Harry L. Fraser

Active - 1921 - 1953  |   Born - Mar 31, 1889   |   Died - Apr 8, 1974   |   Genres - Western, Action

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Biography by Hans J. Wollstein

One of the great characters of low-budget moviemaking, Harry L. Fraser began his long screen career as a slapstick comic in the early 1910s, often appearing in drag. He drifted around on the periphery of more mainstream filmmaking, in Hollywood as well as in Europe, until the late '20s, when Universal signed him to handle the popular Colegians shorts. Fraser began his long association with low-budget Westerns around 1926 as the director of a very inexpensive series starring one Gordon Clifford. Dumped on the states rights market by Bear Productions, the series proved, if nothing else, that Fraser could work with, and for, almost nothing. He would spend a lifetime attempting to live down that reputation, writing and directing an impressive array of low-budget fodder ranging from ramshackle but generally entertaining Westerns to such atrocities as The White Gorilla (1947), which consisted mainly of leftover footage from silent Tarzan films, and Chained for Life (1950), featuring real-life Siamese twins Daisy and Violet Hilton. Fraser, who also worked under the pseudonyms of Harry P. Crist and Harry O. Jones, retired in the late '50s. An autobiography, They Went That-A-Way, was published posthumously in 1990.

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