Richard Perry Jones (February 25, 1927- July 7, 2014).
He was an American actor who achieved some success as a child actor and as a young adult, in Westerns and television. He was The Range Rider (Jock Mahoney’s) partner-stuntman. He and Jocko did all their own stunts in every episode. Their fights with the bad guys were spectacular ... always adding comic acrobatics to entertain and excite television audiences. Jocko told me one time when they were performing in live shows at Rodeos, they would ride out in the arena and rear up their horses and do a saddle fall ... once, Jocko dislocated his shoulder ... then they would do a knock-down and drag-out fight in the center of the arena where a stage setting was arranged ... and, sure enough, Jocko, with his dislocated shoulder went through the whole six-minute routine ... interestingly Jocko said afterwards, he noticed his shoulder was relocated. Jocko loved Dickie.
Jones was born in Snyder, Texas. He was the son of a newspaper editor. He was a prodigious horseman from infancy, billed at the age of four as the “World’s Youngest Trick Rider and Roper”. At age six, he was hired to perform riding and lariat tricks in the rodeo owned by western star Hoot Gibson.
Gibson convinced young Jones and his parents there was a place for him in Hollywood, so the boy and his mother moved there. Gibson arranged for some small parts for the boy, whose good looks, energy and pleasant voice quickly landed him more and bigger parts, in Westerns and more substantial productions. Among his early film roles are “Little Men” (1934) and “A Man to Remember” (1938).
Jones appeared as a bit player in several of Hal Roach’s “Our Gang” (Little Rascals) short subjects. In 1939, Dickie appeared as a troublesome kid named ‘Killer Parkins’ in the film, “Nancy Drew ... Reporter”. In the film he did a good imitation of ‘Donald Duck’. The same year he appeared with Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” as Senate page Richard (Dick) Jones. In 1940 he had one of his most prominent (though invisible) roles, as the voice of ‘Pinocchio’ in Walt Disney’s animated film of the same name.
Jones attended Hollywood High School and at fifteen took over the role of Henry Aldrich on the hit radio show “The Aldrich Family”. He learned carpentry and augmented his income with jobs in that field. He served in the Army in Alaska during the final months of World War II. Gene Autry, who before the war had cast Jones in several westerns, put him back to work in films and particularly in television, on programs produced by Autry’s company.
He appeared in a 1950 episode of the TV series, “The Lone Ranger” entitled “Man Without a Gun”. Also that same year he played a memorable role as the 16 year old cook of a small Confederate Army unit in “Rocky Mountain” starring Errol Flynn.
In 1960, he guest-starred as Bliss in the episode “Fire Flight” of another syndicated series, “The Blue Angels”, about the elite air-show squadron of the United States Navy. About this time, he was cast in Grant Sullivan’s syndicated western series, “Pony Express”. In 1962, Jones portrayed John Hunter in the episode “The Wagon Train Mutiny” of NBC’s long-running western series “Wagon Train” starring John McIntire. That same year, He appeared in the television short “The Night Rider” starring Johnny Cash as Johnny Laredo and Eddie Dean as Trail Tim. Jones’ last acting role was as Cliff Fletcher in the 1965 film “Requiem for a Gunfighter”.
In 2000, Dick Jones was named one of the Disney Legends. In early 2009, he did promotional events for the Platinum Edition DVD and Blue-ray release of “Pinocchio”. In March 2009, he was a guest star at the Williamsburg Film Festival in Virginia.
Dick Jones was inducted along with Jock Mahoney in the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame. I am very proud and honored to have officiated at their induction in 1975 in Palmdale, California. I am equally proud to have done this Artistic Rendering of Dick Jones as “Buffalo Bill, Jr.” and color drawing of “Pinocchio” for this edition of Moab Happenings. I am also honored to be on the staff of this exciting monthly tabloid.
Charles Hugh “Chuck” Roberson was born near Shannon, Texas, and raised on cattle ranches. He left school at age 13 to become a cowhand and oilfield roughneck. He married and took his wife and daughter to California, where he joined the Culver City Police Department and guarded the gate at MGM studios. Following service in the army in World War II, he returned to his job on the police force. During duty at Warner Bros. at the time of a labor strike, he met stuntman Fred Kennedy, who alerted him to a stunt job at Republic Pictures. Roberson got the job, due both to his expert horsemanship and his resemblance to actor John Carroll, whom he doubled in his first picture, “Wyoming” (1947). His close physical resemblance to John Wayne led to nearly 30 years as Wayne’s stunt double. He often played small roles and stunted in other roles in the same film. He graduated to larger supporting roles in westerns for Wayne and John Ford, and to a parallel career as a second-unit director. His television appearances include “The Lone Ranger”, “The Adventures of Kit Carson”, “Lawman”, Death Valley Days”, “Have Gun: Will Travel”, “Laramie”, “Gunsmoke” and many more. He appeared in Disney’sTV Westerns “The Swamp Fox” and “Texas John Slaughter”. Chuck appeared in “Rio Grande” and “The Commancheros” both filmed in Moab, Utah. Chuck Roberson was inducted into the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame when it was located in Palmdale, California in 1975. He was a personal friend for many years and gave me several items of John Wayne’s, including Duke’s hat, neckerchief and spurs.
|If interested in learning more about the Hall of Fame, please contact John Hagner (Founder) at 435 260-2160.
Hall of Fame website: www.stuntmen.org
John Hagner (Founder) is also the Artist of the Stars.
His Celebrity Portrait Drawings are available at telephone 435-259-7000,
50 W. 400 N, Moab, Utah 84532.
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