Si Jenks: Comedy Rube

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Today is the birthday of Si Jenks (Howard Jenkins, 1878-1970). Jenks clowned for years in both circus and vaudeville (with a brief interlude of service in the Spanish-American war), playing a rube character just like the one he brought to pictures. For a while he was in a two act with his wife Victoria Allen called “The Small Town Wise Crackers”.

In the mid twenties, he had his first stab at pictures, appearing in the comedies of Mack Sennett, Fox Sunshine and Educational studios, before returning to vaudeville for a time. In 1931 he returned to Sennett to make a few talkie shorts. Around the same time, he became a familiar face in B movie westerns as grizzled, toothless sidekicks, initially appearing in many of the films of Tim McCoy. He also got many bit parts in “A” pictures, as well. He’s in John Ford’s Drums Along the Mohawk and Cecil B. DeMille’s Union Pacific (both 1939). His last role was in an episode of The Lone Ranger tv show at age 76.

 

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