Home |  PublicationsEncyclopedia |  Boggs, Haskell

The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

BOGGS, HASKELL (1909–2003).

A motion-picture industry cinematographer, Haskell "Bus" Boggs was born in Jones, Oklahoma on April 17, 1909 to Benjamin Franklin and Flora Pickard Boggs. The family soon moved to Oklahoma City where Boggs grew up, graduating from Central High School in 1929. In his junior and senior years Boggs developed into a star running back on Central's football team. Even more significant than his football success was his growing interest in motion picture production. He enrolled in Central High's machine shop class and built his own 35mm motion-picture camera.

After graduating, Boggs became friends with an Oklahoma City motion-picture entrepreneur, Arthur Ramsey. Ramsey hired Boggs to be his cameraman, shooting everything from newsreels in 1930s Oklahoma to industrial, promotional, and training films. They produced newsreels and sold them to Pathé News, Paramount News, Fox Movietone News and Hearst News. The topics included such topics as the Red River bridge war with Texas, Wiley Post's parents' during one of their son's flights, the Oklahoma City trial of Machine Gun Kelly for the murder of Charles Urschel.

Boggs would accompany Ramsey on trips to Southern California to visit Ramsey's uncle. While there, Boggs met several Paramount Studios employees. They eventually offered him a job in the camera department. As a Paramount cameraman he eventually worked his way up to director of photography on many motion pictures.

Boggs began filming movies that included Cecil B. DeMille's Crusades and The Plainsman. As he progressed in his career, Boggs worked on numerous popular features, including Union Pacific (1938), Sorrowful Jones (1949), Fear Strikes Out (1957) and Teacher's Pet (1958). He also worked on all of the Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis comedy films.

In 1960 Paramount needed his expertise to help the new Bonanza television series look better. The show was produced to promote the new field of color television broadcasts. Boggs served as cinematographer on Bonanza and subsequently on the television series Little House on the Prarie and Highway to Heaven. A consummate motion picture professional, Haskell Boggs died on May 30, 2003, in Burbank, California, leaving a lasting legacy.

Bill Moore


Sandi Davis, "Oklahoman Created a Place in Hollywood," Daily Oklahoman, 13 June 2003.

Bill Moore, "Haskell 'Bus' Boggs: Cinematographer Extraordinaire," in Oklahoma @ the Movies, comp. Larry Odell (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 2012).

Bruce Palmer, "City Man Shoots Movie Stars," Daily Oklahoman, 28 December 1938.


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Bill Moore, “Boggs, Haskell,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=BO035.

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS). This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and part or in whole.