Gordon Jones - Rotten Tomatoes

Gordon Jones



Tall, muscular Gordon Jones played heroes, villains, comic-relief second bananas, and just about everything in between, in a screen career lasting almost 30 years -- not bad for a fellow who, eight years into that career, admitted to a reporter that he was still learning about acting. Born in 1911, Jones came to movies in his early twenties, not out of any aspirations as an actor but on the basis of his good looks and athletic build. The brawny Iowa-born Jones was well known as a top student athlete and star football guard ("Bull" Jones) at U.C.L.A., and had also played a few seasons of professional football. Jones started doing movie work for the easy money, and got serious about acting when he found that he liked it; he soon began downplaying his football background so that casting agents would take him more seriously. Jones started out playing small roles in Wesley Ruggles' and Ernest B. Schoedsack's The Monkey's Paw and Sidney Lanfield's Red Salute, and by 1937, he had moved on to a contract at RKO. His biggest screen role in terms of billing came in 1940, in the Universal serial The Green Hornet, where he portrayed publisher Britt Reid, the alter ego of the masked hero of the title; Jones also played the Hornet, but when he was in that guise, he was redubbed with the voice of the era's more familiar radio Green Hornet, Al Hodge. Jones had gained some stage experience, particularly in comedy, during the late '30s, and this stood him in good stead when he auditioned for a role in Max Gordon's Broadway adaptation My Sister Eileen while on a visit to New York; the "rambling wreck from Georgia Tech" (billed as the Wreck in the original program) was the role of a lifetime, giving Jones the chance to play exactly what he was, a lovable big lug. He was good enough in the part to repeat it in Alexander Hall's 1942 movie version, produced by Columbia Pictures. Jones wasn't able to follow up on his success in the film, however, due to the outbreak of the Second World War. The actor held a reserve commission in the army and he was called into the service very soon after finishing work on the movie. In contrast to some actors, however (such as Ronald Reagan, who felt war service had damaged his career and resented it deeply), Jones never complained and, indeed, was very active for the next 20 years of his life in encouraging college students to consider the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). One of his other key roles during 1942 was as Alabama Smith, John Carroll's slightly dim-witted but good-natured sidekick, in Flying Tigers (1943), a John Wayne-starring vehicle that was one of the most popular action films of the war. This picture began Jones' 20-year onscreen association with Wayne, who was also (perhaps not coincidentally) a former football player from U.C.L.A. After resuming his acting career in the late '40s, Jones appeared in prominent roles in the John Wayne features Big Jim McLain and Island in the Sky. By the end of the 1940s, Jones had aged into a somewhat beefier screen presence and into very physical character roles. He would no longer have been considered a leading man, even in serials, but he had developed a very good, slightly over-the-top comic villain persona, strongly reminiscent of Nat Pendleton, Joseph Sawyer, or William Bendix. All of these attributes meshed well with the work of the comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello; Jones' association with the duo began in The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap (1947) with the role of the film's heavy, Jake Frame. During the early '50s, when they began their television series The Abbott & Costello Show, Jones was cast as Mike the cop, the hulking, loud-voiced antagonist to the roly-poly Costello (and, thus, succeeded Pendleton, Sawyer, and Bendix, who had played tough, burly foils to the duo in the movies Buck Privates, Buck Privates Come Home, The Naughty Nineties, and Who Done It). The program was only in production for two seasons, but was rerun regularly into th

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
60% McLintock!
  • Matt Douglas
1963
86% Son of Flubber
  • Rutland Coach
1963
No Score Yet Everything's Ducky
  • Chief Conroy
1961
71% The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond
  • Sgt. Cassidy
1960
No Score Yet Battle of the Coral Sea
  • Torpedo man Bates
1959
67% The Shaggy Dog
  • Capt. Scanlon
1959
No Score Yet The Perfect Furlough (Strictly for Pleasure)
  • MP
1958
80% The Monster That Challenged the World
  • Josh Peters
1957
No Score Yet Treasure of Ruby Hills
  • Voyle
1955
No Score Yet The Outlaw Stallion
  • Wagner
1954
No Score Yet Island in the Sky
  • Walrus
1953
No Score Yet Big Jim McLain
  • Olaf
1952
No Score Yet Sound Off
  • Sgt. Crockett
1952
67% The Marrying Kind
  • Steve
1952
No Score Yet The Winning Team
  • Glasheen
1952
No Score Yet Heart of the Rockies
  • Splinters
1951
No Score Yet Spoilers of the Plains
  • Splinters
1951
No Score Yet Trail of Robin Hood
  • Splinters McGonigle
1950
No Score Yet North of the Great Divide
  • Splinters Mcgonagle
1950
No Score Yet Trigger Jr.
  • Splinters
1950
No Score Yet The Palomino (Hills of the Brave)
  • Bill
1950
No Score Yet Sunset in the West
  • Splinters
1950
No Score Yet Dear Wife
  • Taxicab Driver
1949
No Score Yet Tokyo Joe
  • Idaho
1949
No Score Yet Mr. Soft Touch
  • Muggles
1949
93% Take Me Out to the Ball Game
  • Sen. Catcher
1949
No Score Yet Easy Living
  • Bill Holloran
1949
100% A Foreign Affair
  • Military Police
1948
No Score Yet The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap
  • Jake Frame
1947
83% The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
  • Tubby Wadsworth
1947
No Score Yet Youth Runs Wild
  • Truck Driver
1944
No Score Yet My Sister Eileen
  • `The Wreck'
1942
No Score Yet They All Kissed the Bride
  • Taxi Driver
1942
63% Flying Tigers
  • Alabama Smith
1942
No Score Yet To the Shores of Tripoli
  • Corporal
1942
No Score Yet Among the Living
  • Bill Oakley
1941
No Score Yet You Belong to Me
  • Robert Andrews
1941
No Score Yet The Feminine Touch
  • Rubber-Legs Ryan
1941
No Score Yet The Doctor Takes a Wife
  • O'Brien
1940
No Score Yet The Green Hornet
  • Britt Reid/Green Lantern
1940
No Score Yet Texas Rangers Ride Again
  • Announcer
1940
No Score Yet I Take This Oath
  • Steve Hanagan
1940
No Score Yet Up in the Air
  • Tex
1940
No Score Yet When Tomorrow Comes
  • Radio Technician
1939
No Score Yet Out West with the Hardy's
  • Ray Holt
1938
No Score Yet They Wanted to Marry
  • Jim Tyler
1937
No Score Yet Forlorn River
  • Lem Watkins
1937
No Score Yet Walking on Air
  • Joe
1936
No Score Yet Strike Me Pink
  • Butch Carson
1936
No Score Yet Let 'em Have It
  • Tex
1935
No Score Yet Red Salute
  • Lefty
1935

Quotes from Gordon Jones' Characters

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