Friday, March 1, 2019

Exhibit Cards

My horse themed card collection has mainly focused on pre-war tobacco cards.  But something came up recently that I just couldn't pass up. Specifically, Western movie star Exhibit cards.  These cards were issued by the Exhibit Supply Company for distribution in arcades.  They are basically the same as the baseball exhibit cards which we all know so well; only differing in the subject.

Bob Baker had a fairly short Hollywood career, appearing in 25 westerns between 1937 and 1944. While subsequent to that he made a few appearances as a stuntman, he was mainly a "normal" person holding normal jobs, including a time as a saddle and leather goods maker.

While he did have a few start turns in minor releases, Dick Foran was mainly a supporting actor, often in John Wayne vehicles. He had a fairly long career on the screen, stage, and on television as can be seen in his fairly sizeable filmography on IMDB.

Stuart Hamblen had an even sparser acting career, appearing in only 10 films.  But, he found fame in other areas.  His conversion in a 1963 crusade was considered by Billy Graham as a turning point in the popularity of his ministry. Additionally, Hamblen wrote the oft recorded popular song, This Ole House, and the gospel song "It Is No Secret." I was surprised to find that I have two versions of This Ole House in my music library, a swing arrangement by The Brian Setzer Orchestra and a more traditional country version by Loretta Lynn.  However, the first and probably most iconic version was by Rosemary Clooney.

Tom Keene was born George Duryea in my hometown of Rochester, NY.  He had a very long
film and TV career, starting in 1928 and continued through 1960, ending with 6 guest appearances on Ozzie and Harriet.  Alas, his final appearance on the big screen was in the delightfully horrible Ed Wood turn "Plan 9 from Outer Space."

Gary Cooper. Do I really need to say more?  Of course not.  Y'all know Gary Cooper.  Everyone has seen High Noon, right?  And, by God, you must have seen Pride of the Yankees, where he plays Lou Gehrig.

Roy Rogers. More than a fast food joint.

There is a town north of Oklahoma City called Guthrie.  It was the original capitol of Oklahoma Territory and, upon statehood in 1907, was the first state capitol.  The capitol moved to Oklahoma City in 1910 and Guthrie reverted to a sleepy rural town and (Logan) county seat.  Coincident with that time a bar known as the Blue Belle sat at the corner of Harrison and 2nd St. It has existed, in various incarnations but not exactly continuously, to today (it is a Mexican restaurant at the moment).  But, during the territorial days one of the persons tending bar was, prior to his movie career, Tom Mix. He also found work at the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch, which is the subject of the wonderful Michael Wallis book "The Real Wild West."

He was a prolific actor in silent films and did appear in some talkies, clocking up a IMDB filmography with 281 entries.

There is little I could write that would do justice to Gene Autry's life.  While no one would confuse him for Michelangelo, he is, in his own way, a Renaissance man.  Seriously, go read his biography on Wikipedia. I will note two things:

  1. There is a small town just east of Ardmore, Oklahoma named for Autry.  There is a Gene Autry museum in town that I have yet to visit, but will some day.
  2. Gene Autry was the first owner of the Los Angeles/Anahiem/California Angels and a vicepresident of the American League from 1983 through 1998, his tenure only ended by his passing.  Also of interest, the Angels ball club retired the number 26 in honor of Autry, as he was considered the teams 26th man.
What I am listening to:  This Ole House by Rosemary Clooney.


  1. As soon as I saw the first exhibit card in this post... I immediately thought of Gene Autry.

  2. I don't collect exhibit's anymore, but I sure do still like seeing them on the blogs.