The phrase Wonder Horses refers to the equine companions of cowboy heroes in early Western films. What makes these horses different from others that have appeared on the silver screen is their rise from trusty steed to a genuine screen personality. There have been a number of horses who have enjoyed such fame, often receiving equal or second billing with their human costars.
The first horse to bear the name “The Wonder Horse,” Tony was the companion of actor Tom Mix.Tony was a magnificent chestnut horse with a narrow white stripe and snip on his face and white stockings on his hind legs. Tom Mix bought Tony from Pat Crisman for $600 when Tony was a 2 years old colt.) Mix seems to have been the first film cowboy to have a horse co-star. Mix made more than 160 cowboy films throughout the 1920s. These featured action-oriented scripts with heroes and villains sharply defined and a clean-cut cowboy always "saved the day."
Tony, starred in over two dozen silent and sound films during his career, becoming a celebrity in his own right. When Mix placed his handprints in the cement outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater in 1927, Tony’s hoofprints were placed alongside them. He was the first horse to be given equal billing with his human costar, and was featured in the title of three movies: Just Tony (1922), Oh! You Tony (1924), and Tony Runs Wild (1926). Tony is listed as appearing in thirty-four films between 1922 and 1932.The film Just Tony (Fox Film Corporation), is based on a Max Brand short story, Alcatraz. Tony's image would appear on film posters, his name included in a number of film titles, and he accompanied Mix on international publicity tours. Tony was immortalized in a series of junior novels and comic books, including the 1934 children's book Tony and his Pals.
Tony is most known for his intelligence and ability to perform remarkable stunts, many of which would not be allowed today due to the danger involved. Tony performed in the years before the American Humane Association oversaw the use of animals on American productions. Since animals do not 'agree' to be actors (cannot verbalize agreement) the American Humane Association began to oversee how animal labor was created, filmed, and commercialized in 1940, 8 years after Tony's retirement.
Tony retired from the film industry in 1932 at the age of twenty-two when he was slightly injured on the set of his last movie, The Fourth Horseman (1932). He outlived Tom Mix, dying in 1942 at the age of 40, two years to the day after Mix was killed in a car accident. Tony's passing was noted in the New York Times. - Wikipedia
Noted below is our review of Cowboy Horses. We will soon add links to the history of all the horses and their riders.
Trusted Steeds - The Old Corral
Western Horses and Their Riders - 50's Web