Charlie Wooster from Wagon Train was a stunt performer, too

Frank McGrath had a 30-year career in stunts

Frank McGrath was one of only two regulars to appear in all eight seasons of Wagon Train. From 1957 to 1965, McGrath played Charlie Wooster, the cheerful and pleasant cook. While Charlie's cooking wasn't always reliable, viewers could really count on McGrath to bring the laughs. 

Wagon Train was definitely the highest-profile project that featured McGrath's name in the credits. As a weekly show that aired across two networks, Wagon Train brought McGrath into millions of living rooms. However, the series was just one part of a thirty-year career in Westerns.

Beginning in 1932, Frank McGrath had a storied legacy as one of the great uncredited stunt performers. Starting with The Rainbow Trail, McGrath contributed to more than forty different Westerns, usually in roles like "Horseman" and "Posse Member."

After McGrath's passing in 1967, fellow Western veteran Jim Merrick wrote a beautiful profile on his friend and coworker in The Los Angeles Times. In it, Merrick describes McGrath as one of Hollywood's finest horsemen. He also fondly recalls a very funny anecdote that proved how convincing McGrath could be in a stunt setting.

"Our company was making a short move on foot from one site to another. A studio limousine was carrying the star, director, and cameraman. Frank was resting beside the trail. As the limousine passed, Frank leaped up, struck the rear fender a resounding blow with the palm of his hand, and then threw himself moaning on the ground.

Four terror-struck occupants of the car leaped out, all convinced Frank had been run over."

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7 Comments

RobertKessler 2 months ago
I read somewhere that Mr. McGrath was one of the chariot drivers in the silent version of Ben Hur from 1925 starring Ramon Navarro.
tootsieg 6 months ago
Love WT and reading about the cast. Thank you for the article.
GOOSEYGOOSE9 7 months ago
Bob
McGrath is frank McGrath’s son in real life
Mike GOOSEYGOOSE9 6 months ago
If you're referring to Bob McGrath from Sesame Street, he is not related to Wagon Train's Frank McGrath in any way.
GOOSEYGOOSE9 7 months ago
Robert fuller and frank mcgrath friends
Runeshaper 7 months ago
Frank McGrath played a good joke on those guys in the limo lol
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