Friday, September 14, 2012


KLONDIKE was one of Thelma Todd's dramatic movies.

Klondike (1932 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Thelma Todd and Lyle Talbot in Klondike
Directed byPhil Rosen
Produced byWilliam T. Lackey
Written byTristram Tupper (story and adaptation)
Tristram Tupper (dialogue)
StarringSee below
CinematographyJames S. Brown Jr.
Archie Stout
Editing byCarl Pierson
Distributed byMonogram Pictures
Release date(s)30 August 1932
Running time68 minutes
Klondike is a 1932 American film directed by Phil Rosen.
The film is also known as The Doctor's Sacrifice in the United Kingdom.

Plot summary

A doctor, Lyle Talbot as Dr. Robert Cromwell, is charged with murder, when a patient dies, after an experimental operation to remove a brain tumor.
His pilot friend, Frank Hawks as Donald Evans, convinces him to start a new life; and, they plot their course, across the Bering Strait. The weather blows them off course; and, they end up in Alaska.
There the doctor is faced with a new dilemma. Mark, Henry B. Walthall as Mark Armstrong, the Father of Jim, Jason Robards Sr. as Jim Armstrong, a man crippled by a similar brain tumor, begs the doctor to attempt the operation. When the doctor refuses, he accusses him of wanting his son to die, because he’s in love with Jim's fiancée, Thelma Todd as Klondike.
"Doc" acquiesces, at Klondike's insistence. Although, having none of the facilities of a hospital. He believes that the operation is less likely to succeed, the longer it is delayed.
The operation seems to be a partial success. But, now, Jim will do anything to keep "Doc" from taking Klondike back to the States with him, even using his genius, with electricity, to electrocute him.[1]



Remade as Klondike Fury (1942)[2]


External links

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For years KLONDIKE was considered a lot film. Eventually a copy was found and it was then released on home video.
I've seen online reviews that sounded as if they thought Thelma Todd played a vamp in this one. I would have said that here she played a good girl, those reviewers may have been thinking of her in other roles.

This is a dramatic film, made the next year after CORSAIR. But Thelma Todd found her greatest success in comedies and would continue to be associated with them in spite of her dramatic roles.

KLONDIKE was made by Monogram, which would later merge with some other poverty row studios to form Republic. Republic would be based in the old Mack Sennett studios and would even name one of it's stages after Mabel Normand. But Monogram would return as an independent studio after the merger.

Frank Hawks and Lyle Talbot crash-land in Alaska early in the film. Frank Hawks was in real life a famous flyer and would have been familiar to audiences of the day.

Thelma Todd as "Klondike". Here we see her with Henry B. Wathell. In the story, he has a son who needs an operation.

Thelma Todd and Lyle Talbot in KLONDIKE.

Not long after KLONDIKE was released, Disney came out with a Mickey Mouse cartoon called THE KLONDIKE KID. I'm inclined to think that any resemblance may have been coincidental, but Joseph Schenck ( mentioned on poster ) is part of our story and Mickey Mouse is as well.

Mae West came out with KLONDIKE ANNIE in 1936, and again it's likely that any resemblance might have been coincidental. But Mae West is also part of our story here.

Joi Lansing on the 1960 television series KLONDIKE. We've mentioned her here before as Hal Roach compared her to Thelma Todd and Jean Harlow a little earlier in her career.

A little about Lyle Talbot, who costarred with Thelma Todd in KLONDIKE.

Lyle Talbot

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lyle Talbot

in the trailer for the film
Havana Widows (1933)
BornLisle Henderson
(1902-02-08)February 8, 1902
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedMarch 2, 1996(1996-03-02) (aged 94)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Years active1931–1987
SpouseMargaret Epple (1948-1989) (her death) 4 children
Abigail Adams (1942-1942) (annulled)
Marjorie Kramer (1937-?) (divorced)
Lyle Talbot (February 8, 1902 – March 2, 1996) was an American actor on stage and screen, best known for his long career in movies from 1931 to 1960 and for his frequent appearances on TV in the 1950s and '60s, including his decade-long role as Joe Randolph on television's The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.
He began his movie career under contract to Warner Brothers in the early days of "talking pictures" and went on to appear in more than 150 films, first as a young matinée idol and later as a character actor and star of many B movies. He was a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and later served on the board.

 Early career

Born Lisle Henderson in Pittsburgh, Talbot was raised in Brainard, Nebraska. He began his career as a magician's assistant and became a leading actor in traveling tent shows in the Midwest and briefly established his own theater company in Memphis. He went to Hollywood in 1931 when the film industry began producing movies with sound and needed "actors who could talk".


Most notable among his film work: his appearance in the classic pre-noir Three on a Match (1932) with Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis, co-starring with Spencer Tracy in the prison movie 20,000 Years in Sing Sing, romancing opera singer Grace Moore in One Night of Love, and pursuing Mae West in Go West, Young Man. He appeared opposite many famous actresses including Carole Lombard, Barbara Stanwyck, Mary Astor, Ginger Rogers, and Shirley Temple.
Talbot's activism in union affairs affected his career path. Warner Bros. dropped him from its roster, and Talbot seldom received starring roles again. He became a capable character actor, playing affable neighbors or crafty villains with equal finesse. In countless low-budget B-movie work, Talbot's roles spanned the gamut. He played cowboys, pirates, detectives, cops, surgeons, psychiatrists, soldiers, judges, newspaper editors, storekeepers, and boxers. In later life he proudly claimed to have never rejected any role offered to him. He played roles in three now infamous Edward D. Wood, Jr. films: Glen or Glenda, Jail Bait and Plan 9 from Outer Space. Talbot also worked with the Three Stooges in Gold Raiders, portrayed Lex Luthor in 1950's Atom Man vs. Superman, played villains in four comedies with The Bowery Boys, and took the role of Commissioner Gordon in the 1949 serial Batman and Robin. His last movie role was in the Franklin D. Roosevelt biography, Sunrise at Campobello, in 1960.
As his film career tapered off, Talbot became a familiar character actor on American television in the 1950s and 1960s as a regular on Ozzie and Harriet.
Talbot had a recurring role as Robert Cummings' United States Air Force buddy Paul Fonda on The Bob Cummings Show. Talbot also guest starred frequently on such classic TV series as It's a Great Life, The Public Defender, The Pride of the Family, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Cimarron City, The Restless Gun, Stagecoach West, Leave It to Beaver, The Lone Ranger, The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, Topper, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, Perry Mason, Rawhide, Wagon Train, The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Charlie's Angels, Newhart, The Dukes of Hazzard, St. Elsewhere, and Who's the Boss?.
He appeared three times as Colonel Billings on the syndicated western series, The Adventures of Kit Carson (1951–1955), starring Bill Williams. He appeared four times a judge on the syndicated western The Cisco Kid, starring Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo. He appeared on Gene Autry's The Range Rider, starring Jock Mahoney and Dick Jones.
Having started his career in the theater and later co-starred on Broadway in 1940-41 in Separate Rooms, Talbot returned to the stage in the 1960s and 1970s, starring in national road company versions of Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker, Gore Vidal's political drama The Best Man, Neil Simon's The Odd Couple and Barefoot in the Park, Arthur Sumner Long's "Never Too Late," and appearing as Capt. Braddock in a 1967 revival of South Pacific, at New York's Lincoln Center.
He continued to appear occasionally on TV shows well into his 80s, and narrated two PBS biographies, The Case of Dashiell Hammett and World Without Walls about pioneering pilot Beryl Markham, both produced and written by his son, Stephen Talbot.
Talbot was the first live action actor to play two prominent DC Comics characters on-screen: the aforementioned Commissioner Gordon in Batman and Robin, and supervillain Lex Luthor in Atom Man vs. Superman (who at the time was simply known as Luthor). Talbot began a longstanding tradition of actors in these roles that were most recently filled by Gary Oldman and Kevin Spacey, respectively.

 Personal life

Three of his four children became journalists: Stephen Talbot (who also played Gilbert Bates on Leave It to Beaver) was for many years a documentary producer for the PBS series Frontline and "Frontline World" and is now the executive producer of "Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders." David is an author ("Brothers" about John and Robert Kennedy) and the founder and editor of, and Margaret is a staff writer for The New Yorker. His other daughter, Cynthia Talbot, is a family physician and residency director in Portland, Oregon. After several brief marriages and countless romantic entanglements, Talbot in 1948 married a young singer and actress, Margaret Epple, who often used the stage name, Paula. They had four children together and remained married for over 40 years until her death in 1989.


Talbot died in 1996 at his home in San Francisco, California, aged 94 from pneumonia, his remains were cremated and given to his family.


Talbot's granddaughter, Caitlin Talbot, is an actress based in Los Angeles.

 Selected filmography

YearTitleRoleOther notes
1932Love Is a RacketEdw. Griswold 'Eddie' ShawAlternative title: Such Things Happen
No More OrchidsTony Holt
20,000 Years in Sing SingBud Saunders
1933The Life of Jimmy DolanDoc Woods
Havana Widows
Ladies They Talk About
A Shriek in the NightTed Kord
1934Heat LightningJeff
Fog Over FriscoSpencer Carlton
The Dragon Murder CaseDale Leland
1935Red Hot TiresWallace Storm
Oil for the Lamps of ChinaJim
Page Miss GlorySlattery of the Express
The Case of the Lucky LegsDr. Bob Doray
1937Second HoneymoonRobert "Bob" Benton
1939Second FiddleWillie Hogger
1940He Married His WifePaul Hunter
1944Gambler's ChoiceYellow Gloves Weldon
Sensations of 1945Randall
1946Chick Carter, DetectiveChick Carter
1949Batman and RobinCommissioner Jim Gordon
She Shoulda Said No!Police Captain Hayes
1950Dick TracyB.R. Ayne aka The BrainTV, 7 episodes
Atom Man vs. SupermanLuthor/The Atom Man
Lucky LosersBruce McDermott
1950–1954The Cisco KidVarious rolesTV, 4 episodes
1950–1956The Lone RangerVarious rolesTV, 5 episodes
1951Gold RaidersTaggertAlternative title: The Stooges Go West
1951–1956The Adventures of Wild Bill HickokVarious rolesTV, 4 episodes
1952Untamed WomenCol. Loring
Death Valley DaysTV, 1 episode
1953Glen or GlendaInsp. Warren
The Roy Rogers ShowJohn ZacharyTV, 1 episode
1954Gunfighters of the NorthwestInspector Wheeler
Tobor the GreatAn Admiral
1954–1958December BrideBill MonahanTV, 6 episodes
1955Hallmark Hall of FameTV, 1 episode
Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the UniverseBaylorTV, 6 episodes
1955–1959The Bob Cummings ShowPaul FondaTV, 4 episodes
1956Navy LogCaptain MorganTV, 1 episode
The MillionaireJoe PriceTV, 1 episode
1956–1966The Adventures of Ozzie and HarrietJoe RandolphTV, 45 episodes
1957Science Fiction TheatreGeneral DothanTV, 1 episode
Tales of Wells FargoReporterTV, 1 episode
1958M SquadPaul CrowleyTV, 1 episode
Leave It to BeaverCharles "Chuck" DennisonTV, 2 episodes
1958–1959The Restless GunVarious rolesTV, 2 episodes
1959Plan 9 from Outer SpaceGeneral Roberts
The Ann Sothern ShowFinletterTV, 1 episode
1960Surfside 6Alan CrandellTV, 1 episode
Hawaiian EyeGeorge WallaceTV, 1 episode
1960The DuPont Show with June AllysonMr. AndersTV, 1 episode, "The Trench Coat"
1961Mister EdGeorge HausnerTV, 1 episode
LawmanOrville LusterTV, 1 episode
1962Make Room for DaddyTV, 1 episode
Dennis the MenaceMayorTV, 1 episode
1962–1967The Beverly HillbilliesColonel BlakeTV, 4 episodes
1963Arrest and TrialPhil PaigeTV, 1 episode
The Lucy ShowTV, 1 episode
196477 Sunset StripTatumTV, 1 episode
Petticoat JunctionMr. CheeverTV, 1 episode
1965Run for Your LifeSteven BlakelyTV, 1 episode
The Smothers Brothers ShowMarty MillerTV, 1 episode
1965–1966LaredoVarious rolesTV, 2 episodes
1968DragnetWilliam Joseph CorneliusTV, 1 episode
1970Here's LucyVarious rolesTV, 2 episodes
1972O'Hara, U.S. TreasuryArt PrescottTV, 1 episode
1973Adam-12Avery DawsonTV, 1 episode
1979Charlie's AngelsMillsTV, 1 episode
1984The Dukes of HazzardCarter StewartTV, 1 episode
St. ElsewhereJohnny BarnesTV, 1 episode
1985227HaroldTV, 1 episode
1986Alfred Hitchcock PresentsMr. FletcherTV, 1 episode
Who's the Boss?RalphTV, 1 episode
1987NewhartCousin NedTV, 1 episode

 External links

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       Lyle Talbot was one of a number of  stage actors who went to Hollywood after the coming of sound. The "Bowery Boys" movies were made by Monogram, the same studio that had made KLONDIKE years before.
Lyle Talbot was amoung the founders of the Screen Actor's Guild, which protected actors from abuses by the studios. That and a drinking problem were said to have affected his career. This led to him making serials and working on television as well as working for Ed Wood. Lyle Talbot was said to be Ed Wood's second most famous star after Bela Lugosi.

Lyle Talbot and Peggy Walters at the first Screen Actor's Guild Ball in 1934.

Thelma Todd and Pat Dicicco at the first Screen Actors Guild ball, reblogged from The Nutty Nut News Network.

"Thelma Todd, well known film star, and her husband Peter ( sic ) De Cicco, are shown above at the Actor's Guild Ball in Los Angeles, Calif. recently. It was the guild's first annual affair and was attended by hundreds of the foremost figures of the film colony, all of whom voted it a big success."

Lyle Talbot gets married, with original caption.

In the 1950 serial ATOM MAN VS. SUPERMAN Lyle Talbot played Lex Luthor, alias the Atom Man.

As The Atom Man, Luthor uses teleportation to commit crimes and even to send people's atoms into space, which he terms "the empty doom".

The Atom Man even succeeds in sending Superman's atoms into space. I believe that this was the inspiration for the "Phantom Zone" which was later used in Superman comics, a siimilar ghostly state into which people were depicted as being sent.

Luthor finally attempts to escape by teleporting himself and Lois Lane to a spaceship in outer space, some years before "Star Trek". Superman still catches up to him and rescues Lois Lane, played by Noel Neill. Noel Neill would later reprise the role on television.

Frank Hawks, who played the pilot in KLONDIKE, was in real life a famous flyer and would have been familiar to audiences of the day.

 Frank Hawks

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Frank Hawks

Frank Hawks (1897-1938) circa 1930
Born(1897-03-28)March 28, 1897
Marshalltown, Iowa
DiedAugust 23, 1938(1938-08-23) (aged 41)
East Aurora, New York
OccupationPilot, designer, author, actor, spokesperson
SpouseNewell Lane (Divorced)
Edith Bowie Hawks
ParentsCharles M. Hawks and Ida Mae Hawks
Frank Monroe Hawks (March 28, 1897 - August 23, 1938) served in the U.S. Army in World War I and was known during the 1920s and 1930s as a record breaking aviator, using a series of Texaco-sponsored aircraft, setting 214 point-to-point records in the United States and Europe. Prolific in the media and continually in the "public eye", in the 1937 The Mysterious Pilot movie serial, Hawks was billed as the "fastest airman in the world."[1] A popular saying from the time, was "Don't send it by mail... send it by Hawks." [2] After retiring from a career as an air racer, he died in 1938, flying an experimental aircraft.

Early years

Born in Marshalltown, Iowa on March 28, 1897, Hawks attended grammar school before his parents who were actors, joined a stock company and toured Minnesota. Hawks took on juvenile parts during his parent's engagements but when the family settled in California, Hawks resumed his formal schooling and graduated in 1916 from a high school in Long Beach. An early exposure to the thrill of flying came when Hawks convinced local Long Beach air field owners, the Christofferson brothers to give him a free flight in exchange for a newspaper article. He had convinced the owners that a high school student's impressions would result in increased interest in flying and more business for the air field. It worked and Hawks was able to parlay a series of pleasure flights. After enrolling at the University of California where he played halfback on the freshman football team, Hawks enlisted in 1917 when war was declared.[3]

World War I

Hawks joined the U.S. Army with the aspiration to become a pilot in the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps. After he received his pilot's wings and a second lieutenant's commission, Hawks became a flying instructor at Dallas Love Field, Texas, receiving a promotion to lieutenant and a short time later was made the assistant officer in charge of flying at U.S. Army Air Service’s Brooks Field at San Antonio, Texas.[4] One incident that nearly proved fatal occurred when Hawks and Lieutenant Wendell Brookley collided in midair over the San Antonio football stadium. Both pilots were carrying out an exuberant aerial exhibition to support the United War Work campaign when the aircraft tangled but they managed to land their damaged aircraft, only to receive a reprimand for dangerous flying. Both flyers served a week in confinement.[5]
Leaving the service in 1919, Hawks was promoted to a Captain in the U.S. Army Air Corps (USAAC) Reserve. During the immediate postwar years, he did a stint of aerial barnstorming in the United States and Mexico. Besides his barnstorming feats, Hawks became known for his appearances at aerial exhibitions and on December 28, 1920 he took a 23-year-old Amelia Earhart on her first flight at a state fair in Los Angeles, California. Earhart's father arranged for the flight and paid the fee of $10 for a 10-minute "hop".

Achieving fame as a pilot

Hawks began to be in public eye when he joined the Gates Flying Circus and was involved in a demonstration of the first in-flight refueling in 1921.[6] Earl Daugherty in his JN4D Jenny had been touted as being able to stay in the air for 24 hours. Hawks flew his Standard J-1 World War I trainer carrying wing-walker Wesley May aloft to join up with Daugherty, circling over Long Beach, California. May, carrying a five-gallon can of gasoline, stepped over to Earl’s ship and poured the gas in the Jenny’s tank.[7]

On May 7, 1922, after landing his biplane at the Xalapa Stadium, Frank Hawks greeted the assemblage.
On May 7, 1922, Hawks landed his small Standard biplane within the grounds at the Stadium at Xalapa (Veracruz, México), as part of the inaugural ceremonies. In 1924 Hawks was hired by Compañía Mexicana de Aviación as a pilot flying special charter service routes, piloting his Standard J-1 two-place modified for five-place passenger service. While In Mexico, Hawks managed a large 30,000-acre (120 km2) ranch and estate near Tampico, using his aircraft to fly to Mexico City and back, to run errands such as carrying payrolls to the oil field companies operating around Tampico.[8]
By 1927, Hawks continued to eke out a living as a pilot but with money from his wife, Hawks purchased a Mahoney Ryan B-1 Brougham (NC3009) he named the "Spirit of San Diego." [7] In the aftermath of Charles Lindbergh's transatlantic flight, he flew to Washington with his wife on board, to greet the triumphant Lindbergh, and in the ensuing glare of publicity, Hawks was hired by the Ryan Aircraft company to be its official representative. In the Ford National Reliability Air Tour, Hawks placed sixth and earned $1,000.00 in prize money. With the public idolizing Lindbergh, Hawks toured the country, selling rides in the aircraft "like Lindy flew."[9]

Record breaking flights

The notoriety that Hawks gained by his self-promotion led to a contract with Maxwell House Coffee and with their sponsorship, he entered the 1927 National Air Races in Spokane, Washington where the now renamed "Miss Maxwell House" came in first for speed in the Detroit news Air Transport Speed and Efficiency Trophy Race. Also on December 5, 1927, the Texas Company (Texaco) hired Hawks to head up its own Aviation Division as a Superintendent to market aviation products. The "Texaco One", a custom built Ford Trimotor * (NC3443) was delivered in January 1928 and Hawks was dispatched to advertise the company across the United States and abroad beginning with flying a Texas delegation from Houston to Mexico City and back. It was the first goodwill trade extension air tour from the U.S. to Mexico and received wide coverage in American and Mexican newspapers.[10]
Later in the same year, Hawks embarked on a nationwide goodwill tour, visiting more than 150 cities and covering approximately 51,000 miles (82,000 km). It was estimated that 500,000 people saw the "Texaco One". He described the tour in his autobiography Speed: "In the course [of the tour]. I visited 175 cities, carried 7,200 passengers, and did 56,000 miles of cross-country flying. All of this without a mishap to plane and passengers."[9]

"Texaco Five"
In December 1928, the Trimotor was destroyed in a crash at Floresville, Florida. In early 1929, Hawks was approached by Lockheed to ferry their new Air Express (NR7955) to New York in time for an air show. On February 4, 1929, flying with Oscar Grubb, superintendent of final assembly at the Lockheed factory, who had volunteered to serve as flight engineer to pump fuel from auxiliary fuselage tanks, Hawks set a transcontinental speed record.[11] He flew from the Lockheed factory in Burbank, California to New York in 18 hours and 21 minutes.[12] Hawks shortly after convinced Texaco to purchase the record-breaking Lockheed Air Express, named "Texaco Five" as a replacement for "Texaco One". Four months later, Hawks shattered the record again by 43 minutes in "Texaco Five".[12] The aircraft accumulated some 90,000 miles (140,000 km) before being lost in a January 1930 accident when Hawks attempted a takeoff from a soggy field in West Palm Beach, Florida, destroying the "Texaco Five" in a spectacular crash that catapulted it into a row of three parked aircraft. Hawks walked away from the carnage with no injuries.[13]

* The trimotor configuration was popular between the wars and used on many airliners. The later decline of this type was said to be related to millitary requirements. - Benny Drinnon

Frank Hawks in the Texaco Eaglet, postcard, c. 1930


In 1930, Hawks convinced Texaco to back a proving flight that would demonstrate the effectiveness of gliders. As a reserve officer in the USAAC, Hawks foresaw the military usefulness of gliders, and despite a lack of government support and critical reaction from seasoned glider pilots, Hawks mapped out a transcontinental flight. The appropriately named Texaco Eaglet was a custom-made 50-foot (15 m) wingspan glider built by R.E. and Wallace Franklin. Designed to achieve a maximum speed of 125 miles per hour, it was fitted with a two-way radio and telephone connection with the tow plane, the "Texaco 7", a Waco ASO biplane, flown by J.D. "Duke" Jernigan Jr., a member of Texaco’s domestic sales division.
The flight left San Diego on March 30, 1930 with Hawks being attached by a 500 ft (150 m) towline, taking eight days elapsed time and 44 hours, 10 minutes of actual flying time. Hawks also spent 10 hours in soaring exhibitions at scores of towns and cities along the route. Surmounting all the predicted obstacles, even the Rocky Mountains which German glider pilots had feared would jeopardize the flight, only occasional turbulence was encountered. Hawks arrived in New York on April 6, 1930, effectively proving the feasibility of long-distance glider-towing.[14]

Frank Hawks studio photograph, 1932, bequest of Edward Steichen by direction of Joanna T. Steichen and George Eastman

"Texaco 13"

In 1930, Hawks proposed that Texaco replace the lost "Texaco Five" with a revolutionary new racing aircraft, the Travel Air Type R Mystery Ship that had been debuted at the 1929 National Air Races where its turn-of-speed saw it best the latest U.S. Army and U.S. Navy fighters.[15] While overseeing the construction of "Texaco 13" (NR1313), Hawks was involved in an accident on a test flight when the engine failed. Hawks tried to coax "Texaco 13" back but impacted telephone lines at the edge of the factory field; the aircraft crashed nose-first and flipped onto its back. Repairs were carried out by the summer of 1930, when Hawks embarked on a series of exhibition flights and record-breaking flights across the United States including a new transcontinental west-to-east record on August 13, 1930 of 12 hours, 25 minutes, three seconds, the fastest crossing made up to that time.[16] His Travel Air Type R was the fourth of a series of five racers and was configured for long-distance racing with longer wings and a full set of instrumentation, features that differentiated the aircraft from the rest of the series. Hawks raced "Texaco 13" as "race No. 28" in the 1930 Thompson Trophy Race at the National Air Races on September 1, 1930, using a set of "racing wings", a pair of shorter wingspan wings fitted out at the factory.[17] Hawks pulled out of the race on the third lap when the engine began to falter at full throttle. It was revealed later that a piece of masking tape placed over the gas cap (for streamlining) caused a loss of pressure.
Hawks used the media attention that was garnered by his record flights to promote aviation, especially demonstrating that fast courier air service was feasible. On October 7, 1930, with the completion of the final World Series game at Philadelphia, Hawks flew to North Beach, Queens, delivering the game photographs exactly 20 minutes later, faster than wire service at the time. Each of his highly-publicized flights served to illustrate the speed and safety of modern air travel. His autobiography Speed was also published in 1930 documenting his life and aviation career. The book was well written and became a highly popular title (still sought-after to this day). During his 20,000-mile (32,000 km) goodwill tour of Europe in 1931, Hawks established 55 intercity records in 12 countries and after returning from Europe in late 1931, continuing to set over 130 U.S. point-to-point records in the "Texaco 13" until April 16, 1932, when the aircraft was heavily damaged in a crash.[18]


Time magazine on April 18, 1932 wrote:
Stocky, grinning Capt. Frank Monroe Hawks, famed publicity flyer, holder of nearly all informal city-to-city speed records in the U. S. and Europe, was not grinning one day last week when attendants at the Worcester, Massachusetts, airport pulled him from beneath his crashed Travel Air "Mystery Plane" Texaco 13. Day before he had hopped from Detroit (in 3 hr. 5 min.). lectured the Worcester Boy Scouts on the necessity of developing foolproof planes, but had delayed his departure until the next morning because of a soggy field. An escort plane had nosed up when it landed just ahead of Capt. Hawks. After attempting to take off from a short dirt road which cut diagonally across the airport, he headed his low-wing monoplane down the field, less than 700 ft. in length. Oozy ground sucked at the wheels, kept him from attaining the 70 m.p.h. required to zoom off. Toward the end of the runway, going about 50 m.p.h., the ship bounced off a low mound, cut through heavy undergrowth, somersaulted over a stone wall. Hawks cut the motor in time, and saved himself from cremation. Capt. Hawks's nose and jaw were fractured, his face badly battered, several of his big, white teeth knocked out. He lay unconscious in the hospital for hours. Said Harvard Medical School's famed plastic surgeon, Dr. Varaztad Hovhannes Kazanjian: "I do not think his speech will be affected. The operation for restoring his face should leave scarcely a scar." Capt. Hawks's good friend Will Rogers wired: "Sure glad nothing broke but your jaw. That will keep you still for a while. If I broke my jaw, I could still wire gags. What's the matter with you anyhow; are you getting... brittle?"
Following its repair, the aircraft was subsequently acquired in 1938 by the Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago), where it remains on display.

More records

In June 1932, Hawks left the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve, exchanging his commission for that of a U.S. Navy Reserve Lieutenant Commander. Texaco purchased the first Northrop Gamma 2A as the replacement for the "Texaco 13". The new aircraft was the first of the Gamma series and was specially designed for Hawks, fitted with then-new Sperry automatic pilot. This sleek, all metal high-speed mail and cargo aircraft was powered by a 785 hp (585 kW), 14-cylinder Wright Whirlwind twin-row, air-cooled radial engine and was first called "Texaco 11".[20] The name was later changed to "Sky Chief" when Hawks had been honored by the Sioux Indian nation as a chief. "Texaco Sky Chief" became linked to all Northrop Gammas and was adopted as the name for Texaco's premium gasoline.
Hawks continued to set records in his new aircraft, and on June 2, 1933, he set the west-to-east transcontinental airspeed record in "Texaco Sky Chief", flying from Los Angeles to Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, New York in 13 hours, 26 minutes, and 15 seconds at an average speed of 181 mph (291 km/h).[21][22] After setting a bevy of new intercity marks, Hawks resigned from Texaco in 1935, but remained active as an aviation consultant and a test and demonstration pilot. Northrop hired him to fly the Gamma 2E attack bomber, a conversion of the original Gamma 2A. He demonstrated the aircraft to the Argentine Navy and effectively demonstrating the long-distance capabilities of the new type by flying 8,090 miles (13,020 km) from Buenos Aires to Los Angeles in three days. Taking off on May 3, 1935, with Gage H. Irving, Northrop’s chief test pilot in the gunner’s seat, Hawks broke 10 intercity speed records on the way to Los Angeles, with the resultant publicity ultimately responsible for orders of 51 Gamma 2E attack aircraft.

Designing his own aircraft

In 1936, Hawks approached Howell W. "Pete" Miller, chief engineer for the Granville Brothers and their famous Gee Bee racers, to create a racing aircraft to his own design. Hawks obtained sponsorship from the Gruen Watch Company and named the aircraft "Time Flies". The Hawks Miller HM-1 design featured streamlined lines including the unusual feature of "burying" the cockpit with a curved windshield contoured to fit the fuselage top extended in takeoff and landing but retracted in flight, with the pilot's seat lowered and the windshield flush with the fuselage. After its first flight on October 18, 1936, Hawks flew "Time Flies" on April 13, 1937, from Hartford, Connecticut to Miami, Florida, 4 hours and 55 minutes later.[23] He then flew to Newark Airport, New Jersey, in 4 hours and 21 minutes but bounced on landing at Newark, and on the third bounce, a wooden spar had broken in the right wng, and others were also damaged. Short of funds, Hawks decided not to rebuild the aircraft which was returned to Miller who rebuilt the aircraft as a two-seater, the Miller HM-1.[23]

Franks Hawks featured in The Mysterious Pilot serial (1937)

Popular culture

Throughout his aviation career, Hawks was continually in the news, and was often linked with other famous aviators, including Jimmy Doolittle, Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh and Eddie Rickenbacker, all of whom were personal friends. More than any other contemporary aviation figure, with the possible exception of Alexander P. de Seversky, Hawks exploited his image as an "ace" pilot with countless promotional ventures. Besides numerous advertisements that spotlighted the Hawks image (commonly billed above the title as "Captain Frank Hawks" but sometimes oddly called "Meteor Man"), he was a prominent spokesman for Post Cereals, featured in newspaper comic strips and children's adventure books. Through his "Air Hawks" and "Sky Patrol" fan clubs, Hawks was a favorite with young children.
Hawks was also active in many causes; he flew noted humorist Will Rogers in a fund-raising campaign for the Red Cross to assist Oklahoma drought victims in 1931.[24] During his odyssey with Rogers, they became friends and when the humorist realized that Hawks had natural acting ability, enlisted the pilot into his folksy act.[25] Hawks gradually became more active in entertainment ventures with his long-running radio serial ("Hawk's Trail"), a starring role in Klondike (1932), and becoming the leading actor in a film serial, The Mysterious Pilot (1937). A prolific writer, he wrote a second book, Once to Every Pilot in 1936, along with numerous articles for publication, always promoting aviation.


Hawks announced his retirement from air racing in 1937 and joined the Gwinn Aircar Company, taking on the title of vice president in charge of sales. He toured the US, giving flying demonstrations in the new "safety" aircraft, the Gwinn Aircar. By 1938, Hawks was listed as Gwinn Aircar Company Vice-President and Production Manager.
Hawks, who told friends years before, "I expect to die in an airplane," died in 1938 flying a Gwinn Aircar which crashed in East Aurora, New York.[26] Time magazine reported on September 5, 1938:
Last week, Frank Hawks shuttled to East Aurora, N. Y. to show off his polliwog to a prospect, Sportsman J. Hazard Campbell. He landed neatly on the polo field in a nearby estate at about 5 p.m., climbed out, chatted awhile with Prospect Campbell and a cluster of friends. Presently he and Campbell took off smartly, cleared a fence, went atilt between two tall trees, and passed from sight. Then there was a rending crash, a smear of flame, silence. Half a mile the fearful group raced from the polo field. From the crackling wreck they pulled Frank Hawks; from beneath a burning wing, Prospect Campbell — both fatally hurt. The ship that could not stub its toe aground had tripped on overhead telephone wires.
An article and plans for modeling the Gwinn Aircar in which Hawks died was published in the Nov 1938 issue of Flying Aces magazine as a tribute to Hawks.


The Frank M. Hawks Memorial Award bestowed from the American Legion Air Service Post 501 of New York City recognized significant achievement in aviation. Juan Trippe and William (Bill) Powell Lear have been past recipients.

"Texaco 13" at the Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago), c. 2007 is a testament to the 1930s "Golden era" of air racing and Frank Hawks.



  1. ^ Harmon and Glut 1973, p. 109.
  2. ^ Phillips 1994, p. 73.
  3. ^ Fraser 1979. p. 208.
  4. ^ Daniels 1969, p. 44.
  5. ^ Fraser 1979. pp. 210–211.
  6. ^ Dwiggins 1966, p. 116.
  7. ^ a b Forden 1973, p. 175.
  8. ^ Fraser 1979. p. 212.
  9. ^ a b Daniels 1969, p. 45.
  10. ^ Musciano, Walter A. "The Story of the Legendary Speed Flying King.", November 2005. Retrieved: September 26, 2010.
  11. ^ Allen 1964, p. 53.
  12. ^ a b Daniels 1969, p. 47.
  13. ^ Allen 1964, p. 36.
  14. ^ "Glider Is Towed By Plane Across The Nation" June 1930 Popular Mechanics
  15. ^ Hull 1979, pp. 22–23.
  16. ^ Pahl 2005, p. 80.
  17. ^ Kinert 1969, pp. 77–80.
  18. ^ Daniels 1969, p. 51.
  19. ^ "Over Goes Hawks" April 18, 1932.
  20. ^ "Fourteen Cylinder Motor In Hawke's New Plane", February 1933, Popular Science rare photos
  21. ^ O'Hare 1970, p. 24.
  22. ^ "Robot at Controls on Coast-to-Coast Flight" Popular Mechanics, August 1933
  23. ^ a b Matthews 2001, p. 98.
  24. ^ "Rogers raises $187,027 for aid." Prescott Evening Courier, February 9, 1931. Retrieved: July 5, 2009.
  25. ^ Fraser 1979. p. 223.
  26. ^ - Frank Hawks and the Gwinn Aircar
  27. ^ "Hawks End" September 5, 1938.
  • Allen, Richard Sanders. Revolution in the Sky: Those Fabulous Lockheeds, The Pilots Who Flew Them. Brattleboro, Vermont: The Stephen Greene Press, 1964.
  • Cowin, Hugh W. The Risk Takers, A Unique Pictorial Record 1908-1972: Racing & Record-setting Aircraft (Aviation Pioneer 2). London: Osprey Aviation, 1999. ISBN 1-85532-904-2.
  • Daniels, C.M. "Speed: The Story of Frank Hawks." Air Classics, Vol. 6, No. 2, December 1969.
  • Dwiggins, Don. The Air Devils: The Story of Ballonists, Barnstormers, and Stunt Pilots. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott COmpany, 1966.
  • "Flights and Flyers."Time. August 18, 1930.
  • Forden, Lesley. The Ford Air Tours: 1925-1931. Alameda, California: Nottingham Press, 1973. ISBN 978-0-9725249-1-9.
  • "Frank Hawks dies as plane falls." New York Times, August 24, 1938.
  • "Frank Hawks Obituary." Lima News, Lima, Ohio, August 24, 1938.
  • "Frank Hawks, Takes the Continent in His Stride." New York Times, July 19, 1931.
  • Fraser, Chelsea Curtis. Famous American Flyers (Flight, Its First Seventy-five Years). Manchester, NH: Ayer Company Publishers Inc., 1979. ISBN 978-0-405-12165-4.
  • Harmon, Jim and Donald F. Glut. "Real Life Heroes: Just Strangle the Lion in Your Usual Way". The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. New York: Routledge Publishing, 1973. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9.
  • "Hawks and Grubb." Time, February 18, 1929.
  • "Hawks End." Time, September 5, 1938.
  • Hawks, Captain Frank. Once to Every Pilot. New York: Stackpole Sons, 1936.
  • Hawks, Frank. Speed. New York: Brewer, Warren & Putnam, 1931.
  • Hull, Robert. September Champions: The Story of America's Air Racing Pioneers. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1979. ISBN 0-8117-1519-1.
  • "International Races." Time, September 11, 1933.
  • Kinert, Reed. American Racing Planes and Historic Air Races. New York: Wilcox and Follett Company, 1952.
  • Kinert, Reed. Racing Planes and Air Races: A Complete History, Vol. 1 1909-1923. Fallbrook, California: Aero Publishers, Inc., 1969.
  • Lewis, Peter. "Hawks HM-1 'Time Flies'." Air Pictorial, Volume 3, No. 11, November 1973.
  • Matthews, Birch. Race With The Wind: How Air Racing Advanced Aviation. St. Paul, MN: Motorbooks, 2001. ISBN 978-0-7603-0729-8.
  • Musciano, Walter A. "Frank Hawks: The Story of the Legendary Speed Flying King." Aviation History, November 2005.
  • Newark Advocate; Newark, Ohio, August 15, 1930; Valley Stream, New York; August 14, 1930 (Associated Press) Behind the name of Captain Frank M. Hawks, in aviation's record book today is set down the time of 12 hours, 25 minutes, 3 seconds for an eastward transcontinental flight, the fastest ever flown by man over the distance of 2,500 miles (4,000 km). It is farther by more than two hours the time made Easter Sunday by Colonel and Mrs. Charles A. Lindbergh. Their record was 14 hours and 45 minutes.
  • O'Hare, Bob. "Gamma." Air Classics, Volume 7, No. 2, December 1970.
  • "Over Goes Hawks." Time, April 18, 1932.
  • Pahl, Gerard. "Mystery Ship." Air Classics, Volume 41, No. 9, September 2005.
  • Phillips, Edward H. Travel Air: Wings Over the Prairie. Egan, Minnesota: Flying Books International, 1994. ISBN 0-911139-17-6.
  • "Shrewd Hawks." Time, April 7, 1930.
  • "Speed." Time, December 14, 1931.

External links

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A sort of  comic book that was related to Frank Hawk's radio show.

Newspaper comic strip biography attributed to World War I ace Eddie Rickenbacker, who was credited with writing ACE DRUMMAND.


MYSTERIOUS PILOT'S Dorothy Sebastion with plane, reblogged from

Dorothy Sebastion had worked with Buster Keaton in SPITE MARRIAGE.


Dorothy Sebastion, Joan Crawford, and Anita Page in OUR DANCING DAUGHTERS.



Watch KLONDIKE on youtube:


Frank Hawks:

Screen Actor's Guild:

Dorothy Sebastion:

Lyle Talbot at Jerry Blake's site:

Lyle Talbot at The Superman Super Site:

The Talbot Players ( Lyle Talbot and sons ):

Thelma Todd at Nutty Nut News Network:

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