Today we’ll look at Roy and Dale’s TV Show, the Roy Rogers Show. Not many folks alive today were around when Roy was working for Republic, but many remember watching the Roy Rogers Show. The show opened with a clip of Roy on Trigger and a narrator intoned, “Roy Rogers, King of the Cowboys, Trigger, his golden palomino, and Dale Evans, Queen of the West. With Pat Brady, his comical sidekick, and Roy’s Wonder Dog Bullet.” and clips of each rolled by at their name was called. Buttermilk and Nellybelle were also in the show. (A funny tidbit: Somehow it got out to the media that Buttermilk had just given birth to a colt sired by Trigger. However, this is impossible since Buttermilk is a gelding – that is a boy who has been fixed. Whoops!)
Each star played him or herself in each episode. Roy and Dale solved the problem with some comic relief from Pat. Sometimes Pat would help too, but it didn’t always go well. He tended to spill the beans to the villains and then have to get Dale to rescue Roy from a tough spot. Bullet helped track down the bad guys and sometimes carried messages or sent for help. Trigger was Roy’s horse and friend. Sometimes he did tricks, but most of the time he was for transportation. Nellybelle was Pat’s temperamental jeep. She had a mind of her own and often she would mess up Roy’s plans by delaying an important message until it was too late, or breaking down just when Roy needed backup. As Dale said, Pat spent more time under that jeep than in it! Roy and Dale were portrayed as good friends – not boyfriend and girlfriend, but good friends who looked out for each other. Dale ran the Eureka Café and Hotel. She also had a small ranch. Roy owned the Double R Bar Ranch and was the local law enforcement – though he didn’t have a badge. In a few episodes, Roy was portrayed as the sheriff or acting sheriff while the real Sheriff was hurt or out of town. Pat was Dale’s employee at the Eureka.
Roy and Dale’s children made a few appearances too. Cheryl is in “Outlaws of Paradise Valley”. She teaches Pat how to cook pancakes. Baby Dodie is in another episode where the villains steal a wagon from Dale – and the baby’s in the wagon! Dusty also appears in one of the episodes.
Most of the episodes take place in a town called Mineral City – though a few do cast the crew as travelling out of town or based in a different city. One such out-of-town episode is
“The Double Crosser”. Roy and Dale go to check out a local Sheriff. He’s been a really good sheriff up until recently. Now there is a band of outlaws that are getting away with their crimes and the Sheriff doesn’t appear to be doing anything about it.
The episodes rarely have any songs in the script. “The Ginger Horse” has Dale’s song, “The Bible Tells Me So” (no it’s not the traditional kids’ song), and “Empty Saddles” has “The Cowboy’s Dream” (set to the tune of “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”). As far as I know, those are the only two episodes out of all 100 produced that have songs in the script. However, all of the episodes end with Roy and Dale singing “Happy Trails” during the credits.
The episodes are around 30 minutes a piece and ran for six seasons from 1951-1957. Of the 104 episodes written, 100 were produced. Mineral City was a western street at MGM studios, while everything else was on Roy and Dale’s ranch or movie bad guy Jack Ingram’s ranch. The Rogers’ house was used for the scenes at Roy’s ranch house. Little Trigger makes appearances in some of the episodes. The most notable is in “Phantom Rustlers” in which Roy is shot and “Trigger” lays down on the ground so that Roy can get into the saddle. Note: This is the only episode I’ve found in which Roy is actually shot. He gets knocked out and shot at a lot, but “Phantom Rustlers” may very well be the only time he actually gets hit with a bullet.
So now that you’ve had an overview of the show, you probably want to see one – or two – or why not all of them? You can buy them here: http://astore.amazon.com/rogersdale-20?_encoding=UTF8&node=5
Or watch some of them on YouTube. Just search “the Roy Rogers Show”.