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Autry was under contract with Levine and both had become part of the newly formed Republic Pictures in 1935 when it was created via a merger of Mascot, Monogram, Consolidated Film Laboratories, more.
Levine and Republic decided to try Autry in some feature westerns, and his first starrer, TUMBLING TUMBLEWEEDS (Republic, 1935), hit the screens in late Summer, 1935.
He said he promptly fell for her but she was standoffish for some time. John (who was originally one of the Keystone Cops and the nephew of comic Fatty Arbuckle). John worked for about five years with 'Doc' Tommy Scott's Wild West Show, and passed away from a heart attack on January 21, 1963 while working with the show during a stop in Lyons, Georgia (not the oft reported Vidalia, Georgia). For his contributions to the western film genre, Fred Scott was awarded a Golden Boot at the 1988 Golden Boot awards ceremony.
They were then both on Broadway in shows and began dating. Al drank too much but always seemed to make it through his lines ... Photos from that awards program are on a later webpage.
Spectrum's second - and last - sagebrush hero was Fred Scott and trade publications carried the news: Fred's first, ROMANCE RIDES THE RANGE (Spectrum, 1936), arrived in theaters in late 1936, roughly a year after Autry's initial Republic starrer. Trade tidbits from 1940 - 1941 are a bit chaotic and confusing.
Production boss for Fred's first nine adventures was Jed Buell (1897 - 1961), former theater manager and onetime publicity boss for Mack Sennett. There's indications that Spectrum worked out a deal for Monogram to distribute RIDIN' THE TRAIL (1939). We do know that RIDIN' was released by independent distributor Arthur Ziehm in the early 1940s.
Around 1925 or 1926, he began his Hollywood career in silents, and was under contract to Pathe for several years and did some bits in Mack Sennett comedies.
But a change occurred that significantly impacted the genre - the "singing cowboy" arrived.
Nat Levine's Mascot cliffhanger factory had produced a song-laden serial titled THE PHANTOM EMPIRE (Mascot, 1935) starring former WLS Barn Dance radio performer Gene Autry.
Frederick Leedom Scott was born in Fresno, California in 1902 to Chancellor Scott and Violet Patterson Scott, and as a youngster, he learned how to ride.
But he soon became interested in singing, which included several years of operatic voice lessons with a teacher in Los Angeles.