Roy Rogers’ Early Radio Appearances

Categories:Cowboy Princess
Cheryl Rogers

I just got a wonderful email from our friend, Larry Zwisohn. He sends me lots of good information and some really good suggestions. Following is the latest selection of both:

Hi Cheryl, Your website entries about the films and shorts your Dad (Roy Rogers) made during the war years got me to thinking.  Your Dad’s career, in my view, really took off thanks to two things during those years.  First were the rodeo appearances which got your Dad off the one-nighters, going from small theater to small theater for $125 to $150 a night – before expenses.  Rodeos put him in one big city for a week or longer, for much better paydays, before larger audiences.

Dad and Trigger make an appearance at
Madison Square Garden in New York.

The next thing that helped your Dad’s career begin to flourish were his radio appearances.  None o the other cowboys, including Gene Autry, appeared as a guest on as many radio shows as your Dad.  A lot of the credit for this goes to Art Rush (Dad’s agent), who knew radio very well and had many contacts in the field (Art was an artist representative for RCA for years).

Dad and Art Rush in Hawaii,1954

As far as I can tell, your Dad’s buildup on radio began with several dramatic programs, including Skippy Hollywood Playhouses’s “Badge of Authority” in November, 1941.  A week later, he was on “Radio Rodeo” (the announcer was Neil Reagan, Ronald Reagan’s older brother).  In February 1942, Roy was on Stars Over Hollywood’s, “Way Out West in Trouble.”  In April 1942, he was on NBC’s “The Call of the West.”

More importantly, on October 25, 1943 your Dad was the guest on Fred Allen’s show. This was one of radio’s top rated shows and proved your Dad appealed not only to kids but to adults as well.  His success on that show led to many other guest appearances on top radio shows, including the first of several appearances he made on “The Chase & Sanborn Hour” starring Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy.  The vocalist on that first show was Dale Evans. (Larry says he has no idea what became of her – Ha Ha!)

Mom (Dale Evans) with Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Bergen.

The point of all of this is to suggest you mention your Dad’s and Mom’s radio work and…here’s another suggestion: you ask those who read your website if they have copies of any of those programs.  It would be nice to collect them together and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of your web visitors have copies in their attics or garages.  Just a thought.  Best always, Larry

Well, I think Larry always has great suggestions and I hope that some of you out there do have and enjoy some of Dad’s and Mom’s old radio shows. If you would like to share them, you can contact me here, at cheryl@cherylrogers.com and we’ll figure out a way to do that.  Cheryl

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3 Comments

  1. Paul or Laurie LinfordReply
    August 2, 2017 at 7:30 AM

    I remember sitting around the old radio console listening to those old radio shows. That’s what we did before big screen TV’s kids..

  2. PieReply
    August 2, 2017 at 7:57 AM

    During our last rodeo here the program had a big picture of Roy and Dale in it! People are still talking about them! I would love to hear those 1940s radio shows, I listen to the old 1950s Roy and Dale radio programs on Internet Archive and they are so much fun! There are songs in there you never hear elsewhere. Sometimes Gabby or Pat show up too.

    It is kind of astounding just how much work Roy and Dale did, and always with quality. Amazing, really. Who could do that now?

  3. Joyce Ann GausmannReply
    August 2, 2017 at 12:05 PM

    This is so memorable and wonderful. Saw your dad and family at the Wisconsin State Fair around 1960ish. I am thrilled with the posts you do and how people keep bringing new things to light. Cheryl you really “rock”. Best to you.

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