DCML Digest, Vol 107, Issue 3

Ole Nielsen ole2001 at gmail.com
Thu Apr 5 13:56:24 CEST 2012

It makes little sense for this to be a reference to Wild Bill Hickok,
who died a lifetime before, in the context of spoofing famous current
actors. More likely the reference is to (Wild) Bill Elliott, who
starred in various westerns and the popular serials shown alongside
the lead features at movie theatres at the time. See
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0254381/ and books.google.com (search for
Wild Bill Elliott: a complete filmography).
The 'wild' epithet came along after Elliott played the role Wild Bill
Saunders three times. then Wild Bill Hickok a dozen times between 1940
and 1942, followed by one appearance as Wild Bill Tolliver. He would
then star in eight serials under the character name Wild Bill Elliott
between 1943-1944, the last of which, Hidden Valley Outlaws, premiered
on April 2nd 1944.
One can speculate that his rise to stardom may have affected his self
image, and by anyone but the matinee audience of children (remember
the Barks one-pager?) he would be considered a "ham".
He went on to portray the Red Ryder in sixteen more appearances, and
star in his own comics series between 1950 and 1955. The next year Red
Ryder Comics too folded, and the golden age of the western was over.
Elliott's last five movies, 1955-1957, starred him as a police
lieutenant in modern Los Angeles.
I hope this info from the Interwebs is helpful.

- Ole

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