillmore (Johnny Mack Brown) who owns a great deal of cattle and runs the bank in town. Tom knows that Dare has a bad reputation but he gives him a chance and offers him a job to cook for his cattlemen. Tom has a girlfriend named Judy Rustoe, (Marsha Hunt) and Dare soon becomes very interested in her and they both start falling for each other.
8. A Lawman Is Born (1937) - Johnny Mack Brown
The wanted outlaw Tom Mitchell (Johnny Mack Brown) has put away his guns and now works in Root's store. When Sheriff Lance (Earle Hodgins) is killed, Martha Lance (Mary MacLaren) gets Tom to take the job. He straps the guns on again but Brownlee (Steve Clark) arrives and reveals him to be a wanted man.
9. Bar-Z Bad Men (1937) - Johnny Mack Brown
Jim Waters (Johnny Mack Brown) arrives at Ed Parks' (Jack Rockwell) ranch to find Parks' cattle herd mysteriously increased. Hamp Harvey (Frank LaRue) has been losing cattle and he suspects Parks. But the culprit is Harvey's foreman Brent (Dick Curtis) who gets his orders from the town's leading citizen Sig Bostell (Tom London). Bostell wants Harvey's ranch and after trying to frame Harvey by killing Parks, Waters takes over and goes after both the killer and the rustlers.
Marshals Nevada (Johnny Mack Brown) and Sandy (Raymond Hatton) are sent to investigate a series of bank robberies. Nevada joins the outlaw gang while Sandy becomes the town cobbler. Nevada learns that Slade (Edmund Cobb) is the boss of the gang but that there is someone on the inside tipping them off.
12. The Courageous Avenger (1935) - Johnny Mack Brown - An agent (Johnny Mack Brown) sent to investigate the thefts of gold bullion shipments discovers that the mine owner is behind it. He also finds out that the owner has his gang capture travelers in the desert to use as slave labor in the mine.
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