Friday, November 24, 2006


When you think of the American cowboy, a certain image springs to mind. You picture a stalwart, clean living hero astride a noble horse who is always ready to right wrongs and champion the cause of justice. Such westerners may have populated the real West but most likely the abovementioned description owes its existence to... TOM MIX. Tom Mix was the first of the colorful, escapist motion picture cowboys.

He was also the most successful. It is hard to measure that success by today's standards. At the peak of his motion picture career he was paid in excess of $17,000.00 per week, a sum greater than any other salary earned by a Western star. Consider that at this point in history, circa 1920, the average hourly wage was 30 or 40 cents. Movie theater tickets were a nickel or a dime. This was before income tax. Tom Mix made millions for every studio that contracted him. He was one of the most popular men in the country loved by children and adults alike. His juvenile fan club boasted two million members.

His film career spanned 25 years from 1910 to 1935. During that time he starred in between 300 and 400 films. An exact number is not known as few of his films exist today. Many of them have deteriorated and others were disposed of by the studios. Regardless of the precise count, Tom Mix's film output was phenomenal.

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