The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show
The Roy Rogers Show: Land Swindle ( Dale Evans, Roy Rogers, Pat Brady)
The Roy Rogers Show is an American Western television series that broadcast one hundred episodes on NBC for six seasons between December 30, 1951 and June 9, 1957. The show starred Roy Rogers as a ranch owner, Dale Evans as the proprietress of the Eureka Cafe in fictional Mineral City, and Pat Brady as Roy’s sidekick and Dale’s cook. Brady’s jeep Nellybelle had a mind of her own and often sped away driverless with Brady in frantic pursuit on foot. Animal stars were Roy’s Palomino horse, Trigger and his German Shepherd wonder dog, Bullet. The show was filmed at the Samuel Goldwyn Studio, and originally sponsored by General Foods (Post Cereals and Jell-O). The show’s theme song, “Happy Trails”, was written by Dale Evans and sung over the end credits by Rogers and Evans. The show received an Emmy nomination in 1955 for Best Western or Adventure Series, but it lost out to the syndicated Stories of the Century, an anthology series starring and narrated by Jim Davis. Beginning in 1961, CBS broadcast reruns of The Roy Rogers Show for three and a half seasons on Saturday mornings. Reruns also aired in France in 1962. Reruns are currently being aired on RFD-TV, which also sells T-shirts and plush toys of Trigger and Bullet. Reruns are also currently broadcast on local Christian television channel in Florida, “Good Life 45.” Like Rogers’s films, the series featured traditional cowboys and cowgirls riding horses and carrying six-shooters in a contemporary setting where they coexisted with automobiles, telephones, and electric lighting. No attempt was made in the scripts to explain or justify this strange blend of 19th-century characters with 20th-century technology. Typical episodes followed the stars as they rescued the weak and helpless from the clutches of dishonest lawmen, claim jumpers, rustlers, and other “bad guys.” The show was merchandised for the juvenile market with comic books, play sets, western costumes, and many other items.
The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show is a Western comedy and variety program that ran on ABC television for 13 episodes from September 29 to December 29, 1962. In addition to Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Rogers, who married in 1947, the program featured the Sons of the Pioneers, Pat Brady, and Cliff Arquette in his role of country iconoclast Charley Weaver.
The premiere episode entitled the “Seattle World’s Fair” honored the celebration in 1962 in Seattle, Washington. The November 3 episode was set at Knotts Berry Farm amusement park in Buena Park, California. Martha Raye guest-starred in the December 8 episode “Circus.” Dale Robertson of NBC‘s Tales of Wells Fargo appeared in the episode “Western Hit Parade” on October 20, which offered the songs “Cool Water,” “Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling,” and “Don’t Fence Me In.” Still another segment featured singer Kathy Taylor and magician Mark Wilson.
A patriotic program was broadcast on October 27. A tribute to silent film star William S. Hart aired on November 10. A Thanksgiving Day celebration aired on November 17, and a Grand National horse show followed on November 24. A minstrel show was presented on December 1. The last new episode entitled “Christmas Open House” aired on December 22.
From 1951 to 1957, the couple had a successful half-hour western drama The Roy Rogers Show, which aired for 104 episodes on Sunday afternoons on NBC. It was rebroadcast on Saturday mornings on CBS from 1961 to 1964. Evans herself composed the words and music of the program theme song, Happy Trails. The song quickly became the composition most associated with the pair.
The series was quickly canceled. The program preceded another short-lived ABC series, the sitcom Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, starring Fess Parker and Red Foley. Roy and Dale aired opposite the first year of The Jackie Gleason Show, another comedy-variety program, on CBS. NBC ran the legal drama Sam Benedict at that hour, co-starring Edmond O’Brien in the title role, with Richard Rust as his understudy.
The Handbook of Texas described the 1962 variety program as an unsuccessful attempt by Rogers and Evans to “revive their flagging popularity.” The couple retired to Apple Valley in San Bernardino County, California, and devoted themselves to their Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum, which was moved thereafter to nearby Victorville, California, and then to Branson, Missouri. Evans continued to write books testifying to her Christian faith and appeared at numerous spiritual conferences. The Texas Press Association named her “Texan of the Year” in 1970. She was named in 1995 to the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. She and Rogers were elected to the Western Music Association Hall of Fame in 1989.