Equine motion picture star. In the days of the early westerns, an actor portraying a cowboy would need to furnish and maintain his own horse. He would either rent or purchase an animal from one of the many Hollywood trainers flourishing in those days. Smoke, a palomino was made available to Dick Foran for his Warner Bro's series of western movies by Victor Daniels. The horse was credited in nine of the films but appeared in several uncredited. "Moonlight On The Prairie" (1935) was the first followed by "Treachery Rides The Range" "Trailin' West," "California Mail," and "Song of The Saddle," all filmed in 1936. 1937 was a busy year with "Guns of The Peco's," "Cherokee Strip," "Blazing Sixes," "Empty Holsters," "Devil's Saddle Legion," "Land Beyond the Law," and finally the last in the series "Prairie Thunder." Smoke was owned and trained by then stunt man Victor Daniels (Chief Thunder Cloud) who went on to become a Hollywood actor. He is fondly remembered for his original silent movie role as Tonto, the Indian sidekick of the Lone Ranger. Smoke although a very clever horse performed many amazing tricks both in films and on the stage. However, he never achieved the fame other horse actors of the time enjoyed, mainly Gene Autry's Champion and Roy Rogers' Trigger. Foran would always sit on the back of Smoke while rendering a sweet western melody. As one of thousands of youngsters who flocked to the Saturday Matinees to see his favorite cowboy and sidekick horse and probably mirroring the sentiment of the many young matinee critics avoided Dick Foran movies. Singing seemed demeaning while reflecting on credibility while a rough and tough cowboy maintained law and order by vanquishing the villains. However, Audry and Rogers would later prevail with singing. Victor not only maintained the animal but often referred to Smoke as his pet. Heartbroken at the time of his death at his ranch near Ventura, he would have the animal interred at the Los Angeles Pet Cemetery in Calabasas. The faded inscription on the marker of Smoke reaffirms this: "Famous Horse of Stage & Screen, Beloved Pet of Chief & Mrs Thunder Cloud."
Bio by: Donald Greyfield