Dick Hatton

Active - 1923 - 1931  |   Born - Jan 1, 1888   |   Died - Jul 9, 1931   |   Genres - Western, Action

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Biography by Hans J. Wollstein

Film historian William K. Everson dismissed silent screen cowboy star Dick Hatton as a "non-entity"; few of his films survive and he is rarely mentioned in Western film literature. The reasons for Hatton's neglect may be found in his films: the Kentucky-born cowboy did most of his work in silent Westerns for fly-by-night organizations such as Adventure, Vital Exchanges, and Western Pictures, all of whom distributed their oaters only in the hinterlands. A later series produced by genre specialist Ben Wilson had somewhat higher production values and recognizable leading ladies, such as actress Neva Gerber and stunt rider Marilyn Mills, but even the Wilson films were dismissed as hackneyed. Hatton's surviving films of the period do not contradict Everson's characterization. Hatton appears dispirited and even petulant at times, and in Western Courage (1926), he doesn't even catch the bad guys himself but must rely on George Kesterson, yet another Western hero suffering from an alarming deficiency of charisma. Hatton's career was in a precarious situation after the changeover to sound, but he was rescued somewhat by producer Nat Levine, who cast him in several serials, including The Vanishing Legion (1931). He died in a tragic car accident at the age of 43.

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