Tex Ritter


Tex Ritter: 1905 – 1974

Tex attended the University of Texas for about five years, but never obtained his law degree.  Fascinated with music, Ritter did stage plays in New York and elsewhere including a lengthy run in Green Grow the Lilacs (which would be the basis for the later musical, Oklahoma).  There were radio shows in Texas and in New York

Ritter began recording for American Record Company (Columbia Records) in 1933. His first released recording was "Goodbye Ole Paint”. He achieved significant success with "Jingle, Jangle, Jingle," and in 1944, he scored another hit with "I'm Wastin' My Tears On You," which hit #1 on the country charts and #11 on the Pop charts. "There's A New Moon Over My Shoulder" was a country charts #2 and Pop charts #21. In 1945, he had the #1, #2 and #3 songs on Billboard's "Most Played Jukebox Folk Records" poll, a first in the industry. Between 1945 and 1946, he registered seven consecutive Top 5 hits, including "You Two Timed Me One Time Too Often," a country #1 written by Jenny Lou Carson, which spent eleven weeks on the charts. In 1948, "Rye Whiskey" and his cover of "Deck Of Cards" both made the Top 10 and "Pecos Bill" reached #15. In 1950, "Daddy's Last Letter (Private First Class John H. McCormick)" also became a hit.

In 1952, Ritter recorded the movie title-track song "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darlin')", which became a hit. He sang "High Noon" at the first-ever televised Academy Awards ceremony in 1953. It received an Oscar for Best Song that year.

In 1936, he moved to Los Angeles, California. His motion picture debut was in Song Of The Gringo (1936) for Grand National Pictures. He starred in twelve movies for Grand National, "B" grade Westerns, which included Headin' For The Rio Grande (1936), and Trouble In Texas (1937) co-starring Rita Hayworth (then known as Rita Cansino).

After starring in Utah Trail (1938), Ritter left the financially troubled Grand National. Between 1938 and 1945, he starred in around forty "singing cowboy" movies. 

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1.  Song of the Gringo (1936) – Tex Ritter:  

Tex Ritter is sent to investigate miners being killed and their mines confiscated. The culprit is Evans and after Tex joins the gang, he is sent to kill two more miners. When Estaban is killed, Tex is put on trial for all three murders.


2.  Hittin' the Trail (1937) – Tex Ritter:

Tex Randall (Tex Ritter) gets arrested for murder and horse rustling but it's all a case of mistaken identity.
The town's big-shot gets him off the hook and offers a horse-trading deal to Tex with the intention of double crossing him just like he did the Tombstone Kid (Archie Ricks).


3. Trouble in Texas (1937) - Tex Ritter:

While Tex Ritter (as Tex Masters) sings "Down the Colorado Trail", accompanied by harmonica-playing sidekick Horace Murphy (as Lucky), pretty government agent Rita Hayworth (as Carmen Serano) is sent out to investigate a series of mysterious rodeo deaths. Ms. Hayworth and Mr. Ritter cross paths in Middletown Valley, where Ritter is looking for the gang that killed his brother.


4.  Sing Cowboy Sing (1937) – Tex Ritter:

Tex Archer (Tex Ritter) and Duke Evans (Al St. John) protect the female freight line operator Madge Summers (Louise Stanley) from being put out of business by the murderous villains Kalmus (Karl Hackett) who murdered her father (Jack C. Smith) in an attempt to gain control the price of goods and the means of supply.


5.  The Mystery of the Hooded Horsemen (1937) - Tex Ritter

Tex is up against a group of hooded outlaws. When he shoots one, he uses the hood to infiltrate the gang.  Almost caught by them, he escapes only to be arrested by the Sheriff who thinks he's one of the gang.

6.  Arizona Days (1937) - Tex Ritter

Tex (Tex Ritter) and sidekick Grass (Syd Saylor) join McGill's (William Faversham) traveling show. When Price (Forrest Taylor) has McGill's wagons burned, Tex becomes the county tax collector to earn money. This leads to trouble as one of those owing money is Price who says he will not pay.

7.  Riders of the Rockies (1937) - Tex Ritter

Tex Ritter and his pals join the Rangers to fight rustlers along the border. When Doc and Pee Wee get framed for rustling and then jailed, Tex deserts the Rangers, crosses the border, and joins up with the outlaw gang hoping somehow to clear his pals.

Tex Ritter is after the gang that robbed a train of a gold shipment. He suspects Dorman is the culprit and is hiding their gold at his mine. When Stubby sees Dorman's henchman Stark cash in some gold nuggets, Tex tricks Dorman into moving the gold. He hopes to round them up with the help of the posse and the local Boy Scout Troop.

9.  Rollin' Plains (1938) - Tex Ritter

Tex Ritter plays a Texas Ranger who comes to the aid of a group of cattlemen who've found themselves in the middle of a vicious land war with ruthless sheep farmers and of one landowner in particular who finds himself framed for murder by the sheep men and by his own half-brother.

10.  The Utah Trail (1938) - Tex Ritter

Tex and his sidekicks ('Snub' Pollard) arrive to help out his friend Jeffers, a railroad owner, only to find that he has been killed.  They quickly run into trouble with an outlaw gang in their attempt to find the mysterious ghost train that supposedly runs on Jeffer's line.

11.  Where the Buffalo Roam (1938) - Tex Ritter

Tex Houston (Tex Ritter) returns to Santa Fe to find his Mother murdered. Foster (John Merton) runs the town and all crimes committed by his gang are blamed on Rogel (Karl Hackett) and his men. Foster makes Tex Marshal but this backfires when Tex enlists Rogel and his men and goes after Foster who he now knows is responsible for his Mother's death.

12.  Down the Wyoming Trail (1939) - Tex Ritter

Tex Yancey (Tex Ritter) arrives on the Parker ranch on Christmas eve and is given the job of being Santa Claus. Also dressed as Santa Claus, Blackie (Bob Terry) robs Parker and kills a man. When Tex is arrested for the murder, he escapes and joins up with outlaw Becker (Charles King) and his gang.  He finds Blackie's Santa Claus suit but is soon made a prisoner.

13.  Take Me Back To Oklahoma (1940) – Tex Ritter:

Storm is out to wreck Ace's stage line. When Tex Ritter arrives to help Ace, Storm brings in hired killer Mule Bates. But Tex and Bates know each other and the two devise a plan to fool Storm.

14.  Cowboy from Sundown (1940) - Tex Ritter

Hoof and mouth disease reared its ugly head in this unusual Tex Ritter singing Western from Monogram. Ritter played Tex Rocketts, the sheriff of Sundown who is forced to quarantine the valley's cattle to prevent the spread of the disease. The desperate ranchers, all of whom are in debt to banker Cyrus Cuttler (George Pembroke) and his son Nick (Carleton Young), attempt to get their livestock to market anyway. When one of their number, Steve Davis (Dave "Tex" O'Brien), is arrested and jailed by Tex, the ranchers blame the lawman for their plight. 

15.  Gangsters of the Frontier (1944) – Tex Ritter:

Tex Ritter joins Dave O'Brien and Guy Wilkerson in one of PRC's "Texas Rangers" western series. Tex Ritter puts the Kern gang away once but they have returned with reinforcements and have take over the town of Red Rock capturing the townsmen and forcing them to work for them in the gold mines. Dave and Tex then organize the ranchers into the Territorial Rangers. After blowing up the mines to keep the gang from getting the gold, they are ready for the showdown between the two sides.

16. Texas Rangers Marked for Murder (1948) – Tex Ritter:

Rangers Dave and Panhandle arrive and are joined by Lawyer Tex to try and stop the range war between the ranchers and the sheep men. After they jail the ranchers for attacking the sheep men, they are lead away from town by a decoy as the real culprits head for town to kill the ranchers and blame the sheep men.

17. Riders of the Frontier (1939) - Tex Ritter:  

The Rancho Grande, a Texas border ranch, cut off from the law by a gang of outlaws led by ranch foreman Bart Lane (Jack Rutherford), who is holding the elderly owner of the ranch, Sarah Burton (Marin Sais), a prisoner. Tex Lowery (Tex Ritter),an undercover Texas Ranger, rescues Martha Williams (Jean Joyce), a nurse sent for by the ailing Sarah, from a stagecoach holdup by Lane's henchmen. He later convinces Laner that he is a wanted outlaw named Ed Carter, and gains entry to Rancho Grande. But the real Ed Carter (Roy Barcroft)shows up. [Added]

18.  Roll Wagons Roll(1940) - Tex Ritter -  Oregon fur traders are attempting to keep pioneers migrating westward out of the territory by inciting the Indians to attack their wagon trains. The U.S. Army sends Tex Masters (Tex Ritter) to uncover who is supplying the Indians with Army rifles.  [Added]

 19.  Ridin' The Cherokee Trail (1941) - Tex RitterTexas Rangers Tex Ritter and Slim are about to leave for a fishing vacation when Captain Wallace asks them to unofficially cross the border into the Cherokee Strip, an area between Texas and Oklahoma in which they have no jurisdiction because it has not yet been accepted into the Union. Residents of the Strip are being badgered by a gang of outlaws led by Bradley Craven, who consistently prevents the residents from holding an election. Wallace asks Tex and Slim to lure Craven over the border so the Rangers can arrest him.  [Added]

20.  Frontier Town (1938) - Tex Ritter is working the Rodeo circuit and doing really well. He is winning many of the events. But behind the scenes is an evil counterfeiting ring who are using their bogus money for gambling on the rodeo events. Of course the outlaws become increasingly agitated with Tex for his success. Can Tex and his buddies Stubby and Peewee put an end to the villains dastardly operation? Or will the hoodlums be victorious and our heroes fall victim to these criminals?  [Added]

21.  Cheyenne Roundup (1943)Johnny Mack Brown and Tex Ritter - A gang of outlaws takes over El Dorado, a ghost town, just before gold is rediscovered there. With the boom comes easy money for Gils Brandon and his henchmen. Meanwhile, vigilantes, seeking to curb the lawlessness of the town, offers the job of Marshal to Steve Rawlins (Tex Ritter). On the day that Gil's fiancée, Ellen Randall, arrives in town, Gil is shot when he makes an attack on the new Marshal. Discovered in a dying condition by his twin brother, Buck Brandon (Johnny Mack Brown), Gil regrets his outlaw past and asks Buck to make El Dorado a decent place. Steve learns of the relationship and enlists the aid of Buck in cleaning up the town.  [Added]

22.  Marshal Of Gunsmoke (1944) - Citizens of Gunsmoke are being intimidated by Lon Curtis (Harry Woods) and his gang who are preventing an election to vote on a township charter. Town banker Sam Garrett (Herbert Rawlinson) obtains a U. S. Marshal's appointment for Ward Bailey (Tex Ritter). "Glowworm" Johnson (Fuzzy Knight) witnesses the murder of prospector "Nugget" Newcomb (Ernie Adams), by gang-member Pete Larkin (Ethan Laidlaw). Curtis hires Ward's brother, Tom Bailey (Russell Hayden) to defend his henchman.   [Added]

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