The Saturday Theater – Susanna Pass (1949)

Roy Rogers and Trigger

Roy Rogers and Trigger

Dale returned to Roy’s side in 1949 after a year-long break from the movie screen. Susanna Pass was the first film the duo released in 1949. Set in a fish hatchery out west, the battle is over the lake – or what’s at the bottom of it. Roy is the local game warden and unofficial Sheriff’s Deputy in the area. Martin and Russell Masters – two highly respected citizens of Susanna Pass – have a nephew who just escaped from prison. Martin had Bob sent to jail a few years back over an oil mining fraud. Now Bob is out to get his uncle. Roy and the Riders are helping search for Bob and his buddy, Roberts. Things get complicated when Russell’s lake is dynamited, and then Russell drowns. Roy proves that Russell’s boat was shot out from under him, and the suspect list isn’t very long: Bob, Russell’s new assistant (Dale), or Roberts. Or maybe there’s someone else?

Susanna Pass (1949)

67 minutes (Trucolor)

Producer: Edward J. White

Director: William Witney

Screenplay: Sloan Nibley

Cast: Roy Rogers, Trigger, Dale Evans, Foy Willing and the Riders of the Purple Sage, Estelita Rodriguez, Martin Garralaga, Robert Emmett Keane, Lucien Littlefield, Douglas Fowley, David Sharpe, Robert Bice

Plot: Roy is a game warden and range patrol officer in this fast-paced mystery. Two convicts escape from the penitentiary and Roy tries to track them down. One of the convicts is a relative of the local fish hatchery owner and his brother, the newspaper publisher. Roy and the brothers have good reason to believe that the nephew will come back and cause trouble. When someone dynamites the lake and kills hundreds of fish, Roy begins suspecting that there is more than personal revenge at stake. The hatchery owner “accidentally” drowns, and Dale Evans inherits the hatchery. Roy has to sort out the good from the bad and lay charges before someone else is murdered.

Songs: “Susanna Pass”, “Good, Good Morning”, “Brush Those Tears from Your Eyes”, and “Two-Gun Rita”

This film is available on DVD or as an Instant Video.

Happy Trails!


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The Saturday Theater – My Pal Trigger (1946)

Roy Rogers and Trigger

Roy Rogers and Trigger

Whew! Back again after an unusually long holiday season with my family. The theater is reopening with a classic Roy Rogers film: My Pal Trigger

This film was arguably one of Roy’s personal favorites – and rightly so! Trigger’s character, first as Golden Sovereign and then as Trigger, does everything but talk. Interestingly enough, Roy starts the film riding a bay mare named Lady. Dale Evans gets the honor of riding Trigger. Roy plays a leather goods peddler and horse trader looking to mate his mare with the Golden Sovereign. The Sovereign is owned by grizzled goat Gabby Hayes. The magnificent palomino stallion is the sire of the best palomino colts in the country, owned and raised on Gabby’s Golden Horse Ranch. Gabby isn’t interested in risking a colt by an outsider’s mare. Roy’s timing isn’t the best either.

He rides up just as Susan Kendrick – Gabby’s daughter played by Dale Evans – is putting Sovereign through his paces for the neighbors. Sovereign is distracted by Lady and refuses to continue his performance. Things go from bad to worse as Roy continues to try to achieve his goal. He ends up getting roughly thrown out of a nightclub before he gives up. Meanwhile, a jealous neighbor, Scoval, is also looking for a colt by the Sovereign. He doesn’t play by the rules. Instead, he has two of his men horsenap Sovereign.

The Sovereign isn’t interested in Scoval’s mares, but he can’t get Lady off his mind. He breaks away from Scoval’s henchmen and goes for a happy moonlight romp through the hills with Lady. Roy gets in huge trouble when the Sovereign is later found dead in Roy’s temporary corral.

My Pal Trigger (1946)

79 minutes (black and white)

Producer: Armand Schaefer

Director: Frank McDonald

Screenplay: Jack Townley and John K. Butler

Cast: Roy Rogers, Trigger, Dale Evans, Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers, Gabby Hayes, Jack Holt, LeRoy Mason, Roy Barcroft, Sam Flint, Kenne Duncan, Ralph Sanford, Francis McDonald, Harlan Briggs, William Haade, Alan Bridge, Fred Graham, Ted Mapes

Plot: The strong story casts Roy as a horse trader who wants to breed his mare to the prize palomino stud, the Golden Sovereign (played by Trigger) at Gabby’s Golden Horse Ranch. Villain Scoval (Holt) has similar plans for his mare. Scoval tries to steal the Sovereign, but the palomino stallion ends up shot. Since the Sovereign was found dead in Roy’s corral, Roy is blamed and sent to jail. Roy jumps bail and takes off on his mare. A year later, Lady give birth to a beautiful palomino colt who Roy names Trigger. Roy returns to Gabby’s ranch once Trigger has grown up and attempts to give the colt as a gift to replace the Sovereign. Although Trigger is the spitting image of his sire, Gabby refuses the colt out of bitterness, and Roy is sent back to prison. Trigger is sold at auction and Scoval buys him. Roy must clear himself, win back Trigger, and convince Gabby that he’s not a horse killer. Of course, to do this Roy must find the real killer.

Songs: “Livin’ Western Style”, “Harriet”, “El Rancho Grande”, “Ole Faithful”, and “Long, Long Ago”

This exciting film is available on DVD and as an Instant Video.

Happy Trails!


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The Saturday Theater – The Yellow Rose of Texas – 1944

Roy Rogers and Trigger

Roy Rogers and Trigger

The Yellow Rose of Texas was Roy’s second film with his future wife, Dale Evans. Dale plays an actress on a show boat known as the Yellow Rose of Texas. Her father, Weston, had been thrown in the slammer five years previously for a crime he didn’t commit. His first night as a guard for the express company, the shipment was robbed and the driver was shot in the back. Weston was accused of steeling the Hollister Mine payroll after the wagon and payroll disappeared. Weston never had a chance to clear himself. Five years later, he broke out of jail in an effort to find the lost wagon and payroll. His daughter doesn’t know where he is, but Roy, an insurance investigator trying to recover the money, believes she knows more than she’s telling. Dale and Weston must convince Roy that he and the police are after the wrong man before Weston is locked up again. They must also find the payroll and clear Weston.

The Yellow Rose of Texas (1944)

69 minutes (black and white)

Producer: Harry Grey

Director: Joseph Kane

Screenplay: Jack Townley

Cast: Roy Rogers, Trigger, Dale Evans, Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers, Grant Withers, Harry Shannon, George Cleveland, William Haade, Weldon Hayburn, Hal Taliaferro, Tom London, Dick Botiller, Janet Martin, Brown Jug Reynolds, Bob Wilke, Jack O’Shea, Rex Lease, Emmet Vogan, John Dilson, Fred Toones

Plot: Roy is an undercover insurance investigator working as a singer on the “Yellow Rose of Texas” showboat owned by Dale Evans. Roy is trying to locate unrecovered money from a robbery five years ago. Dale’s father was convicted for the crime but the money was never recovered. The father has broken out of jail, and Roy thinks he’ll show up on the boat. After confronting the man with the evidence, Roy hears the whole story and is convinced that the police are looking for the wrong man. Roy then helps Dale try to clear her father.

Songs: “Two-Seated Saddle and a One-Gaited Horse”, “Lucky Me, Unlucky You”, “Song of the Rover”, “Western Wonderland”, “Down at the Old Town Hall”, “Down Mexico Way”, “Timber Trail”, “Show Boat”, “Take It Easy”, and “Yellow Rose of Texas”

Note: Although there are many versions out there that claim to be the full-length film, most are not. Of the ten original songs, only four are included in a lot of these “full-length” films. The six that are commonly emitted are “Two-Seated Saddle and a One-Gaited Horse”, “Lucky Me, Unlucky You”, “Western Wonderland”,  “Down at the Old Town Hall”, “Down Mexico Way”, and “Take It Easy”.

The cut version is available here.

Or, if you have access to a VHS player (or a player that can transfer VHS to DVD), this four tape set is a great deal. On high-quality VHS you get The Carson City Kid, Home in Oklahoma, The Cowboy and the Senorita, and The Yellow Rose of Texas. Although the individual run times are not listed, the collected run time divided by four is around 66 minutes a piece – which would be full-length.

Happy Trails!


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Salute to Sandy


The Roy Rogers family

L to R: Dusty, Roy, Linda Lou, Sandy, Cheryl, Dale, and Dodie

A few weeks ago we celebrated Veterans’ Day. Well, I’m doing a follow-up post. You see, Roy and Dale had a son in the Army. He died in Germany in 1965 at the age of 18. John David “Sandy” Rogers is the smaller boy in uniform in the picture above.

Although Sandy and Dusty were the same age, Sandy was much smaller. He had been severely abused as a child and sustained brain damage as a result. Roy and Dale adopted him shortly after they lost Elizabeth Robin. Sandy had difficulty doing normal things, like riding a tricycle and climbing ladders, but he never gave up.

He had a lot of trouble in school and couldn’t seem to keep up. So, Roy and Dale enrolled both the boys in a military school. The first school didn’t turn out very well, but the second one was great. In the early 1960s, the Rogers family took a vacation to Hawaii. While on the island, Sandy was exposed to hundreds of Marines and other Military personnel. Sandy had always loved playing with small plastic “Army Men”, and this experience pushed him closer to the Army. Despite his struggles with school, Sandy managed to pass the exams and signed up for the Army. He was deemed unsuitable for Vietnam and was sent to Germany.

Sandy worked hard and soon gained the rank of Private First Class. It was during the party afterwards (celebrating Sandy and some other men who had achieved the rank) that Sandy met his demise. Some of the men urged Sandy to “drink like a man” to prove that he was worthy of the rank. Sandy fell for the dare and overdosed on alcohol. He died sometime between 4 and 8 a.m. the following morning.

Just as she did after Elizabeth Robin died, Dale wrote a book commemorating Sandy’s life. Salute to Sandy was published in 1967. Sandy’s story is interspersed with the story of Roy and Dale’s trip to Vietnam after their son’s death. They went to encourage the soldiers, but it seems that they received far more than what they gave. All of the soldiers who had known Sandy wanted to share stories of the boy’s dedication and hard work.

This book is astounding. Dale’s faith through the loss of three children is expressed clearly in its pages. While there are some sad parts, the book shares a lot of the more joyful times of Sandy’s life. His mischievous pranks, his knack for getting into trouble, it’s all in there as only his mother could tell. Salute to Sandy is a special story of a special boy, and one that is well worth reading.

This book is available as hardcover or paperback here. Or you can buy a triple pack – Angel Unaware (the story of Elizabeth Robin), Dearest Debbie (Deborah Lee’s story), and Salute to Sandy – here.

Happy Trails!



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Saturday Theater – Come On, Rangers (1938)

Roy Rogers and Trigger

Roy Rogers and Trigger

Today’s film – Come On, Rangers – was Roy’s third movie and was set just after Texas became a state. The stars of the cast are Roy Rogers, Trigger, Mary Hart, and Raymond Hatton. This is one of the many films Roy made that presents how Roy got Trigger – a completely fictitious story, but fun nonetheless. “Indians” raid a farm owned by Roy’s brother. During the raid, the entire family (including the brother) is killed and the barn is set on fire. Roy arrives on the scene in time to rescue Trigger from the blaze, but not in time to save his kin. Roy takes Trigger for his own and vows to bring the killers to justice.

Come On, Rangers (1938)

57 minutes (black and white)

Producer: Charles E. Ford

Director: Joseph Kane

Screenplay: Gerald Geraghty and Jack Natteford

Cast: Roy Rogers, Trigger, Mary Hart (Lynn Roberts), Raymond Hatton, J. Farrell MacDonald, Purnell Pratt, Harry Woods, Bruce MacFarlane, Lane Chandler, Chester Gunnels, Lee Powell

Plot: This plot concerns the regrouping of disbanded Texas Rangers. The U.S. Calvary has replaced the Rangers (of whom Roy was captain), lawlessness and disorder has erupted as the result. Roy joins the Cavalry as a private in hopes that he can help restore order. However, when Roy’s brother is killed in an outlaw raid, Roy deserts the Cavalry and vows to bring the killers to justice.

Songs: “Tenting Tonight”, “I’ve Learned a Lot about Women”, and “A Western Love Song”

This film is available as a DVD here.

Happy Trails!


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The Saturday Theater – Sunset on the Desert (1942)

Roy Rogers and Trigger

Roy Rogers and Trigger

Today’s film is Sunset on the Desert, starring Roy Rogers, Gabby Hayes, Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers, Lynne Carver, Roy Barcroft, and of course, Trigger.

Roy rides into battle for an old friend, Judge Kirby. However, since Roy’s been gone on a rodeo circuit for so long, no one recognizes him for who he really is. Instead, he’s mistaken for the villain, Sloan, who just shot a local rancher’s son. To complicate matters, Roy’s childhood sweetheart, Ann Kirby (the Judge’s daughter), has a new fella – Bob Nolan! Roy sets out to win her back while trying to figure out who has her father cowed. Unfortunately, she doesn’t recognize him either, making his job doubly difficult. Roy does a great job playing dual roles in this funny and action-packed film.

As an added bonus, Pat Brady sings the goofy song “It’s a Lie” as part of a fund-raiser early on in the film.

Sunset on the Desert (1942)

63 minutes (black and white)

Producer: Joseph Kane

Director: Joseph Kane

Screenplay: Gerald Geraghty

Cast:  Roy Rogers, Trigger, Gabby Hayes, Pat Brady, Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers, Lynne Carver, Frank M. Thomas, Beryl Wallace, Glenn Strange, Douglas Fowley, Fred Burns, Roy Barcroft, Henry Wills, Forrest Taylor, Bob Woodward, Ed Cassidy, Cactus Mack

Plot: The old mistaken identity plot is pulled off the shelf again in this film. Roy arrives in town and is mistaken for a look-alike owl hoot who is expected by an outlaw gang. Roy goes undercover as the baddie to get the goods on the gang. Just as he is about to spring the trap, his double arrives to complicate matters.

Songs: “It’s a Lie”, “Remember Me”, “Yip Pe Yi Your Troubles Away”, “Faithful Pal of Mine”, and “Don Juan”

This film is available here.

Happy Trails!


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A Salute to the Veterans of America

The American Flag

The American Flag

Veterans’ Day is a solemn day, reminding us of what our brave soldiers have given. It’s a day where we remember them – both the dead and living – and thank them for their sacrifices. A small town near where I live erected white crosses along both sides of Main Street. Each cross has a small flag pole on top, with a U.S. flag flying from it. Each cross also has a name printed on it, commemorating a veteran that lived (or lives) there.

For those of you who have relatives who served, take special time today to call them, send them a card, or visit with them. They gave more than you may realize, both mentally and physically, to protect our country.

While it’s too late to thank them personally, consider what those who have gone before gave for their country. They gave the supreme sacrifice: dying so their descendants could live in a better America.

Thank you, Veterans, for what you gave so we can live. May God bless you.

Happy Trails,


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