Probably the most well-known photographs from outdated cowboy films is the leap throughout the canyon for the film Three Jumps Forward, launched in 1923, that includes Tom Combine and his glorious horse Tony. Combine, born in Combine Run, Penn., on Jan. 6, 1880, was Hollywood’s first Western megastar and is credited with defining the style for cowboy actors. He  appeared in additional than 300 movies (counting “shorts”) from 1909 to 1935 and was recognized for

Tom Combine and his most well-known horse, Tony, who he bought for $600. Tom and Tony made a formidable 181 films collectively, most silent however with some ‘talkies’ later of their profession. Tony retired to Combine’s ranch at age 22 after injuring his hip through the filming of ‘Hidden Gold’.

performing his personal daredevil stunts. His most well-known horse was Tony the Surprise Horse. Tom’s most well-known horse was Tony, who trusted Tom to do any stunt. Reportedly, Tom would discuss to Tony and clarify every stunt forward of time, after which they might simply do it.

The picture above was used within the publicity stills for the film Three Jumps Forward. Whereas the ultimate movie has been misplaced, a number of stills of the leap are owned by collectors. The massive query — even on the time — was whether or not the leap was actually carried out and, if that’s the case, if it was achieved by Combine or one other stunt actor.

Definitely, up to date interviews consider it occurred, though it was questioned.

“In his newest story of the western plains, Combine mounted, leaps a canyon 20 ft vast and 90 ft deep, undoubtedly the longest and most daring leap ever carried out by a display star.” The Palladium, Benton Harbor, MI, 7/7/1923.

Tom Combine with the unique Tony (on the left) and his successor, Tony Jr. In response to Helen Brunk Greenwalt, who’s an professional on the breed, he was foaled on the Sellman ranch and was a son of Headlight Morgan. Click on on the hyperlink to see extra pictures of Tom and Tony.

“And the crashing climax – Tony’s very exceptional leap throughout a yawning abyss with Tom Combine on his again – is startling in its realism. There’s no faux to this scene. No doable means it could possibly be faked. And apart from, faking scenes is beneath the dignity of Tom and Tony.” The Democrat, Washington, IN, 6/5/1923.

“That is the image that induced the accident insurance coverage folks to cancel all of the insurance policies of the redoubtable cowboy after they discovered of the stunts he had mapped out to place into the creation. The horse Tony was assigned additionally an element that straightforward stood out by itself. The leap of the horse and rider of a yawning chasm has by no means been equalled within the realms of image making. It was this stunt which even the Fox folks thought too daring for Combine, which induced the cowboy and his insurance coverage folks to half firm: Three Jumps Forward is solely the final phrase in motion.” Arizona Republican, Phoenix, AZ, 5/6/1923.

There have been rumors that it was one in every of a number of stuntmen: Ed Stimpson or Richard Talmadge (who at one level claimed to have made the leap using a horse named Ranger) or Andy Jauregui. There have been even rumors {that a} stuntman died making an attempt the leap . . . or that there was no leap in any respect — that Combine and Tony rode throughout a bridge that was faraway from the print (though that might not have resulted within the look of a leap). One other supply claimed that a number of riders carried out the leap over many days to get the fitting photographs.

In response to this text, here’s what Tom Combine stated (within the Commerce Journal, Commerce, TX, 9/21/1923):

“On Monday,” stated Tom, “I drove a stage coach and 4 horses over a 100 foot cliff. All rolled to the underside however nobody was harm. Tuesday, I jumped Tony over a twenty foot chasm that spanned a ninety foot drop. To get the very best angle the stunt was repeated 5 occasions however nonetheless there have been no accidents. Wednesday, I rolled down one other cliff with Tony and neither of us have been scratched. Thursday, being a authorized vacation, I stayed at house with my household. Friday morning, I went to see a health care provider to ensure that I used to be in good situation.”

My feeling is the leap was in all probability actual. Again then, stunts have been much more harmful than they’re at this time (and bear in mind these diving horses in Atlantic Metropolis?). Definitely to ask your horse to take that sort of leap requires a substantial amount of religion and a horse with some actual leaping expertise.

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