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LUCILLE LUND

Lucille Lund.Born June 3, 1912, screen beauty and Wampus Baby Star Lucille Lund differs from many of her contemporaries in that she was college-educated. Ironically, this resulted in her being cast opposite Reb Russell in two western pictures in the mid ‘30s.

Originally contracted to Universal, her parts ranged from a pushy reporter in “Saturday’s Millions” to the doomed daughter of Bela Lugosi in the classic “Black Cat” (‘34).

After completing “Pirate Treasure” (‘34), a serial with Richard Talmadge, Lucille began freelancing. “I didn’t want to do that serial at the time. It was considered the end-of-the-road for an actress, but in retrospect, I now see it was very good. The stunts were performed by the Talmadge brothers, who were acrobats in Hungary. Dick Talmadge was a really nice man—and he did some of those dangerous stunts, like jumping from train to train. There was no trick photography. It was all for real!”

As to westerns, Lucille recalled: “Reb Russell attended Northwestern at the same time I did, although he was much older (Seven years to be exact - ed.)—he had a wife and child. He was a great football star; nevertheless, Northwestern never seemed to have won a game (laughs). When Reb was signed for the movies, they thought it would be great to have another alumni of Northwestern play opposite him, and that’s how I was cast in those two pictures. They were terrible movies—the worst of the worst. Reb was a very nice man—he must have been divorced by this time, as we dated a few times. He was a perfect gentleman, who always wore expensive cowboy boots, even on our dates! Reb was not an actor—he couldn’t act his way out of a paper bag, but he was so congenial, friendly, nice. Portly, but a nice looking man. We shot them in Chatsworth, with rocks, snakes and 110° weather! ‘Range Warfare’ was really the bad one—‘Fighting Through’ (‘34) was much better. But both were cheap, cheap, cheap shoestring budgeted.

Both Reb and Lucille make numerous references to being Northwestern alumni and to Reb being a football hero there—obviously placing the film in the time frame of when it was released [1934] rather than the old west!

Also shoestring budgeted was ‘Timber War’ (‘35) with Kermit Maynard. “Kermit was very nice too. A fine looking man, very athletic, and did a lot of his own stunts! It was a much better picture than the two with Reb. We shot up in the Redwoods. It was a hard job—we had to stay at the Redwood Hotel with all the lumberjacks. The food was good, but it was very rustic. We had to get up every morning at 4 AM—there was no hairdresser, no makeup man. You did it all yourself. We went deep into the forest—there was no place for a bathroom! And, no other female! I remember one incident that happened off the picture. There was a dance—the lumberjacks and their girlfriends or wives were there. I came in after a long day’s shooting; I overheard one woman say to another after she had looked me over from top to bottom, ‘I don’t think she’s so hot.’ Well, I don’t think that place was so hot!”

Unusual for B-westerns of that time, Lucille used her own name in “Fighting Through”. When it comes to the great stuntman, Yakima Canutt, Lucille relates the following story: “Yak was in ‘Fighting Through’. There was a herd of cattle, and I was supposed to ride down toward the river with the stampede! And I am scared to death—I was afraid of horses too! Yakima was supposed to take a rope down a steep cliff; when he was doing this, his gloves caught on fire! Luckily they were able to put it out before any serious damage was done.”

In 1936 Lucille signed to play a part in Sam Katzman’s Victory serial, “Blake of Scotland Yard”, “It was shot as both a serial and a feature, but the whole thing didn’t make any sense. There is a scene in the serial where I’m to go over a cliff into the water. Sam wanted me to wear my own dress, but I refused! He was a funny man—he’d use his own furniture in his pictures. The budgets were, once again, shoestring!”

Lucille Lund with comedian Charlie Chase of whom she says, "He was a real talent. It's a shame his name hasn't held up. I enjoyed those shorts we did."It is perhaps ironic that Lucille is best remembered for two things—her small but memorable role in “The Black Cat”, and two appearances in 3 Stooges comedies (“Three Dumb Clucks”, “Healthy, Wealthy and Dumb”). “At the time, and for years afterwards, I was embarrassed that anyone knew I did them. But now, I see them and can tell how good they were. I’ve been invited to a Three Stooges convention, and was amazed to see the following they have. It’s nice to be remembered—perhaps if I had been a little pushier, I would have gone further. But there were no sour grapes. I married, had two beautiful daughters and have enjoyed life to the fullest.”

Lucille’s Western Filmography


Movies: Fighting Through (‘34 Kent)—Reb Russell; Range Warfare (‘35 Kent)—Reb Russell; Timber War (‘35 Ambassador)—Kermit Maynard; Rio Grande Romance (‘36 Victory)—Eddie Nugent.