Dec 27, 2013

Chuck Couch

Charles Edward Couch (1922-1991)

Stuntmen didn't come any tougher or nicer than Chuck Couch. As a youth, he helped his family through rough times by going into a bar and saying, "I'll fight anybody here, if you'll pass the hat." Besides being a boxer, Chuck was a seasoned circus performer. He was proficient at trapeze, tightrope walking, and the sway pole act, where he would do a hand stand on a sixty foot high pole and sway from side to side. At one performance, Chuck was given the center ring. The leader of a famous circus family objected to this saying, "we always have the center ring." He then challenged Chuck to meet him later and settle it. When Chuck arrived, the leader of the troupe showed up with two of his brothers. Chuck easily defeated the three. The leader of the troupe said, "You didn't tell me you were a boxer," to which Chuck replied, "You didn't tell me you were bringing your brothers." In his autobiography, Hal Needham described Chuck Couch as "fearless." 

Below: That's Chuck on the trampoline as his brother Bill Couch (left) and Elvis Presley (3rd from right) watch in "G.I. Blues" (1960)

Below: Chuck played a bounty hunter in the "Have Gun - Will Travel" episode, "Bandit" (1962)

Chuck also appeared in the "Have Gun - Will Travel" episode, "Dream Girl" (1962)

Below: In the early 1960's, Chuck appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show." Left to right: Ed Sullivan, Richard Boone, Chuck Couch, and Hal Needham.

Below: Chuck doubled Stephen Boyd in the circus musical, "Billy Rose's Jumbo" (1962) starring Doris Day.

Below: Chuck Couch (left), doubling Richard Long, is fighting Chuck Bail in the "Big Valley" episode, "The Guilt of Matt Bentell" (1965)

Chuck (right) appeared as a Henchman in the "Batman's Satisfaction" episode of "Batman" (1967). Doubling Adam West (Batman) is Hubie Kerns and Bennie Dobbins is doubling Van Williams (Green Hornet). Bruce Lee as Kato was also in the scene.

Below: From the "Tag, You're It" episode of "I Spy" (1968). Left to right: Bill Cosby, Chuck Couch, stuntman Jerry Summers, and Robert Culp.

Below: Chuck appeared in the "Hawaii Five-O" episode, "Not That Much Different" (1969)

Below: Chuck appeared in the "Hawaii Five-O" episode, "And a Time to Die" (1970).

Below: Rare photo of Chuck Couch (left) and stuntman Chuck Bail on location in Peru for "The Last Movie" (1971)

Chuck was the stunt coordinator and stunt double for Jack Lord on the TV series, "Hawaii Five-O" for over ten years. While living in Hawaii, Chuck invested in real estate, buying several condos. He made a lot of money renting them out.

Nov 21, 2013

Sol Gorss

Saul M. "Sol" Gorss (1908-1966) worked as a stuntman and actor from the 1930's until his death in 1966. Sol worked on classic films including "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938), in which he was Errol Flynn's fencing double, "The Killing" (1956), "The Birds" (1963), "From Russia with Love" (1963), and "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (1963).  

Below: Sol (right) had a bit role in "San Quentin" (1937) starring Humphrey Bogart (left).

Below: Sol (left) played Andy Kriss in the 15 chapter Columbia serial, "The Phantom" (1943) starring Tom Tyler. On the right is George Chesebro.

Sol got to wear the Phantom costume (as a Phantom impostor)

Below: Sol played Jussac in "The Three Musketeers" (1948) starring Lana Turner and Gene Kelly.

and performed an exciting sword fight with Gene Kelly (right) who played D'Artagnan.

Below: Sol was one of George Reeves' stunt doubles in "Adventures of Superman."  This is from the episode, "A Night of Terror" (1952).

Below: Sol (left) attended gladiator school in preparation for "Spartacus" (1960). On the right is stuntman Richard Farnsworth.

Below: Sol played Konrad in "The Adriatic Express Affair" episode of "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." (1965)

Sep 21, 2013

Bill Erickson

Bill Erickson (1942-2008) began working as a stuntman in the 1970's. He was the stunt coordinator on several movies including, "The Lost Boys" (1987), "Joe Versus the Volcano" (1990), and "Defending Your Life" (1991).

Like a lot of stunt men and women, Bill got his start working as a background extra. In the photo below, Bill (right) played a cavalry soldier in the first season of "F Troop" (1965) starring Larry Storch (center) as Corporal Agarn.

Below: Bill (left) also worked extra on "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." (1965), which was very popular during the spy craze of the 1960's. 

Below: Bill (left) had a small role in "Swamp Thing" (1982). Also in the photo are Nicholas Worth (center) and David Hess (right).

Below: Bill did stunt driving in "Armed Response" (1986) starring David Carradine, Lee Van Cleef, and Ross Hagen.

Sep 8, 2013

Cliff Lyons

Cliff Lyons (1901-1974) worked as a stuntman, stunt coordinator, and second unit director. As a young man, he gave up the idea of a business career and went on the rodeo circuit. He made his way to Los Angeles and starred in a series of silent Westerns as "Tex" Lyons. With the coming of sound, he moved into stunt work. He doubled some of the greatest Western stars including, Tom Mix, Ken Maynard, Buck Jones, and Johnny Mack Brown. In 1936, he began a long association with John Wayne and worked with Wayne on films including "Dark Command" (1940), "Fort Apache" (1948), "The Searchers" (1956), "The Alamo" (1960), and "The Green Berets" (1968)

Below: Cliff performed this stunt for "Jesse James" (1939) with Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda.

Below: Cliff Lyons in an unidentified stunt.

Below: (left to right) Allan "Rocky" Lane and Linda Stirling are menaced by stuntmen Cliff Lyons, Duke Green, and Eddie Parker in the 12 chapter Republic serial, "The Tiger Woman" (1944).

In the same serial, Cliff performed this saddle fall.

Below: Cliff (left) played a Marshall in John Ford's, "Wagon Master" (1950) starring Ben Johnson (right)

Top row: (left to right) John Wayne, stuntman Chuck Hayward, and stuntman Chuck Roberson. Bottom: Cliff Lyons and Ben Johnson.

Aug 31, 2013

Dave Sharpe, Part 2

Here are some more photos of stuntman extraordinaire, Dave Sharpe.
In 1942, Dave starred as one of the "Range Busters." He appeared in four films. During the making of  "Haunted Ranch," Dave had to leave the film because he had just joined the Army. During WWII, Dave was a fighter pilot in North Africa.

Below: Dave "flips" for actress Gertrude Messinger (they were married in 1932)

Below: Dave (left) appeared in "Wyoming Outlaw" (1939) with the Three Mesquiteers. Left to right: Ray "Crash" Corrigan, Raymond Hatton, and John Wayne.

Below: Dave had the starring role in "Silver Stallion" (1941)

Below: Dave, doubling Kane Richmond, in the 12 chapter Republic serial, "Spy Smasher" (1942).

Below: Dave (right) played bad guy Gus Ulrich in Republic Pictures, "Bells of San Angelo" (1947) starring Roy Rogers (left). Earlier in the film, Dave gave Roy a brutal beating. Dave once commented to a fan, "I wasn't very popular with the kids in that one." 

Below: Clayton Moore (TV's Lone Ranger) gets the drop on Dave in the Republic serial, "Adventures of Frank and Jesse James" (1948).

Nice shot of Dave from "King of the Rocket Men" (1949)

Below: In 1950, Dave was featured in a bodybuilding magazine.

Below: Dave appeared in the "Mod Squad" episode, "The Healer" (1969)

In that episode, he performed this car hit stunt at the age of 59. 

In 2012, Dave was inducted into the World Acrobatics Society's Gallery of Legends.