At the beginning of 1932 - and apparently unable to land any further screen work - he left Hollywood and hit the sawdust trail, traveling the country with various circus troupes, including the Walter L. Mane and Gorman Brothers' circuses until around 1934 when he returned to the movie capital to team up with Rex Bell and Ruth Mix for a four-picture series for Resolute. Among the titles were THE TONTO KID ('34), GUNFIRE, FIGHTING PIONEERS, and SADDLE ACES, the last three released in 1935. He also had a good role that year in the RKO all-star western, POWDERSMOKE RANGE.
(From Old Corral collection)
(From Old Corral collection)
Above is a photo of the title lobby card for GUNFIRE (Resolute, 1935). In the blowup of the circular inset are from L-to-R, Buzz Barton, Ruth Mix and star Rex Bell.
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above from left to right are Buzz Barton, Rex Bell, Tom Mix's daughter Ruth Mix, and Stanley Blystone in a scene from SADDLE ACES (Resolute, 1935). Barton was in his early twenties when he did these four with Bell and Mix.
(Courtesy of Richard S. Kumler)
Above from left to right are Jack Luden, Tuffy the dog, pretty Eleanor Stewart and in the back is Buzz Barton in a still from ROLLING CARAVANS (Columbia, 1938), one of four oaters that Luden did for producer Larry Darmour at Columbia.
By this time Barton was a young man of 22 and he continued to remain busy, not as a star, but supporting such stars as Bill Cody in THE RECKLESS BUCKAROO ('35), and Hoot Gibson in Diversion Pictures' THE RIDING AVENGER ('36). He was also cast in the Fred Scott/Spectrum ROMANCE RIDES THE RANGE ('36).
Still active, Barton went over to Columbia in 1938 for three with Jack Luden - ROLLING CARAVANS, STAGECOACH DAYS, and PHANTOM GOLD. Then came one with Tex Ritter, WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAMS, and four with Bill Elliott, IN EARLY ARIZONA, LONE STAR PIONEERS, FRONTIERS OF '49, and THE LAW COMES TO TEXAS, the last three released in 1939. That same year he had a bit part in the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers musical, THE STORY OF VERNON AND IRENE CASTLE, and rode the range with the Bar 20 cowboys in the Hoppy oater, SILVER ON THE SAGE. In 1940, he supported Bob Steele in Metropolitan's WILD HORSE VALLEY, and Jack Randall in Monogram's THE KID FROM SANTA FE. The following year only one credit shows up for Barton, a small role in the Buck Jones Columbia feature, WHITE EAGLE. His last known screen appearance came in 1942 in the Tim Holt RKO, COME ON DANGER. Shortly afterwards, he left for the Navy for service in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Barton was aboard the USS Missouri in August, 1945 for the signing of the Japanese surrender.
Returning from the war, and with his acting career over, Buzz took up ranching and was married in 1947. Three years later he and his wife, Thelma, moved to Arizona where they adopted a baby girl named Linda. In 1956, the family returned to his old stomping grounds at Newhall where he worked as a horse wrangler in a number of westerns, including John Wayne's final film, THE SHOOTIST ('76). Some credits carry Buzz as appearing in the 1967 classic, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, in an un-credited role as a bus conductor, but it is believed it was an actor named Robert Barton.
In 1979, illness forced Buzz to retire from the movie business and the following year on November 20, 1980, he passed away at the age of 67 in Reseda, California. Buzz's wife Thelma passed away on February 12, 2000.
Surely the most popular - and by far the best rider and roper of all the juvenile western stars - he was seriously challenged across the way at Universal by another trick rider named Newton House.
From the mid 1930s through the mid 1950s, the Motion Picture Herald and Boxoffice trade publications conducted polls to determine the Top Ten (or Top Five) cowboy film stars. In most cases, the winners were what you would expect - Autry, Rogers, Holt, Starrett, Hoppy, etc. Prior to that, there was no popularity polls or rankings for the heroes of the cowboy film.
Author and film historian Ed Wyatt made an extensive study of the silent western and produced his own Top Ten List which was published in the April, 1997 issue of Classic Images. It was made by compiling the starring roles of westerns of the leading cowboy stars of each year, and rated them by the number of films made, the quality of the studio producing the films, and familiarity of the star's name. Following are Wyatt's rankings for 1928 and 1929, the last year of the silent film ... and Buzz Barton is included.
1. Tom Mix
2. Fred Thomson
3. Ken Maynard
4. Hoot Gibson
5. Tim McCoy
6. Tom Tyler
7. Bob Steele
8. Buzz Barton
9. Ted Wells
10. Buck Jones, Bob Custer (tie)
1. Ken Maynard
2. Hoot Gibson
3. Tim McCoy
4. Tom Mix
5. Tom Tyler
6. Bob Steele
7. Buzz Barton
8. Bob Custer
9. Art Acord
10. Jack Holt
Les Adams has Barton identified in 41 sound era films - 38 westerns and 3 serials. See filmography below.
|Buzz Barton Filmography|
Sound films only
Serials are in red
Special thanks to Les Adams for providing this filmography
|3/1/30||MYSTERY TROOPER, THE (Serial)||Syndicate||Robert Frazer||Stuart Paton||Billy Holt|
|3/5/30||LONE DEFENDER, THE (Serial)||Mascot||Walter Miller||Richard Thorpe||Buzz|
|8/6/30||CANYON HAWKS||Big 4||Yakima Canutt||Alvin Neitz (Alan James)||George Manning|
|11/12/30||BREED OF THE WEST||Big 4||Wally Wales||Alvin Neitz (Alan James)||Jim Bradley|
|11/22/30||APACHE KID'S ESCAPE||Cosmos||Jack Perrin||Robert J. Horner||Tim Wells|
|3/8/31||WILD WEST WHOOPEE||Cosmos||Jack Perrin||Robert J. Horner||Buzz|
|7/7/31||RIDERS OF THE CACTUS||Big 4||Wally Wales||David Kirkland||Buzz|
|7/25/31||FLYING LARIATS||Big 4||Wally Wales||David Kirkland||Buzz|
|8/1/31||SO THIS IS ARIZONA||Big 4||Wally Wales||J. P. McGowan||Buzz|
|10/28/31||CYCLONE KID||Big 4||Buzz Barton||J. P. McGowan||Buddy Comstock|
|1/10/32||HUMAN TARGETS||Big 4||Buzz Barton||J. P. McGowan||Buzz Dale|
|1/20/32||TANGLED FORTUNES||Big 4||Buzz Barton||J. P. McGowan||Buzz Davis|
|8/15/34||TONTO KID, THE||Resolute||Rex Bell||Harry Fraser||Wesley Fritch|
|12/1/34||GUNFIRE||Resolute||Rex Bell||Harry Fraser||Danny Blake|
|4/1/35||PECOS KID, THE||Ajax||Fred Kohler Jr.||William Berke||Gunman|
|4/2/35||RECKLESS BUCKAROO, THE||Spectrum||Bill Cody||Harry Fraser||Drake|
|5/21/35||FIGHTING PIONEERS||Resolute||Rex Bell||Harry Fraser||Splinters|
|6/2/35||SADDLE ACES||Resolute||Rex Bell||Harry Fraser||Montana Nick Sabot|
|9/27/35||POWDERSMOKE RANGE||RKO||Harry Carey||Wallace Fox||Buck|
|5/15/36||FEUD OF THE WEST||Diversion||Hoot Gibson||Harry Fraser||Six-Bits|
|6/16/36||RIDING AVENGER , THE||Diversion||Hoot Gibson||Harry Fraser||Tony|
|9/28/36||ROMANCE RIDES THE RANGE||Spectrum||Fred Scott||Harry Fraser||Johnny Marland|
|1/11/38||PAROLED - TO DIE||Republic||Bob Steele||Sam Newfield||Cowhand|
|2/2/38||WHERE THE WEST BEGINS||Monogram||Jack Randall||J. P. McGowan||Rider|
|3/7/38||ROLLING CARAVANS||Columbia||Jack Luden||Joseph Levering||Jim Rankin|
|6/6/38||DESERT PATROL||Republic||Bob Steele||Sam Newfield||Henchman|
|6/20/38||STAGECOACH DAYS||Columbia||Jack Luden||Joseph Levering||Buzz|
|8/31/38||PHANTOM GOLD||Columbia||Jack Luden||Joseph Levering||Pedro|
|9/14/38||MEXICALI KID, THE||Monogram||Jack Randall||Wallace Fox||Cowhand|
|10/19/38||WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM||Monogram||Tex Ritter||Al Herman||Townsman|
|11/2/38||IN EARLY ARIZONA||Columbia||Bill Elliott||Joseph Levering||Buzz|
|12/21/38||WILD HORSE CANYON||Monogram||Jack Randall||Robert Hill||Barfly|
|1/19/39||FRONTIERS OF '49||Columbia||Bill Elliott||Joseph Levering||Vaquero|
|3/16/39||LONE STAR PIONEERS||Columbia||Bill Elliott||Joseph Levering||Chuck|
|3/31/39||SILVER ON THE SAGE||Paramount||William Boyd||Lesley Selander||Cowhand|
|4/16/39||LAW COMES TO TEXAS, THE||Columbia||Bill Elliott||Joseph Levering||Buzz|
|3/13/40||WILD HORSE VALLEY||Metropolitan||Bob Steele||Ira S. Webb||Joe|
|5/9/40||LAND OF THE SIX GUNS||Monogram||Jack Randall||Raymond K. Johnson||Deputy|
|5/23/40||KID FROM SANTA FE, THE||Monogram||Jack Randall||Raymond K. Johnson||Rider|
|1/4/41||WHITE EAGLE (Serial)||Columbia||Buck Jones||James W. Horne||Rider|
|2/25/41||RIDIN' THE CHEROKEE TRAIL||Monogram||Tex Ritter||Spencer G. Bennet||Rider|
|6/5/42||COME ON, DANGER||RKO||Tim Holt||Edward Killy||Cowhand|
Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Buzz Barton: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0059104/
B. B. Pelletier wrote an article about Buzz Barton being the first celebrity to have their name on a Daisy B-B gun: https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2006/5/buzz-barton-first-of-the-personality-bb-guns/
In 1976, Buzz wrote a letter to author Buck Rainey with info on his life and career. The SCV Historical Society has the letter on their website: https://scvhistory.com/scvhistory/rainey_buzzbarton1983.htm
The Family Search (free), Fold3 Military records, newspapers, and the California Death Index provide more on Buzz Barton and family. Note the two spelling variations for his surname - LamOreaux vs. LamEreaux:
Find A Grave website has a photo of the grave marker for William Andrew Lamoreaux (1913 - 1980) and wife Thelma (1919 - 2000), who are interred at Eternal Valley Memorial Park, Newhall, California: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/15052790
Newspaper clipping on the death and funeral information for William 'Red' Lamoreaux, AKA western movie actor 'Buzz Barton': https://www.newspapers.com/clip/75070816/death-and-funeral-notice-for-william/