Mason Alan Dinehart

Mason Alan Dinehart (born April 30, 1936), also known as Mason Alan Dinehart III, Alan Dinehart III, or Mase Dinehart, is an American business consultant and retired actor best known for his role as a youthful Bat Masterson in thirty-four episodes between 1955 and 1959 of the ABC/Desilu television series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, starring Hugh O'Brian in the title role of the frontier marshal Wyatt Earp.[1]

For his father, see actor Alan Dinehart.
Mason Alan Dinehart
Mason Alan Dinehart III

(1936-04-30) April 30, 1936
Other namesAlan Dinehart, III
Mase Dinehart
OccupationActor (retired 1960)
Business consultant
Years active1948–1960
Spouse(s)Evelyn Myers (1954–1958; divorced)
Barbara Blakely (1958–1965)
Carol Gorton (1972-1981)
Miranda Gazal (1982–present)
Parent(s)Alan Dinehart
Mozelle Britton

Family background

The Hollywood-born Dinehart was the only son of the actor Alan Dinehart and Dinehart's second wife, actress journalist, casting director and songwriter Mozelle Britton.[2] In 1936, he legally changed his name to Mason Alan Dinehart, the same name as his father, so that his younger son from the second marriage could be known as Mason Alan Dinehart III. This name change created confusion because the senior Dinehart's first son from his first marriage was already Alan Dinehart Jr. (1918–1992),[3] the former animation and voice director for Hanna-Barbera.[4]

Mason Alan Dinehart has been married four times and has seven surviving children. A son, Scott Dinehart, died in 2010 of an emergency hip operation. He has two children each from his first and second marriages to Evelyn Myers (1954–1958) and Barbara Blakely (1958–1965), respectively. In 1982, he married for the fourth time; he and the former Miranda Gazal have four children. [5]

Bat Masterson

Dinehart played the youthful Bat Masterson who is the understudy of Wyatt Earp in learning the proper techniques of frontier law enforcement. Earp rarely calls him "Bat" but "Mr. Masterson" to teach the young man maturity. In a 1956 episode "Bat Masterson Again," Earp shows young Masterson on the proper use of a pistol. During this time Masterson was elected sheriff of Ford County, Kansas, which includes the county seat of Dodge City. Bill Tilghman had been denied the right to run for sheriff again. Earp as an appointed town marshal works with an elected sheriff, and their differences in jurisdiction do not cause any problems. Bat's brother, Ed Masterson, played by Brad Johnson, formerly the deputy sheriff on the Annie Oakley television series, is shot in an ambush by drunken cowboys, and Masterson settles the score. When Earp finally comes to Tombstone, Arizona Territory, he lacks the working relationship with Sheriff Johnny Behan that he had in Kansas with Bat Masterson.[4]

Dinehart's performance of Masterson was so highly regarded that ABC offered him a spinoff series, but he declined, soon left acting, and entered the business field. Dinehart's last appearance on the series is the episode "Dodge Is Civilized" (April 28, 1959), in which he serves notice that he is headed to Tombstone, where he hopes Earp will join him in time. There is never a reunion show, and the Masterson character, now a gambler, is written out of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. The historical Earp did visit Tombstone to see his friend Masterson, who in time became a figure of western folklore, finishing his long career as a sportswriter in New York City. Masterson's hat inspired the name of the Brown Derby restaurants in Los Angeles.[4]

By the time Dinehart left The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Gene Barry had already assumed for nearly a year the role of a more mature Masterson, one in his early forties, in the NBC western series Bat Masterson.[6] Some viewers complained of the change in actors portraying Bat Masterson,[4] but in time Barry was the one most remembered for the role, not Dinehart, who left show business.

Other acting roles

Dinehart's first acting role was uncredited as "Superman" at the age of twelve in the 1948 film Superman. Dinehart was the first actor on screen to play Superman.* He played Superman as a boy diving into a haystack to recover his mother's lost ring, using his Xray vision to find it. Thereafter, he had uncredited roles as a teenager in other films. In 1954, he was cast as Ted Miller in the episode "Hot Rod" of the CBS legal drama series The Public Defender. In 1956, he played Clint Donoran in the episode "Outlaw's Son" of the syndicated television series Judge Roy Bean, starring Edgar Buchanan in the title role. In 1957, he was cast as Danny Martin in the episode "Typhoid" of another syndicated series Dr. Christian, starring MacDonald Carey.[5]

Dinehart appeared in two 1957 military drama series, as Marly in the episode "Joe Foss, Devilbird" of Navy Log. This episode is based on a real person, Joe Foss, a World War II Medal of Honor recipient who later became the governor of South Dakota and a prominent sportsman.[7] In 1957 and 1958, Dinehart played Joe Marrison in two episodes, "Seawall" and "The Boxing Lesson," of the syndicated series, Men of Annapolis.[5]

In 1957 and 1958, he played in two youth films, as Bob Williams in The Careless Years and Joe Wilson in The Hot Angel. Other Dinehart appearances were on Sky King as Jimmy Ness in "Frogmen" and as Tex Fallon in "The Unwanted" on 26 Men.[5] He played the character Greg in "Half a Loaf" on the syndicated western anthology series Death Valley Days, hosted in 1959 by Stanley Andrews. This role united Dinehart with western actor Bob Steele in the role of Dawson; Steele had appeared as Deputy Sam in four episodes of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. Richard Crane was cast as Monte.[8]

Dinehart was cast in two episodes, "The Homesteaders" and "The Twisted Road," of the syndicated western series Frontier Doctor, starring Rex Allen. He played Don Carter in the 1959 episode "Millionaire Sally Simms" opposite Venetia Stevenson on the CBS fantasy drama The Millionaire. In 1959, he was cast as Danny Holden in the episode "Love on the Rocks", with Virginia Christine as Rena Desmond, on the syndicated crime drama State Trooper, with Rod Cameron as the fictitious officer Rod Blake of the Nevada State Police. Dinehart also played a comedy role as "Bill Masterson" in the 1957 episode "The General" of the CBS series The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, with George Burns and Gracie Allen.[5]

Dinehart's last roles were in 1959 and 1960, including three appearances on the CBS series The Texan, starring Rory Calhoun. Twice he played "The Brazos Kid". Dinehart played Todd Kenyon in the episode "The Swindle" of the 11-episode NBC crime drama 21 Beacon Street, a summer-replacement series starring Dennis Morgan, Joanna Barnes, and Brian Kelly.[9] Dinehart's last screen appearance was as Bob Treadwell in the 1960 film Platinum High School.[5]

Post-acting career

Dinehart's business career began around 1960 with Bank of America. He is now a consultant in litigation and arbitration for FEND, a company based in Los Angeles.[4][10]


  1. "Full Cast and Crew for The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  2. "Alan Dinehart". Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  3. "Cliff Aliperti, "Alan Dinehart Biography: Hollywood Talkies Claim Another from Broadway," October 12, 2012". Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  4. Douglas Brode, with introduction by Fess Parker, Shooting Stars of the Small Screen. University of Texas Press. 2009. pp. 116–117. ISBN 978-0-29271849-4. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  5. "Mason Alan Dinehart". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  6. "Bat Masterson". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  7. ""Joe Foss, Devilbird" (December 12, 1957)". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  8. ""Half a Loaf" (April 25, 1959)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  9. "21 Beacon Street (1959)". Internet movie Database. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  10. "Mason Alan Dinehart, III". Retrieved July 11, 2013.
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