Buck Jones

  1. Ramon Novarro, Ben-Hur,  1926.   Trying to save the mess within the newly formed  MGM,  overall  boss  LB Mayer and his production chief, Irving Thalberg, sacked the team in Italy – and shot the chariot race with 42 cameras back at Culver City (60,960m of film  edited into 228.6m). They tested various cowboys, among others, as possible successor to the silent lead, George Walsh. Buck’s horse, Silver, was not considered.
  2. Charles Bickford, Dynamite, 1929. Assistant director Mitchell Leisen ran screen tests for Cecil B DeMille’s first all sound movie – on December 18, 1928.  For the leading man he filmed Dean Jagger, Jason Robards Sr and future B-Western stars Bob Custer, Buck Jones, Randolph Scott, Guinn ‘Big Boy’ Williams. To no avail.  CB played safe with theatre actors:  Charles Bickford opposite Kay Johnson’s debut. Bickford called the script a mess of corn with terrible dialogue. True enough – it flopped.
  3. John Wray, Lone Cowboy, 1933.   Monte Blue was also tested. Both were probably best out of it. Title role was a Chicago orphan played by Jackie Cooper.
  4. MacDonald Carey, Wake Island, 1943. Richard Arlen, Richard Denning and the B-cowboy star suddenly became Brian Donlevy, Robert Preston and Macdonald Carey in director John Farrow’s brutally unvarnished rendition of US Marines gallantly losing their Pacific isle garrison in the two weeks after Pearl Harbour in December 1941.


 Birth year: 1889Death year: 1942Other name: Casting Calls:  4