Curley Bradley, 74; Starred on Radio as the Final Tom Mix
Curley Bradley, the fourth and last Tom Mix on radio, who exhorted America’s youngsters to “Go and tell your mom, Shredded Ralston can’t be beat!” died Monday in Long Beach Memorial Hospital.
He was 74 and died of complications of emphysema.
Bradley was a former stunt man who worked with Mix in silent films years before he became the voice of the cowboy star on radio.
He also was a member of The Ranch Boys, a group that sang on Don McNeill’s “Breakfast Club” and on “The Fitch Bandwagon,” starring Phil Harris and Alice Faye.
Bradley was born George Courtney and as a youth was a cowboy in his native Oklahoma where he learned the ranch-house songs he later was to perform on radio.
He originally joined “The Tom Mix Ralston Straightshooters” in 1936. In those years the program was ranked ahead of even “Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy.” At first he portrayed Pecos Williams, one of Mix’s sidekicks.
When he succeeded Artells Dickson, Jack Holden and Russell Thorson as Tom Mix, the radio cowboy became as adept at singing as he was at shooting.
In addition to its reputation for thrilling action, the Mix show was one of radio’s leading giveaway programs with kids offered badges, comic books and photos in exchange for a dime and Ralston cereal box tops, all to be sent to Checkerboard Square, St. Louis.
The three-times-a-week program was last heard on June 23, 1950. Bradley is survived by his wife, Margaret.