Monday, November 21, 2016
The Roy Rogers Show
The Roy Rogers Show was a 30-minute Western radio program in the United States. It began in 1944, ended in 1955, and was carried on more than 500 stations.
Like the television program of the same name, the show centered on Roy Rogers, one of the most popular singing-cowboy movie stars. Initially, the radio show differed in format from The Roy Rogers Show on TV, with the radio version being more oriented toward music. Toward its end, however, it moved more toward the adventure featured in the TV show. Radio historian John Dunning wrote:
"The early shows followed the pattern set by [Gene] Autry's Melody Ranch ... Rogers' show featured Roy and the Sons of the Pioneers in such fine Western favorites as "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," "Cool Water," and "Don't Fence Me In." Much of the show was campfire banter and song, with Roy and songstress Pat Friday doing vocal solos, Perry Botkin leading the Goodyear orchestra and Verne Smith announcing. Dramatic skits were offered, but leaned to lighter material than what the show used in late years. Ultimately, it became primarily a Western thriller show."
The main actors in the program were familiar to fans of Rogers' movies. He was the star, with wife Dale Evans and sidekick Gabby Hayes. Initially, the Sons of the Pioneers were the featured musical group; in 1948, they were replaced by Foy Willing and the Riders of the Purple Sage. In the show's later years, Pat Brady replaced Hayes. Hayes was Rogers' "grizzled sidekick from the movies," whereas Brady "was a different sort of sidekick, younger and more useful, although still comical."
Other people heard in the program over the years included Forrest Lewis, The Whippoorwills, and Joseph Kearns. Rogers' horse, Trigger, and dog, Bullet, were also featured regularly in the program.