Ken Curtis

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    There are 41 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by ethanedwards.

    • 6691389_123137760420.jpgKEN CURTIS


      INFORMATION FROM IMDb

      Date of birth
      2 July 1916
      Lamar, Colorado, USA

      Date of death
      29 April 1991
      Fresno, California, USA. (in his sleep of natural causes)

      Birth name
      Curtis Wain Gates

      Height
      6' (1.83 m)

      Spouse
      Torrie Connelly (1966 - ?)
      Barbara Ford (31 May 1952 - 23 July 1964) (divorced)

      Trivia
      Grew up in Las Animas, Colorado where his father, Dan Gates, was sheriff. As was the custom at the time, they lived above the jail and his mother, Nellie (Sneed) Gates, cooked for the prisoners. He once said he patterened "Festus" after a local character known as Cedar Jack, who lived about 40 miles out in the cedar hills and made a living cutting cedar fenceposts for farmers and ranchers. When he came to Las Animas he usually ended up drunk and in jail. This gave Curtis plenty of opportunity to observe him.

      Introduced the western standard, "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" to movie audiences.

      Before acting career, sang with Tommy Dorsey's band and the Sons of the Pioneers.

      Son-in-law of director John Ford.

      Inducted (as a cast member of "Gunsmoke" (1955)) into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1981.

      Early in his career he sang with Shep Fields' Orchestra.

      Although his character, Festus Haggen, was introduced to "Gunsmoke" (1955) in an episode called "Us Haggens," in which he arrived in Dodge City to avenge the death of his twin brother, the fact that Festus had a twin was never again mentioned on the show.

      Personal quotes
      "I'm really proud of _"Gunsmoke" (1955)_ (av). We put on a good show every week, one that families could all watch together without offending anyone."

      Mini Biography
      Considering the kind of scruffy, backwoods, uneducated, Deep-South hillbillly types he played, many people would not find it hard to believe that Ken Curtis was born and raised in Las Animas Colorado, the son of a deputy sheriff. What they would find hard to believe is that he began his show business career as a singer in the big-band era, and was a vocalist in the legendary Tommy Dorsey orchestra. He entered films in the late 1940s at the tail end of the singing cowboy phase in a series of low-budget Columbia westerns. When that genre died out he turned to straight dramatic and comedy parts, and became a regular in the films of director John Ford. He ventured into film production in the 1950s with two extremely low-budget monster films, The Killer Shrews (1959) and The Giant Gila Monster (1959), but he is best known for his long-running role as Festus Hagen, the scrofulous, cantankerous deputy in the TV series "Gunsmoke" (1955).
      frankfob

      Filmography
      Actor
      1. Conagher (1991) (TV) .... Seaborn Tay, Cattle Rancher
      ... aka Louis L'Amour's Conagher
      2. "In the Heat of the Night"
      - December Days (1990) TV Episode .... Tom McCauley
      3. Once Upon a Texas Train (1988) (TV) .... Kelly Sutton
      ... aka Texas Guns
      4. "Airwolf"
      ... aka Lobo del aire (USA: Spanish title)
      - Wildfire (1986) TV Episode .... Cecil Carnes Sr.
      5. All American Cowboy (1985) (TV)
      6. "The Yellow Rose" (1983) TV Series .... Hoyt Coryell
      7. Lost (1983)
      8. Legend of the Wild (1981)
      9. California Gold Rush (1981) (TV) .... Kentucke
      10. "How the West Was Won"
      - Hillary (1979) TV Episode .... Sheriff Orville Gant
      11. "Vega$"
      - Death Mountain (1979) TV Episode .... Digger Dennison
      12. "The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams"
      - Once Upon a Starry Night (1978) TV Episode
      13. "Black Beauty" (1978/I) (mini) TV Series .... Howard Jakes
      14. Once Upon a Starry Night (1978) (TV)
      15. Pony Express Rider (1976) .... Jed
      16. "Petrocelli"
      - The Falling Star (1976) TV Episode
      17. "Gunsmoke" .... Festus Haggen (1964-1975)
      ... aka Gun Law (UK)
      ... aka Marshal Dillon (USA: rerun title)
      - The Fourth Victim (1974) TV Episode .... Festus Haggen
      - The Guns of Cibola Blanca: Part 2 (1974) TV Episode .... Festus Haggen
      - The Guns of Cibola Blanca: Part 1 (1974) TV Episode .... Festus Haggen
      - Disciple (1974) TV Episode .... Festus Haggen
      - Trail of Bloodshed (1974) TV Episode .... Festus Haggen
      (81 more)
      18. Robin Hood (1973) (voice) .... Nutsy
      19. Cheyenne Autumn (1964) .... Joe
      ... aka John Ford's Cheyenne Autumn (USA: complete title)
      20. "Death Valley Days"
      ... aka Call of the West (USA: syndication title)
      ... aka The Pioneers (USA: syndication title)
      ... aka Trails West (USA: syndication title)
      ... aka Western Star Theater (USA: syndication title)
      - Graydon's Charge (1964) TV Episode .... Graydon
      21. "Ripcord" (1962) TV Series .... Jim Buckley (1962)
      22. How the West Was Won (1962) (uncredited) .... Cpl. Ben
      23. "Have Gun - Will Travel"
      - Pandora's Box (1962) TV Episode .... Laski
      - Soledad Crossing (1961) TV Episode .... Tom Strickland
      - Love's Young Dream (1960) TV Episode .... Monk
      - Naked Gun (1959) TV Episode .... Monk
      - The Posse (1959) TV Episode .... Curley
      24. Two Rode Together (1961) .... Greeley Clegg
      25. "The Aquanauts"
      ... aka Malibu Run
      - The Diana Adventure (1961) TV Episode .... Head Waiter
      - The Stakeout Adventure (1961) TV Episode .... Horton
      26. "Sea Hunt"
      - The Octopus Story (1961) TV Episode .... Dean Austin
      27. "The Case of the Dangerous Robin"
      - Design for Death (1961) TV Episode
      28. "Rawhide"
      - Incident of the Lost Idol (1961) TV Episode .... Vic Slade
      29. "Wagon Train"
      ... aka Major Adams, Trail Master
      - The Colter Craven Story (1960) TV Episode .... Kyle
      - The Horace Best Story (1960) TV Episode .... Pappy Lightfoot
      30. "Perry Mason"
      - The Case of the Clumsy Clown (1960) TV Episode .... Tim Durant
      31. The Alamo (1960) .... Capt. Almeron Dickinson
      32. Freckles (1960) .... Wessner
      33. My Dog, Buddy (1960) .... Dr. Lusk

      34. The Killer Shrews (1959) .... Jerry Farrell
      ... aka The Attack of the Killer Shrews
      35. The Horse Soldiers (1959) .... Cpl. Wilkie
      36. The Young Land (1959) .... Lee Hearn
      37. Escort West (1958) .... Burch
      38. The Last Hurrah (1958) .... Monsignor Killian
      39. The Missouri Traveler (1958) .... Fred Mueller
      40. Spring Reunion (1957) .... Al
      41. The Wings of Eagles (1957) .... John Dale Price
      42. 5 Steps to Danger (1957) (uncredited) .... FBI Agent Jim Anderson
      43. The Searchers (1956) .... Charlie McCorry
      44. Mister Roberts (1955) .... Yeoman 3rd Class Dolan
      45. The Long Gray Line (1955) (uncredited) .... Specialty
      46. The Quiet Man (1952) (uncredited) .... Dermot Fahy
      47. Fighting Coast Guard (1951)
      ... aka Fighting U.S. Coast Guard
      48. Don Daredevil Rides Again (1951) .... Lee Hadley/Don Daredevil
      49. Rio Grande (1950) (uncredited) .... Donnelly (regimental singer)
      ... aka John Ford and Merian C. Cooper's Rio Grande (USA: complete title)
      50. Call of the Forest (1949) .... Bob Brand
      51. Stallion Canyon (1949) .... Curt Benson
      52. Riders of the Pony Express (1949) .... Tom Blake
      53. Over the Santa Fe Trail (1947) .... Curt Mason
      ... aka No Escape (UK)
      54. Lone Star Moonlight (1946) .... Curt Norton
      ... aka Amongst the Thieves (UK)
      55. Singing on the Trail (1946) .... Curt Stanton
      ... aka Lookin' for Someone (UK)
      56. Cowboy Blues (1946) .... Curt Durant
      ... aka Beneath the Starry Skies (UK)
      57. That Texas Jamboree (1946) .... Curt Chambers
      ... aka Medicine Man (UK)
      58. Throw a Saddle on a Star (1946) .... Curt Walker
      59. Out of the Depths (1945) .... Buck Clayton
      60. Song of the Prairie (1945) .... Dan Tyler
      ... aka Sentiment and Song (UK)
      61. Rhythm Round-Up (1945) .... Jimmy Benson
      ... aka Honest John (UK)

      Producer
      1. John Wycliffe: The Morning Star (1984) (producer)
      2. My Dog, Buddy (1960) (producer)
      3. The Giant Gila Monster (1959) (producer)
      4. The Killer Shrews (1959) (producer)
      ... aka The Attack of the Killer Shrews

      Miscellaneous Crew
      1. Hannah Lee (1953) (singer: title song)
      ... aka Outlaw Territory (USA: reissue title)
      2. The Quiet Man (1952) (singer) (uncredited)

      Himself
      1. "This Is Your Life"
      - Ken Curtis (1972) TV Episode .... Himself
      2. The World of Sport Fishing (1972)
      3. Screen Snapshots: My Pal, Ringeye (1947) .... Himself

      Archive Footage
      1. John Wayne's 'The Alamo' (2001) (V) .... Himself
      2. Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge (1987) (TV) .... Festus Haggen (flashback sequence)

      Watch Ken Curtis Full Movie, Clips and Trailers here:-

      Ken's Video Gallery

      Here is one:-

      The Killer Shrews

      The Killer Shrews


      [extendedmedia]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWR6FLnPack[/extendedmedia]
      Best Wishes
      Keith
      London- England

      The post was edited 9 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • We all know Ken 'Festus' Curtis, as a regular, John Ford/John Wayne Stock Company
      character actor.

      He appeared in many 7 Movies, and 1 TV film with Duke:-

      How the West Was Won (1962) (uncredited) .... Cpl. Ben(not the same scene)
      "Wagon Train"- The Colter Craven Story (1960) TV Episode .... Kyle(not in the same scenes)
      The Alamo (1960) .... Capt. Almeron Dickinson
      The Horse Soldiers (1959) .... Cpl. Wilkie
      The Wings of Eagles (1957) .... John Dale Price
      The Searchers (1956) .... Charlie McCorry
      The Quiet Man (1952) (uncredited) .... Dermot Fahy
      Rio Grande (1950) (uncredited) .... Donnelly (regimental singer)

      The Alamo John Wayne and Ken2.jpg

      Ken, who had a fine baritone voice was a singer, with the Tommy Dorsey band,
      and The Sons of the Pioneers, before entering the movie business in the 1940's.
      His roles of dumb hillbillies, were totally opposite to his real persona.
      I am sure, being the son-in-law, of John Ford, may have come in useful!
      However, his comments during the making of The Alamo ,
      caused friction between himself and Duke, and ironically, Duke was not to use, him again.

      He said at the time,
      Duke was great at action... But directing actors, I was not that pleased with him, so all he told you to do, was his mannerisms.

      This subject was brought up recently, and here is a link to that discussion:-

      Did Duke and Ken Curtis Become Alienated?
      Best Wishes
      Keith
      London- England

      The post was edited 2 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Ken Curtis is a good singer. That's pretty good, Mrs. C I didn't know he did had that kind of talent. Thanks to both you and Keith for sharing all this info.

      Cheers B)


      "When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it"
      - John Wayne quote
    • Re: Pals Of The Saddle- Ken Curtis

      I always did like Ken Curtis and enjoy trying to pick him out in some of his earlier movies when played. I had thought that he was the replacement for Frank Sinatra, and had an orchestra. I don't remember when or where that was but I remember hearing soemthing like that in a Documentary I saw about a year or two ago. I THINK the name of that Doc was: "When Cowboys Were King" or I heard about him in something else? I remember the last thing I saw him in before he passed away was an episode of: "In the Heat of the Night." In that episode, you could tell he was very ill. Anyway, when TCM showed the uncut version of The Alamo, it was nice to hear Ken sing to "his" daughter on her birthday.
      Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..
    • Re: Did Duke And Ken Curtis Become Alienated?

      Since Arness was already doing Gunsmoke, I doubt he dropped out of Alamo because of that. He always managed to schedule around things he wanted to do, so if he had wanted to do The Alamo, he would have. A similair thing happened with Undefeated-he dropped out of that too on short notice. As for Curtis, the comments he made on Duke's direction were on the documentary, which was filmed long after Duke died. I've never seen or heard of any critical comments he made of Duke while Duke was alive. And it wasn't Arness' salary Curtis wanted to top on the Gunsmoke: Return To Dodge TV movie, it was Amanda Blake's salary. He was to have the part that was eventually rewritten for Earl Holliman (so it was a sizable role-bigger than Blake's). I think, like a number of other actors, Curtis was either tied up or otherwise unavailable for further film roles. Of course Duke, a number of times, cut people out for personal reasons (Harry Carey Jr, Ted White, Grant Withers, Paul Fix, etc) so who really knows?
    • Re: Did Duke And Ken Curtis Become Alienated?

      Since Arness was already doing Gunsmoke, I doubt he dropped out of Alamo because of that. He always managed to schedule around things he wanted to do, so if he had wanted to do The Alamo, he would have. A similair thing happened with Undefeated-he dropped out of that too on short notice. As for Curtis, the comments he made on Duke's direction were on the documentary, which was filmed long after Duke died. I've never seen or heard of any critical comments he made of Duke while Duke was alive. And it wasn't Arness' salary Curtis wanted to top on the Gunsmoke: Return To Dodge TV movie, it was Amanda Blake's salary. He was to have the part that was eventually rewritten for Earl Holliman (so it was a sizable role-bigger than Blake's). I think, like a number of other actors, Curtis was either tied up or otherwise unavailable for further film roles. Of course Duke, a number of times, cut people out for personal reasons (Harry Carey Jr, Ted White, Grant Withers, Paul Fix, etc) so who really knows?
    • Re: Did Duke And Ken Curtis Become Alienated?

      The shame of ALL of these stories, is that we'll NEVER get to hear the complete story, as everyone is gone from the scene, as it were...

      I too, wondered about the rancor with which Curtis spoke re: Duke, and I thought it was odd, considering everything they were in together, and Duke's unwavering loyalty to Ford through the years.

      Maybe (just supposing, mind you) KC's attitude was a reflection on his soured relationship with "the Fords," and by extension - Duke.

      Well...I guess we'll never really know, now....
    • Re: Did Duke And Ken Curtis Become Alienated?

      You're SO right. But considering his age and illness at the time of Curtis' filmed interview from The Alamo, even tho he criticized Duke's direction, it didn't mean they were estranged. Plus Ken, after The Alamo had the RipCord TV series, 2 Rode Together, Cheyenne Autumn, the Wagon Train, episode, guest spots of TV shows, How The West Was Won, then Gunsmoke, so he may have been unavailable for any further film work. Off hand I can't think immediately of any roles that "jump out" as fitting Curtis in any of Duke's films at that time.
    • Re: Did Duke And Ken Curtis Become Alienated?

      You're SO right. But considering his age and illness at the time of Curtis' filmed interview from The Alamo, even tho he criticized Duke's direction, it didn't mean they were estranged. Plus Ken, after The Alamo had the RipCord TV series, 2 Rode Together, Cheyenne Autumn, the Wagon Train, episode, guest spots of TV shows, How The West Was Won, then Gunsmoke, so he may have been unavailable for any further film work. Off hand I can't think immediately of any roles that "jump out" as fitting Curtis in any of Duke's films at that time.
    • Re: Did Duke And Ken Curtis Become Alienated?

      To bad this thread was not up and running last may, the only person I know who could answer these questions is A C Lyles who was at Winterset last year. He was a personal friend of both men.
      ''baby sister i was born game and intend to go out that way.''
    • Re: Did Duke And Ken Curtis Become Alienated?

      Here's a question, I'd like to ask. Did Duke and Curtis have any kind of friendship anytime? I am not aware from anything I read on Duke that leads me to believe they were ever friends. Just because you do westerns together, doesn't mean that they had to be any kind of friends.

      Maybe someone can tell me where they read something from Duke or even Ken Curtis that would lead us to believe this.

      Just my thoughts on this.

      Cheers :cool: Hondo


      "When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it"
      - John Wayne quote