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(From Old Corral collection)

Above - Tom Tyler in his Captain Marvel costume and Gene Autry on the Republic backlot, circa 1941. Far left is director Lew Landers (real name: Lewis (Louis) Friedlander).
The Directors

Western film expert Les Adams co-authored Shoot-Em-Ups with Buck Rainey. And Les also published a series of softcover 'zines titled Yesterday's Saturdays, and each issue highlighted a couple dozen B westerns and included cast lists, plot synopsis, ad cuts, etc. Les has a massive database on the B western and serial, and that database includes info on the heroes, heroines, supporting players, producers, et al.

Also included in the database are the directors of each film - men like Bill Witney, Sam Newfield, Al Herman, Harry Fraser, John (Jack) English, Robert Emmett Tansey, Harry S. Webb, Ray Taylor, and more.

These were the folks who operated on shoestring budgets and churned out features and serials for Republic, Monogram, Columbia and Universal as well as for poverty row outfits Mascot, Reliable, Victory, more.

Several of these directors utilized 'aliases' (such as Newfield, Bernard B. Ray and Harry S. Webb), and Les has included their 'extra' names within the listing.

We've also added photos and other tidbits.

If you wish to find a particular name, simply use your web browser's FIND function and that will allow you to search down this page for your keywords.  In the upper left of your screen, you should see the word 'EDIT'.  Click on that, and in the drop down menu, click on 'FIND' to do your search.  In web browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera and others, you can also hit the Ctrl-F key combination to open the FIND box.

(From Old Corral collection)
Spencer Gordon Bennet (1893 - 1987) began as an actor and stuntman in silents. But he quickly became a prominent and prolific director of serials and westerns. His sound film credits are extensive, and he helmed cliffhangers, oaters, and other films for RKO, Columbia, Universal, Republic, more. Serials he directed / co-directed include HAWK OF THE HILLS (Pathe, 1927), THE MASKED MARVEL (Republic, 1943), MANHUNT OF MYSTERY ISLAND (Republic, 1945), SUPERMAN (Columbia, 1948), and BATMAN AND ROBIN (Columbia, 1949). His last film work was in the mid 1960s.

Bennet passed away on October 8, 1987 in a nursing home in Santa Monica, California. His grave marker reads:
JAN 5, 1893 - OCTOBER 8, 1987

AP News has a death announcement on Bennet:

On the right is Ray Taylor whose full name was Raymond Edgar Taylor (1888 - 1952). His Hollywood career spanned about 25 years, from mid 1920s silents through circa 1949 when he suffered a heart attack and was no longer able to direct. His early work was at Fox and Universal which included some assistant directing under John Ford.

He became one of the most prolific directors / co-directors on serials. He helmed nearly fifty and most were for Universal but he also did some for Columbia and Republic. Ray Taylor's cliffhangers included: BATTLING WITH BUFFALO BILL (Universal, 1931), GORDON OF GHOST CITY (Universal, 1933), VIGILANTES ARE COMING ('Republic, 1936), DICK TRACY (Republic, 1937), THE PAINTED STALLION (Republic, 1938), THE SPIDER'S WEB (Columbia, 1938), THE GREEN HORNET (Universal, 1940), FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE (Universal, 1940), and RIDERS OF DEATH VALLEY (Universal, 1941). At Universal, Taylor also helmed many of the Buck Jones and Johnny Mack Brown series westerns.

In the mid to late 1940s, he directed westerns with Eddie Dean and Lash LaRue at PRC, Johnny Mack Brown and Whip Wilson at Monogram, and the later batch of Lash LaRue and Fuzzy St. John oaters for Ron Ormond's Western Adventures production company.

(From Old Corral collection)
mid 1940s photo.

(Courtesy of Wheeler Winston Dixon)
On the left is Sam Newfield whose real name was Samuel Neufeld (1899 - 1964).

Known as "America's most prolific sound film director", he began specializing in B-westerns in the 1930s, and his directorial work included oaters starring Bob Steele, Johnny Mack Brown, Fred Scott, Kermit Maynard, Rex Bell, Ken Maynard, Tim McCoy, James Newill, Tex Fletcher, Lee Powell, Herb Jeffries, and others. His brother Sigmund Neufeld was involved in the production on some of these. And yes! Sam Newfield did direct the Jed Buell Midgets in the 1938 THE TERROR OF TINY TOWN.

Circa 1940, Sam and Sigmund were getting their paychecks from Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC). And Sam quickly became one of the more important and prolific of PRC's "house directors". Over an approximate seven year period - from 1940 through late 1946 - the brothers were responsible for a Tim McCoy series, the half dozen Frontier Marshal trio westerns, the Lone Rider adventures with George Houston and Bob Livingston, Bob Steele portraying Billy the Kid, and the Buster Crabbe Billy the Kid/Billy Carson westerns. There were also some non-westerns.

Newfield worked under his own name as well as the pseudonyms of "Sherman Scott" and "Peter Stewart".

Go to the Old Corral homepage, and there's a link under menu item 3. Hollywood Families and Individuals with more about the life and films of prolific director Sam Newfield.

On the right is writer/actor/producer/director/film editor Albert 'Al' Herman (1887 - 1958).

His real name was Adam Herman Foelker and his cinema career began in the silent era directing shorts with Buddy Messinger, and later, Mickey McGuire shorts starring Mickey Rooney.

In the 1930s and 1940s, he helmed many Tex Ritter oaters as well as B westerns starring 'Big Boy' Williams, Kermit Maynard, PRC's Texas Rangers, Renfrew mountie adventures, more.

He also directed or co-directed several cliffhangers: THE WHISPERING SHADOW (Mascot, 1933), THE AMAZING EXPLOITS OF THE CLUTCHING HAND (Weiss/Stage & Screen, 1936), and THE BLACK COIN (Weiss/Stage & Screen, 1936).

(From Old Corral collection)

(Courtesy of Bill Sasser)

On the left, Rex Allen has his arm around his favorite director, William 'Bill' Witney, at Knoxville, 1988. Witney co-directed many of Republic's greatest serials as well as a bunch of westerns.

Bill's son, Jay Dee Witney, has a website on his dad and family:

Death notice for 86 year old William Witney in the March 18, 2002 Los Angeles Times:

On the right is the husband and wife team of Rose Gordon, who was Writer-Script Supervisor and Vice President of Reliable Pictures, and director/producer Harry S. Webb, circa mid 1930s.

Webb began his career in the silent era, and was in charge of many 'Poverty Row' westerns starring Bob Steele, Tom Tyler, Jack Randall, more. Webb's credits are under his own name as well as 'Henri Samuels'.

In the 1930s, Webb and Bernard B. Ray were the bosses of the Reliable Pictures company.

Go to the Old Corral homepage, and there's a link with more on the Webb Family under menu item 3. Hollywood Families and Individuals.

(Courtesy of the Robert Webb Family)

(Courtesy of Lynn MacKaye Morgan)
On the left is director Alan James (1890 - 1952).

Alan James began work in Hollywood circa 1917 doing screen writing and then worked his way into directing jobs. During the silent era as well as early talkies, he used his real name of Alvin James Neitz. Around 1931 - 1932, he began directing B westerns using the moniker of "Alan James". His last movie work was writing on Gene Autry's Columbia westerns in the early 1950s.

James is probably best remembered for helming fourteen Ken Maynard sound oaters beginning in the early 1930s and ending with the Trail Blazers series at Monogram circa 1943.

Go to the Old Corral homepage, and there's a link with more on Alan James under menu item 3. Hollywood Families and Individuals.

Right is writer/actor/producer/director/film editor J. P. McGowan (1880 - 1952) and the image is from one of his 1930s acting roles at Republic Pictures.

McGowan was married to silent serial heroine Helen Holmes, but the pair divorced in the mid 1920s. McGowan's full name was John Paterson McGowan.

Boyd Magers writes:

"Australian born McGowan (1880-1952) was an adventurous workaholic. Writer/actor/producer/director/editor - he often tried to do too much. In the '30s, after his glory days in silents from 1911-1929, his workaholic disposition led him to poverty row outfits like Empire where there simply was no budget for his ambitious attitude, so, much of his directorial work with Tom Tyler, Bob Custer, Bob Steele and Buzz Barton is hurried and crudely fashioned. Lane Chandler's OUTLAW TAMER (Empire, 1935) was obviously made on the cheap by a company who only stayed in business 18 months and turned out just nine films, much of the outdoor sequences seem to have been shot silent with sound poorly dubbed in later. McGowan also plays the Sheriff in that one."

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Left is Albert Victor Adamson (1890 - 1972), acting under the name Denver Dixon, in a bit role in a 1942 Range Busters oater at Monogram.

Adamson was AKA Denver Dixon, Al Mix and Art Mix (but not to be confused with the 'other' Art Mix whose real name was George Kesterson). Adamson produced various ultra low budget silent and sound western shorts and features starring himself as well as Buffalo Bill, Jr., Wally Wales, Buddy Roosevelt, Wally West, and Art Mix/George Kesterson. His production companies had various names including California Motion Picture Enterprises and Security Pictures. Adamson/Dixon was also a prolific bit player in scores of westerns.

Go to the Old Corral homepage, and there's a link with more on Victor Adamson / Denver Dixon under menu item 3. Hollywood Families and Individuals.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Jack Randall, handling the movie camera, along with Peggy Keys and Robert North Bradbury in a publicity still included in the pressbook for RIDERS OF THE DAWN (Monogram, 1937), Randall's first starring oater. Jack Randall was the brother of Three Mesquiteers hero Bob Livingston. In DAWN, Peggy Keys was the heroine ... and the director of the film was Bradbury, Bob Steele's father. Bradbury's real name was Ronald Bradbury (1886 - 1949).

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above are Ethan Laidlaw and Jack Perrin in a lobby card for RAINBOW RIDERS (Reliable, 1934), one of the Bub 'n' Ben featurettes/shorts which starred Perrin and rotund Benny Corbett. Standing between Laidlaw and Perrin is Mack V. Wright.

Above - Mack V. Wright
In addition to occasional acting jobs, Mack V. Wright (1894 - 1965) spent time behind the camera as the director of oaters such as the Three Mesquiteers in ROARIN' LEAD and RIDERS OF THE WHISTLING SKULL.

And he was co-director/assistant director/second unit director on THE VIGILANTES ARE COMING and THE GREAT ADVENTURES OF WILD BILL HICKOK serials, several of the Rough Riders films, more.

From L-to-R are Thomas Carr (1907 - 1997), Bobby Copeland and R. G. 'Bud' Springsteen (1904 - 1989).

Carr helmed the Sunset Carson series at Republic, the Russell Hayden/Jimmy Ellison series for Lippert Pictures, and early TV shows SUPERMAN, RAWHIDE, WILD BILL HICKOK, more.

Springsteen's directing credits include many of Republic Red Ryder series as well as oaters with Monte Hale and Rex Allen.

(Courtesy of Bobby J. Copeland)

You'll find more info on these directors on the Old Corral website - look for sections on:
Sam Newfield
Victor Adamson/Denver Dixon
Bernard B. Ray / B. B. Ray and Reliable Pictures
The Tansey Family in Hollywood includes more about Robert Tansey / Bob Tansey
The Webb Family - Harry S. Webb and Reliable Pictures
more on Alan James (Alvin James Neitz), in the section on Fred MacKaye and Violet Neitz
more on Robert North Bradbury is in the section on his son, Bob Steele
and Yakima Canutt is in the Stuntmen's section

Find A Grave website has interment info and grave marker photos on the following:

Ray Taylor (1888-1952)
Elmer Clifton (1890-1949)
J. P. (John Paterson) McGowan (1880-1952)
Spencer Gordon Bennet (1893-1987)
William Reaves "Breezy" Eason (1886-1956)
Lesley Selander (1900-1979)
George Sherman (1908-1991)
George Archainbaud (1890-1959)
George B. Seitz (1888-1944)
Fred Curtis Brannon (1901-1953)
Philip E. Rosen (1888-1951)
Richard Thorpe (1896-1991)
Benjamin Harrison Kline (1894-1974)
William Christy Cabanne (1888-1950)
Joseph H. Lewis (1907-2000)
Robert North Bradbury (1886-1949; Bob Steele's father)

At the Senses of Cinema website, Robert Keser authored a biography on prolific director Joseph H. Lewis (1907-2000):

and in 2000, Rick Thompson authored a perspective on Lewis:

At the Senses of Cinema website, there's a lengthy article titled "Fast Worker: The Films of Sam Newfield" by author and film historian Wheeler Winston Dixon which covers the life and career of director Sam Newfield (1899 - 1964):

Director statistics and credits from Les Adams follows.

Before proceeding, please take a look at the 'ground rules' on what each of the columns includes and does not include:

• no silent film credits
• no TV credits
• no title-changed reissues or changed-for-TV titles
• no foreign language (not an issue with the vast majority on this list)
• no 'compilation' films
• the Westerns column includes both B and A grade films
• Serials and Shorts may be westerns or non-westerns
• Features contains no western films
• each column represents 'at least this many'
• the only column that may be short is the 'Shorts' segment which is a work-in-progress data base

Date of this database run: 11/12/99
The list is sorted in WESTERN film quantity order

Name Westerns Serials Features Shorts Total
SAM NEWFIELD (Sherman Scott - Peter Stewart) 139 0 66 9 214
LESLEY SELANDER 104 1 22 0 127
JOSEPH KANE (Joe Kane) 95 3 15 0 113
LAMBERT HILLYER 79 1 32 1 113
RAY TAYLOR 70 47 7 0 124
GEORGE SHERMAN 70 0 41 0 111
RAY NAZARRO 66 0 6 0 72
ROBERT N. BRADBURY 57 0 1 0 58
HARRY FRASER 54 2 8 0 64
WILLIAM WITNEY 49 24 12 0 85
FRANK McDONALD 48 0 60 0 108
JOHN ENGLISH 45 19 10 0 74
R. G. SPRINGSTEEN (Robert Springsteen) 45 0 25 0 70
LEWIS D. COLLINS (Lew Collins/Cullen Lewis) 44 14 55 0 113
J. P. McGOWAN 42 1 0 0 43
JOHN ENGLISH 42 18 4 0 64
BERNARD B. RAY (B. B. Ray/Franklyn Shamray/Ray Bernard/Raymond Samuels) 41 0 20 4 65
THOMAS CARR 38 7 4 0 49
WALLACE FOX 37 3 25 4 69
WILLIAM BERKE (Lester Williams/Lester William Berke/Wm. Hall) 36 0 51 2 89
ALAN JAMES (Alvin J. Neitz) 34 6 3 0 43
ROBERT F. HILL (Bob Hill/Rock Hawley/Jimmy Hawley ) 33 5 13 0 51
S. ROY LUBY (Roy Claire) 28 0 4 0 32
DAVID HOWARD 28 2 8 0 38
ELMER CLIFTON 27 3 20   50
AL HERMAN 27 3 14 0 44
OLIVER DRAKE 26 0 2 0 28
PHILIP FORD 26 0 16 0 42
HARRY S. WEBB (Henri Samuels) 25 1 5 0 31
JOHN P. McCARTHY (J. P. McCarthy) 23 0 5 0 28
FRED F. SEARS 23 1 27 0 51
DERWIN ABRAHAMS (Derwin Abbe) 22 6 3 0 31
HENRY HATHAWAY 22 0 45 0 67
LEW LANDERS (Louis Friedlander) 21 6 104 0 131
SAM NELSON 21 3 1 0 25
LOUIS KING 20 0 39 0 59
PHIL ROSEN 18 0 73 0 91
D. ROSS LEDERMAN 17 1 61 2 81
RAY ENRIGHT 16 0 53 2 71
B. REEVES EASON 16 17 23 5 61
JOSEPH H. LEWIS 16 0 22 0 38
HARRY KELLER 16 0 7 0 23
MACK V. WRIGHT 15 4 0 0 19
OTTO BROWER 14 3 21 0 38
GEORGE MARSHALL 14 0 35 9 58
GEORGE WAGGNER (Joseph West) 13 0 12 0 25
EDWARD KILLY 13 0 11 0 24
WILLIAM BEAUDINE 12 0 118 1 131
FORD BEEBE 12 25 24 0 61
DAVID SELMAN 12 0 6 0 18
VERNON KEAYS 12 1 2 0 15
RICHARD THORPE 11 3 88 0 102
WILLIAM NIGH 11 0 67 0 78
CHARLES BARTON 10 0 55 0 65
FRED C. BRANNON 10 24 0 0 34
WILLIAM CASTLE 10 0 45 0 55
NOEL M. SMITH (Noel Mason) 9 1 23 2 35
ARTHUR ROSSON 9 0 1 0 10
HARRY JOE BROWN 9 0 7 0 16
VICTOR ADAMSON (Denver Dixon) 9 0 0 0 9
ROBERT J. HORNER 9 0 0 0 9
NATE WATT 9 0 2 3 14
BENJAMIN (Ben) KLINE 8 1 0 0 9
PHIL KARLSON (Phil Karstein) 8 0 29 0 37
ALLAN DWAN 7 0 58 0 65
FRED ALLEN 7 0 0 0 7
GEORGE BLAIR 7 0 36 0 43
GEORGE B. SEITZ 6 0 53 4 63
CLIFFORD (Cliff) SMITH 6 1 0 0 7
RALPH STAUB 6 0 8 25 39
YAKIMA CANUTT 6 7 1 0 14
RON ORMOND 6 0 5 0 11
ALBERT RAY (Albert Wray) 5 0 13 6 24
HERBERT I. LEEDS 5 0 23   28
The above director credits/statistics is the property of, and copyright ©1999-2009 by Les Adams

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