Ralph McCutcheon with his very first equine star,
a black overo pinto stallion named Dice
Ralph McCutcheon had been born in Greeley, Colorado. While many people allude to him as being the owner of Flicka, he may have been only stabling the star. Official records reportedly list her owner during the time of the My Friend Flicka series, and since her birth, as a Patricia Ann Eaves. It could be however that McCutcheon had purchased Flicka from Eaves and that it was not put on the record. McCutcheon loved the outdoors and he certainly loved horses. He enlisted in the Army in World War One, and later was a Park Ranger in the Rocky Mountains. He attended the University of Colorado, and worked in the engineering office of Standard Oil Corporation for a while. He later began training horses for motion pictures and television, and ended up owning and training a great many. They included the original Black Beauty (a registered saddlebred stallion first called Highland Dale) who later became Fury on the Fury TV series. Ralph called him “Beaut,” and Elizabeth Taylor rode him in the film Giant on location in Marfa, Texas and Virginia. Well-known actor Glenn Ford rode McCutcheon’s horse Tenny in western films. One of McCutcheon’s most beautiful horses was reportedly a striking champagne-colored palomino stallion named California. At one time, he bought a saddlebred gelding named Star Raker for the National Velvet television series, but the part eventually went to the horse of a friend and fellow trainer, Kenny Lee. A couple of McCutcheon’s other horses were Black Diamond, who played a wild stallion in many films, and King Cotton. McCutcheon owned a ranch called “Rancho Maria,” with five acres of paddock and an arena. It was in Sand Canyon, near Santa Clarita (then known as Newhall-Saugus) in northwest Los Angeles. All of his trucks, trailers and other equipment were painted in the tell-tale “McCutcheon red,” which was a dark maroon color. He was married to Mary Kornman, who had been one of the original children in Hal Roach’s Our Gang comedy films.