Ford Beebe

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Ford Beebe
Ford Beebe.jpg
Born (1888-11-26)November 26, 1888
Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Died November 26, 1978(1978-11-26) (aged 90)
Lake Elsinore, California, United States
Other names Ford I. Beebe
Ford L. Beebe
Occupation Screenwriter
Film director
Years active 1916–1977

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] They had 8 children, a son, Ford Beebe, Jr., who was also a director, and.[4] five daughters, Frances, Mary, Ruthann, Maxine, and Martha. They also had twin daughters who died during infancy. In his later life he was married to Kitty Delevanti, and they had one son named Mike Beebe.

Selected filmography[edit]


  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. 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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