|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, barflies, deputies, wagon drivers, ranch hands, etc. We tend to recognize some of their faces, but have no clue as to their real names.|
Custer Bland Park
1899 - 1955
|Post Park's specialty was driving stages and wagons and he also did some stuntwork and uncredited roles as a townsman, gang member, posse rider, etc.
Custer Bland Park was born November 4, 1899 in Missouri, but the family was in Fergus County, Montana at the time of the 1900 census. Father Knyptson E. Park was a farm hand, stockman and feed barn owner. Circa 1911, they re-located to Roundup, Musselshell County, Montana, and the father became County Assessor. Post and brother Cecil attended school in Roundup and both were Boy Scouts. During this period, Post developed horse wrangling and wagon driving skills that would be of later value in the movie business.
In 1918 through mid 1919, he did World War I duty as a Private in a medical unit / field hospital and was stationed in France. And in 1921, he married a local Roundup, Montana gal named Emma Collette and two sons were born: William E. Park (born about 1923) and Owen R. Park (born about 1927).
He was still living in Montana in the mid 1920s and the Newspaper Archive had the October 11, 1925 issue of the Helena (Montana) Daily Independent which had a report of Custer B. Park in an automobile accident.
Unsure when the marriage to Emma ended, but Post tied the knot a second time. He married Dorothy Fleming in Rapid City, South Dakota in 1929, and they would be together through his death in 1955.
The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has Park's movie career spanning about twenty years, from about 1935 through the mid 1950s. However, when the 1930 census was taken, Post was living in Rapid City, South Dakota with second wife Dorothy, and his occupation was movie actor.
Newspaper Archive had the September 2, 1948 Van Nuys (California) News which had a large article and photo on Post's son, Army Sergeant William Park, who had just received a Bronze Star for World War II service. He was career Army and had already been awarded the Silver Star, Purple Heart and Combat Infantry badge.
Post Park passed away from a heart attack on September 18, 1955 at his home in Van Nuys, California and is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills), Los Angeles.
Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Post Park: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0661916
(Image courtesy of Les Adams)
|Above from L-to-R are expert driver Post Park, Jimmy Wakely and Milburn Morante in a still from Wakely's RIDIN' DOWN THE TRAIL (Monogram, 1947).|
The arm-in-a-cast for Post Park was an excuse for Wakely to handle the reins, but if Jimmy got into trouble, Park was ready to take over.
Blowup / crop of Park's face on the left.
On the trail of Post Park.
The Family Search website (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), Fold3 Military Records (subscription), California Death Index, and the death certificate provide more on Post Park and family:
Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website has a photo of the marker for Custer Post Park (1899 - 1955) who is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills), Los Angeles, California: https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=85924938
The Library of Congress, Chronicling America website has early newspapers. Here's links to four about Custer Park, brother Cecil, and father K. E. Park: