Like his "rival,"Johnny Weismuller, Buster Crabbe was a gold medal champion Olympic swimmer whose physique led to the coveted role of Tarzan. Born Clarence Linden Crabbe (and often billed as Larry Crabbe), he rocketed to fame as Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon in the extremely popular Universal serials of the late 1930s, before settling in at PRC to do dozens of low-budget westerns (mostly as Billy the Kid) in the 1940s.
His Brother's Ghost (1945, B&W, 47 minutes): Bandits are terrorizing border towns, killing ranchers and robbing their homes. Billy Carson has been investigating the criminals and learns of a plan to raid his friend Andy Jones' farm. Although they are prepared to take on the gang, there is a shootout and Andy is killed. With Jones out of the way, two outlaws are sent to rob his abandoned ranch during the night. When Carson catches them in the act, he is outnumbered, but after the ghost of Andy mysteriously appears, they make a run for it. Carson and Andy's "ghost" conspire to scare the bandits out of hiding in this haunting western tale. Starring Buster Crabbe, Al "Fuzzy" St. John Charles King, Karl Hackett, Archie Hall and Roy Brent. Directed by Sam Newfield. Screenplay by George Milton.
Shadows Of Death (194, B&W, 59 minutes): A gang of crooked gunslingers disrupt a new railroad being built through the village of Red Rock. Sheriff Fuzzy Jones, who is also the town judge (and barber), sends for help from his friend and former partner Billy Carson (Buster Crabbe). Working together, Fuzzy and Carson hunt down the gang, and put the town of Red Rock on the map. Starring Buster Crabbe, Al "Fuzzy" St. John Dona Dax, Charles King, Karl Hackett and Archie Hall. Directed by Sam Newfield. Screenplay by Fred Myton.
Panhandle Trail (1942, B&W): "Awful lot of shootin' for a ghost town," observes fugitive Billy the Kid as he watches Dalton Sykes' gang fire on Johnny and Martha Kincaid's carriage. Johnny is wounded, but the Kid's daring heroics send the villains scattering. The Kincaids have traveled to the abandoned town of Laramie to find their father, a prospector who recently struck gold and has drawn a map leading to his discovery. Intent on stealing the treasure, Sykes has vowed to kill anyone who locates the map before he does. Despite the $5,000 "dead-or-alive" reward on Billy's head, the renegade hero helps the young folk, even if it means a bloody confrontation with his outlaw enemies.
This was the ninth western Larry "Buster" Crabbe made for PRC after replacing Bob Steele in the Billy the Kid series in 1941. The star of classic serials Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, Buster Crabbe headlined 36 PRC westerns until 1946. "Sherman Scott" was a pseudonym for prolific director Sam Newfield, who made 19 features for the Poverty Row studio in 1942 alone. Starring Buster Crabbe, Al "Fuzzy" St. John, Jack Ingram, John Merton, Slim Whitaker and Kermit Maynard; Directed by Sherman Scott.
Frontier Outlaw (1944, B&W): Billy the Kid kills hired gun Bradford in self-defense. The man he shot had been taking orders from Barlow and Taylor, an unsavory duo of land-grabbers. The Circle-C Ranch is their next target, but owner Ma Clark declares, "The maverick ain't livin' who can corral me on my own spread!" When the crooks steal her herd, Billy joins Ma Clark's stand against the outlaw gang by infiltrating their corrupt operation.
Crusty comic actor Emmett Lynn steals the show in an uproarious role as a flustered judge. Another memorable performance is given by Marin Sais (as the no-nonsense Ma Clark), a veteran actress who began her screen career as a Vitagraph star in 1910 and appeared almost exclusively in westerns after 1920. Starring Buster Crabbe, Al "Fuzzy" St. John, Francis Gladwin, Marin Sais, Emmett Lynn, Charles King, Jack Ingram and Kermit Maynard; Directed by Sam Newfield.
The Mysterious Rider (B&W, 1942): Billy the Kid and sidekick Fuzzy retreat to a ghost town to lay low because a $5,000 reward for their capture is making life difficult for them. But things aren't all quiet in the empty streets as a gang of outlaws want to make sure the town remains deserted as they dig for gold in nearby hills. Starring Buster Crabbe, Al "Fuzzy" St. John and Kermit Maynard; Directed by Sherman Scott.
Fuzzy Settles Down (B&W, 1944): Reluctant hero Fuzzy turns publisher when he and Billy the Kid buy the local newspaper with money they received from capturing a crook. But the power of the press is in danger when an outlaw syndicate tries to control the newspaper as part of their plot to block a new telegraph line that would let the victimized townsfolk wire for help. Starring Buster Crabbe, Al "Fuzzy" St. John and Charles King; Directed by Sam Newfield.
Sheriff Of Sage Valley (1942, B&W, 52 minutes): Billy The Kid becomes the reluctant savior of a town held captive by murderous outlaw Kansas Ed. Having murdered the sheriff, Ed and his cronies believe they've got Sage Valley in a stranglehold, until the job is offered to newcomer Billy. Unaware that their new lawman is an outlaw himself, the desperate townfolk throw their support behind "The Kid" as he pins a star to his chest and rides headlong into trouble. Starring Buster Crabbe, Al "Fuzzy" St. John, Tex O'Brien, Kermit Maynard; Screenplay by George W. Sayre and Milton Raison; Directed by Sherman Scott.
Western Cyclone (1943, B&W, 59 minutes): An epidemic of lawlessness has Governor Arnold facing impeachment, and he turns to his pal Billy The Kid for help. Billy and his partner Fuzzy follow the trail of theft and murder right back to Haskell, a powerful banker. Concerned by their meddling, Haskell frames Billy for murder. Billy is left with only one clue that could save him from the noose. PRC began producing their Billy The Kid series in 1940, which recast the famous outlaw as misunderstood and virtuous to a fault. Bob Steele played Billy in the first half dozen features, and was replaced by Buster Crabbe, who went on to portray The Kid in thirteen more. These were followed by almost two dozen additional films with Billy's surname changed to Carson, possibly due to a negative historical association. Starring Buster Crabbe, Al "Fuzzy" St. John, Glenn Strange, Kermit Maynard; Screenplay by Patricia Harper; Directed by Sam Newfield.
Billy The Kid Trapped (1942, B&W): Billy the Kid is sentenced to hang by the neck until dead, along with pals Fuzzy and Jeff, for a murder they didn't commit. A reprieve comes in the form of a jailbreak staged by a shadowy gang that Billy doesn't know. Thankful to be free, the three friends soon learn that they are pawns in a grand outlaw game. Murderous stage robbers are masquerading as Billy, Jeff and Fuzzy while every lawman for miles around is hunting for the real trio. To clear their names, the boys ride to Mesa City for a showdown. Stars Buster Crabbe, Al St. John, Bud McTaggart; Directed by Sam Newfield.
Forlorn River (1937, B&W): Wandering cowboy "Nevada"routs a gang of bank robbers and retrieves the stolen loot. Months later, Nevada encounters one of the criminals, Les Setter, who is now posing as an Army purchasing agent. Nevada keeps quiet at first, hoping to uncover Setter's new scheme, but his plan backfires when Setter has him arrested for rustling. With Nevada out of the way, Setter proceeds with his plan to steal hundreds of horses, unaware that Nevada is planning a jailbreak. Stars Buster Crabbe, Syd Saylor, June Martel, Harvey Stephens; Directed by Charles Barton.
Oath Of Vengeance (1944, B&W): When thugs beat up a settler in Fuzzy's general store, he and pal Billy Carson are dragged smack-dab into the middle of a range war. Cattle rustling is rampant and the ranchers blame the new settlers arriving to farm the valley. Crooked banker Steve Kinney has been masterminding the cattle thefts to instigate a shooting war and in the ensuing chaos, is snatching up land from both sides. Billy and Fuzzy smell a rat, and when an innocent cowhand is brutally murdered, they saddle up with guns loaded to bring Kinney and his gang to justice. Starring Buster Crabbe, Al St. John, Charles King, Kermit Maynard, Hal Price; Directed by Sam Newfield.
Law and Order (1942, B&W): Billy The Kid is captured by the U.S. Cavalry and remanded to Fort Culver on his way to prison. Billy is shocked to discover that his captor, Lieutenant Ted Morrison, is his dead-ringer. Morrison heads off to attend the wedding of his very wealthy blind aunt, Mary Todd, to her suitor, George Fremont. Billy busts out of jail and discovers that both Morrison and Fremont have been gunned down by outlaws. Suspicious of a plot to cheat blind Mary Todd out of her fortune, Billy rides off to attend the wedding - dressed as Lieutenant Morrison! Starring Buster Crabbe, Al St. John, dave "Tex" O'Brien, Sarah Padden, Wanda McKay, Charles King, Hal Price, John Merton, Ken Duncan; Directed by Sherman Scott.