October 27, 2011

Jock Mahoney

Currently on Saturdays on Turner Classic Movies, they are running the TARZAN movies one each week. Recently they showed TARZAN GOES TO INDIA and that got me to thinking about the film’s star, JOCK MAHONEY, whom I met back in 1980. Jocko was coming to Florida to appear at the Sarasota School of Performing Arts. Arthur David Rothel, whom I knew, was hosting the event and invited me to attend. David knew I was a fan of Jocko’s and collected his films. I loaded films in the car and drove down to the West Coast where David and I met the 6’4” actor at the airport. This was a splendid opportunity to spend time one on one with a favorite actor I had admired for years. After a session at the school I drove Jocko to his hotel where we chatted and he signed a big 11” X 14” photo of himself as TV’s RANGE RIDER. Cool!

 I first knew of Jock Mahoney (actually Jacques O’Mahoney) as “Jack” Mahoney, actor featured in Charles Starrett’s DURANGO KID series at Columbia (1947 – 1952). I later learned Jocko had begun his film career as stuntman doubling for Durango (More on this later). He then starred in over 100 episodes of RANGE RIDER (1951-1953), the most action packed, stunt filled series ever made for television. For several years he was under contract to Universal starring in THE LAND UNKNOWN, LAST OF THE FAST GUNS, SLIM CARTER and many other features. He returned to TV starring as YANCY DERRINGER (1959), a sophisticated Mississippi Riverboat gambler.

 In 1960, Jocko began a long association with the TARZAN character appearing a villain Coy Banton, son of evil John Carradine in one of the best in the series, TARZAN THE MAGNIFICENT (1960). Producer Sy Weintraub liked Jock and cast him as Tarzan No. 13 in TARZAN GOES TO INDIA which, like the filmmakers two earlier entries was filmed on location. More on this later.

 As RANGE RIDER, Jock Mahoney starred in his own comic book. AC Comics has reprinted several RR tales the most recent of which are found in WESTERN TREASURY Vol. 1 and 2.  AC’s BEST OF THE WEST features DURANGO KID stories in all 71 issues.