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Buster Crabbe


Clarence Linden "Buster" Crabbe I
February 7, 1908– April 23, 1983.
Raised in Hawaii, Crabbe graduated from the Punahou School in Honolulu.

He won the bronze medal for the 1,500 meters freestyle in 1928 Olympic Games, followed by a gold medal for the 400 meters freestyle in 1932.

He graduated from the University of Southern California in 1931 and in 1933 he married and, delaying entry into law school at USC, appeared in his first Tarzan serial.
This followed the success of Johnny Weissmüller, winner of five Olympic gold medals, in Tarzan the Ape Man in 1932, which, as a result of the complex licensing issues relating to Tarzan, spawned several films by other studios.

Crabbe starred at the Billy Rose's Aquacade at the New York World's Fair in its second year of 1940, replacing Johnny Weissmuller.
His work in Hollywood films, and later television, was extensive.

Buster Crabbe and laminated solid wood board, California, circa 1937.
He recalled years later, simply carrying a surfboard to the water’s edge was a feat of strength.
"That was back when we had 150-pound redwood slabs for surfboards," he said.
"They didn’t have fiberglass in those days."

Other photographs
from the same session.

Duke Kahanamoku, Buster Crabbe, Stubby Kruger
and Johnny Weissmuller, 1932.

Harold Stubby Kruger was born in Hawaii in 1897 and represented the United States at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, where he finished fifth in the 100-meter backstroke.
Other competitors from Hawaii at these games included Duke Kahanamoku, Pua Kealoha,(first and second in the 100 m freestyle, respectively) and Warren Kealoha, first in the 100m backstroke.
Duke and Kealoah also
won gold medals for the 4×200 m freestyle relay.  

A colleague of Johnny Weissmuller, Kruger performed at carnivals and fairs billed as the Incomparable Water Comedian and had a career in Hollywood as an actor and stunt double that began in the silent era and lasted well into the 1950s.
In 1955, Duke and Stubby appeared in John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy's Mr. Roberts.
The film starred Henry Fonda, James Cagney, William Powell and Jack Lemmon, who received the 1955 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Kruger's last film before his death in 1965 was as Spencer Tracy's double in The Old Man and the Sea.
In 1986 Kruger was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as a "pioneer swimmer."

Johnny Weissmuller, Duke Kahanamoku and Buster Crabbe,
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 1965.

Buster Crabbe Comic Book, 1951.

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Geoff Cater (2015) : Surfer : Buster Crabbe.