Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tamara Shayne

Tamara Shayne, great uncle's

Wikipedia entry on Tamara Shayne. Tamara was my great uncle's daughter. She was married to Akim Tamiroff. Tamara was an actress, appearing in films and on Broadway. My mother lived with them for a short time when she first came to Los Angeles in the late 1940's.

Monday, December 19, 2011

1933 Western: The Forest

 Grandpa Duke listed in credits as "Jake," a henchman, in this western starring Randolph Scott.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Facebook Page

I started a FB page on this topic; I think I should have just called it "I Come From Circus Folk" but I didn't realize what the process was, exactly, as I was going through it. So it's clumsily called Duke Lee, Akim Tamiroff, the Gladstone Sisters...oh well. Take a look and feel free to contribute your own links to circus and old time movie history, the west, vaudville, Calfornia history -- especially movie history -- Tom Mix circus, etc.

Wikipedia Entry: Duke R. Lee

Wikipedia's brief bio and filmography on my paternal grandfather Duke R. Lee:
Duke R. Lee - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Antique Army Revolver: Sold! Duke R. Lee's Circus Gun

Added on January 3rd 2012: Grandpa Duke looks very much like my father, John (Jack, or "Big D" as we called him) Lee in this photo! 

I was contacted today by someone who bought this revolver at auction. The revolver belonged to my grandfather Duke R. Lee, who was a carny, actor, stunt man, AD, and so much more.  According to the information at the auction site, the revolver belonged to my uncle (deceased) at one time. The retired curator of the Gene Autry museum had bought it from my aunt; (Duke Jr.'s wife.) I never knew of this because, as I commented to the auction winner now in possession of the revolver, that side of the family had always been estranged from the rest of us. Even though I lived with my father, John (Jack) Gladstone Lee, Duke's younger brother, when I was a teen-ager, that side of the family didn't see eye to eye with us.  Black Powder Colt Single Action Army Revolver, Documented to Two Generations of Western Actors

Here's the blurb from the auction site:
According to factory records (copy included) this revolver was shipped 27 March 1876 to H & D Folsom Arms of New York City. Fixed sights, with the one line Hartford address on the barrel, two-line patent dates on the frame, and "45 CAL" on the trigger guard. Matching numbers on the frame, grip straps and cylinder. Smooth one-piece burl walnut grips. Included with the lot is an authenticity letter from a prior owner, who states this arm was the property of Duke R. Lee (1881-1959) and his son Duke Lee (?-1999), aka "Big Duke" and "Little Duke". Big Duke rode with the Buffalo Bill Cody show, the Tom Mix Circus and the Miller Brothers 101 Wild West before making his break into film in 1915. Little Duke also worked as a rider in the Tom Mix Circus, and transitioned to film and television work. Also included are pictures of the Dukes, as well as a copy of Big Duke's filmography.

The revolver sold at auction

My grandfather, Duke R. Lee with revolver. He looks quite a bit like my dad John Gladstone Lee here!

Excerpt of letter from retired curator of the Autry Museum, previous owner of the revolver

Certificate: Revolver