Roy Rogers Radio Updates from Larry Z.
Wow! That was fast, Larry. I hadn’t finished last night’s post to ya’ll when Larry Z. sent some additional timeline information. By the way, I’m adding the photos — some of which are in my last book, “Cowboy Princess Rides Again.” Dad, his parents and younger sister, Kathleen, had only just gotten to Southern California when:
August, 1931 After failing to find success as part of a singing duo with his cousin Stan Slye, young Leonard Slye takes his older sister Mary’s suggestion and appears on the “Midnight Frolic” radio program which features amateur talent.
Stan and Leonard Slye. (See Dad with the banjo!)
(Dad didn’t win the amateur contest that night but) this leads to an offer to join an old time music group called The Rocky Mountaineers. (Dad, when hired, was the only singer in that group.)
June, 1933 While working with the soon to disband Benny Nawahi and His International Cowboys, a radio time salesman offers young Leonard, Tim Spencer and Cactus Mack a chance to put together a group for a tour of the Southwest, where the public is “hungry for entertainment.” The tour is a total disaster, however, both Leonard and Tim meet their future wives during the tour.
Benny Nawahi and His International Cowboys (Tim on the
far left and Dad is 2nd from the right)
September, 1933 Back in Los Angeles, Leonard Slye lands a job on the Jack and His Texas Outlaws radio program on KFWB.
October, 1933 Unhappiness with the Texas Outlaws’ vocal harmony leads Leonard to talk Tim Spencer and Bob Nolan (both of whom he worked with, at different times, while with The Rocky Mountaineers) into joining with him to form the Pioneer Trio.
The Pioneer Trio — Tim Spencer, Bob Nolan and Leonard Slye
After weeks of rehearsals, The Pioneer Trio get an audition at KFWB and are hired to perform on Jack and His Texas Outlaws’ radio program.
January, 1934 After only a couple of months on KFWB, The Pioneer Trio was attracting nice write-ups in newspapers and began receiving their own fan mail. This lead KFWB to give them their own radio program. They added two more performers (Hugh and Karl Farr) and were performing on KFWB as The Sons of the Pioneers and as Farley’s Gold Star Rangers (Gold Star flour sponsored a separate program – thus giving The Pioneers a chance to perform on two separate programs).
The Gold Star Rangers (l to r; Hugh Farr, Leonard Slye, the announcer,
Lloyd Perryman [standing in for Tim Spencer] Bob Nolan and Karl Farr.
February, 1935 Success in the Los Angeles area is broadened when the renamed Sons of the Pioneers record a series of transcriptions which are played on radio stations throughout the United States and Canada.
February, 1942 Now managed by Art Rush (Dad finally got a manager), a man well-versed in radio, Roy Rogers (the former Leonard Slye and now Republic Studios’ B-Western star) begins making frequent guest-star appearances on the popular hit radio shows of the day: the Fred Allen Show, Chase & Sanborn Hour, the Bing Crosby Show, Eddie Cantor’s show, Lux Radio Theatre, Rudy Vallee’s show, Truth and Consequences and Command Performance.
November 1944 The Roy Rogers Show debuts on Mutual Radio.
The Roy Rogers Show (Dale Evans, Pat Buttram,
Roy Rogers, George “Gabby” Hayes
Thanks, Larry for all the great information.SHARE ON