CTVA Profile - Writer - J. Benton Cheney

CTVA - The Classic TV Archive
Master Index (all genres) # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 Producers  -  Writers - Directors - Actors -  Actresses  Departed 

Profile - Writer - J. Benton Cheney

THERE WERE
MANY SCRIPT WRITERS WORKING IN HOLLYWOOD DURING THE 30'S AND 40'S WHO WERE VERY
GOOD. THE ONE THAT WAS ONE OF THE MOST BUSY AND PROLIFIC WAS J. BENTON CHENEY,
ALSO KNOWN AS JACK BENTON. CHENEY'S FIRST WRITING ASSIGNMENT WAS A SCREEN STORY
HE WROTE IN 1937. IT WAS A MYSTERY TITLED: "THE GAME THAT KILLS"(1937),COLUMBIA
PICTURES. NEXT WAS ANOTHER SCREEN STORY, ALSO PRODUCED BY COLUMBIA, A WESTERN:"THE
OLD WYOMING TRAIL"(1937),FOLLOWED BY, AN ACTION FEATURE, "THE MARINES ARE HERE",
THIS TIME FOR MOMOGRAM PICTURES. CHENEY REALLY LIKE WESTERNS AND HIS FIRST LOVE
WAS TO WRITE SCRIPTS ABOUT WESTERN LIFE. IN 1940 HE WROTE A SCREEN STORY THAT WAS
ADAPTED BY SCREEN WRITER, BARRY SHIPMAN. THE TITLED WAS "ROCKY MOUNTAIN
RANGERS"(1940),PRODUCED BY REPUBLIC PICTURES. ONE YEAR LATER, CHENEY RECEIVED A
CALL FROM HARRY'POP' SHERMAN WHO WAS PRODUCING A WESTERN SERIES AT PARAMOUNT
PICTURES ALREADY IN PRODUCTION CALLED HOPALONG CASSIDY, STARRING WILLIAM BOYD.
CHENEY WAS PART OF A WRITING STAFF, THAT SOMETIMES WORKED IN TEAMS, TURNING OUT
SCRIPTS FOR THE SERIES. CHENEY'S FIRST EFFORT WAS A FEATURE TITLED, "DOOMED
CARAVAN"(1941). HIS ASSOCIATION WITH POP SHERMAN LASTED UNTIL 1944. SOME OF THE
BETTER ENTRY'S IN THE SERIES THAT HE WROTE WERE,"UNDERCOVER MAN"(1942),"RIDERS
OF THE TIMBERLAND"(1941),DIRECTED BY ACE HELMER, LESLIE SELANDER. IN 1944 WAS
"MYSTERY MAN", DIRECTED BY GEORGE ARCHAINBAUD, WHO LATER WAS TO BE ASSOCIATED
WITH GENE AUTRY FEATURE AND TV FILMS. AFTER THE HOPALONG CASSIDY FILMS, CHENEY
FREELANCED FOR VARIOUS STUDIOS, THEN IN 1946 HE WAS HIRED BY MONOGRAM PICTURES
TO SCRIPT FEATURES FOR THE 'JOHNNY MACK BROWN' SERIES THAT WAS BEING DIRECTED BY
NOTED DIRECTOR, LAMBERT HILLYER,WHO DIRECTED ALMOST ALL OF THE ENTRIES IN THE
SERIES THAT RAN FROM 1943-1949. THE SERIES WAS VERY POPULAR AND PROFITABLE,
THESE LITTLE PRAIRIE GEMS COMBINED FAST AND FURIOUS ACTION, SIMPLE, AND
UNCOMPLICATED STORIES. SOME OF THE NOTE-WORTHY STORIES THAT CHENEY SCRIPTED
WERE, "GENTLEMAN FROM TEXAS'(1946),"LAND OF THE LAWLESS"(1947) AND "TRAILS
END"(1949), THAT HAPPENED TO BE DIRECTOR LAMBERT HILLYER'S LAST DIRECTORIAL
ASSIGNMENT. IN 1949, CHENEY WROTE A 'CISCO KID' FEATURE,"SATAN'S
CRADLE", PRODUCED BY UNITED ARTISTS AND DIRECTED BY THE LEGENDARY, FORD BEEBE.
NOW IT WAS TIME FOR J. BENTON CHENEY TO MAKE THE TRANSITION TO TELEVISION. HIS
FIRST PROJECT WAS 'THE CISCO KID' SERIES, FOR WHICH HE WROTE THE FIRST EPISODE,
AND A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF SCRIPTS, INCLUDING THE FINAL EPISODE. OTHER TV SERIES
THAT HE WORKED ON WERE: "THE GENE AUTRY SHOW"(1950-1956),"HOPALONG
CASSIDY"(1949-1952),"ANNIE OAKLEY"(1954-1957),AND MANY MORE. ANY DEVOTED WESTERN
FAN SHOULD AND PROBABLY DOES APPLAUD THE FINE CONTRIBUTIONS MADE BY SCREEN
WRITER, J. BENTON CHENEY.

Sal Crisanti <crisanti52@netscape.net>

Return to The Classic TV Archive Home Page
Feedback