Robert Buckner was one of those individuals who flourished under the strictures of the studio system. He came to Hollywood highly qualified, holding degrees from the Universities of Virginia and Edinburgh and from the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. His work history was also amazingly diverse. He had at one time been an English teacher, a courier, a tour guide, writer for the Daily Mail and London correspondent for the New York World. At the end of his lengthy sojourn in Britain, he returned to the U.S. and was for three years engaged by various publishing and advertising agencies. The busy Mr. Buckner still found sufficient time to write plays on and off-Broadway, and numerous short stories and magazine articles, one of which (for Atlantic Monthly) led to a lucrative contract with Warner Brothers in 1937.
Before long, Buckner had evolved into one of the most sought-after writers of screenplays for Warners typical fast-paced, fast-talking, tough action subjects, often starring Errol Flynn or James Cagney. He was handed several prestige assignments, including Santa Fe Trail (1940), Dive Bomber (1941) and Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942). The resulting box-office success was rewarded with a promotion to producer and further hits with Gentleman Jim (1942) and Life with Father (1947). After leaving Warner Brothers in 1948, Buckner moved to Universal and rounded out his career in 1955 as a free-lance author of teleplays and novels ("Tiger by the Tail", Moon Pilot", "Starfire").