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Archive for the ‘Roy Rogers’ Category

Roy Rogers At Woodstock?

Jimi Hendrix closed the Woodstock Festival on the morning of August 18, 1969. 50 years ago today. Michael Lang, one of the brains behind the three-day event, wanted Roy Rogers to close out the show with “Happy Trails,” but Roy and his management turned him down.

Lang grew up with Rogers and saw it as a perfect closing. It was not to be.

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Peggy Stewart
(June 5, 1922 – May 29, 2019)

Heard this morning that Peggy Stewart — who’ll find in everything from Son Of Zorro (1947), a Republic serial, to pictures with Roger, Autry and Elliott to an episode of Seinfeld — has passed away at almost 97.

Peggy was great in all those Westerns (I’m particularly fond of the ones she did with William Elliott), and as anybody who ever spoke with her at a Western convention or something will tell you, she was a really nice lady.

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Happy New Year!

From Variety, January 5, 1949 — and from 50 Westerns From The 50s, 70 years later.

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Mill Creek has announced a 20-picture Roy Rogers DVD set — “authorized by the Roy Rogers estate” — for release in March. But so far, I can’t track down its actual contents. I have my doubts that it’ll give us uncut, color versions of the movies we’re all waiting for, since those are controlled by Paramount these days. Plus, it sounds suspiciously like the old King Of The Cowboys set from Timeless.

Stay tuned.

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Since wrapping up a commentary for El Paso (1949), the Pine-Thomas Western starring John Payne, Gail Russell and Sterling Hayden, I’ve been thinking about Gabby Hayes.

George Francis “Gabby” Hayes was born in his father’s hotel, the Hayes Hotel, in Stannards, New York. He played semiprofessional baseball in high school — and ran away from home at 17. He toured with a stock company, joined a circus, and became a successful vaudevillian.

Hayes married Olive E. Ireland in 1914, and she joined him in vaudeville. Hayes was so successful that by 1928, at just 43, he retired to Long Island. But he lost everything in the 1929 stock-market crash, and Olive persuaded George to try his luck in the movies. They moved to Los Angeles.

In his early days in Hollywood, Hayes played all kinds of roles — sometimes two parts in a single film. He did well in Westerns, though he didn’t know how to ride a horse until he was in his 40s and had to learn for a movie. In fact, he didn’t care much for Westerns.

From 1935 to 39, Hayes played Windy Halliday, the sidekick to Hopalong Cassidy (played by William Boyd). In 1939, Hayes left Paramount in a salary dispute and moved over to Republic. Paramount owned the name Windy Halliday, so he became Gabby.

As Gabby Whitaker, he appeared in more than 40 pictures between 1939 and 1946, usually with Roy Rogers, Gene Autry or Wild Bill Elliott — and often working with director Joseph Kane.

Hayes, Wayne and Rogers would all appear in Raoul Walsh’s The Dark Command (1940). Its dream cast also includes Claire Trevor, Walter Pigeon, Marjorie Main and Joe Sawyer. Its success would spur Yates to put more money into their John Wayne movies, and it hints at the bigger pictures Republic would do heading into the 50s. It’s a good one.

George “Gabby” Hayes’ last feature was The Cariboo Trail (1950) with Randolph Scott. He then headed to TV and hosted The Gabby Hayes Show from 1950 to 1954 on NBC and on ABC in 1956. When the series ended, Hayes retired from show business for a second time. He passed away in February 1969.

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A Couple Birthdays.

Joel Albert McCrea
(November 5, 1905 – October 20, 1990)

Joel McCrea, a real icon of the Cinema West, was born 113 years ago today.

Roy Rogers
November 5, 1911 –  July 6, 1998

Likewise, Roy Rogers — the King Of the Cowboys, was born 107 years ago.

These two men are more than just a couple of my favorite actors. Both the parts they played, and the people they were, serve as a model of the kind of person I’ve always wanted to be. Plus, they made some really cool movies.

In addition, happy birthday to our good friend Judy.

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Happy Halloween.

Not sure what this is from, but it’s Roy Rogers lassoing a bat. Seems like the perfect way to mark Halloween.

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