Beemer was a second-generation cowboy performer. His father, Brace
the most popular of the radio actors who portrayed The Lone Ranger. Brace
was a manís man. He stood 6í3Ē weighed 190 lbs., had steel blue eyes and a
deep, resonant voice. He earned a Purple Heart in World War I and possessed a
love and respect for the great outdoors, which he instilled in his children
Robert, Richard, Barbara and J.D.
David Beemer was born on the family farm in Connersville, Indiana on February
13, 1927.The Beemer family moved to Detroit in 1933, when Brace was hired as a
radio announcer for WXYZ. J.D., as he was called by family and friends, loved
horses. At age 11 he broke and trained his first horse, and soon began appearing
in local horse shows. J.D. attended Detroit Redford High School, where he played
football while appearing in rodeos around the country.
After high school, J.D. enlisted in the Navy, where he set up
advance ship-to-shore communications for Marine landings on Saipan and Iwo Jima,
and fought in the jungles of New Guinea. Following his tour of duty, J.D.
studied drama at the Goodman Memorial Theatre in New York and Tufts University
in Boston. He did summer stock in New England and Canada, appearing with former
Detroiter George C. Scott at the Sun Parlour Playhouse in Leamington, Ontario,
1950 Brace Beemer invited WXYZ-TV programming director John Pival to the family
ranch in Oxford to meet his son
Bob, who he thought was a natural for
television. While Bob was demonstrating his riding ability, J.D. was at the far
end of the field, putting on his own display. Pival was impressed with Bobís
riding skills, but he saw something special in J.D. A short time later, J.D. had
his own TV show on WXYZ.
Colt made his TV debut in June of 1950. The hour-long show aired Monday thru
Friday at 3:30 P.M. With his
Palomino named Pal by his side, J.D. spun cowboy yarns, demonstrated his roping,
branding and tanning skills and the safe handling of firearms. He also
introduced old time westerns starring Lash LaRue, Buster Crabbe, Hopalong
Cassidy and other cowboy stars. Bosco, Ralston-Purina and Sundial Shoes were
early sponsors of the program. The show became so popular that a Sunday version
started airing in October of 1953. Mello-D Ranch was sponsored by Ira
Wlison Dairy and featured a new cast member, J.D.ís wife Gloria Goode, as Miss
G. Gloria was a vocalist at WXYZ
who sang on Memories In Tune and Melodies Ďní Money.
Justice Colt was consistently in the top five of Detroitís daily TV shows,
beating out 12 OíClock Comics with Soupy Sales and the local newscasts.
September 1955, Justice Colt moved across the Detroit River to CKLW-TV, in
Windsor, Ontario. In addition, a second TV show was added to J.D.ís busy
schedule. Adventure Is My Living
featured J.D. interviewing guests with exciting occupations, such as horse
trainers, hot rod racers, jet pilots and National Guardsmen.
Colt was cancelled in March of 1957, J.D. moved to Los Angeles to further
pursue an acting career. Using the stage name Justice Colt, J.D. was only able
to land a handful of acting jobs, including an episode of Bachelor Father,
a line in Gunsmoke and a segment of Night Court. George Seaton,
the first actor to play The Lone Ranger on radio, cast J.D. in his film Teacherís
Pet. J.D.ís scene ended up on the cutting room floor, but he can be
glimpsed in the coming attractions trailer.
returned to Detroit in late 1959. He occasionally acted in industrial films for
Jam Handy Studios, but his career took on a more equine focus. With his business
partner Bud Leach, J.D. broke wild horses at the Lazy B. Ranch in Birmingham,
MI. The duo developed a unique and painless, humane method for busting broncs,
but like all good horse trainers, J.D. had been busted a few times himself. Over
the years, J.D. had, at various times, broken his right arm twice, knee, ankle
and three ribs, one at a time. He also was a riding instructor at Centaur
Stables in Farmington as well as the Metamora Hunt Club. He also participated in
horse shows at the Michigan State Fair, which he had done since he was a child,
and trained horses at the Hazel Park Raceway.
his fatherís death in 1965, J.D. decided that another career change was in
order. He enrolled in Oakland University and earned a degree in criminal
psychology. He became a parole officer at the federal facility in McLean,
Virginia and retired in 1989.
Beemer died of a brain tumor on December 9, 1989.
most local video cowboys, J.D. was the real deal, thereís no question about
that. He was a true cowboy, and a hero to thousands of Detroit youngsters. A man
who walked the walk and talked the talk.
Copyright © 2011 Edward Golick Jr. All Rights Reserved.