Ok, this informal shot from the Donald Gordon Collection looks a bit off.
Who belongs to what appears to be an elbow on the left almost obscuring our man, who is engaged in earnest conversation with a close pal?
Donald was a stand in and bit player. And no question that he made friends with many stars. Can you identify the guy to the right?
Ok, we’ll tell you even if you haven’t yet guessed. Yes, that’s Buster Crabbe, with whom Donald enjoyed a particularly warm friendship.
Born Clarence Lindon Crabbe on Feb. 17, 1907 in Oakland, Cal., Buster had a long career. He parlayed his athleticism — as an Olympic swim champion – into wannabe Johnny Weissmuller status in 1933’s Tarzan the Fearless.
This was followed by various serials of the 30′ s and 40’s, notably as Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers and Billy the Kid (with Al “Fuzzy” St. John as his comic sidekick). He worked right up to television in the 1950’s when he starred with his son, Cuffy, in the series “Captain Gallant of the French Foreign Legion.”
The Donald Gordon Collection has several more revealing photos of Crabbe and his family, which we’ll post in later blogs. The actor was a private man, so it was a genuine token of his friendship with Donald to allow these candid shots to be taken of him and the family.
Crabbe died April 23, 1983 in Scottsdale, Arizpna.