The Adventure of Jim Bowie – TV Series

I would appreciate some help on this – I can’t remember this series being on British Television in the mid – late Fifties but I could be wrong.

Nor am I familiar with the actor Scott Forbes who played Jim Bowie, but on reading about him, he does seem to have been a hard working, resourceful and brave person who went off to the US in the fifties to try to push his career forward – and push it forward he did.

Jim Bowie

The Adventure of Jim Bowie must have achieved some success in the US as 78 episodes were produced.

It was set against  the backdrop of 1930s French-American New Orleans and backwoods Louisiana territory.  Scott Forbes starred as wealthy young planter Jim Bowie.

Wielding a knife – as pictured below on the front on a promotional Book –  instead of a gun, Bowie  pursued lawbreakers and battled social injustice in western adventures

Jim Bowie 2

 

Jim Bowie 3

Jim Bowie represents action from a simpler time and conjures up fond memories of  places like Disneyland where his sort of character would fit well.

Scott Forbes plays the part well as the strapping Bowie and his narration adds a nice extra touch to these episodes.

I am informed that if you enjoy “boy’s adventure” themed films and books like Tom Sawyer you’ll appreciate this series.

 

Jim Bowie 4

Jim Bowie 

Scott Forbes was a British actor  – born in High Wycombe – who made a name for himself in the United States, primarily on television. He had studied at Oxford University before choosing to become an Actor under another name  and then trying his luck in the US – and his luck was certainly in when he was cast in the title role in this Television series. He perfected an American accent for the role.

He played the title role in the 1950s TV Western series “The Adventures of Jim Bowie.” He also had a career as a playwright and screenwriter, writing in his later career under the name C. Scott Forbes.

He later returned to England and died in Swindon in 1997.

 

This Obituary from The Independent shows just what an interesting man he was :-

Scott Forbes was a complex and very private Englishman who rocketed to fame in the surprising role of a cowboy called Jim Bowie, on a popular American television series, The Adventures of Jim Bowie, in the late 1950s.

For years afterwards, he would find himself surrounded by excited American tourists in public places, having become part of the fantasy life of the American nation. It was a well-kept secret at the time that Jim Bowie, with his deep Southern drawl and astonishing good looks, was played by an Englishman educated at Repton and Balliol College, Oxford. The promoters of the series, feeling that the US public would not accept a frontiersman played by an Englishman, launched him with a fabricated biography, claiming that he had been born in South Africa and grown up in eastern Pennsylvania.

Scott Forbes drifted into acting as a young man-about-London after someone suggested, entirely on account of his good looks, that he audition for the leading role in a play. Up to that moment he had no thought of acting, having read PPE at Oxford and gone on to a job at the Ministry of Defence. He got the part and was taken up by the theatre impresario Binkie Beaumont, at whose suggestion he took the stage name of “Julian Dallas”.

As Julian Dallas he went to the Liverpool Old Vic for a year in the late 1940s, working with Tyrone Guthrie and Peter Glenville. He then returned to London for a number of plays, including Peter Ustinov’s House of Regrets and The Cradle Song directed by John Gielgud, and made two films with the J. Arthur Rank Organisation, The Reluctant Widow and The Blue Mill, before going to Hollywood under contract to Warner Brothers in 1950.

He did a lot of work in American films, theatre and television, but many people felt that he should have stayed in London. John Gielgud, touring California with his Ages of Man, said, “Oh Julian, my dear boy, whatever are you doing here?” John Osborne saw him in The Rainmaker at the La Jolla theatre in California and said: “We need people like you in the London theatre. You would be a star!”

As an actor Forbes had a quiet intensity which could draw his audience into the action. His magnetism, which began with his looks, deepened with his development as an actor. He had a very beautiful, expressive voice and knew how to use it. He went to drama school in New York, studied acting with Morris Carnovisky and worked on his Southern accent for Jim Bowie with the actress Jeanne Moody, from Alabama, who subsequently became his wife and mother of his two daughters, Elena and Jessica.

Scott Forbes and his Wife Jeanne Moody

Scott Forbes and his Wife Jeanne Moody 2

ABOVE – Scott Forbes with his Wife Jeanne Moody

He acted in the theatre opposite some of America’s leading ladies, including Eva Le Gallienne in Maxwell Anderson’s Elizabeth the Queen (1961-62; the critic James Powers described him as “the dashing, handsome and bewitching Earl of Essex”), played Maxim de Winter in Rebecca on live television in 1952 and made films with Errol Flynn and James Mason. He also played opposite Eartha Kitt in Seventy Times Seven (1959), made in Cuba.

Forbes returned to Britain to do some television in 1960, including Alun Owen’s play Lena, My Lena with Billie Whitelaw, and again in 1963, this time to work in the theatre, playing the husband in Harold Pinter’s The Lover, with Vivienne Merchant and directed by Pinter. It was at this point that he became seriously interested in writing plays and scripts. His play The Meter Man, produced by Ronald Hayman at the Lamda theatre in 1964, was subsequently performed all round the world and made into the film The Penthouse (1967) with Suzy Kendall.

He and his family returned to live in Britain in 1963 and he continued to write plays and scripts as well as acting, mainly for television, becoming a familiar face on BBC television’s Play of the Month. But in the second half of his life he gradually lost the taste for public performance, becoming reclusive and quiet in his ways. These years were characterised by a deepening love of his family and home, of the classical music he would listen to by the hour and a habit of solitude and long hours spent in writing.

When Scott Forbes died his family held a small private funeral with no announcements in the press. He is buried in a country churchyard near his last home in Wiltshire, close to the fence, away from the crowd.

posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have Comments (2)

2 Responses to “The Adventure of Jim Bowie – TV Series”

  1. Philip Moore says:

    No – I don’t remember him either! ……but what an interesting piece on Scott Forbes. Fascinating. Thank you Movieman.

    • Movieman says:

      Thanks for your comment Philip. Scott Forbes does seem to have been a fascinating person and actor – and what a varied career he had. Don’t know much more about him but have a feeling that from what I have read I would have liked to have met him and listened to the stories from the his life. Also I cannot remember if the Jim Bowie series ever played on TV in England – I would like to know that.

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