Highland Dale was born on a farm in Missouri in 1943, and he lived
to the ripe old age of 29. His show business career began when he
was barely 2 years old!
His birth name was taken from his parents' names. His father was
Liberty Dale and his mother was Marian Highland. They were unmarried
at the time Highland was born; in fact, that was pretty common among
Hollywood couples of this type.
A man named Ralph McCutcheon discovered him and turned him into a
star. Highland Dale starred in a number of major movies, including
"Gypsy Colt," "Giant" (in which he co-starred with Elizabeth Taylor)
and "Outlaw Stallion."
He also had his own TV show called "Fury" from 1955 to 1960, and
he guest-starred on shows such as "The Monkees," "Bonanza" and
This award-winning actor earned $5,000 per week, which was a lot
of money during the 1950s and 1960s, especially for someone of his
In fact, he was probably the biggest star among his type, before
or since. If his name still doesn't ring a bell, it will in a
[to top of second column]
You probably noticed that many of Highland Dale's movies and TV
shows included a horse. That's because he was the horse in those
movies, and like a lot of Hollywood stars, he went by his stage
You knew him as Fury. He was one of five horses used in the title
role of that show. Since Fury was one of the smartest actors of his
type in Hollywood (and by "his type," I mean horses), he was the one
that was used for tricks in the show.
He could untie a knot, open a door, laugh, play dead, walk lame
and whinny on command. He could even grab a boy by the back of his
shirt and pull him backward.
His most famous role, though, was that of the black Saddlebred
stallion known as ... Black Beauty.
Highland Dale was one of the most popular stars in Hollywood
during his hayday. Hayday, get it?
The 1946 movie was adapted from the 1877 novel by English author
Anna Sewell. It was her first and only book, and she was one of the
very first authors to use a first-person style to tell her story.
Anna was crippled and unable to walk since her childhood days.
Paul Niemann's column has appeared in
more than 80 newspapers and counting. He is the author of the
"Invention Mysteries" series of books and can be reached at
Copyright Paul Niemann 2009