Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The (forgotten) women of the BIG FOUR FILM CORP. 1930-1931

Founded by John R. Freuler, formerly of the American Film Company, Big Four Film Corporation was created to produce very low budget Westerns starring a constantly changing array of formerly silent Western performers: Jack Perrin, Lane Chandler, Buffalo Bill, Jr., Yakima Canutt, Bob Custer, and Wally Wales. Children and canines were also represented, by Buzz Barton and Rin Tin Tin, Jr.

The leading ladies were not of the same caliber as the cowboy stars, but instead rank amateurs and chorus girls. Typical of the former was one Bonnie Jean Gray, "a well known Burbank horsewoman," who decorated Big Four's final release, Flying Lariats (1931) starring Wally Wales. Miss Gray had formerly toured the west coast as a trick rider with the Jayhawk Night Rodeo.


Charline Burt  Beyond the Rio Grande (1930, Jack Perrin). Miss Burt came from slapstick comedy, including Mack Sennett. Sadly, this Western appears to be lost.

Renee Borden Ridin' Law (1930, Jack Perrin), Canyon Hawks (1930, Yakima Canutt)

Bob Steele and Renee Borden in Western Justice (1934)

Aline Goodwin Firebrand Jordan (1930, Lane Chandler) Miss Goodwin, who almost exclusively appeared in silent and early sound Grade Z Westerns, later became an extra.

Aline Goodwin and Lane Chandler in Firebrand Jordan.

Betty Baker Bar L Ranch (1930, Buffalo Bill, Jr.) Miss Baker hailed from South Carolina (b. 1907) but grew up in Los Angeles where she was educated at Metropolitan High School. She previously appeared opposite silent Western stars Buddy Roosevelt, Wally Wales and Buffalo Bill, Jr. Bar L Ranch appears to be her final film.

Betty Baker 1927

Lorraine LaVal So This is Arizona (1931, Wally Wales), Riders of the Cactus (1931, Wally Wales). Miss LaVal also appeared as a telegraph operator in Big Four's final release, Flying Lariats.

Pauline Parker Human Targets (1932, Rin Tin Tin) This appears to have ben Parker's only screen appearance.

1 comment:

  1. really like these kinds of posts. Keep up the good work