Title: California Death Index
Title: World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942
Title: Michigan Marriage Records
Note: It Happened In Keokuk Saturday, August 27, 1927 FORMER RESIDENT, TURNED MOVIE MATINEE HERO, IN KEOKUK FOR VISIT Buffalo Bill Jr, Good Looking Cowboy From The Wide Open Spaces Is Giving A Treat To Young Hero Worshippers. Wilbert Jay Wilsey, Known to movie goers as Buffalo Bill Jr. arrived in Keokuk last night and was being followed about by half of the small boys of the town. The only reason the other half were not hanging on his heels was that they didn’t know he was this side of California. While the actor was being interviewed this morning in the lobby of the Regent Theatre, boys were peering through the doors at him with open mouthed wonder. It is in the heart of nearly every young boy in these United States to want to be a cowboy, it is shown by the way they read all the stories they can find about the West-and their eyes were wide with adoration as they watched Buffalo Bill Jr. this morning.
Former Resident It isn’t only the boys who watched the tall Westerner in the big ten gallon sombrero. He is quite striking looking and the eyes of everyone on the street turned to watch as he passed. And the people who can truthfully say “we knew him when” are proud of the fact. A number of people here really do know Mr. Wilsey because he lived in Keokuk For several years around 1910, and that is why the town feels such an interest in the actor and the Western pictures in which he appears. He is a personal friend of “Whacky” Whetstone, manager of the Regent Theatre and called Mr. Whetstone as soon as he got to Keokuk Friday evening. Mr. Wilsey is the son of Dr. A.R. Wilsey, formerly of this city, and is touring this part of the country with his wife, his sister Mrs. Phil Skelton of Tampa, Florida and his father. The party stopped at the Hotel Iowa for a day arriving here last evening from Missouri. Mr. Whetstone asked the big movie actor to speak to the audience at the Regent this afternoon during the matinee and Mr. Wilsey consented to do so. His appearance was a complete surprise to the youngsters who comprise the greater part of the audience on Saturday afternoon and they were thrilled beyond words when their favorite Western actor stepped out of the wings at the Regent and talked to them for a few minutes.
Has Made Rapid Strides The home of Buffalo Bill Jr. is at Cheyenne, Wyoming but, as most of the movie actors do, he also has a residence at Hollywood, California. He has been in moving pictures for three years and has gone to the top with rapid strides. That wasn’t intended to be funny, but it really is because certainly if any man could get somewhere in a hurry it would be Buffalo Bill Jr., with his long legs. His height is 6 feet 1 ¾ inches and he says that when he wears the high heeled boots that are a regular part of his costume for the movies he measures 6 feet 4 inches. It was with great difficulty that we were able to see the actors face-it was so far above our own 5 feet 2 inches. But girls Mr. Wilsey is stunning looking, handsome and all the other adjectives in the dictionary. And his eyelashes are easily a mile long. Two weeks ago Buffalo Bill Jr. appeared at the Regent in the Pathe picture “PALS IN PERIL” and in a few weeks he will appear on the screen at the Regent Theatre in “THE INTERFERIN’ GENT” and “THE ROARIN' BRONC” his latest pictures.
Has Fine Horse Mr. Wilsey received most of his experience for his cowboy Westerns on the A-U Ranch in Wyoming. It was awfully hard to get him to talk about himself but when he did speak it was with a most fascinating drawl. He said that the Sorrel horse that he rides in all his pictures is part bronc and part Hamiltonian, making a perfect combination. Mr Wilsey has had the horse for six years and the two are devoted pals. He originally named the horse CHILI, but in his soft drawl the name sounds like KELLY and that is the way the horse is known on the screen. Buffalo Bill Jr. and his party are soon leaving Keokuk on their way back to California, where Mr. Wilsey’s contract with Pathe calls for six pictures a year.
*** More detailed Bio of Wilbert Jay Wilsey. About Jay Wilsey - Buffalo Bill, Jr. By Chuck Anderson Long before Dick Jones portrayed Buffalo Bill Jr. on TV, there was another who used the name. Jay Wilsey was born in Missouri and his birth date is probably February 6, 1896. Genealogy records indicate his full name was Wilbert Jay Wilsey and he was born in/around St. Francisville, Clark County, Missouri. Other sources indicate his birthplace and/or childhood residence was Hillsdale, St. Louis County, Missouri. He looked good on a hoss and apparently had a lot of time in the saddle before beginning his Hollywood film career. Purportedly, he worked the rodeo circuit and/or wild west shows, and wound up in Tinseltown around 1924. There, he connected with Lester F. Scott, Jr., the boss of Action Pictures, and Wilsey soon was ridin' the cinema trails for that company (along with Buddy Roosevelt and Wally Wales). His screen name became "Buffalo Bill, Jr.", probably to capitalize on the fame of Buffalo Bill Cody of the real west and wild west shows. For the remainder of the silent era, Wilsey worked steadily for Lester F. Scott, Jr, and he did about thirty westerns which came out under the logos of Artclass and Pathe. He also starred in a couple of non-western silent serials at Universal, FINAL RECKONING (Universal, 1928) and THE PIRATE OF PANAMA (Universal, 1929), both of which are lost/missing. He made the transition to sound along with cinema range riders Bill Cody, Buddy Roosevelt, Wally Wales, Bob Custer, Bob Steele, Tom Tyler and others. But Wilsey was never able to headline at the better production companies, and therefore, I've always classified him as one of the "B-minus cowboys". He rode the dusty trails in fifteen ultra low budget talkies, most of which are considered as "bottom-of-the-barrel". For fans and historians, Wilsey had the lead - or did support roles - in several of the earliest sound westerns: BEYOND THE RIO GRANDE (Biltmore/Big 4, 1930) with Jack Perrin; BAR L RANCH (Big 4, 1930) with Wally Wales; THE CHEYENNE KID (West Coast Pictures, 1930); WESTWARD BOUND (Syndicate, 1931) with Buddy Roosevelt; TRAILS OF THE GOLDEN WEST and PUEBLO TERROR (both West Coast/Cosmos, 1931). It was Wilsey's work with shoestring producer Victor Adamson (AKA Denver Dixon) that is most often remembered ... sadly, for negative reasons. Adamson/Dixon was a jack-of-all-trades, and did his own script writing, directing and producing on the cheap. And his films during the 1930s are often denoted among the worst examples of the really low budget oater. During 1933 - 1934, Wilsey did THE FIGHTING COWBOY, LIGHTNING BILL, RAWHIDE ROMANCE and RIDING SPEED for Adamson/Dixon. And yes, the story is true - the title credit for LIGHTNING BILL (Superior, 1934) is misspelled as LIGHTING BILL . He also had time to appear in shorts such as PALS OF THE PRAIRIE (Imperial, 1934), in which he had the lead, and THE ADVENTURES OF TEXAS JACK (Security, 1934), where he played the villain to hero Wally Wales. In addition to the Superior and Imperial films, Wilsey also did TRAILS OF ADVENTURE (American, 1933). THE WHIRLWIND RIDER (American, 1934), and several others for producer/director/writer Robert J. Horner, whose reputation for churning out poor cinema far exceeded that of Victor Adamson/Denver Dixon. Alas, about a half dozen of Wilsey's starring sound oaters are among the lost and missing. In viewing the movies that are available - especially his work with Adamson/Dixon - the film locations and scenery always pique my interest. The backgrounds tend to look gaunt, dusty, hot ... cactus and other desert growth seems to be everywhere ... and quite often the roads are marked with fences. These were not the scenic locales utilized in westerns from Columbia, Universal and Republic. A long time ago, Larry Imber sent an e-mail noting that "Denver Dixon filmed most of his films in and around Pearblossom, California, north of Victorville. There were several small ranches in the area, and he made use of the buildings, horses, cowboys, and whatever else he could hustle." Note that Wilsey wasn't the only "B-minus cowboy" to conclude their starring career in the early to mid 1930s. It happened to many, including Wally Wales (who became supporting player Hal Taliaferro), Bob Custer, Bill Cody and Buddy Roosevelt. The time of the really cheap, independent sagebrush film was nearing its end because of changes in the states rights distribution exchanges and rising costs associated with film production. Plus, Republic Pictures was formed in 1935 ... and they were initiating a new series featuring a singin' cowboy named Gene Autry. Wilsey's salary from Adamson/Dixon and assorted other Poverty Row outfits probably wasn't enough to make ends meet (and that's the reason so many movie cowboys had to do public appearances, circus tours, etc.). If starring work was unavailable, then migrating into supporting roles and stunts/doubling was a way to keep food on the table ... and if you were good and reliable, you could work steady and make a decent living. This was the situation with Wilsey. Wilsey's best work was not as the star but as a featured/supporting player and stunt man ... and he popped up in a number of films during the 1930s through the early 1940s. Some examples: He was in a quartet of the John Wayne/Lone Star horse operas - 'NEATH ARIZONA SKIES (Lone Star/Monogram, 1934), THE LAWLESS FRONTIER (Lone Star/Monogram, 1934), TEXAS TERROR (Lone Star/Monogram, 1935) and RAINBOW VALLEY (Lone Star/Monogram, 1935). One of his best roles was the buckskin clad wagon train leader/scout in the excellent Ken Maynard starrer WHEELS OF DESTINY (Universal, 1934) (but his name is incorrectly spelled Jay Wilsie in the credits). He had a minor role in POWDERSMOKE RANGE (RKO, 1935) which starred Harry Carey, Hoot Gibson, Bob Steele and Tom Tyler. Wilsey wore a coonskin hat and buckskins in an uncredited role as Daniel Boone in the Chapter 1 opening of Tom Mix's THE MIRACLE RIDER (Mascot, 1935). And he was a Muranian guard in the Gene Autry cliffhanger THE PHANTOM EMPIRE (Mascot, 1935). His later support roles and stunt/doubling occurred in the Bob Allen Ranger films for Columbia in 1936 - 1937, as well as the PRC Lone Rider series and Charles Starrett Columbias in the early 1940s. He did stunt and doubling work beyond those dates. Les Adams adds some info on Wilsey doubling Charles Starrett: "In LAWLESS PLAINSMEN (Columbia, 1942), Wilsey's doubling for Starrett was so obvious that I didn't even have to hit the pause button to catch it, especially in two fights against Ray Bennett. Wilsey also had a scene and a line or so as a Starrett cowhand named Slim, rather than as a henchman." His last film role was in the John Wayne Cold War propaganda piece Big Jim McLain (1952), in which Wayne, as an investigator ferreting out Communist subversives, travels to Hawaii to root out Commies plotting to take over the islands. Wilsey, unbilled, has a one-line role as a Communist labor organizer. After Wilsey retired, he and his wife, actress Genee Boutell, spent much time on board their 42-foot-long saiboat, the "Ruana", which Wilsey had built himself, and sailed all over the Pacific Ocean, to such places as Mexico, Hawaii and Tahiti. Jay Wilsey died of lung cancer on October 25, 1961, in Los Angeles.
RootsWeb.com is NOT responsible for the content of the GEDCOMs uploaded through the WorldConnect Program. The creator of each GEDCOM is solely responsible for its content.