Born Earl Craver in Elkhart, Kansas on June 14, 1931, Cal Bolder appeared in several films and a number of TV shows from 1960 to 1968, but his career never got the boost that he deserved. After attending college and doing a stint in the Marines, Bolder relocated to Los Angeles and became a policeman. A chance meeting with an agent got him into acting. Fans of the original 1966-1969 series Star Trek will remember Bolder from the second-season episode Friday's Child, which was one of his last acting roles. Today, Cal Bolder is perhaps best known for his role in the campy 1966 horror film Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter. In the late 1960s, Bolder retired from acting and moved his family to Washington. In 2001, he published a novel, Last Reunion, under his real name E. C. Craver, and wrote a sequel, which was never published.

Last Reunion

Find out more about the novel Last Reunion at

In Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter, James and his partner, Hank Tracy, arrive in Arizona to rob a stagecoach, but James is ambushed by the marshal (Jim Davis). Hank is badly wounded and is taken to Maria Frankenstein's house for treatment. When Dr. Frankenstein (who is the original Dr. Frankenstein's granddaughter, not daughter) spots beefy Hank, she decides that he would be a good candidate for brain replacement surgery, and sets about to create a monster who will do her bidding. Frankenstein renames Hank "Igor" after she swaps his brain for an artificial one, and makes her new monster kill her pesky brother, Rudolph. When Jesse James gets clued in, he tries to rescue Hank/Igor, but Igor kills Dr. Frankenstein and is then shot by one of the locals. At the end of the film, James agrees to be arrested by the marshal.

Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter is an attempt to mix the western and horror film genres, though it works better as a camp outing. Directed by William "One Shot" Beaudine Jr., Jesse James and its companion on the drive-in double bill circuit, Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966; with John Carradine), were the final films in Beaudine's 40-plus year directorial career. (Beaudine died in 1970.) Beginning his career in the silents, he directed more than 150 films and practically invented 'B' movies, often making pictures in less than a week and always bringing them in under budget.

the films of cal bolder

Adventures in Paradise (1959-1962 ABC TV Series)

Cal BolderCal BolderRhys Williams, Juliet Prowse, and Cal Bolder

Images from Bolder's appearance on Adventures in Paradise, episode A Whale of a Tale, which originally aired in November 1960. LEFT and CENTER: Cal Bolder as Bruce. RIGHT: With Rhys Williams and Juliet Prowse

Bonanza (1959-1973 NBC TV Series)

Cal BolderCal Bolder and Karen Sharpe

Images from Bonanza, episode The Ape, which originally aired in December 1960. LEFT: Cal Bolder as Arnie Gurne, the Ape. RIGHT: Bolder attempts to do harm to saloon girl Karen Sharpe (thanks to Michael Barnum)

Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (1966)

Cal BolderCal BolderCal Bolder and Narda OnyxCal Bolder and Narda OnyxCal Bolder and John LuptonCal Bolder and Steven GerayCal Bolder and Narda Onyx

LEFT and CENTER A: Nestor Paiva reluctantly pays Jesse James (John Lupton) for the fight that Hank Tracy (Cal Bolder) won. CENTER B and C: Evil Dr. Maria Frankenstein (Narda Onyx) has turned Cal Bolder into her monster. CENTER D: Carrying friend John Lupton out of harm's way. CENTER E and RIGHT: Hank exacts revenge on Dr. Rudolph Frankenstein (Steven Geray) and Narda Onyx

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964-1968 NBC TV Series)

Cal Bolder, Dorothy Provine, and Robert VaughnCal Bolder and Robert Vaughn

From The Man from U.N.C.L.E., episode The Alexander The Greater Affair, which originally aired in September 1965. LEFT: With Dorothy Provine and Robert Vaughn (thanks to Michael Barnum). RIGHT: With Robert Vaughn

later years

In the late 1960s, Cal Bolder retired from the screen and left Los Angeles, moving north to Washington. In early 2001, his first novel, Last Reunion, was published; the story draws on Bolder's experience working for the LAPD and is set in a small Washington town. Sadly, Cal Bolder passed away on January 19, 2005, from cancer at age 74.

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Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (1966) with Narda Onyx, John Lupton, and Jim Davis
One of Our Spies is Missing (1966) with Robert Vaughn, David McCallum, Yvonne Craig, Leo G. Carroll, Vera Miles, and Dolores Faith
One Spy Too Many (1966) with Robert Vaughn, David McCallum, Yvonne Craig, Leo G. Carroll, and Elisha Cook Jr.
Heller in Pink Tights (1960) with Sophia Loren, Anthony Quinn, and Ramon Novarro

Cimarron Strip, episode Knife in the Darkness, originally aired January 25, 1968
Star Trek, episode Friday's Child, originally aired December 1, 1967
Daniel Boone, episode Goliath, originally aired 1966
The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., episode The Romany Affair, series aired 1966-1967
Bonanza, episode The Fighters, originally aired spring 1966
The Man from U.N.C.L.E., episode The Bridge of Lions Affair, originally aired February 4, 1966
Honey West, episode Invitation to Limbo, originally aired December 17, 1965
Destry, episode Blood Brother-in-Law, originally aired April 17, 1964
Gunsmoke, episode The Summons, originally aired April 21, 1962
Outlaws, episode Sam Bass, originally aired May 4, 1961
Bonanza, episode The Ape, originally aired December 17, 1960
Adventures in Paradise, episode A Whale of a Tale, originally aired November 7, 1960

cal bolder film now showing

Watch Cal Bolder's 1966 horror film Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter

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