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LAMP's LEGEND Series
presents

Roy Rogers
born Leonard Slye
Nov. 5, 1911 - July 6, 1998
Dick Weston -


Roy Rogers was born in Cincinnati and never left the state of Ohio until he was 18 years old. He followed his father to California where the family worked as migratory fruit pickers.

In the early 1930s, Rogers formed the singing group “The Pioneer Trio” with other members Tim Spencer and Bob Nolan, which later became “The Sons of the Pioneers”, who became very popular on radio.

In 1935, Republic Pictures signed him to a seven-year contract at $75 per week. The studio did not believe an Ohio native with the name of Leonard Slye would sell, so they tried out a few names, the first one being 'Dick Weston'.

He made his film debut in a Gene Autry film,"Tumbling Tumbleweeds" (1935) as an uncredited extra. Rogers continued playing bit roles.

When Gene Autry walked off the lot in a contract dispute in 1938, it was Rogers' chance. Now billed as 'Roy Rogers', he had his first leading role in "Under Western Stars", as a singing cowpoke turned Washington Congressman.

Rogers was an instant hit, and was then usually teamed with Gabby Hayes as his sidekick. Virtually all of his films were in the singing cowboy mode, except for "Dark Command" (1940), in which he played the supporting part of Claire Trevor's trigger-happy brother who is trying to settle the question of whether or not Kansas should be slave state prior to the Civil War.

In 1944, he appeared in "The Cowboy and the Senorita". Playing a supporting role was Dale Evans, a band and radio singer with only a few films under her belt.

In 1947, Rogers and Evans were married and began to make more than 20 films together. But the rise of TV had killed the Poverty Row studios which had made Rogers a star, and he joined the gallop of other lucky Western matinee stars into the new medium.

From 1951-57, he starred with Evans in "The Roy Rogers Show" (NBC), riding his horse Trigger while Evans rode her Buttermilk.

Each week, Rogers would save the West from some evildoers, and Evans would sing "Happy Trails to You", the song she wrote for the show. Rogers character never really kissed a girl and he never misrepresented the Native American.

While it was never publicized--although Rogers never hid it--Rogers' mother was 1/2 Choctaw. America's 'King of the Cowboys' was one of those "mixed breeds" that were often stereotyped in Hollywood films. After original production of "The Roy Rogers Show" ceased in 1957, the show ran on Saturday mornings and afternoons for many years, thus generating new legions of fans.

There were all varieties of Roy Rogers merchandise on the market for the budding little cowboys.. I know I had my Roy Rogers pistols and spent many hours with my favorite comics

Rogers and Evans hosted "The Chevy Show," an NBC variety series a few times in the late 50s, then, in 1962, ABC gave them their own short-lived variety series, "The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show".

Rogers began spending more time on his ranch in Chatsworth, Calfornia, but wanted to retire and slow down a bit. He and Dale sold the ranch and moved to the High Desert of California, making their home in Apple Valley, where the air was clean, and the sunsets were marvelous.

He opened the first Roy Rogers Museum in Apple Valley, as well as renting out the Apple Valley Inn right across the highway, and would often greet the many fans who came to see the exhibits. And, as often reported, his horse Trigger, who went to his last round-up in 1965, was mounted and displayed inside the museum for all to admire.

Beginning in 1962, he toured with a stage show that played fairs and rodeos, as well as the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

Rogers made a guest appearance on "The Beverly Hillbillies" in 1964, and appeared occasionally on variety shows and on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson".

Rogers and Evans guest hosted several installments of "The Nashville Palace" (NBC, 1981-82), recalled the by-gone days on the syndicated retrospective "The Singing Cowboys Ride Again" (1982), and even played a drunk in a small role in "The Gambler III: The Adventure Continues" (CBS, 1983), alongside new western singing star Kenny Rogers. His last feature film role was in "Mackintosh & T.J." (1975), about a cantancerous old cowboy and a rebellious teenage boy.

In 1990, Dale Evans hosted a talk show for Christian cable network TNN and Rogers often joined in her ministry on TV, even though a heart bypass in 1991 slow him down a little. He continued to greet the many visitors at his museum, located in Victorville, CA., until his death on July 6, 1998.

In 2003, the Rogers family decided to move the museum to Branson, MO to give the folks in the midwest a chance to see the museum that they could not visit while it was in California.

 

From 1936 until 1954, the most popular western star was determined annually with a poll of theater owners conducted by Motion Picture Herald.
Buck Jones won for 1936
Gene Autry won each year from 1937 to 1942
Roy Rogers won EACH YEAR from 1943 until 1954 when they stopped taking the poll


Filmography

Tumbling Tumbleweeds (1935) (as Dick Weston)
Slightly Static (1935) (as Dick Weston) Sons of the Pioneers
Old Homestead (1935) (as Leonard Slye) .... Sons of the Pioneers
Gallant Defender (1935)(uncredited) ... Sons of the Pioneers
Way Up Thar (1935) (as Sons of the Pioneers)
Mysterious Avenger, The (1936) (as Sons of the Pioneers)
Song of the Saddle (1936) (as Sons of the Pioneers)
California Mail (1936) (uncredited) .... Square Dance Caller
Big Show (1936) (uncredited) Sons of the Pioneers guitar player
Old Corral, The (1936) (aka Texas Serenade - UK) uncredited..    ....Buck O'Keefe
Rhythm on the Range (1936) as Sons of the Pioneers
Old Wyoming Trail, The (1937) (uncredited) .... Guitar       player/Singer/Cowhand Len
Star Reporter in Hollywood (1937)(short).. as Sons of the Pioneers
Wild Horse Rodeo (1937) (as Dick Weston) .... Singer
Old Barn Dance, The (1938) (as Dick Weston) .... Singer


as Roy Rogers


1938

Under Western Stars
Billy the Kid Returns
Come On Rangers
Shine On Harvest Moon

1939

Southward Ho!
Jeepers Creepers
Rough Riders Round-up
Saga of Death Valley
Frontier Pony Express
In Old Caliente
Days of Jesse James
Arizona Kid
Wall Street Cowboy

1940

Young Buffalo Bill
Young Bill Hickok
Dark Command
Carson City Kid
Colorado
Ranger and the Lady
Border Legion
Rodeo Dough - short

1941

Arkansas Judge
Red River Valley
Robin Hood of the Pecos
Sheriff of Tombstone
In Old Cheyenne
Jesse James at Bay
Nevada City
Bad Man of Deadwood
Picture People No. 2 - RKO short

1942

Heart of the Golden West
Man From Cheyenne
Ridin’ Down the Canyon
Romance on the Range
Sons of the Pioneers
South of Santa Fe
Sunset on the Desert
Sunset Serenade

1943

Silver Spurs
Song of Texas
Man From Music Mountain
King of the Cowboys
Idaho

1944

Hands Across the Border
Yellow Rose of Texas
Cowboy and the Senorita
Lights of Old Santa Fe
San Fernando Valley
Song of Nevada
Hollywood Canteen
Lake Placid Serenade - cameo
Brazil

1945

Man From Oklahoma
Along the Navajo Trail
Bells of Rosarita
Don’t Fence Me In
Utah
Sunset in El Dorado
Where do We Go From Here?
(Roy and Gabby's scenes were deleted from the movie)

1946

Under Nevada Skies
Heldorado
Home in Oklahoma
My Pal Trigger
Rainbow Over Texas
Roll on Texas Moon
Song of Arizona
Out California Way

1947

On the Old Spanish Trail
Apache Rose
Bells of San Angelo
Springtime in the Sierras
Hit Parade of 1947 (released in 1953 on TV as     'High and Happy')
Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Cowboys (short)

1948

Under California Stars
Eyes of Texas
Far Frontier
Grand Canyon Trail
Night Time in Nevada
Gay Ranchero
Melody Time - animated film (narrator)

1949

Susanna Pass
Down Dakota Way
Golden Stallion

1950

Trail of Robin Hood
Trigger, Jr.
Twilight in the Sierras
Sunset in the West
Bells of Coronado
North of the Great Divide

1951

Pals of the Golden West
Heart of the Rockies
Spoilers of the Plains
Stars and Guitars -
retitled release of Brazil from 1944
In Old Amarillo
South of Caliente


The Roy Rogers TV Show started late in 1951 and ran until 1957

1952

Son of Paleface

1954

Pecos Bill - animated short (narrator)
Screen Snapshots: Hollywoods' Invisible Man (short)

1956

Hollywood Bronc Busters (short)
Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Small Fry (short)

1959

Alias Jesse James (uncredited -however Trigger IS credited)

1963

Sound of Laughter (documentary has clips from '30s)

1975

Mackintosh and T.J.

1998

All My Friends are Cowboys - cameo

 

EXTRA! EXTRA!

If you would like to see more on Roy Rogers, here is the link to the offical Roy Rogers website http://www.royrogers.com/

Roy and Dale started a special foundation for severely abused and neglected children
HappyTrails.org




This section is for reference use. Images found on this site are property of L.A.M.P. and are for reference purposes only with NO rights implied or given. See LAMP Disclaimer
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