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Ford Beebe

Ford Beebe
Ford Beebe.jpg
Born(1888-11-26)November 26, 1888
DiedNovember 26, 1978(1978-11-26) (aged 90)
Other namesFord I. Beebe
Ford L. Beebe
Film director
Years active1916–1977

Ford Beebe (November 26, 1888 – November 26, 1978) was a screenwriter and director. He entered the film business as a writer around 1916 and over the next 60 years wrote and/or directed almost 200 films.

He specialized in B-movies – mostly Westerns – and action serials, working on the "Buck Rogers" and "Flash Gordon" serials for Universal Pictures.


Ford Beebe was born on November 26, 1888, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.[1][2] Before moving to Hollywood he was a freelance writer who was also experienced in advertising.[3][4] He arrived in Hollywood in 1916 and began working as a writer for Western films.[4] His first credit was as scenario writer for the 1916 film A Youth of Fortune.[2] Beebe directed for the first time when Leo D. Maloney, who had been directing a film called The Test, fell ill.[4][2] Beebe became known as a director of low-budget films and serials.[4] He was once described as being "an expert at making something out of nothing."[1] The first serial directed by Beebe was 1932's The Shadow of the Eagle.[5] He went on to direct several other serials, notably Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars, Buck Rogers, The Green Hornet, and Don Winslow of the Navy; these were noted by film historian Hal Erickson to be the best of Beebe's works.[6]

Beebe preferred to direct westerns; speaking to the Evening Independent, he said that westerns were the "bread and butter" of film studios.[7] He was listed as a director on over 100 films.[2] Alfred Hitchcock commended Beebe for his 1942 film Night Monster, impressed with the speed and economy of the production.[8]

Beebe was married to writer Frances Wiley.[9] The couple had eight children. Their only son, Ford Beebe, Jr., became a director like his father.[4] They lost twin daughters in infancy and had five daughters who survived it: Frances, Mary, Ruthann, Maxine, and Martha. In Beebe's later life he was married to Kitty Delevanti, with whom he had one son, Mike.

Selected filmography


  1. ^ a b Kinnard 2008, p. 173.
  2. ^ a b c d "Ford Beebe Biography & Filmography". Matinee Classics. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
  3. ^ Ford Beebe with Signal. The Moving Picture World, volume 28, p. 995.
  4. ^ a b c d e Quinlan 1999, p. 30.
  5. ^ "Ford I. Beebe - Movie and Film Biography and Filmography". Allmovie. Allrovi. Archived from the original on 3 February 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  6. ^ Erickson, Hal. "Ford I. Beebe". Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Theater Gossip". Evening Independent. 6 August 1943. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  8. ^ Kinnard 2008, p. 174.
  9. ^ "AROUND THE TOWN ; Writer and the granddaughter she never met pen kids' book". San Antonio Express-News. 20 January 2006.
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Ford Beebe
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