TexasEscapes.comWe Take Texas Personally
A Texas Travel, History & Architecture Magazine
SITE MAP : : NEW : : RESERVATIONS : : TEXAS TOWNS A-Z : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : ::ARCHITECTURE : : IMAGES
HOME
SEARCH SITE
RESERVATIONS
Hotels
Cars
Air
USA
World
Cruises
TEXAS TRAVEL
TOWNS A to Z
Towns by Region
Ghost Towns
TRIPS :
State Parks
Rivers
Lakes
Drives
Maps
LODGING
TEXAS
FORUM
FEATURES :
Ghosts
People
Historic Trees
Cemeteries
ARCHITECTURE :
Courthouses
Jails
Bridges
Theaters
Churches
Gas Stations
Water Towers
Monuments/Statues
Schoolhouses
Post Offices
Depots
IMAGES :
Old Neon
Murals
Signs
BOOKS
COLUMNS
TE Site
Site Information
Recommend Us
Newsletter
About Us
Contact TE
Recommended DVD
 
 Texas : Features : Columns : "Texas Tales"
Pardner Jones by Mike Cox

"Jones was the go-to guy for shooting hats off actor’s heads or cigars out of their mouths. A la William Tell, he also could make instant apple sauce, albeit with a bullet instead of an arrow."
Mike Cox
“He is seldom heard of himself,” the Associated Press reported in 1927, “but twelve hundred times he has held the life of some screen star or featured player within the crook of his trigger finger.”

One reason that this interesting but virtually forgotten Texan could be labeled as “seldom heard of” even at the height of his Hollywood career lay in the fact that at birth he had been saddled with the most common of surnames – Jones.

Hundreds of thousands if not millions of fine people have the last names of Jones, but from the standpoint of a self-promoter or researcher, a person could hardly have a worse surname. Keeping up with the Joneses is tough.

If Edward Jones had been branded with a more distinctive handle, it would be a lot easier to learn about him today. As it is, of all the billions of web pages out there in Cyber Space, only one semi-substantial reference to Jones surfaces in an Internet search. Back when the information highway was just a dirt road, the showman in Jones must have realized he needed to enhance his name a bit for better recognition. What he – or someone -- came up with was “King Fisher” or “Pardner” Jones.



Jones’ use of “King Fisher” is not too surprising. Jones was born in Del Rio, not far from the South Texas range of outlaw-lawman John “King” Fisher. Fisher and former Austin city marshal Ben Thomas were gunned down in San Antonio in 1884, probably about the year of Jones’ birth. King Fisher, unlike most Texans named Jones, had strong name recognition in late 19th century and early 20th century Texas.

How long Jones stayed in Texas before he headed west is one of many unknowns connected to his life, but he claimed that he grew up in New Mexico and Arizona. That’s where he learned to shoot, which led to his unusual way of making a living. Known as the “gunman of Hollywood,” Jones did stunt shooting for Western filmmakers, often using real bullets.

In 1923, Jones worked as technical advisor during the filming of a screenplay based on Emerson Hough’s “The Covered Wagon,” the first Western epic. Produced by James Cruze and shot in Utah, the film rejuvenated the Western, restoring the genre to life from one of its many near-death experiences over the years.

Cruze sought and achieved realism in his movie, and Jones helped make that happen. The Texan also provided a little Old West reality off screen.

During the filming of a buffalo hunt, a cantankerous bison charged the horses pulling a wagon containing chief cameraman Karl Brown and his camera. The wagon overturned, dumping Brown in the path of an infuriated buffalo.

As Photoplay Magazine later reported: “Old Ed Jones, a movie actor, a puncher and a dead shot, calmly…shot between horses, men, cameras and wagon – a space about a foot in diameter – and brought down the buffalo. It saved Brown’s life probably and that’s how they had buffalo meat the first day in camp.”

When “talkies” put the writers of subtitles out of business in 1927, the principal sound associated with an appearance by Jones was the crack of gunfire.

“When a director wants realism in a sequence where bullets are supposed to be flying perilously close to the principal characters he calls on Pardner Jones,” the Associated Press said.

Indeed, Jones was the go-to guy for shooting hats off actor’s heads or cigars out of their mouths. A la William Tell, he also could make instant apple sauce, albeit with a bullet instead of an arrow. His crowning achievement came when actor Tom Mix let Jones “smash with a bullet the works of a watch he carried over his heart.”

In addition to shooting, Jones also handled bit parts, his filmography listing 37 movies, from “The Man from the East” in 1914 to “The Arizona Wildcat” in 1939. Jones also facilitated horseback scenes and wrangled horses and cattle on location. During that 25-year career, movies went from silent black-and-white one-reelers to sophisticated color films with sound.

No matter his common name and lack of star status, Jones must have made good copy for Hollywood press agents, the screen magazines and the tabloids. Unfortunately, whatever else was written about him contemporarily remains to be rediscovered.

One thing is for sure about Ed “King Fisher” or “Pardner” Jones – he was a Texan who could shoot.


© Mike Cox
"Texas Tales"
- December 12, 2004 Column
HOME
Privacy Statement | Disclaimer
Website Content Copyright ©1998-2004. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved
This page last modified: December 12, 2004