Ken Maynard - Rotten Tomatoes

Ken Maynard

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One of the best movie equestrians of all time, Ken Maynard had been a 1920 world champion trick-rider and had toured with Pawnee Bill (aka Ted Wells) and Ringling Bros. before doubling for Marion Davies and playing the small, but important, role of Paul Revere in Janice Meredith (1924). A year later, Maynard starred in poverty row producer J. Charles Davis in a series of very low-budget oaters that also featured a group of ex-Follies girls, an odd mix that, in many ways, foreshadowed Maynard's later career and ultimate downfall. From Gower Gulch, Ken Maynard moved up to become First National's resident cowboy hero prior to the advent of sound. The Maynard-First National Westerns were top-flight affairs, with the star performing daring feats on his famous palomino horse, Tarzan. (A copyright infringement suit by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of the pulp-fiction jungle hero of the same name, was finally dismissed in 1935.) The string of box-office and critical successes, of which, sadly, few examples remain, ended when Maynard left First National in favor of more pedestrian Universal. Increasingly difficult to handle, Maynard's reign at Carl Laemmle's huge, family-oriented lot proved brief, however, and he returned to star for a poverty row company, in this case Samuel Bischoff's KBS. Universal brought him back in 1933 as a replacement for the retiring Tom Mix, but Maynard's ego had, by then, gotten nearly out of control. He is credited with introducing the Singing Cowboy fad at this juncture (despite a voice that he himself often dismissed as "nasal soundin'" and amateurish, at best) and his Westerns became increasingly flamboyant, both in attitude and expenditure. The star, who had become his own producer, spent money with abandon, but the market for B-Westerns was diminishing and the otherwise so avuncular Carl Laemmle summarily replaced him with the less expensive (and far less volatile) Buck Jones. Still a potential moneymaker in the hinterlands, Maynard continued to star in low-budget Westerns through the mid-'40s -- at a reported salary of 850 dollars per picture as opposed to the 10,000-dollar paycheck he had received in his heyday -- but an ever expanding waistline and an impossible ego put the final nails in his cinematic coffin. Sadly, Maynard was never able to shake rumors that he had mistreated his equine co-stars and spent his declining years if not in outright poverty then in very diminished circumstances and, some said, an alcoholic stupor. One of the great showmen of early Hollywood action fare, Maynard died at the Motion Picture Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, CA. He was preceded in death by his brother, ultra-low-budget Western star, stunt double, and all-around good fellow Kermit Maynard, with whom he had always retained a rather strained relationship.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet Tombstone Canyon
  • Ken
2012
No Score Yet Come On Tarzan
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Buck and the Preacher
  • Little Henry
1972
No Score Yet Harmony Trail
  • Marshal Ken Maynard
1944
No Score Yet Death Valley Rangers
  • Actor
1943
No Score Yet The Law Rides Again
  • Himself
1943
No Score Yet Wild Horse Stampede
  • Ken
1943
No Score Yet Lightning Strikes West
  • Actor
1940
No Score Yet Lightning Strikes West
  • Morgan
1940
No Score Yet Death Rides the Range
  • Ken Baxter
1939
No Score Yet Phantom Rancher
  • Ken Mitchell
1939
No Score Yet Flaming Lead
  • Clark
1939
No Score Yet Six-Shootin' Sheriff
  • Trigger
1938
No Score Yet Whirlwind Horseman
  • Ken Morton
1938
No Score Yet Boots of Destiny
  • Ken Crawford
1937
No Score Yet Trail Drive
  • Actor
  • Producer
1935
No Score Yet Mystery Mountain
  • Ken Williams
1934
No Score Yet In Old Santa Fe
  • Ken aka "Kentucky"
1934
No Score Yet Honor of the Range
  • Director
  • Ken/Clem
  • Producer
1934
No Score Yet Smoking Guns
  • Producer
  • Ken Masters
1934
No Score Yet Drum Taps
  • Ken Cartwright
1933
No Score Yet Fargo Express
  • Ken Benton
1933
No Score Yet Lone Avenger
  • Cal Weston
1933
No Score Yet The Fiddlin' Buckaroo
  • Director
  • Producer
  • 'Fiddlin'
1933
No Score Yet Phantom Thunderbolt
  • Thunderbolt Kid
1933
No Score Yet Dynamite Ranch
  • Blaze Howell
1932
No Score Yet Whistlin' Dan
  • Ed Black
1932
No Score Yet Between Fighting Men
  • Actor
1932
No Score Yet Hell Fire Austin
  • Ken 'Hell-Fire' Austin
1932
No Score Yet Texas Gun Fighter
  • Actor
1932
No Score Yet False Faces
  • Actor
1932
No Score Yet Tombstone Canyon
  • Actor
1932
No Score Yet The Sunset Trail
  • Actor
1932
No Score Yet Come on, Tarzan
  • Ken Benson
1932
No Score Yet Branded Men
  • Rod Whitaker
1931
No Score Yet Alias---The Bad Man
  • Ken Neville
1931
No Score Yet Two Gun Man
  • Actor
1931
No Score Yet Range Law
  • Hap Connors
1931
No Score Yet Arizona Terror
  • The Arizonian
1931
No Score Yet Pocatello Kid
  • The Pocatello Kid/Sheriff Jim Bledsoe
1931
No Score Yet Fighting Legion
  • Dave Hayes
  • Producer
1930
No Score Yet Trailin' Trouble
  • Friendly Fielding
1930
No Score Yet Song of the Caballero
  • Producer
  • Juan
1930
No Score Yet Mountain Justice
  • Ken McTavish
  • Producer
1930
No Score Yet Fighting Thru
  • Dan Barton
1930
No Score Yet The Land Beyond the Law
  • Jerry Steele
1927
No Score Yet Red Raiders
  • Actor
1927
No Score Yet 50,000 Dollar Reward
  • Actor
1925
No Score Yet Janice Meredith
  • Paul Revere
1924
No Score Yet Fifty Thousand Dollar Reward
  • Actor
1924

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