Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
> HOOT GIBSON
Hoot Gibson Plane Crash
Actor & Saugus Resident


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Western film star and Saugus ranch owner Hoot Gibson (1892-1962) crashed the plane he was flying in Los Angeles on July 3, 1933, during an air race with fellow actor Ken Maynard. Gibson recovered from his injuries at Cedars of Lebanon hospital (now Cedars-Sinai Medical Center) with actoress June Gale at his bedside. At the time, he was estranged from his third wife, Sally Eilers, who was reportedly in Europe. They divorced one month later.

7x9-inch Associated Press photo. Cutline reads:

From Chicago Bureau
MOVIE STAR IN AIR RACE CRASH
Hoot Gibson, Hollywood film cowboy and flier, was cut deeply about the face and suffered severe bruises to his left leg and hip when his plane crashed in a special match race with Ken Maynard, screen cowboy and pilot, at the National Air Races in Los Angeles July 3. Photo shows wreckage of Gibson's plane.
CEL—7/4/33 (West Coast)


Edmund Richard Gibson earned the nickname "Hoot" when he worked as a messenger for the Owl Drug Co. He was born August 6, 1892, in Tekamah, Nebraska and appeared in more than 200 films (including short features) between 1910, when he earned $50 for his role in "The Two Brothers," and 1960, when he made an uncredited appearance in "Ocean's Eleven." Gibson did most of his work as a silent cowboy actor between World War I and the early 1930s. He directed a bit in 1920-21 and produced some of his own films from 1923-30. The 5'9" Hollywood giant died of cancer on August 23, 1962, in Woodland Hills — five days before a wildfire burned down Gene Autry's Melody Ranch in Placerita Canyon, where Gibson made some of his movies.

In addition to using the Santa Clarita Valley as a backdrop for filming, during the time he was married to Dorothea Sally Eilers (a popular leading lady in late silents and early talkies), he owned a ranch in Saugus now known as the Saugus Speedway. SCV historian Jerry Reynolds writes:

"Roy Baker purchased a 40-acre tract east of Bouquet Junction during 1923, starting construction on a rodeo arena a year later. Hoot Gibson bought the ranch and stadium in 1930, putting on shows that attracted such stars as Tom Mix, John Wayne and Clark Gable. In 1934 Gibson sold out to Paul Hill, who ran the Western Livestock yards and leased it to film companies for three years until a huge flood filled the home and arena with mud and debris. (Hill) was unable to make payments, and the bank repossessed the property, which was eventually taken over by a professor of economics at Occidental College, William Bonelli (who started the Santa Clarita Water Co. and built one of the first local housing tracts in the late 1940s). Today (the rodeo arena) is known as the Saugus Speedway."


LW3013: 9600 dpi jpeg from original photograph purchased 2017 by Leon Worden.
HOOT GIBSON
Behind the Scenes

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Marries Sally Eilers 6-28-1930

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Hawaiian Honeymoon April 1931

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Separation May 1932

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Crashes Plane, 7-3-1933

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June Gale Comforts Hoot in Hospital, July 1933

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Eilers Confirms Divorce, August 1933

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Hoot Gibson Broke, Sept. 1933

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