Other Cowboy Stars – Hoot Gibson

September 27, 2008

As editor of my high school yearbook, I met regularly with the representative from the yearbook company.  His name was Hoot Gibson.  He was a nice guy, your classic salesman.  He had a big meaty face, always smiling, couldn’t remember my name so he called me “T”.  My co-editor was named Todd, so he was “T” as well.  Together, we were “T n T.”  Guess why?  “Cuz you guys are dynamite!”

If you met the guy, you wouldn’t mistake him for a Western Movie Star.   But, then again, you wouldn’t mistake the actor in the leading role of 1936’s “Riding Avenger” for one either.  Paunchy, goofy-looking with big flabby cheeks and jowls, Hoot Gibson at 44 could fit no one’s idea of a cowboy hero.

Now, I understand he was a rodeo star in his youth, and made a ton of silent films.  I will have to see one of them.  Maybe he was great back then.

But to answer the question I regularly pose here, what was this cowboy star doing in 1936, when Charles Starrett was becoming a B-Western star?  Hoot Gibson was embarrassing himself.

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2 Responses to “Other Cowboy Stars – Hoot Gibson”

  1. mike newton said

    Hoot Gibson was a very popular star in the Twenties despite his “goofy looking” looks. There were five major cowboy stars then: Tom Mix, Buck Jones, Ken Maynard, Tim McCoy and Hoot Gibson. Like Ken Maynard, he had his own production unit at Universal before the studio decided to focus on major productions. Gibson would appear with Cole Brothers during the Thirties before co-starring with Ken Maynard and Bob Steele in the Trail Blazers series. Gibson’s down to earth looks appealed to adults as well as kids much like Will Rogers. He often played his parts with humor and carried his six-gun in his boot or belt instead of a holster.

  2. mike newton said

    Some additional comment on Hoot Gibson’s physical appearance. Many of the early cowboy stars did not have a romantic leading man look. Jack Hoxie, who hailed from Oklahoma, was a beefy, oafish looking man, who couldn’t read or write. However, in the silent days, all you had to do was look good on a horse. And Hoxie did. Another cowboy star who was a little beefy was Leo Maloney. He had been a second-string Western star in the Twenties. He produced the first all talking Western film in 1929 and managed to sell it to Universal. Unfortunately, he never got to see the film premier, dying of a heart attack in New York City while celebrating the film’s success.

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