Mark Allen Collection
Scope and Contents
Fourteen archival binder boxes store the estimated 1,293 images in this collection. Some images are film stills or copy photographs of posters, for which are identified by film name only. Those images which did not include a published name of the film represented but had a hand-written note of the film, this information is represented in brackets. Some images had brief newspaper clippings or notes written or typed on the reverse side; these included when possible.
Series 1: William S. Hart: Box 1, 1999.023.0001-.0082, .0969-.0970, photographs and film stills. The first box includes a typewritten list of William S. Hart films.
Series 2: Ken Maynard: Boxes 2-3, 1999.023.0083-.0242, photographs and film stills. The first box includes a folder containing related ephemera.
Series 3: Hoot Gibson: Boxes 4-5, 1999.023.0243-.0397, photographs and film stills. The first box includes a folder containing related ephemera.
Series 4: Buck Jones: Boxes 6-7, 1999.023.0398-.0564, photographs and film stills. The first box includes a folder containing related ephemera.
Series 5: Tim McCoy: Box 8, 1999.023.0565-.0643, .1500-.1503, photographs and film stills. The first box includes a typewritten list of Tim McCoy films.
Series 6: Tom Mix: Boxes 9-11, 1999.023.0644-.0970, photographs and film stills. The first box includes a folder containing related ephemera.
Series 7: Miscellaneous, A-W: Box 12, 1999.023.0971-.1194, .1495-.1498, photographs and film stills. Includes a folder containing related ephemera.
Series 8: Post Cards, Prints, Arcade Cards: Box 14, 1999.023.1195-.1494, post cards, prints, and arcade cards of numerous western actors and actresses.
- Creation: circa 1920-circa 1960
- Allen, Mark (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
The Mark Allen Collection has no restrictions and is available for research. If you are interested in researching the materials, please contact the Dickinson Research Center to make an appointment.
Conditions Governing Use
The Mark Allen Collection is the property of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Materials, even if owned by the NCWHM, may be protected under third party copyright. It is the patron’s responsibility to research and secure any such additional copyright and pay any required fees or royalties. It is not the intention of the NCWHM to impede upon any third party rights, and the NCWHM cannot be held responsible if the patron is involved in legal action due to violation of third party copyright claims.
Biographical / Historical
Mark Allen is president of Mark Allen Productions in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a performer of trick roping and bullwhip cracking, and has performed all over the world. In addition, he sells professional ropes, roping accessories, trick-riding saddles, and bullwhips. He has also created instructional videos designed for beginners. Mark Allen has been the International Director of the Wild West Arts Club, an organization of over 700 members who have a national convention in Las Vegas each year, plus several regional conventions. Allen wrote in a letter to the Museum in 1999 about the collection of film stills, news clippings, arcade cards, and publicity photographs:
“I got this collection from a man in his seventies who spent the better part of 50 years compiling it. At the age of 14 he cut school in New York and traveled to New Jersey to see the Tom Mix Circus. After the first show he went to Tom Mix’s tent and spent the entire day with Tom Mix. Mix gave him an autographed photo card of him and his horse.”
3.50 Linear Feet (14 binder boxes)
Language of Materials
The Mark Allen Collection contains photographs, film stills, and ephemera which document the film career of each cowboy (Hoot Gibson, William S. Hart, Buck Jones, Ken Maynard, Tim McCoy, and Tom Mix) from the first movie to the last of their careers. There are some photos of other popular western actors and actresses, plus postcards, prints, and arcade cards. An estimated 1,293 images are included.
Hoot Gibson, cowboy and movie star, was born as Edmund Gibson on August 6, 1892, in Tekamah, Nebraska. He was a veteran rodeo performer as a teenager and he won the “World’s All-Around Champion Cowboy” title when he was just twenty-years old.
Hoot Gibson made more than 200 movies during his 50-year career. His first movie was The Two Brothers, in 1910. Gibson went into the Army during World War I. When he returned to acting, he was billed as “The Smiling Whirlwind.” That was a reference to the fact that in his cowboy movies he often did not even carry a gun, and he often defused tense situations with humor rather than a fight.
Hoot Gibson died in 1962 and was buried in Inglewood, California.
William S. Hart William Surrey Hart, cowboy actor, was born on December 6, 1865 in Newburg, New York. Hart started his acting career in his twenties, but it wasn’t until he was 49 before he moved west to Hollywood to start his movie career. He made more than 65 silent films, the last being Tumbleweeds in 1925.
William S. Hart died at the age of 82 on June 24, 1946. He is buried in Brooklyn, New York. In his will, Hart left the Horseshoe Ranch to the County of Los Angeles. It was to be set aside for the use and enjoyment of the public, at no charge. Today, the Horseshoe Ranch consists of 265 acres. Both the ranch house and the Hart residence are open to the public. An assortment of animals resides at Hart Park, including a small herd of bison which were a gift from the Walt Disney Studios in 1962.
Buck Jones Buck Jones was born in Vincennes, Indiana, as Charles Frederick Gebhart on December 12, 1891. Jones spent his entire youth on his father’s 3,000 acre ranch near Red Rock, Oklahoma. He learned to ride horseback nearly as soon as he learned to walk. By 1914, at the age of 24, he was already a featured bronc rider and trick roper with the famous “101 Ranch Wild West Show” based on the 101 Ranch near the Gebhart ranch. He traveled throughout most of the United States with that show, and then with the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. In 1917 Jones was hired away from the circus by a growing and far more profitable medium: the silent movie industry. Fox Studios hired him to do stunt work for their major cowboy stars such as William S. Hart, Tom Mix, and William Farnum. Even though he was a fine athlete, young Jones found the stunt work to be extremely demanding and dangerous. Buck Jones’ films were characterized by his acting and he was allowed to demonstrate his folksy humor. Jones was one of the first to have onscreen romances in his films, not the simple affections towards his trusty horse. He was one of the few silent screen movie stars who successfully made the transition to “talkies.” At one time there were more than two-million kids enrolled in his “Buck Jones Rangers” Club.
He co-starred with Raymond Hatton and Tim McCoy in a series of “Rough Riders” Westerns. Their trademark ending was when they said goodbye to each other and rode off their separate ways. On November 28, 1942, Buck Jones was on a tour to sell War Bonds and to promote enlistment of soldiers for service during World War II. While in Boston he stopped in at the Cocoanut Grove night club. The building caught fire, killing 492 people, including Jones. His ashes were spread near Catalina Island off the Southern California coast.
Ken Maynard Ken Maynard, cowboy and movie actor, was born on July 21, 1895, in Vevay, Indiana. He was the older brother of fellow cowboy movie star Kermit Maynard. He joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1911, served in the U.S. Army during World War I.
After his military duty, he hit the rodeo circuit. By 1924 he was under contract with Cosmopolitan Pictures, a company owned by newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst. It was in 1929, while under contract to Universal Pictures that he became the very first Silver Screen Singing Cowboy. By 1936 he was performing around the nation with the Diamond K Ranch Wild West and Circus. From 1937 to 1940 he worked with the Cole Brothers’ Circus. After his retirement from the movies in the 1940s, he faded from public view, though he appeared in one film in 1970. He had made some 87 films, nearly all of them Westerns.
Ken Maynard died due to alcoholism and malnutrition on March 23, 1973 in Woodland Hills, California. He is buried in Cypress, California.
Tim McCoy Tim McCoy, cowboy and actor, was born Timothy John Fitzgerald McCoy on April 10, 1891, in Saginaw, Michigan. When he was just seven, in 1898, he met the man who was to become and remain his personal hero during his lifetime: Buffalo Bill Cody.
As a youngster, McCoy worked on ranches in Montana and Wyoming. He had great appreciation for the Native Americans and their culture, so as he traveled all around Wyoming, he learned the stories of the Indian wars from those who still recalled it. When Hollywood needed Native Americans for films, he was on such good terms with the Native Americans that he negotiated fair deals for them and accompanied them to the filming locations and, eventually, to Hollywood for “Grand Opening” appearances. The flamboyant and theatrically-oriented McCoy was in his element. In 1925 McCoy was signed by MGM to star in a series of Westerns based on episodes in American frontier history. Five years later, thanks to talented actors and generous production budgets, McCoy was one of Hollywood’s most popular Western stars.
In 1935 McCoy toured with the Ringling Brothers’ Circus as one of their main attractions. He thought there was money in that form of entertainment, so he started his own Wild West Show in 1938. Unfortunately it didn’t succeed, but that was common with most circuses and Wild West shows. So, at nearly 50 years of age, Tim McCoy went back to making films. Monogram Studios teamed him with another couple of old-timers, Buck Jones and Raymond Hatton, for a series of “Rough Rider” films. By this time, World War II was in full tilt. So the aging Tim McCoy volunteered his talents for the military. So he left Hollywood when the “Western musical” was popular, sold his ranch in Wyoming, and moved back east.
He hosted a children’s show on television in 1950, with co-host Iron Eyes Cody. He dressed in the big “Tom Mix” style Stetson and with a beaded deerskin jacket with long fringes. In 1962, Tim McCoy and his wife left southern California and moved to Nogales, Arizona. For a time he toured with Tommy Scott’s traveling show where he did trick shooting and his Australian bullwhip act. After the death of his wife, Inga, in 1973, McCoy retired.
He played in nearly a hundred movies from 1923 to 1950. He was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame 1974. He co-authored his autobiography with his son Ronald in 1977. Tim McCoy died of a heart attack at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, on January 24, 1978. Some nine years later, to fulfill McCoy’s wish, his remains were buried at Mt. Olivet cemetery in Saginaw, Michigan.
Tom Mix Tom Mix, actor, was born Thomas Hezikiah Mix on January 6, 1880 in Mix Run, Pennsylvania. By the end of 1902 Mix had drifted to Guthrie, Oklahoma. He tended bar at the Blue Bell Saloon. In 1903 he became a drum major with the Oklahoma Cavalry Band and even played at the St. Louis World’s Fair. In 1904 he was a bartender and sheriff-marshal in Dewey, Oklahoma, where today there is a very nice museum dedicated to his memory.
Mix was in a series of Wild West shows from 1906 to 1909, starting with the Miller Brothers 101 Wild West Show based in Ponca City, Oklahoma. By 1910 he was hired in Hollywood to provide horses for the movie studios and to care for them during the filming. Tom Mix made his first movie, Ranch Life in the Great Southwest in 1910. He was soon not only acting but writing scripts and directing movies. He even did most of his own stunt work, at least in the early days.
From 1917 to 1928 he was signed with Fox Studio, where he and his horse “Tony” made five or more films a year. He was in 306 Western films, directed 109 films, and wrote screenplays for 17 movies. The “Tom Mix Ralston Straight Shooters” national radio show debuted in 1933 with Ralston cereals as the sponsor. Tom Mix himself had little to do with it, other than to draw royalties for the use of his name. The first actor to play him was Artells Dickson. He was followed by Jack Holden, Russell Thorson, and Joseph “Curley” Bradley. The Tom Mix radio show ended in 1950, a full decade after the star’s death.
Tom Mix died on October 12, 1940 some 17 miles south of Florence, Arizona, when he crashed his car into a clump of trees. A roadside memorial was erected at the scene of the wreck: a stack of mortared cobbles topped by a statue of Tony the Wonder Horse with an empty saddle. The horse is a couple of feet high, and tilts its head sadly to the ground, trailing its reins. The plaque reads “Tom Mix, Jan. 6, 1880-Oct. 12, 1940.” Mix is buried in Glendale, California.
The Mark Allen Collection was purchased by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 1999 by from Mark Allen.
The images in the collection have not been digitized but can be upon request. Please contact the Dickinson Research Center for more information.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description