Ray Bourbon appeared as an extra or had bit parts in a number of films, particularly during the silent era.  This list is based on various sources – mentions in Ray’s autobiography and trial testimony, as well as cast listings from motion picture trade publications.

If you have access to or information on specific films of Ray, including news footage, home movies of his nightclub act, speaking parts in sound films, or other related material, please send me an email.

Silent Films

Male and Female
Paramount, released November 23, 1919
With Gloria Swanson and directed by Cecil B. DeMille.  Ray may may appear about half-way through this film playing the character of an Englishman stranded on the island – it’s difficult to tell if it might be him.  Mentioned by Ray during his murder trail testimony as a film he appeared in.

Behind the Door
Paramount, released December 14, 1919

Ray listed his appearance in this film during his murder trial testimony.  He might be a background character early in the film as one of the four men sitting on a fence and other shots involving the villagers.

Beyond the Rocks
Paramount, released May 7, 1922

Directed by Sam Wood.  In his autobiography, Ray discusses working on this film with Valentino and Swanson, including a practical joke Valentino played on his co-star.  Ray said he appears as a flower girl on the boat in the film.  In the existing version, taken from a single surviving print that was unearthed a few years ago in Europe in a private collection, there’s no “flower girl” scene and I’ve been unable to spot Ray in other parts of the picture.  It may be that Ray’s part was in a section of the film that is lost.

Blood and Sand
Paramount, released August 5, 1922

Directed by Fred Niblo.  In this Rudolph Valentino film, Ray plays a young man at the beginning of the film that is gored by a bull; he dies in Valentino’s arms. Later in the film, he pops up as a guard in one scene.  Ray mentioned the film and his role in it in his autobiography and murder trial testimony.

Paramount, released September 24, 1922

Directed by Cecil B. DeMille.  Ray mentions this film in his murder trial testimony.  About five minutes into the film, at the roadhouse party, I think that’s Ray, second from the right in the group of men on the left and right of the female star (he’s laughing a lot).  A few shots later, you see him, I think, in the foreground, dancing with one of the guests.  He might be somewhere in the Roman orgy scene that follows (or the one around the 55 minute mark), but it’s hard to tell because of the quality of the prints, fast cutting, and long shots.

The Power of Love
Perfect Pictures, released September 27, 1922

Mentioned as a credit for “Ramon Icarez” in a 1922 trade publication, this was the world’s first 3D feature film.  Both the 3D version and 2D reissue (known as Forbidden Lover) are lost.
(source: “Where to Find People You Know”, Camera! The Digest of the Motion Picture Industry, Saturday, October 7, 1922, page 6)

To Have and to Hold
Paramount, released October 29 1922

Another film mentioned as a credit for “Ramon Icarez” in a 1922 trade publication.  The film, directed by George Fitzmaurice, starred Betty Compson and appears to be lost
(source: “Where to Find People You Know”, Camera! The Digest of the Motion Picture Industry, Saturday, October 7, 1922, page 6)

The Young Rajah
Paramount, released November 12, 1922

Directed by Phil Rosen.  Another Valentino film that Ray worked in.  It’s listed among his credits in a 1922 trade publication blurb about “Ramon Icarez”.  The complete film is lost, but was reconstructed from fragments and stills in 2006.
(source: “Where to Find People You Know”, Camera! The Digest of the Motion Picture Industry, Saturday, October 7, 1922, page 6)

Bella Donna
Paramount, released April 1, 1923

Directed by George Fitzmaurice.  Another film mentions as one of his credits in his murder trial testimony.  The film was Pola Negri’s first starring role in the United States.  The film also had the distinction of being exhibited with a music and effects soundtrack using the experimental Phonofilm process.  A print of the film is held in a Moscow archives.

Stephen Steps Out
Paramount, released November 18, 1923

The first film featuring a teenaged Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.  Ray mentions it in his autobiography in a section on Ray’s command performance for King Edward in 1936; Fairbanks was at the performance and mentioned Ray being in the film.  The film is lost.

The Ten Commandments
Paramount, released December 4, 1923

Directed by Cecil B. DeMille.  Again, Ray mentions working on this film in his trial testimony.  In his autobiography, tells the story of a wild party at the end of shooting that resulted in the firing of Ray and other members of the cast from Paramount.  I haven’t been able to spot him in it.

“Movie Mad” and “Broadway Mose”
comedy shorts, Court Studios, 1923

This comedy short was mentioned as being completed in January 1923 by industry publications.  It starred “Ramon Icarez” (a name Ray used in Hollywood in the early 20s) and was to be the first of six comedies that he would appear in.  The articles note that “Broadway Mose”, a satire on the 1922 film “Broadway Rose“, was to immediately go into production.  I’ve not been able to track down any indication that either of these two films survived or that others beyond “Movie Mad” were completed.  In his memoirs, Ray mentioned appearing in a dreadful series of comedy shorts – this might be the series he was referring to.
(sources: “First Finished”, The Film Daily, February 19, 1923, page 6 and “Boiled Down and Served Up! Some of This Weeks Film News You May Have Overlooked,” Camera! The Digest of the Motion Picture Industry, Saturday, February 3, 1923, page 10.)

Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall
United Artists, released May 25, 1924
YouTube (excerpt, sans Ray)
This elaborate and expensive costume drama, based on a novel, starred Mary Pickford.  In a 1931 newspaper interview, Ray mentions doubling for Estelle Taylor in this film where Taylor plays Mary, Queen of Scots.  Ray said he doubles for Taylor when she is being dragged off to the guillotine.  The film exists in the Mary Pickford archives, but has not been officially released on home video.
(source: “Juarez Entertainer Said Heir to About $1,500,000,” El Paso Times, El Paso, Texas, July 27, 1931, p. 1.)

The Volga Boatman
Producers Distributing Corporation, released May 23, 1926

Directed by Cecil B. DeMille.  Mentioned by Ray in his murder trial testimony as one of the pictures he worked on.  I’ve been unable to spot him unless he’s the young man that William Boyd gives water to in one of the early scenes in the picture and who is killed in the palace scene later on.  He might be one of the heavily costumed extras.

Sound Films

“Hip Zip Hooray”
comedy short, RKO, 1934

YouTubeblog post about this film
In this short film produced by RKO, Ray has a significant role in several scenes as a gay designer of ladies undergarments. The plot of the movie involves a sheriff with an escaped prisoner and the husband of a rather butch female state governer accidentally buying a “salon” when he goes out drinking one night, thinking he’s bought a “saloon”. The “salon” sells fashionable women’s undergarments.  Unfortunately, the RKO shorts have passed through many companies over the years and aren’t well documented.  A copy of “Hip Zip Hooray” was provided to me by Jonathan Sanders who recorded the short off of BBC television in the 1980s, but it’s not clear who owns the short and what archives might have it now.

“He Done His Duty”
comedy short, Columbia, 1937

Ray is listed in the cast of this Andy Clyde short filmed in September 1937 and released in December of that year.  I have screened the short and verified that Ray plays “Ivy Flowers” a female impersonator con artist.  (Read my blog post to see more details and stills from the film.)
(source:  James L. Neibaur, The Andy Clyde Columbia Comedies, pp 67-68)

Golddiggers of 1937
Warner Brothers, released December 26, 1936

In the opening scenes, Ray has a non-speaking role on the train.  About mid-way through this film, Ray is seen dancing at a pool party in a closeup. Ray mentions the appearance in his autobiography and discusses seeing the film in a theater with his accompanist, who is surprised to see Ray in the movie.  (Ray isn’t listed in the cast of the film.)

Ever Since Eve
Warner Brothersreleased July 15, 1937

“Ever Since Eve” is a 1937 comedy production from Warner Brothers starring Marion Davies.  According to a cast listing for the picture in the April-June 1937 issue of “Box Office”, in a column listing in production and recently completed film projects, Ray is listed in the cast.  A database listing for the print at UCLA doesn’t include him.  The film has aired on TCM and I obtained a copy of one of the broadcasts – there’s a couple of nightclub scenes in the film (one with a Hawaiian number, the other with a Latin flavored number), but Ray is nowhere to be seen.  He might have been hired for the film and then they changed the concept for the number he would have done.  Or maybe he had a bit part with a few lines and was cut or I missed him.
(source: “Pictures in the Making,” Box Office, July 13, 1937.)

Whispering Enemies
Columbia, released March 24, 1939

Ray is listed in the cast of this drama in Variety when the film was in production as Wreckage. The film was listed as currently being edited or ready for preview.  It was released in March 1939.  Credits at the IMDB and elsewhere don’t list Ray in the cast – it’s unknown if Ray’s part was cut out or if it was small enough to not merit an on-screen credit or mention in the IMDB.
(source: “Advance Production Chart,” Variety, November 16, 1938, p 19)

Other Possible Film Appearances

Estelle Taylor films (1919-1923)

It’s generally accepted that Ray started in the movie business working at Paramount and someone noticed his resemblance to Estelle Taylor; Ray wound up doubling and doing stunts for her.  Only some of her films survive and they seem to only be in archival collections.

Home movie footage (mid-1960s)

For several years, I kept hearing rumors that Ray’s act, and other performances, at the Jewel Box Lounge in Kansas City, were filmed in the mid-1960s.  In January 2020, I received an email from Michael Boles that seemed to clear up the mystery.

Robert Chase Heishman and Michael Boles independently found a collection of 35mm slides taken from 1958 through 1968 in Kansas City, documenting drag acts at clubs in the city, primarily the Jewel Box and and the Colony Club.  They have set up a website about the project and have been networking with members of the community to turn up more slides, photos, and documentation about gay life in Kansas City during that period.

In the email, Boles told me that there appears to have been home movies taken, but later destroyed – they may survive in a video transfer to VHS or dvd.

We’ve been in touch with both families of the owners.  The Tuccillo’s and Lombardo’s.  Sadly Joe Lombardo’s daughter told us that years ago they would watch super8 footage of the shows at the Jewel Box from the 50’s and 60’s during Thanksgiving, but her son burned them all.  I’m sure Ray was in the footage.  She did tell us though that they were digitized so maybe there’s a CD or file around somewhere?  We’re working on it.

Hopefully, these or other home movies of performances by Ray and people he worked with will turn up someday.