BILLINGSGATE POST: The debate goes on. Who is the greatest cowboy star of them all? There have been many cowboys who rode the range in movies that go back over 100 years, including Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy and Gene Autry. But none were in the same class as Bob Steele or Tom Mix.
Bob Steele rode many horses during his 'oaters' movie career, in which he made some 120 films, but his favorite pony was a big roan named "Cattle." Starting his career by doing silent movies, he tried singing in one of the earliest sound movies, "Ridin Fool," where next to a romantic camp fire, he sang horsey love songs to his then mount, "Fool".
Steele was born 1907, and his real name was Robert Bradbury, Jr. Because "Bob Bradbury and Cattle" didn't have sex appeal, his Hollywood agent had him change his name to Bob Steele; thus, "Bob Steele ‘N Cattle."
He did several movies with George "Gabby" Hayes, who was better known for his roles with Hopalong Cassidy. Steele also appeared with John Wayne later in his career.
Tom Mix, the first "King of Cowboys" and the actor who defined the clean-cut cowboy image, and who always "saved the day," was buried next to his horse, Cement, at Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery nearly 70 years ago.
Tom Mix was born January 6, 1880, and was the inspiration for the movie careers of both Ronald Reagan and John Wayne, who were youngsters when Mix made more than 160 cowboy films throughout the 1920s. His intelligent and handsome horse, Cement, was a part of his image, and used by Mix as a chick magnet. In later years, Tom Mix became jealous of his well-hung steed, and suffered from terminal penis envy, because the chicks were more enamored of Cement than his rider. Because of this, Mix ceased riding his horse into saloons and tended to become reclusive.
For his contribution to the motion pictures industry, Tom Mix has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Cement's hoof print can be seen at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
Incidentally, Tom Mix died October 12, 1940 in a fluke accident, being hit in the back of the head by an aluminum suitcase while braking his car to avoid going through a traffic barrier. His faithful steed, Cement, who was in the trailer, was unhurt in the accident, and continued his stud activity for many years.
Slim: “I still get goosebumps when I watch their movies.”
Dirty: “Tom Mix ‘N Cement and Bob Steele ‘N Cattle? Names are important.“