ask the marshall true west fastest gun hollywood

Who was the fastest gun in Hollywood?

Ron Bolza
Slatington, Pennsylvania

Some of the names might surprise you. How about Sammy Davis Jr. and Jerry Lewis?

The first fast draw competition took place at Knott’s Berry Farm in 1954.

Hugh O’Brian claimed his 0.25 of a second was the fastest, but Davis Jr. and Lewis were reportedly faster. O’Brian challenged Audie Murphy to a contest, but when Murphy requested live ammunition, O’Brian wisely declined.

Others who were good at fast draw during the 1950s and 1960s, says Firearms Editor Phil Spangenberger, included Wally “Mr. Peepers” Cox, Hugh Downs (a host of the early Today show), dancer Donald O’Connor, singers Marty Robbins and Frankie Lane, and actors Glenn Ford, Clu Gulager, Ernest Borgnine, Jock Mahoney and Clint Eastwood.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen; The History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or email him at

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