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Ralph McCutcheon's Dice (Pair O'Dice)

(From Old Corral collection)

Above are Duncan Renaldo and 'Dice' from Chapter 1 of ZORRO RIDES AGAIN (Republic, 1937). Dice portrayed Zorro's horse 'El Rey'.

(From Old Corral collection)

Above is John Carroll riding 'Dice' in Chapter 11 of ZORRO RIDES AGAIN (Republic, 1937).
Dice was an overo paint horse owned and trained by Ralph McCutcheon.

The real name of this trusty steed was 'Pair O'Dice' and Dice appeared in various films from the late 1930s - through the late 1940s. Examples:
  • Dice was ridden by John Carroll in the chapterplay ZORRO RIDES AGAIN (Republic, 1937).
  • Dice was ridden by Bill Elliott in the serial THE GREAT ADVENTURES OF WILD BILL HICKOK (Columbia, 1938).
  • Dice was ridden by Jean Arthur in ARIZONA (Columbia, 1940).
  • Dice was ridden by Russell Wade in the independently produced SUNDOWN RIDERS (Film Enterprises, 1948).
  • the horse even showed up in TARZAN'S DESERT MYSTERY (Sol Lesser/RKO, 1943).
  • Dice's most remembered film appearance occurred in DUEL IN THE SUN (Selznick, 1946) which starred Gregory Peck and Jennifer Jones.
Dice even did comedy. The talented hoss has a large role in the Blondie and Dagwood IT'S A GREAT LIFE (Columbia, 1943), and he does a routine with Dub 'Cannonball' Taylor in COWBOY CANTEEN (Columbia, 1944).

Jack Mathis confirmed in his book Valley Of The Cliffhangers that McCutcheon's 'Pair O'Dice' was the pinto 'El Rey' in ZORRO RIDES AGAIN.

As with most famous and valuable movie horses, there were several doubles/lookalikes for the real Dice, and I've been able to spot Dice impersonators in various westerns and serials including THE GREAT ADVENTURES OF WILD BILL HICKOK and ZORRO RIDES AGAIN.

Dice - and a Dice double - had a significant quantity of screen time in ZORRO RIDES AGAIN, including the chapter opening titles and credits as the masked Zorro/John Carroll (Yakima Canutt doing the riding) gallops right to left on the screen with scenic Red Rock Canyon in the background.

Above - left and right side views of Dice.

There's a bit more on 'Dice' at the Horsefame website, including a mention that the horse was put down in 1958 at around 30 years of age:

There's a brief biography of McCutcheon on the My Friend Flicka website:

The article "Memories of Ralph McCutcheon, Champion Movie Horse Trainer" by Ian Whitcomb is at:

There's several images of Johnny Weissmuller and Johnny Sheffield riding Dice in TARZAN'S DESERT MYSTERY at the Edgar Rice Burroughts ERBZine website:

YouTube has a DUEL IN THE SUN video clip with Gregory Peck, Jennifer Jones, and Dice:

YouTube has a poor quality trailer from TARZAN'S DESERT MYSTERY:

The above blurb on Dice is from the pressbook for SUNDOWN RIDERS (Film Enterprises, 1948) which starred Russell Wade and former Hoppy sidekicks Jay Kirby and Andy Clyde.

(Courtesy of Ed Phillips)

Above - Bill Elliott rode Dice in the serial THE GREAT ADVENTURES OF WILD BILL HICKOK (Columbia, 1938) ... and a good right side view of Dice.

(From Old Corral collection)

The above lobby card is from the 1959 re-release of ZORRO RIDES AGAIN (Republic, 1937) and contains one of the most published photos on serials and stuntwork (see below). This horse-to-truck transfer was done by Yakima Canutt and occurred in Chapter 11. And the answer is NO! - I didn't fool with the colors of this lobby card at all ... gads, were those trucks really pink? This horse is a double for the real Dice. Take a look at the top of the truck trailer and you might see an area that's painted over. Underneath that paint are the letters P I E which stands for the Pacific Intermountain Express trucking company.

(From Old Corral collection)

Diablo ... another paint from Ralph McCutcheon

In her book Hollywood Hoofbeats: Trails Blazed Across the Silver Screen (BowTie Press, 2005) author Petrine Day Mitchum mentions that Duncan Renaldo's paint horse Diablo was owned by Ralph McCutcheon.

The horse named Diablo shows up in many 1940s westerns. Examples:

Bob Wills rides Diablo in the Russell Hayden TORNADO IN THE SADDLE (Columbia, 1942), SADDLES AND SAGEBRUSH (Columbia, 1943) and THE VIGILANTES RIDE (Columbia, 1944).

Pretty Shirley Patterson rides Diablo in the Charles Starrett and Russell Hayden RIDERS OF THE NORTHLAND (Columbia, 1942).

Charles Starrett's singing saddle pal Tex Harding rode Diablo and you can spot him in RETURN OF THE DURANGO KID (Columbia, 1945), BOTH BARRELS BLAZING (Columbia, 1945), and BLAZING THE WESTERN TRAIL (Columbia, 1945).

In the Cisco Kid adventures, THE GAY AMIGO (United Artists, 1949) and THE DARING CABALLERO (United Artists, 1949), Duncan Renaldo rides this horse.

Diablo shows up in Gene Autry's THE STRAWBERRY ROAN (Columbia, 1948), THE BIG SOMBRERO (Columbia, 1949) and WAGON TEAM (Columbia, 1952). Gene rides him in ROAN and George J. Lewis rides him in SOMBRERO and WAGON TEAM.

Tex Harding
(From Old Corral collection)

Above are sidekick Tex Harding with Charles Starrett in a mid 1940s Durango Kid adventure. Harding is riding 'Diablo' which was owned by trainer Ralph McCutcheon and later owned by Duncan Renaldo.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Russell Hayden, Shirley Patterson (later, Shawn Smith) and Bob Wills of Texas Playboys fame, in a scene from Hayden's THE VIGILANTES RIDE (Columbia, 1944). Hayden is riding Copper which has a smaller white face blaze than Banjo, Hayden's earlier mount. Bob Wills is riding what I originally thought was Dice. After viewing tapes and DVDs of several dozen films and TV shows, this paint appears to be the horse that became Diablo in the Duncan Renaldo Cisco Kid movies and TV shows. Crop and blowup below which shows a unique marking on this horse - a dark streak behind and below the left eye.

(From Old Corral collection)

Above - Duncan Renaldo (right) as the Cisco Kid, and Leo Carrillo (left) as his trail partner Pancho, and the above image is probably a still from THE DARING CABALLERO (United Artists, 1949). Renaldo starred as Cisco in several Monogram films (but was replaced by Gilbert Roland). Later, Renaldo reprised the Cisco role in films released by United Artists and then continued the portrayal in the TV series. Cisco's paint hoss was named Diablo and Pancho's palomino was named Loco. Renaldo rode several hosses during his reign as the Cisco Kid, including a white during the series at Monogram Pictures.

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above is Duncan Renaldo as the Cisco Kid and riding the horse he called Diablo. I recently viewed Cisco Kid features THE GAY AMIGO (United Artists, 1949) and THE DARING CABALLERO (United Artists, 1949) and Renaldo was riding this hoss. But in SATAN'S CRADLE (United Artists, 1949), Renaldo rode a lookalike.

I also began viewing Cisco Kid TV programs, and in all the shows that I've watched, Renaldo is atop this horse (and he does call him "Diablo") ... except for some chase scenes where less valuable doubles are used.

Wanta see Diablo and a Diablo double? Pop a Cisco Kid TV show in your DVD player, and view the opening titles and credits. Renaldo and Carrillo ride down a hill and pull up as the announcer blares "Here's Romance!", and Renaldo is riding Diablo (with that long, dark streak behind the left eye). A few seconds later, Cisco and Pancho are galloping on a dusty trail - and Renaldo is riding a double. YouTube has the opening of the Cisco Kid TV show showing Renaldo with the different horses:

I found an article that notes that Renaldo purchased Diablo and the horse was stabled at his 2 1/2 acre Santa Barbara ranch (along with another paint which he used for parades). An article on Duncan Renaldo in the December, 1971 issue of Hollywood Studio magazine mentions that his Spanish style home was in the Hope Ranch section of Santa Barbara, California.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Johnny Mack Brown most often rode a white horse during his Universal serials and the palomino named Reno / Rebel in his westerns. As with most everything, there were exceptions. Above is Johnny Mack on a paint in VALLEY OF THE LAWLESS (Supreme, 1936), one of his series for producer A. William Hackel. In the films for Hackel, JMB usually rode a white or a brown hoss. In VALLEY, he loses his brown mount, and about twelve minutes into the film, he shows up ridin' this paint. Some folks have asked if this horse was trainer Ralph McCutcheon's Dice (Pair O'Dice) or Diablo which was ridden by Duncan Renaldo, TV's Cisco Kid. The answer is Nope!

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