American leading man Jack Luden, a member of the Pennsylvania cough-drop dynasty, graduated from Paramount's talent school in 1927 along with Thelma Todd and Charles "Buddy" Rogers, among others. The studio saw in him the same appeal that was making Gary Cooper a star, but Luden's initial starring western, Shootin' Irons (1927), proved a failure. The handsome actor did rather better in Paramount's popular "flapper" melodramas -- Two Flaming Youths (1927), Clara Bow's The Wild Party (1929]), etc. -- but a pronounced stammer did not bode well for a future in talkies. Luden's career declined rather drastically during the '30s, but independent producers such as Larry Darmour occasionally cashed in on his still-recognizable name. Darmour's westerns were on the cheap side -- to be generous -- and Luden's four starring vehicles in 1938 did not exactly set the range ablaze. The former leading man was all but forgotten by the 1950s, and his death at 49, while incarcerated at San Quentin on a drug conviction, came as a shock to former colleagues.