Tom Tyler's silent film cowboys were ubiquitous, and from the very start of his film career, was willing to learn how to ride a horse just to snag that studio contract with FBO. Even though these films were made on a budget, these silent B-westerns were fun to watch. Tom Tyler was the perfect choice to succeed Fred Thomson at FBO, and combined with the cowboy motif, provided limitless possibilities for different stories to be told. For example, other story elements were easily interwoven, as in “The Sonora Kid” and King Arthur, or “Lightning Lariats” and an exiled prince (Frankie Darro). These stories were meant to be fun to watch, family oriented, wholesome entertainment, the perfect option to more mature themed movies made during the early years of Hollywood.
Tom was a natural in these westerns, and just as he was born in the most beautiful of wilderness known as the Adirondacks in upstate New York, looked right at home among the forests and mountains of the west. Happily, not only have his 1930's westerns survived for the public to view, but more and more of his silent films are slowly surfacing, to be eventually restored and digitized for viewing by anyone.
Outside of a few bit roles at the start of his career in Hollywood, Tom Tyler's first adventure started out by galloping across the screen on his horse Flashlight. Tom was finally the star of his first feature film, “Let's Go Gallagher” in 1925. It was not long before he became a popular culture icon, what with the increasing number of exhibit/arcade cards bearing his image plus silent film scenes, film booklets published in Spain, plus all sorts of collectibles. It is entirely possible that Tom Tyler had no idea how popular he would become, as he only wanted to do what he loved the most, which was act. He genuinely loved his work, according to Clayton Moore, as it has been recounted in “The Tom Tyler Story” by Mike Chapman.
In a world where actors struggled to find their niche, to play the roles they wanted to, Tom was able to make it happen, appreciate what he could get, yet not feel typecast even though he started out as a cowboy in Hollywood, and ended up as a cowboy during his last years, appearing in numerous television westerns with names like Duncan Renaldo, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry.
As diverse as his roles were, Tom's cowboys were heros, someone to look up to, as he was in real life, an exemplary man, a true gentleman, in Hollywood who was quick to be a favorite with the American public.
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