(Courtesy of Jack Tillmany) 1929 stage play (From Old Corral collection) (Courtesy of Dale Crawford & Jim Sorensen)
Hodgins is interred at Valhalla Memorial Park, North Hollywood, California, Section 147, Garden Of Peace (Urn Garden).
Full name: George Earle Hodgins
sometimes misspelled as: Earl, Hudgins
1893 - 1964
Born in Payson, Utah in 1893, Earle Hodgins began his film career in the mid 1930s and became typecast as a machine gun talking carnival barker, medicine show huckster, con artist, snake oil salesman, auctioneer, etc. And he played that role in scores of films and TV shows. One of the best examples of Hodgins doing his Indian remedy Medicine Show bit is in John Wayne's PARADISE CANYON (Lone Star/Monogram, 1935).
Prior to Hollywood, Earle was a prolific stage and radio performer, and that included a contract with NBC radio. There are newspaper traces of Hodgins doing plays in Salt Lake City in 1920-1921, and in Oakland, California in 1929 (see ad on the left). We now know that Earle's skills at high speed dialog delivery were honed during his radio work. The January 11, 1933 Oakland (California) Tribune newspaper carried a bit on Hodgins in the Radio News and Programs section: "Charles Marshall is now handing nostrums in the Medicine Show in place of Earle Hodgins, who is no longer with NBC." The "ON THE PACIFIC AIR WAVES" column in the July, 1934 issue of Radio Mirror magazine has information on many West Coast radio performers. Excerpts from their piece on Hodgins: "... maybe you have heard (George) Earle Hodgins a Sunday eve on the weekly hi-jinks of KFWB, Hollywood, as he depicts the character of a medicine man selling a mythical beverage known as 'Knee-Paw'." "He was born in Utah of Scotch ancestry, has one son, and moved down from the bay district a couple years ago after experience in stock and on NBC."
He worked in B westerns at Republic, Paramount, and other companies, in films starring William Boyd, Gene Autry, Allan Lane and Sunset Carson. Frequently employed by Republic Pictures, Hodgins' film credits at that studio number about 55 from 1936-1950, and most are B westerns. During a 10+ year period (1937-1947), he appeared in over twenty of the Hopalong Cassidys at Paramount and United Artists.
Earle did have other roles where he wasn't required to demonstrate his rapid fire verbal skills. But my personal recollections of Hodgins remains as:
How can he deliver so many lines of dialog without ever taking a breath!
Occasionally, he had a support or character role in which his dialog was at normal speed. A good example is Hodgins as a government agent who persuades his relative Tim Holt to track down counterfeiters in DUDE COWBOY (RKO, 1941). And Earle got to play a sidekick one time - in the Bill Elliott SAN ANTONIO KID (Republic, 1944), he was "Happy Jack," a character that he also portrayed on radio.
Hodgins did voice work on several 1930s cartoons: he's the narrator of Tex Avery's THE VILLAGE SMITHY (Warners, 1936) and was his fast talking self in GET RICH QUICK PORKY (Warners, 1937) and PORKY'S GARDEN (Warners, 1937).
Earle successfully transitioned to television work in the 1950s and appeared in many TV programs including THE CISCO KID, LONE RANGER, THE RANGE RIDER, WILD BILL HICKOK, GUNSMOKE, RAWHIDE, lots more.
Les Adams has him identified in about 270 sound films, and that includes 136 westerns and 6 serials. His film and television career spanned about thirty years, from approximately 1933 to 1963.
There were at least two marriages for Earle. He was already divorced from an unidentifed wife when he married Elizabeth Boiss (or Briss) Davidson Ogilvie in 1925 in Vancouver, British Columbia. They had a son named Gordon who was born circa 1926.
Earle Hodgins passed away on April 14, 1964 in Los Angeles. I found no funeral notices or obituaries on ProQuest obituaries or the Newspaper Archive.
Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Earle Hodgins: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0388232/
The Family Search website (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), and California Death Index have information on Earle Hodgins and family:
- 1900 census - 27 year old Minta Hodgins (born Utah) and 7 year old son Earl (born Utah) are living in Salt Lake City, Utah: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MMR2-C69
1900 census takers worksheet - no father is included on the census. Mother Minta reports being married for 8 years and had one child and one child is living (being Earl). Earl is listed with an October, 1893 birth date: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11120-119550-23?cc=1325221
- April 28, 1903 marriage license of Earles' mother, 30 year old Minta Adair Hodgins, to 41 year old William Wright Old in San Jose, Santa Clara County, California: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-29941-10689-14?cc=1804002&wc=M9MJ-QGR:31940624
- 1910 census - 16 year old Earle G. Hodgins (born Utah) is living in Berkely, Alameda County, California with his re-married mother, 35 year old Minta A. Old and her 56 year old husband William W. Old: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MV2Z-944
- Ancestry had Utah Military Records - Earle Hodgins enlisted as a Private on May 2, 1917 in Payson, Utah and has a September 6, 1917 Honorable Discharge. The record also shows "4 Co San Francisco Calif CAC to disch". (See World War I draft registration below with Earl serving in the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps.)
- World War I draft registration dated June 6, 1918 - George Earl Hodgins lives in Oakland, California and works for Standard Oil in Richmond, California. He is single; birth date and location are October 6, 1894 and Payson, Utah; and he served one year of military service in C.A.C. (probably the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps): https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-26183-38417-27?cc=1968530&wc=M9SG-937:512911607
- April 30, 1925 marriage license of 31 year old George Earle Hodgins (born Utah; occupation "actor") to 26 year old Elizabeth Boiss (or Briss) Davidson Ogilvie (born Scotland; occupation "saleslady") in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Hodgins reports that he is divorced: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12338-72083-99?cc=1307718&wc=MMYG-JBZ:n635222605
- 1930 census - 32 year old Earl Hodgins (born Utah) is living with his 50 year old mother Minta Old and 21 year old step-sister Virginia Old in Oakland, California: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XCX7-VZN
Ancestry had the 1930 census takers worksheet - Earl Hodgins is listed as "Actor - Theatrical"; he is married but no wife is present on this census record.
- 1940 census - 46 year old Earle Hodgins (born Utah), 41 year old wife Elizabeth (born Scotland), and 14 year old son Gordon (born Canada) are living in the Los Angeles area: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VR23-VWJ
1940 census takers worksheet: the family is renting at 2447 Beachwood Drive in the Los Angeles area. Hodgins reports his occupation as "Actor - Motion Pictures" and in 1939, he worked 26 weeks and earned $3000.00. If you view this census page, note that stuntman Jimmy Fawcett and family are living next door to the Hodgins: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-27797-2703-74?cc=2000219&wc=MMYH-XBR:n601514214
- World War II draft registration - George Earle Hodgins is living at 2447 Beachwood Drive in Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California. He reports his birth info as October 6, 1893 in Payson, Utah and occupation as "free lance actor": https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-16388-7956-45?cc=1861144
- Found no record in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), probably because the family did not file a claim for the Social Security burial expense.The California Death Index has dual records for George E. Hodgins and Earl Hodgins (Earl is spelled without that extra e at the end). He was born 10/06/1893 in Utah, Mother's maiden name of Adarr [sic], and he passed away on 4/14/1964:
The Google Newspaper archive has a few tidbits on Earle Hodgins doing plays and working for NBC radio:
Earle in a 1920 play in Salt Lake City, Utah: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=TqlNAAAAIBAJ&sjid=A7YDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3584,1351914&dq=earle-hodgins&hl=en
1931 NBC radio play produced by Earle Hodgins: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=_yciAAAAIBAJ&sjid=HqQFAAAAIBAJ&pg=1021,2969207&dq=earle-hodgins&hl=en
1943 Blue network variety show starring Al Pearce and featuring songstress Martha Mears and Earle Hodgins (as "Happy Jack"):
Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website has a picture of the grave marker for Earle Hodgins who is interred at Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park, North Hollywood, California: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=9930778