|Unkempt, rough and tough looking members of the gang, or lynch mob, or vigilantes, or posse riders, or cow herders. They had minimal or no dialog, not much screen time, and were generally not listed in the film credits. Some would show up as a face in the crowd, portraying townspeople, barflys, deputies, wagon drivers, ranch hands, etc. We tend to recognize some of their faces, but have no clue as to their real names.|
Kit Guard was born Christen Klitgaard in Denmark in 1894 and his parents were Jens and Thyra Klitgaard. His father Jens was a farmer, and the family lived in Winnipeg, Canada prior to migrating to San Francisco in 1902. Growing up in the San Francisco area with his four brothers, Kit became a U. S. citizen, was an office boy in a law office, and served as a bugler in the Coast Artillery, California National Guard.
When he registered for the World War I draft, he was a blacksmith and living in New York City. He was inducted into the Army and during 1917 - 1919, was a bugler and served overseas in a military police unit.
(Courtesy of Jack Tillmany)
Crop/blowup of Kit Guard from the KID COURAGEOUS (A. W. Hackel/Supreme, 1934) image shown further down on this webpage.
He adopted the screen name of "Kit Guard" and became a prolific silent era comedian in about a hundred films for Film Booking Office (FBO) during 1923 - 1930. Initially, Guard and comedy partner Al Cooke (1882 - 1935) played featured roles in dozens of comedy shorts, many of which starred Alberta Vaughn. Beginning in 1927, Guard and Cooke were given their own starring series at FBO.
With the arrival of sound, Guard's starring days ended and he moved into bit / supporting roles, most of which were uncredited. I tend to remember him with a white apron and portraying a bartender or waiter ... or wearing a bowler / derby hat in gangster or boxing films.
His film career spanned about forty years, from about 1920 through 1958, and he worked in about 350 silent and sound films. In the sound era, Les Adams has him identified in about 50 westerns and 14 serials. One of his meatier B western roles was portraying boxing champ "Spike" who does battle with Bob Steele in THE FIGHTING CHAMP (Monogram, 1932). He also played Steele's sidekick in the mediocre EL DIABLO RIDES (Metropolitan, 1939).
In the 1940s - 1950s, Guard was a regular in Columbia serials produced by James W. Horne and Sam Katzman.
Kit Guard passed away from stomach cancer on July 18, 1961 at the Motion Picture Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California.
The Family Search website (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), newspaper obituaries, California Death Index, and the death certificate provide additional information on Kit Guard:
Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website has a picture of the grave marker for Kit Guard at Valhalla Memorial Park, North Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California. His marker reads: Christen Klitgaard, PFC 77 Military Police Co, World War I, May 5, 1894 - July 18, 1961: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/83293854/christen-guard
Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Kit Guard: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0345300/
The People Working Together function at the IMDb has Kit Guard and Al Cooke together in about a hundred films during the years 1923 - 1930: https://www.imdb.com/search/title?roles=nm0345300,nm0177355
The People Working Together function at the IMDb has Kit Guard in a half dozen 1938 - 1941 Columbia serials for producer James W. Horne: https://www.imdb.com/search/title?roles=nm0345300,nm0395023
He also did a couple 1950s serials for producer Sam Katzman at Columbia: https://www.imdb.com/search/title?roles=nm0441947,nm0345300
YouTube has the short "Sherlock's Home" (FBO, 1924), one of "The Telephone Girl" series which starred Alberta Vaughn ... and featured Al Cooke and Kit Guard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKoY1rR1-R8
There's a cast shot on Flickr of Betty Hutton, Kit Guard, Ernie Adams, William Farnum, and some other familiar faces from THE PERILS OF PAULINE (Paramount, 1947) at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/castlekay/3648461284/
Above - 1924 tradepaper ad for Alberta Vaughn and her "The Telephone Girl" series from Film Booking Office (FBO). Al Cooke and Kit Guard had supporting roles in this series. Kit is in the upper right with the bellhop uniform.
Above - two-page tradepaper ad from 1927 for Kit Guard and his moustached partner Al Cooke in their first full length starring comedy for Film Booking Office (FBO).
(Courtesy of Dorothy Hack)
Above from left to right are Archie Ricks, Herman Hack, Kit Guard (with his bowler/derby hat) and Bob Steele in a scene from Steele's KID COURAGEOUS (A. W. Hackel/Supreme, 1934).
(From Old Corral collection)
Above from from left to right are Jack Cowell, Kit Guard (wearing derby) and Bob Steele. Two unidentified players in the background. Lobby card from Steele's KID COURAGEOUS (A. W. Hackel/Supreme, 1934)
(From Old Corral collection)
Above - Tim McCoy has a wrist lock on Kit Guard. Lobby card from CODE OF THE RANGERS (Monogram, 1938), one of the better oaters done by McCoy during the second half of the 1930s.
(Courtesy of Fabian Cepeda)
Above from left to right are Kit Guard, William Boyd, Andy Clyde, Bob Burns, big and burly Bill Nestell, and Jack Casey in the Hopalong Cassidy LEATHER BURNERS (United Artists, 1943).