Monday, July 10, 2006

Chief Thunder Cloud (1899-1955)

Victor Daniels AKA Chief Thunder Cloud was born April 12, 1899 in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and was the oldest of nine children and a full-blooded Cherokee. Supposedly, he received his public schooling in Texas and Arizona, and studied mining for two years at the University of Arizona. Prior to entering films, he worked on cattle ranches, was a mining foreman, a guide, boxer, rodeo performer, and even did a tour performing Indian songs and dances. Daniels entered films as a stunt man around 1929, and doubled for many of the top stars.

His film career spanned about twenty-five years, from the beginning of the sound era in the late 1920s through the mid-1950s. Best remembered as the original Tonto in the two Republic Lone Ranger serials of the late 1930s, Chief Thunder Cloud was more often typecast as a heavy, a good or bad Indian chief, or a member of a band of Indians on the warpath.

Some of Chief Thunder Cloud's memorable films include the following:
The Lone Ranger serial (Republic, 1938) [as Tonto]
The Lone Ranger Rides Again serial (Republic, 1939) [as Tonto]
Geronimo (Paramount, 1939) [as Geronimo]
Hi-Yo Silver (Republic, 1940 - feature version of the Lone Ranger serial)[as Tonto]
Silver Stallion (Monogram, 1941) [as the sidekick to hero Dave Sharpe]
King of the Stallions (aka Code of the Redman) (Monogram, 1942)
Outlaw Trail (Monogram, 1944) [as member of the Trail Blazers trio]
Sonora Stagecoach (Monogram, 1944) [as member of the Trail Blazers trio]
Black Arrow serial starring Robert Scott (Columbia, 1944)
The Phantom Rider serial (Republic, 1946)
I Killed Geronimo (Eagle-Lion, 1950) [as Geronimo]

He died at age 56 following surgery for stomach cancer in Ventura County, California on November 30, 1955. He was survived by wife Frances, a former singer, and their two children.


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