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Cal Shrum
(1910 - 1996)
Full name: Calvin James Shrum

(Courtesy of Ed Phillips)

Cal Shrum galloping down a dusty trail in Albuquerque, New Mexico circa 1950 - 1951 ... and still dreaming of being a B western leading man.

In the twenty+ years that the Old Corral has been online, we've profiled many B western heroes. And we immediately recall Autry, Rogers, Hoppy, and others who did a bunch of sagebrush adventures.

But we've also written about a few who had a brief fling at playing a B western hero. Examples: singer and musician Tex Fletcher did one western; football great John Kimbrough did a couple for 20th Century Fox; John Preston did two Mounted Police adventures; Monte 'Alamo' Rawlins (Dean Spencer) played the "Masked Phantom" in a solo oater; and actress and radio performer Dorothy Page starred in three "Singing Cowgirl" films in the late 1930s.

Best known as the boss of the "Rhythm Rangers" musical group, Cal Shrum made a couple attempts at being a B western star. And in the late 1940s, he produced a pair of lackluster, anemic oaters:

SWING, COWBOY, SWING (Three Crown, 1946; alternate title: BAD MAN FROM BIG BEND) had Cal as the lead and assistance from former Three Mesquiteers and Range Busters member Max Terhune and his dummy Elmer.

TROUBLE AT MELODY MESA (Three Crown/Astor, 1948) had former Hopalong Cassidy sidekick Brad King as the lead with Cal doing helper duties.

In 1950 - 1951, Cal was in Albuquerque, New Mexico as a radio deejay. But he still dreamed of being a B western leading man. In Albuquerque, he made another attempt at stardom and shot some footage for a film titled "Gunmen Of The Pecos" ... but there were financial and legal issues and it was never completed and released. Plus Cal's timing was poor as the B western was on life support and our favorite silver screen cowboys were moving to television - NBC began showing Hopalong Cassidy films in 1949, Gene Autry's half hour TV show debuted in 1950, and Roy Rogers followed in 1951.

Cal's career was mostly country / western music and deejaying on radio. And much of his life involved his brother Walt Shrum (1897? - 1971) who led a group called the "Colorado Hillbillies".

Cal, Walt, Cal's "Rhythm Rangers", and Walt's "Colorado Hillbillies" are profiled in the Singers-Musicians-Groups section of the Old Corral. Click HERE and a separate window / tab will open with more on Cal and Walt Shrum.

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