Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Remembering Tom Mix...!

Very few folks still remember Tom Mix, but we still can thank him for his contribution to the western movies.

A silent film star really got things started in a big way for those of us that like westerns. He probably did as much if not more, for the westerns as anyone in history.

1940
The Cowboy actor Tom Mix dies in an Arizona car accident

On this day in 1940, the famous cowboy actor Tom Mix is killed in a freak car accident near his ranch in Florence, Arizona. Driving his single-seat roadster along a straight desert road, Mix apparently ignored warnings that a bridge was out on a shallow gully and was fatally crushed by a heavy suitcase that flew off the rear shelf of his car.

Mix had been one of the biggest silent movies stars in Hollywood during the 1920s, appearing in more than 300 westerns and making as much as $10,000 a week. Unlike most of the actors appearing in westerns, Mix (whose full name was Thomas Hezikah Mix) had actually worked as a cowboy, served as a soldier during the Spanish-American War, and been a Texas Ranger, so he brought a wealth of real experience to his fictional cowboy characters.

In 1906, Mix joined a Wild West show, and that led him to begin acting in motion pictures four years later. In his many one- and two-reel western adventure films—most of which have been lost because they were released on highly combustible nitrate film stock—Mix helped define the classic image of the western movie cowboy as a rough riding, quick-shooting defender of right and justice, an image that would be copied by hundreds of other actors who followed him. Mix’s real costar in his movies, “Tony the Wonder Horse,” also became very popular and helped set the pattern for the “Silvers” that followed.

With the coming of talking pictures, Mix’s movie career stalled. In 1933, he organized Tom Mix’s Circus and Wild West Show and helped create The Tom Mix Show on radio. But despite the popularity of the radio show (in which Mix did not personally act), Mix never recaptured the success he had known during the golden era of the silent western movies. When he died in 1940 at the age of 60, he had lost most of his wealth and was largely forgotten by the public that once adored him.

Yet Mix is not entirely forgotten today. A black iron silhouette of a riderless bronco marks the site of Mix’s death on the highway about 17 miles south of Florence, Arizona. The so-called “suitcase of death” is preserved at the Tom Mix Museum in Dewey, Oklahoma, along with a life-size replica of Tony the Wonder Horse.

Sad ending for a real legend of his kind. Also sad is the fact that he was largely forgotten by those fans he once had. Such is the way of fame, I reckon.

Coffee inside this morning. Rain is hanging around still.

10 comments:

Gorges Smythe said...

Lot of sad stories out there.

Sixbears said...

My dad was a huge fan and used to talk about him.

linda m said...

It was a sad ending. I have driven by that marker in Florence AZ and saw the spot where he was killed. He was a giant among actors.

Chickenmom said...

You can still watch his movies on YouTube. Sad that we don't have a modern day cowboy hero. We need one.

JO said...

I have driven past the monument many times in my travels. I posted a picture of it a while back. It is still a long road with few homes on that stretch. Since he had a ranch here he has not been forgotten by the older folks. I showed my daughter the monument and explained who he was.

Coffee in the kitchen is a nice cozy place when it rains.

HermitJim said...

Hey Gorges...
Yeah, there are. This is just one of many.
Thanks for stopping by today!


Hey Sixbears...
Sad thing is that most folks that remember who he was are gone now, most due to age!
Thanks for coming over today!


Hey Linda...
He was that, for sure.
Thanks for the visit today!


Hey Phyllis...
Yeah, we sure could use one again.
Thanks for stopping by today!


Hey Jo...
Never been but I would like to visit someday!
Thanks, sweetie, for dropping by today!

Dizzy-Dick said...

You do know that I am related (sort of) to Tom Mix, don't you? Well, it is like this. My Grandma's sister married Jack Mix who was cousin of Tom Mix. So, I have heard about Tom Mix all my life. He came from the town of Driftwood, located in Cameron County, in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Yep, I was originally a Pennsylvanian, although I have been a Texas all my life. . .

Marian Love Phillips said...

Gosh, I haven't thought about Tom Mix in years but remember listening to him on the radio growing up and seeing him on the big screen. Never knew the history of him until now. Very interesting. Remember going to the picture show and watching Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Gene Autry, Zorro, Hopalong Cassidy and many more. Remember listening to Bobby Benson and the B-Bar-B Riders, The Shadow Knows and other radio shows. I remember that we had a Thor Washing Machine with a lid and the radio was on top of it and I would pull up a chair and sit and let my imagination run away with me. Thanks for jogging my memory HermitJim! Hope you are having a great week so far and enjoying your retirement in the Texas country! :)

HermitJim said...

Hey Dizzy...
No, I didn't know that! Boy, I learn something new every day.
I appreciate you coming over today!


Hey Marian...
There was an old show called Boston Blackie that my sisters and I liked as well. Those were the days for making fond memories and that's what keeps us old folks going...warm memories!
Thanks for the visit today, my friend!

Dizzy-Dick said...

My wife listens to the old radio show, Boston Blackie, on her SiriusXM Radio. I have a Sirius Radio, too, but mine sits on the Bluegrass Channel.