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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Silent Film star.......Tom Mix

You may or may not have heard of Tom Mix.......a famous silent film star.
His early beginnings found him working as a bartender in the Blue Belle Saloon in Gutherie, Okla. , wrangling horses, and he even performed at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition as the drum major for the Oklahoma Cavalry Band. This exposure took him to the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West show near Ponca City, where he performed from 1905 to 1908 as a bronc buster for thirty-five dollars a week (many stars got their start at the 101).

Tom Mix became a genuine Hollywood legend and his lavish lifestyle reflected that status. His name equalled big screen adventure and thrills. His- fancy stunts, trick riding, flashy clothes ... perhaps best described as showmanship over reality drew in the crowds and his salary at Fox reached $17,500.00 ... PER WEEK in 1920. 

So why is there a gully named (Tom Mix Wash) in Arizona? 

It is where he lost his life........ On the afternoon of Oct. 12, 1940, Mix was driving his 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton near Florence, Arizona where he came upon construction barriers at a bridge previously washed away by a flash flood. A work crew helplessly watched as he was unable to brake in time and his car swerved twice then rolled into the gully, pinning his body beneath. A large polished aluminum suitcase containing a large some of money, traveler's check and jewels, which he had placed on the package shelf behind him flew forward and struck Mix in the back of the head, shattering his skull and breaking his neck. The 60 year old actor was killed  instantly. Eyewitnesses said Mix was traveling at 80 mph before the accident.

This is a memorial erected close to the crash site and the plaque says "In memory of Tom Mix whose spirit left his body on this spot and whose characterization and portrayals in life served to better fix memories of the old West in the minds of living men".

Our friend, Bob White, from Scottsdale, Arizona purchased the Tom Mix car

and is in the process of having it completely restored. Just about every piece of the car was taken apart and restored. His goal is to have it ready for a series of displays in Ponca City on Sept. 23rd at the Marland's Grand Home before beginning a long  tour in California. Bob is a big collector of 101 memorabilia and allowed me to use several pictures for my book.

This is the Tom Mix Museum in Dewey, Okla. and although his guns that were displayed here were stolen in 2003 there is still a great many things to see including the deadly suitcase. I am pleased to say that you will also find my book here as I just filled my second order with them........ Bessie would be pleased:)


Chatty Crone said...

That was interesting - I had never heard of him. So in the long run his money in that silver box killed him?

Lady Di Tn said...

Thanks for sharing his story with us. Congrats on the book order. I really enjoyed reading it and so did my friend. Peace

Farmchick said...

A pretty cool story. I love those pictures from the film. Love black/white movies.

Mevely317 said...

How interesting! Of course, I'd heard of Tom Mix, but never seen his image. hmmm - Nice :))))

Have you been to his old house?;
I understand its now a popular mexican food restaurant down on south Central.

Knitty said...

My dad had told me that a common sing-song phrase that kids recited when he was a kid was
"Shave and a haircut,
Six bits.
Who is your barber?
Tom Mix"

Flora said...

What a story!! We were in that area in Florence AZ