Roger Mobley

Last updated
Roger Mobley
RogerMobley WonderfulWorldOfDisney c1968.jpg
Mobley in The Wonderful World of Disney, circa 1968
Born (1949-01-16) January 16, 1949 (age 71)
OccupationChild actor (1958-1967)
Green Beret (1968-1970)
Police officer
Spouse(s)
Sharie Barclay Mobley
(m. 1968)
Children3
Website www.facebook.com/roger.mobley.16

Roger Lance Mobley (born January 16, 1949) is a former child actor in the 1950s and 1960s who made more than 100 television appearances and co-starred in nine feature films in a nine-year career. [1] He joined the Green Berets (46th Special Forces Company) during the Vietnam War, and was subsequently a police officer in Beaumont, Texas. [1]

Contents

Background

Mobley is one of eight children of Arthur Lance Mobley and Charlene V. Mobley. Lance Mobley, as the father was known, was born in Centralia in southern Illinois, and a retired pipefitter at the time of his death in a hospital in Beaumont, Texas. Charlene and he married in 1939, when he was 17, and she was 15. [2] The couple moved from Indiana in the early 1950s to Pecos in Reeves County in West Texas before they headed in 1957 to Whittier, near Los Angeles.

Charlene Mobley was born in rural Oil City, Louisiana. For many years, she was a real estate agent in Beaumont and then Vidor, Texas. For most of her life, she was a lay preacher in various churches in the communities in which the Mobleys resided. The senior Mobleys are interred in Vidor at Restlawn Cemetery. [3]

Acting

Mobley with Earl Holliman in The Wide Country (1962) EHandRGinTWC.jpg
Mobley with Earl Holliman in The Wide Country (1962)

Mobley (pronounced "Mob'-ly" in real life but "Mobe'-ly" as a performer at the behest of studio executives who disliked the way the former sounds) [4] sang with his older brother and sister in The Little Mobley Trio in Texas where the family then lived. After moving to California when Mobley was six or seven, the trio appeared on the Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour with disappointing results.

They were spotted, though, by Lola Moore, then the pre-eminent agent for child actors, who expressed an interest in Roger and arranged his audition for the part of eight-year-old Homer "Packy" Lambert in the NBC Saturday-morning Western television series, Fury , starring Peter Graves, Bobby Diamond, and William Fawcett. He appeared in 38 episodes of the series. [5]

Many of Mobley's subsequent myriad television guest appearances were also in Westerns, but he was capable of playing against type, such as his 1963 role of the troubled youngster Joby Paxton in the episode "Somehow It Gets to Be Tomorrow" of CBS's Route 66 .[ citation needed ]

In 1960, Mobley was cast as young Matt Denby, Jr., in the episode, "The Madstone" of the syndicated anthology series, Death Valley Days , hosted by Stanley Andrews. In the story line, young Denby is bitten by a rabid skunk and must get the madstone of his maternal grandfather, Caleb Reese (George Macready, which is then the only treatment for hydrophobia. Myron Healey played Denby's father, whose wife stays behind in Texas, while he seeks to start a new ranch in the New Mexico Territory. Denby, Sr., is alienated from his father-in-law, but the two make amends as the episode ends.[ citation needed ]

In 1964, after having been impressed with Mobley's performance as Gustav in Emil and the Detectives , Walt Disney signed him to the title role in the highly acclaimed and Emmy-nominated "Adventures of Gallegher" serials for the Wonderful World of Color . Gallegher is an amateur sleuth newspaper reporter, a character created by author Richard Harding Davis. [1] Contrary to popular rumor, Mobley's name was what Walt Disney wrote on his last memo. [6]

After 9 years and appearances in 118 television programs or feature films, Mobley's career was interrupted at the age of 18 by military service. Mobley was quoted, accordingly: "Uncle Walt [Disney] had plans for me, but so did Uncle Sam, and Uncle Sam won." [7]

Personal life

Mobley graduated from Whittier Christian High School in La Habra in Orange County, California, at which he played football. On June 7, 1968, he married his high-school sweetheart, the former Sharie Barclay, whom he had met in the eighth grade. The Mobleys have three children: Rebekah Mobley Justice, Elizabeth Mobley, and Matthew Jason Mobley (born 1972), formerly a first lieutenant with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan.

Military service

In 1968, Mobley was drafted into the United States Army. After boot camp at Fort Ord, California, Mobley requested his term of service be extended to qualify for training in Special Forces. He completed parachute jump training at Fort Benning, Georgia, after having volunteered for the Special Forces training at the John F. Kennedy Center for Special Warfare at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. On completion of his training, Mobley was assigned to the 46th Special Forces Company (Airborne), 1st Special Forces Group. He returned to the United States in November 1970. [8]

Back in civilian life, Mobley discovered only $6,000 had been set aside from his extensive work as a child actor. He and his bride, Sharie, relocated to Beaumont, Texas, where he joined the police department. He was also a criminal investigator for the cities of Vidor and Jasper, Texas. [9]

Multiple jobs

Besides law enforcement, Mobley worked many blue-collar jobs, including pipefitter, longshoreman, welder, bull rider, lumberjack, milk-delivery driver, Federal Express truck driver, prison guard, and lifeguard. He was a football/basketball coach at a private school in Beaumont. He was employed as a climber/inspector on wind turbine farms around the nation before retiring. [1] As of 2015, Mobley was living in Arkansas and operating a log skidder for a logging company.

Political and religious beliefs

According to his autobiographical sketch on his Facebook page, Mobley is a Christian conservative who opposes legalized abortion, same-sex marriage, and divorce. He calls the Bible his favorite book. He is a member of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

Filmography

YearTitleRoleNotes
1958-1960FuryHomer "Packy" Lambert38 episodes
1959 Buckskin Noah WesleyEpisode: "Mr. Rush's Secretary" (with Jane Darwell)
1959 Bachelor Father Little LeaguerEpisode: Bentley Goes to Washington" (with Whit Bissell, Sue Ane Langdon, and Flip Mark)
1959 A Dog's Best Friend Pip WheelerFilm (with Bill Williams and Marcia Henderson)
1959-1963 Wagon Train Multiple rolesEight episodes
1960 Hawaiian Eye Stevie HughesEpisode: "With This Ring" (with Paul Richards and Ruta Lee)
1960The RunawayFelipe RobertoFilm
1960-1961 The Detectives Boy and PaulTwo episodes: "A Barrel Full of Monkeys" and "Shuttle"
1961 Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre Little MartinEpisode: "The Scar" (with Lew Ayres, Mort Mills, Patricia Barry, and Alan Hale, Jr.)
1961 The Donna Reed Show Tony Martin, Jr.Episode: "Tony Martin Visits" (with Tony Martin)
1961 Outlaws Davey MorganEpisode: "Blind Spot" (with Gary Merrill)
1961 National Velvet Bradley Walton, IIIEpisode: "The Riding Mistress" (with Richard Deacon and Beverly Lunsford)
1961 The Silent Call Guy BrancatoFilm (with Gail Russell and David McLean)
1961 The Loretta Young Show Henry Sands, Jr.Episode: "Not in Our Stars" (with Loretta Young and H. M. Wynant)
1961 Boy Who Caught a Crook KidChildren's film
1961 Gunsmoke Thad FerrinEpisode: "Miss Kitty" (with Frank Sutton, Harold J. Stone, and Dabbs Greer)
1961-1962 87th Precinct Danny and Lane Conners, respectivelyEpisodes: "Lady Killer" and "A Bullet for Katie"
1961 and 1963 Death Valley Days Little Matt Denby and Matt, respectivelyEpisodes: "The Madstone" (with Myron Healey) and "Deadly Decision" (with James Caan)
1961 and 1965 Dr. Kildare Jamie Carroll and Alan Burnside, respecivelyEpisodes: "Hit and Run" and "The Time Buyers"
1962 Straightaway DaleEpisode: "A Moment in the Sun" (with Robert Blake)
1962 The Tall Man David HarperEpisode: "St. Louis Woman" (with Jan Clayton and Russ Conway)
1962 Alcoa Premiere Lonnie Dunlap"Second Chance" (with Earl Holliman, Andrew Prine, Cliff Robertson, Jacqueline Scott, Roy Barcroft, and Don "Red" Barry)
1962 Frontier Circus Andy JukesEpisode: "Mighty Like Rogue" (with J. Pat O'Malley, Jena Engstrom, and Joby Baker)
1962 The Law and Mr. Jones Tommy PierceEpisode: "The Boy Who Said 'No'" (with Russell Johnson and Eve McVeagh)
1962 Jack the Giant Killer PeterAdventure film
1962 The Virginian Homer TatumEpisode: "Throw a Long Rope" (with fellow guest stars John Anderson, Ted Knight, and Jacqueline Scott)
1962 The Wide Country (series spun off from Alcoa Premiere episode above)Billy-Joe PerryEpisode: "Journey Down a Dusty Road" (with Wallace Ford)
1962 Cheyenne Gabe Morse and Billy ZacharyEpisodes "The Idol" and "Sweet Sam"
1962 Going My Way Miles CorbinEpisode: "Ask Me No Questions" (with Kevin McCarthy and Joanne Linville)
1962 Empire Kieran HaskellEpisode: "When the Gods Laugh" (with James Gregory)
1962-1963 Our Man Higgins Jamie and Jamie MacDermott, respectivelyTwo episodes: "Golf Partner" and "The Royal and Ancient Game" (both with Roy Roberts)
1963Inside Danny BakerDanny BakerTelevision film
1963Route 66Joby PaxtonEpisode: "Somehow It Gets to Be Tomorrow" (with Martin Balsam)
1963 I'm Dickens, He's Fenster RalphEpisode: "Number One Son"
1963 The Dakotas Christopher DeusEpisode: "Feud at Snake River"
1963 Dime with a Halo JoseFilm
1964 Insight The UrchinEpisode: "The Urchin"
1964 Ben Casey Paul Hamilton, Jr.Episode: "Keep Out of Reach of Adults" (with Richard Kiley and Geraldine Brooks)
1964 Destry Toby BradyEpisode: "Red Brady's Kid"
1964Emil and the DetectivesGustavFilm
1964-1980Walt Disney's Wonderful World of ColorMultiple roles17 episodes
1965 The Farmer's Daughter Alan PageEpisode: "Follow the Leader"
1967-1968 Dragnet Audie Fulton and Charles L. Vail, respectivelyEpisodes: "The Big Kids" and "The Big Departure"
1979 The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again SentryFilm
1980The Kids Who Knew Too MuchPolice sergeantTelevision film

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Roger Mobley biography on www.brokenwheelranch.com, site defunct
  2. "Lance Mobley obituary". The Beaumont Enterprise, August 27, 2002. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  3. Charlene Mobley obituary, Claybar-Kelley-Watkins Funeral Home & Cemetery, Beaumont, Texas, accessed February 22, 2013
  4. "Fury and My Friend Flicka". YouTube . Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  5. Feature Players, Vol. 3, Tom and Jim Goldrup, 1997, Ben Lomond, California, p. 204.
  6. Walt Disney's last memo on YouTube.
  7. Growing up on the set, Tom & Jim Goldrup, McFarland & Co.,Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina, 2002, p. 212.
  8. Ken Dennis, Interview with Roger Mobley for Classic Images Magazine, 2012
  9. Growing up on the set, Tom and Jim Goldrup, McFarland & Co., Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina, 2002 p. 213.

Further reading