Sunset Carson

Sunset Carson.jpg

QUESTION:  Which of the following performers was NOT born in Oklahoma?
A)  Will Rogers
B)  James Garner
C)  Kristen Chenoweth
D)  Mary Steenburgen
ANSWER BELOW

The images of many actors and actresses adorn the walls of the Music Room here at the American Treasure Tour, spanning from the early days of cinema to today. From the all-but-forgotten Florence Lawrence, the biggest star of her day back at the turn of the twentieth century to Tom Cruise, who continues to make films today. Then, there are men and women who graced the silver screen some time between those two. Today, we are going to talk about a man who went by the name of Sunset Carson. Born in Gracemont, Oklahoma in 1920 (years after Florence Lawrence's star had faded and decades before Tom Cruise would be born), Carson became the stage name of a boy whose birth name was Winifred Maurice Harrison. Maybe inspired by his name, Winifred entered the world of the rodeo as a young man, working for the likes of famous cowboy Tom Mix for a time, and traveling to South America to show off his skills. By his early twenties, Winifred became Sunset, and his career in B-westerns began. Within a few years, he was in the top-ten best-paid western stars, riding his horse named Cactus. 

1945 was easily the peak of Carson's career. He was cranking out popular films as fast as he could make them for Republic Pictures. By the end of '46, his career with Republic was over. Carson claimed it was over contract disputes, Republic over public intoxication and other scandalous behavior. By the dawn of the 1950's, he was sporadically receiving smaller roles in low-budget films.  His last appearance in front of the camera was in the first episode of the television show Simon & Simon in 1985.  He died five years later, having been married five times and spending his later years attending western-themed conventions.

ANSWER:  D)  Mary Steenburgen.  She was actually born in Newport, Arkansas