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An Interview With…
        - Elena Verdugo
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Beautiful, petite with a dynamite figure, Lois Collier arrived in Hollywood through a contest won while still in school. “My grandmother came out with me because I was too young to be by myself.” She was given a part in Monogram’s “Women Must Dress”, billed as Madelyn Earle—real name Madelyn Earle Jones. After several more small roles, Madelyn played a character called Lois Collier on a radio show. She liked the name and kept it for the remainder of her career.

Receiving her first real break, Lois was referred to as the 4th Mesquiteer as she played the lead in seven of Republic’s Three Mesquiteers B-westerns, more than any other actress. “I enjoyed them. I was just starting and it was good experience. Of course, I wanted something bigger! The people at Republic were all nice. Tom Tyler later did some ‘Boston Blackie’s and we’d talk about those old days, making the Mesquiteers. Tom was a real quiet, nice man. Bob Steele was a real westerner. Both were good actors. Horses scared me, they still do. I hated ‘em. When we’d be on location, I’d look around and Bob Steele would have made his horse stand directly over my head, as if it were going to kick me. He thought that was so funny. I didn’t, as those creatures frighten me. The director yelled they could have a big lawsuit here, but that didn’t stop Bob and his practical jokes. Horses are beautiful animals, but if they all disappeared off the face of the earth tomorrow it would be just fine with me. I’d rather have a dog!”

Lois with The Three Mesquiteers in "West of Cimarron" ('41 Republic).

Tom Tyler, Rufe Davis, Lois Collier and Bob Steele in Republic's "Outlaws of Cherokee Trail" ('41).

Regarding a larger budgeted western, Universal’s “Wild Beauty” with Buzz Henry, “There were lots of stunt people involved. I met some very sweet people on that picture—lots of real Indians for extras. I wore long dresses and was on the backlot a lot—and it was hot! The film did well as I got a lot of mail because of it. It was a pleasant experience.”

About guesting on “Broken Arrow”, “It was a clean show, like all of them back then. Michael Ansara and John Lupton played around on the set. Then they would get serious when they were on camera. They were really different people when that camera was running, but they had a lot of fun.”

Lois Collier in peril in "Jungle Queen" ('45 Universal).Lois starred in two popular serials, “Jungle Queen” at Universal and “Flying Disc Man From Mars” at Republic. “‘Jungle Queen’ I liked because it was set in Africa and I always wanted to go to Africa. I got to wear an African safari hat. However, on the first day, among the rafts and trees, came a three-inch spider! I was petrified—it must have come out of the sets—all that greenery. It was climbing up the leather on my boots! I couldn’t stand it! One of the crew said, ‘Let’s put it on her hand so she can pet it!’”

Sandy Sanders, Lois Collier and Walter Reed discuss strategy in Republic's "Flying Disc Man From Mars" ('50).“I don’t recall doing much on ‘Flying Disc Man From Mars’.” Lois continued, “It just seems I was always sitting at a desk. Walter Reed is a very, very nice man. A real gentleman.”

Despite dozens of features, two serials and many guest shots on television, Lois’ greatest fame came from her portrayal of Mary Wesley on the TV series “Boston Blackie” with Kent Taylor. “They made 58 of them. My husband at the time, Bob Oakley, was an agent. He told me I had to go to ZIV for an interview. When I got there, I found 60 girls competing for the part. Mr. Ziv, John Sinn and Babe Unger were all
Boston Blackie (Kent Taylor), Mary Wesley (Lois Collier) and Inspector Faraday (Frank Orth), the cast of "Boston Blackie", pose with Whitie the dog. ('51). there—it was at the old United Artists studio. I had on a black beret and a Scotch plaid skirt. I didn’t even have to read for the part. They just told the other girls they could leave. They’d seen my work and liked the way I looked. ‘That’s our Mary,’ they proclaimed! They didn’t as yet have a last name for Mary. I suggested Jones, which was my real name. That they didn’t care for, but when Wesley was suggested, they jumped at it! They had been going wild trying to pick my last name! Whitey the dog was wonderful. We got along fine—I’d hide treats for him in my coats and he always looked around the sets to see if I was there. However, one day he bit Kent Taylor on his lip. A bad gash! The scene we were playing looked as if Kent was doing something to harm me and the dog came to my rescue. When he bit Kent it was awful. Kent hit the dog and I thought Whitey’d never come up again. Poor Kent wouldn’t have anything to do with him after that. Otherwise, he was a doll. We all got along fine—it’s the most pleasant experience of my career.”

“Recently, I was in Saks and a very nice southern lady came up to me and said, ‘Aren’t you Lois Collier, who played Mary on ‘Boston Blackie’?’ She was a very sweet lady, and it is very nice—being remembered!”

Born March 21, 1919, Collier was 80 when she died on October 27, 1999.

Lois’s Western Filmography

Movies: Outlaws Of The Cherokee Trail (‘41 Republic)—3 Mesquiteers; Gauchos Of El Dorado (‘41 Republic)—3 Mesquiteers; West Of Cimarron (‘41 Republic)—3 Mesquiteers; Raiders Of The Range (‘42 Republic)—3 Mesquiteers; Westward Ho (‘42 Republic)—3 Mesquiteers; Phantom Plainsmen (‘42 Republic)—3 Mesquiteers; Santa Fe Scouts (‘43 Republic)—3 Mesquiteers; Wild Beauty (‘46 Universal)—Don Porter. Serials: Jungle Queen (‘45 Universal)—Edward Norris; Flying Disc Man From Mars (‘50 Republic)—Walter Reed. TV: Cheyenne: West Of The River (‘56); Broken Arrow: Johnny Flagstaff (‘57).



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