Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Tom Mix 'Jumps' Over Beale's Cut
"Three Jumps Ahead," 1923

thumbnail
Full View

thumbnail
Closeup

Tom Mix "jumps" over Beale's Cut in Newhall in the 1923 John Ford 5-reeler, "Three Jumps Ahead," from Fox Film Corp. Mix, whose star rose as Bill Hart's waned, did a lot of filming in the Newhall area from about 1916 to the early 1920s, and ran one of several "Mixville" movie towns in downtown Newhall between San Fernando Road and Newhall Avenue, prior to his establishment of a permanent Mixville in the Silverlake area of Los Angeles.

Mix claimed to have jumped Tony over Beale's Cut himself — not once but five or six times to get the shot. Mix biographer Robert S. Birchard, author of "King Cowboy: Tom Mix and the Movies" (1993) tells us he's certain Mix didn't do it. The film itself is lost, but Birchard, who owns seven frames of film showing the jump, insists the stunt was performed by Earl Simpson, a horse trainer and stuntman with a ranch in Searchlight, Nev. Others who've been credited with the stunt over the years are Richard Talmadge and Newhall's own Andy Jauregui.

It's possible there is more than one answer. In addition to some crazy-looking cut-and-paste production stills that show the horse and rider drastically out of proportion to the Cut, there were three trailers for the film for different releases, Birchard says. They may have been shot at different times using different people.

As for the loss of this and other early Tom Mix films, Birchard writes (Birchard 1993:133):

In 1937, 20th Century-Fox suffered a major vault fire at its East Coast storage facility, and the original negatives for virtually all of the Fox Film Corporation's silents and early talkies were lost. For years, it was thought that only two of Tom's eighty-five Fox pictures survived, "Sky High" (1922) and "Riders of the Purple Sage" (1925). However, in the late '60s, 20th Century-Fox embarked on a search for its early film heritage and a few more Mix titles turned up, including "The Untamed" (1920), "The Night Horsemen" (1921), "Trailin" and "Just Tony" (both 1922), "Soft Boiled" (1923), "The Rainbow Trail" and "Dick Turpin" (both 1925), "The Great K&A Train Robbery" (1926), and "The Last Trail" (1927). Another dozen or so titles turned up in Czechoslovakia, including "The Road Demon" (1921), "Teeth" (1924), "North of Hudson Bay" (1924), "The Best Bad Man" (1925), and "Oh, You Tony!" (1924). Unfortunately, the Czech versions generally survive in beat up exchange prints, with missing footage, and four-frame Czech flash titles, making them virtually incomprehensible. A print of "The Texan" (1920) is known to survive at the Danish Film Archive, and others may yet surface — although time is running out for any fragile nitrate prints that might rest in a forgotten vault, attic or garage as tantalizing fragments of "Hearts and Saddles" (1917) and "Fighting For Gold" (1919) attest.


Born in Mix Run, Penn., on Jan. 6, 1880, Tom Mix appeared in more than 300 films (counting "shorts") from 1909 to 1935. He occasionally filmed in Newhall from about 1916 to the mid-1920s and set up one of his early "Mixville" Western movie towns between Spruce Street (now called Main Street) and Newhall Avenue.

A part-time Newhall resident during that period, Mix lived across the street (probably on Walnut Street) from the Thibaudeau home, which was located at the southwest corner of Market Street and Newhall Avenue. In a televised interview, lifelong Newhall resident Gladys Thibaudeau Laney (1910-2014) said she observed Tom buying his sidekick "wonder horse" Tony on her family's property when she was a young girl.

Mix would later establish his most famous "Mixville" on Glendale Boulevard in the Silver Lake section of Los Angeles.

Prior to his movie career, Mix appeared in a series of Wild West shows where he was noticed by pioneering film producer Col. William N. Selig, who hired him to handle horses. He worked with Selig, writing, directing and acting, until 1917, when he signed with Fox to star in moving pictures alongside Tony.

Mix reached the height of his popularity during the 1920s, assuming the mantle of King of the Cowboys from William S. Hart, who retired from filming in 1925. But Mix did not adapt well to "talkies," and his career waned in the 1930s. His popularity remained intact, however, as he took his show on the road on the Western performance circuit. It was on the road that he would perish, when his 1937 Cord sent him to an untimely demise on Oct. 12, 1940, south of Florence, Ariz. Adding insult to injury and death, most of the 85 films he made with Fox were lost in a 1937 fire at the company's East Coast storage facility. But Mix was remembered fondly through his radio show and comic books, which outlived him by more than a decade.


LW2159a: 9600 dpi jpeg from printed image
TOM MIX

thumbnail
Tom Mix & Tony

thumbnail
Newhall Mixville

thumbnail
The Man Within 1916

thumbnail
Western Blood 1918

thumbnail
Fighting for Gold 1919

thumbnail
Reckless Driving, Newhall 1920

thumbnail
On Location in Newhall 1922

thumbnail
Three Jumps Ahead 1923

thumbnail
Ads for 3 Jumps Ahead 1923

thumbnail
Mix Says He Jumped Beale's Cut 1923

thumbnail
Mile-A-Minute Romeo 1923

thumbnail
Arcade Card

thumbnail
Grauman's Chinese Theatre 12-12-1927

thumbnail
King Cowboy 1928

thumbnail
Pays Back Taxes 1930

thumbnail
Final Ride 1940-1990

thumbnail
No. 1 - Jan 1948

thumbnail
No. 8 - Aug 1948

thumbnail
Modern Portrait

RETURN TO TOP ]   RETURN TO MAIN INDEX ]   PHOTO CREDITS ]   BIBLIOGRAPHY ]   BOOKS FOR SALE ]
SCVHistory.com is another service of SCVTV, a 501c3 Nonprofit • Site contents ©SCVTV • Additional copyrights apply
  • Edwards Valencia
  • Edwards Cyn Ctry
  • Calendar
  • Freeway Conditions
  • Lowest Gas Prices
  • Canyon Theatre
  • The MAIN