Roger Lance Mobley (born January 16, 1949, in Evansville, Indiana) is a former child actor in the 1950s and 1960s who made more than one hundred television appearances and co-starred in nine feature films in a nine-year career. He joined the Green Berets (46th Special Forces Company) during the Vietnam War and was subsequently a police officer in Beaumont, Texas.
Mobley in The Wonderful World of Disney, c.1968
Roger Lance Mobley
January 16, 1949
Evansville, Indiana, U.S.
|Residence||Little Rock, Arkansas (2016)|
|Alma mater||Whittier Christian High School in Whittier, California|
|Occupation||Child actor (1958-1967)|
Green Beret (1968-1970)
Sharie Barclay Mobley (m. 1968)
|Children||Matthew Jason Mobley|
Rebekah M. Justice
|Parent(s)||Arthur Lance and Charlene V. Mobley|
Mobley is one of eight children of Arthur Lance Mobley (April 1, 1922 – August 24, 2002) and Charlene V. Mobley (July 23, 1924 – November 23, 2012). Lance Mobley, as the father was known, was born in Centralia in southern Illinois, and a retired pipefitter at the time of his death in a hospital in Beaumont, Texas. He and Charlene married in 1939, when he was seventeen, and she was fifteen. The couple moved from Indiana in the early 1950s to Pecos in Reeves County in West Texas before they headed in 1957 to Whittier, near Los Angeles.
Charlene Mobley was born in rural Oil City, Louisiana. For many years she was a real estate agent in Beaumont and then Vidor, Texas. For most of her life, she was a lay preacher in various churches in the communities in which the Mobleys resided. The senior Mobleys are interred in Vidor at Restlawn Cemetery.
Mobley (pronounced "Mob'-ly" in real life but "Mobe'-ly" as a performer at the behest of studio executives who disliked the way the former sounds) sang with his older brother and sister in The Little Mobley Trio in Texas where the family then lived. After moving to California when Mobley was six or seven, the trio appeared on the Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour with disappointing results.
However, they were spotted by Lola Moore, then the preeminent agent for child actors, who expressed an interest in Roger and arranged his audition for the part of eight-year-old Homer "Packy" Lambert in the NBC Saturday morning western television series, Fury, starring Peter Graves, Bobby Diamond, and William Fawcett. He appeared in thirty-eight episodes of the series.
Many of Mobley's subsequent myriad television guest appearances were also in westerns, but he was capable of playing against type, such as his 1963 role of the troubled youngster Joby Paxton in the episode "Somehow It Gets to Be Tomorrow" of CBS's Route 66.
In 1960, Mobley was cast as young Matt Denby, Jr., in the episode, "The Madstone" of the syndicated anthology series, Death Valley Days, hosted by Stanley Andrews. In the story line, young Denby is bitten by a rabid skunk and must get the madstone of his maternal grandfather, Caleb Reese (George Macready, which is then the only treatment for hydrophobia. Myron Healey played Denby's father, whose wife stays behind in Texas while he seeks to start a new ranch in the New Mexico Territory. Denby, Sr., is alienated from his father-in-law, but the two make amends as the episode ends.
In 1964, after having been impressed with Mobley's performance as Gustav in Emil and the Detectives, Walt Disney signed him to the title role in the highly acclaimed and Emmy-nominated "Adventures of Gallegher" serials for the Wonderful World of Color. Gallegher is an amateur sleuth newspaper reporter, a character created by the author Richard Harding Davis. Contrary to popular rumor, it is Mobley's name that Walt Disney wrote on his very last memo.
After 9 years and appearances in 118 television programs or feature films, Mobley's career was interrupted at the age of eighteen by military service. Mobley was quoted, accordingly: "Uncle Walt [Disney] had plans for me, but so did Uncle Sam, and Uncle Sam won."
Mobley graduated from Whittier Christian High School in La Habra in Orange County, California, at which he played football. On June 7, 1968, he married his high school sweetheart, the former Sharie Barclay, whom he had met in the eighth grade. The Mobleys have three children: Rebekah Mobley Justice, Elizabeth Mobley, and Matthew Jason Mobley (born 1972), formerly a first lieutenant with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan.
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In 1968, Mobley was drafted into the United States Army. After boot camp at Fort Ord, California. Mobley asked to have his term of service extended so that he could qualify for training in Special Forces. He completed parachute jump training at Fort Benning, Georgia, after having volunteered for the Special Forces training at the John F. Kennedy Center for Special Warfare at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. On completion of his training, Mobley was assigned to the 46th Special Forces Company (Airborne), 1st Special Forces Group. He returned to the United States in November 1970.
Back in civilian life, Mobley discovered only $6,000 had been set aside for him from his extensive work as a child actor. He and his bride, Sharie, relocated to Beaumont, Texas, where he joined the police department. He was also a criminal investigator for the cities of Vidor and Jasper, Texas.
Besides law enforcement, Mobley worked many blue collar jobs, including pipefitter, longshoreman; welder; bull rider; lumberjack; milk delivery driver; Federal Express truck driver; prison guard; and lifeguard. He was a football/basketball coach at a private school in Beaumont.
Political and religious beliefsEdit
According to his autobiographical sketch on his Facebook page, Mobley appears to be a staunch Christian conservative who opposes legalized abortion, same-sex marriage, and divorce. He calls the Bible his favorite book. He is a member of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.
|1958-1960||Fury||Homer "Packy" Lambert||38 episodes|
|1959||Buckskin||Noah Wesley||Episode: "Mr. Rush's Secretary" (with Jane Darwell)|
|1959||Bachelor Father||Little Leaguer||Episode: Bentley Goes to Washington" (with Whit Bissell, Sue Ane Langdon, and Flip Mark)|
|1959||A Dog's Best Friend||Pip Wheeler||Film (with Bill Williams and Marcia Henderson)|
|1959-1963||Wagon Train||Multiple roles||Eight episodes|
|1960||Hawaiian Eye||Stevie Hughes||Episode: "With This Ring" (with Paul Richards and Ruta Lee)|
|1960||The Runaway||Felipe Roberto||Film|
|1960-1961||The Detectives||Boy and Paul||Two episodes: "A Barrel Full of Monkeys" and "Shuttle"|
|1961||Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre||Little Martin||Episode: "The Scar" (with Lew Ayres, Mort Mills, Patricia Barry, and Alan Hale, Jr.)|
|1961||The Donna Reed Show||Tony Martin, Jr.||Episode: "Tony Martin Visits" (with Tony Martin)|
|1961||Outlaws||Davey Morgan||Episode: "Blind Spot" (with Gary Merrill)|
|1961||National Velvet||Bradley Walton, III||Episode: "The Riding Mistress" (with Richard Deacon and Beverly Lunsford)|
|1961||The Silent Call||Guy Brancato||Film (with Gail Russell and David McLean)|
|1961||The Loretta Young Show||Henry Sands, Jr.||Episode: "Not in Our Stars" (with Loretta Young and H. M. Wynant)|
|1961||Boy Who Caught a Crook||Kid||Children's film|
|1961||Gunsmoke||Thad Ferrin||Episode: "Miss Kitty" (with Frank Sutton, Harold J. Stone, and Dabbs Greer)|
|1961-1962||87th Precinct||Danny and Lane Conners, respectively||Episodes: "Lady Killer" and "A Bullet for Katie"|
|1961 and 1963||Death Valley Days||Little Matt Denby and Matt, respectively||Episodes: "The Madstone" (with Myron Healey) and "Deadly Decision" (with James Caan)|
|1961 and 1965||Dr. Kildare||Jamie Carroll and Alan Burnside, respecively||Episodes: "Hit and Run" and "The Time Buyers"|
|1962||Straightaway||Dale||Episode: "A Moment in the Sun" (with Robert Blake)|
|1962||The Tall Man||David Harper||Episode: "St. Louis Woman" (with Jan Clayton and Russ Conway)|
|1962||Alcoa Premiere||Lonnie Dunlap||"Second Chance" (with Earl Holliman, Andrew Prine, Cliff Robertson, Jacqueline Scott, Roy Barcroft, and Don "Red" Barry)|
|1962||Frontier Circus||Andy Jukes||Episode: "Mighty Like Rogue" (with J. Pat O'Malley, Jena Engstrom, and Joby Baker)|
|1962||The Law and Mr. Jones||Tommy Pierce||Episode: "The Boy Who Said 'No'" (with Russell Johnson and Eve McVeagh)|
|1962||Jack the Giant Killer||Peter||Adventure film|
|1962||The Virginian||Homer Tatum||Episode: "Throw a Long Rope" (with fellow guest stars John Anderson, Ted Knight, and Jacqueline Scott)|
|1962||The Wide Country (series spun off from Alcoa Premiere episode above)||Billy-Joe Perry||Episode: "Journey Down a Dusty Road" (with Wallace Ford)|
|1962||Cheyenne||Gabe Morse and Billy Zachary||Episodes "The Idol" and "Sweet Sam"|
|1962||Going My Way||Miles Corbin||Episode: "Ask Me No Questions" (with Kevin McCarthy and Joanne Linville)|
|1962||Empire||Kieran Haskell||Episode: "When the Gods Laugh" (with James Gregory)|
|1962-1963||Our Man Higgins||Jamie and Jamie MacDermott, respectively||Two episodes: "Golf Partner" and "The Royal and Ancient Game" (both with Roy Roberts)|
|1963||Inside Danny Baker||Danny Baker||Television film|
|1963||Route 66||Joby Paxton||Episode: "Somehow It Gets to Be Tomorrow" (with Martin Balsam)|
|1963||I'm Dickens, He's Fenster||Ralph||Episode: "Number One Son"|
|1963||The Dakotas||Christopher Deus||Episode: "Feud at Snake River"|
|1963||Dime with a Halo||Jose||Film|
|1964||Insight||The Urchin||Episode: "The Urchin"|
|1964||Ben Casey||Paul Hamilton, Jr.||Episode: "Keep Out of Reach of Adults" (with Richard Kiley and Geraldine Brooks)|
|1964||Destry||Toby Brady||Episode: "Red Brady's Kid"|
|1964||Emil and the Detectives||Gustav||Film|
|1964-1980||Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color||Multiple roles||17 episodes|
|1965||The Farmer's Daughter||Alan Page||Episode: "Follow the Leader"|
|1967-1968||Dragnet||Audie Fulton and Charles L. Vail, respectively||Episodes: "The Big Kids" and "The Big Departure"|
|1979||The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again||Sentry||Film|
|1980||The Kids Who Knew Too Much||Police sergeant||Television film|
- Roger Mobley biography on www.brokenwheelranch.com, site defunct
- "Lance Mobley obituary". The Beaumont Enterprise, August 27, 2002. Retrieved February 22, 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Charlene Mobley obituary, Claybar-Kelley-Watkins Funeral Home & Cemetery, Beaumont, Texas, accessed February 22, 2013
- "Fury and My Friend Flicka". YouTube. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
- Feature Players, Vol. 3, Tom and Jim Goldrup, 1997, Ben Lomond, California, p. 204.
- "Somehow It Gets to Be Tomorrow on Route 66". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
- "The Madstone on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
- Walt Disney's last memo on YouTube.
- Growing up on the set, Tom & Jim Goldrup, McFarland & Co.,Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina, 2002, p. 212.
- Ken Dennis, Interview with Roger Mobley for Classic Images Magazine, 2012
- "Roger Mobley biography". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
- Growing up on the set, Tom and Jim Goldrup, McFarland & Co., Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina, 2002 p. 213.