Web Page 1064
4th August 2012
Great News my booklet ‘The time of Our Lives’ a Portsmouth Childhood 1950-1970 will be available at the end of the week and costs just £2.95 plus P&P . If you would like a copy please forward a cheque to the value of £3.95 along with your address to me at 19 Lyndhurst Road Gosport PO12 3QY or maybe we could meet up and save the postage.
Look forward to hearing from you soon. Peter
Top Picture: Gene Autry
Bottom Picture: William Boyd , Hopalong Cassidy
The Shooting Stars
On a Saturday morning as the curtains parted in the cinema, all hell let loose. Cries of "Whoopee" came out of the darkness. Then suddenly, there he was our hero. White Stetson, flashing teeth, Gene Autry and his horse Champion. Gene Autry starts to sing something like "I'm riding, on my pony or I'm heading for the old Bar-X" when Suddenly, an Apache arrow hits him in the back. Gene glances round to see three thousand Apache galloping across the prairie towards him. He speeds off on Champion to seek safety in a nearby gulch, but upon reaching it he finds he has ridden into the camp of Mexican bandits! Bullets hit him in the shoulder another hits him in the thigh and yet another in the arm and back! He falls off Champion. He tries to get up just one last hope, he purses his lips and produces the whistle that only Champion knows. The gallant steed comes to his master, lowers his head and hoists our hero onto his back, then gallops off into the sunset! But the evil Black Jake has doped Champion's horse feed back in Deadwood Springs. The horse with his master stumbles blindly on. "Look out" we cry from our seats. But too late, horse and rider go over the edge of a cliff, doomed to destruction 500 feet below! Hundreds of little faces look on in horror. Our hero is dead, and we will see him no more! The King of the Cowboys is Dead! Suddenly, a voice yodels out loud and clear. "I'm riding, on my pony it's him, he's alive! And his white hat has not got a mark on it. Good old Gene!
We burst out of the cinema and into the daylight the lads leap into doorways or behind dustbins, pointing their loaded fingers at each other and shooting. Those days are now in the distant past. Never more will we see the like of those celluloid heroes who appeared to make more films before lunchtime, than Clint Eastwood did in a year! They turned out hundreds and we never tired of them.
They all appeared to use the same formula, clean-cut quick-on-the-draw always smiling cowboy hero generally accompanied by an old gent who in reply to "Howdy, Old-timer" would go into a lengthy dialogue about the Winter of '83, or how he had beaten 100 Comanche’s single handed! Another constant companion was his horse, all who appeared to have the knack of understanding their master's whistle, galloping onto any scene from out of the blue to rescue the hero and they were also able to untie knots with their teeth.
Another ingredient was the baddie who were sure to produce boos and hisses from most audiences. Many of the stars of Hollywood began their film careers by playing baddies. A young Clark Gable was brought to justice by Hopalong Cassidy, another of Hopalong's favourite pastimes was slamming a young Robert Mitchum against a wall in several of the early epics.
Cowboy heroes very seldom had time for the opposite sex and normally showered more affection on their four-legged friends. But if a western gal did happen to attract their attention, she was nearly always the local school teacher never the good-hearted tart who lived in The Golden Nugget. These parts were generally played by unknown actresses but one performance that sticks out is that of Marlene Dietrich in Destry Rides Again when she slinked down the saloon staircase singing "See what the boys in the back room will have".
Let us have a brief reminder of three of gun-twirling great who swept across the prairie.
The name associated with Hopalong Cassidy is William Boyd, and with his premature white hair and his horse Topper he struck fear into many a baddie's heart, although one does have to stretch the imagination with the sight of him throwing Robert Mitchum all over the place. Off screen he collected wives but on the screen he was a clean living guy, never swore, smoked or drank, and rarely gave kisses except to Topper. He was often aided by Andy Clyde as the "Old Un", and Jimmy Ellison as the "Young Un". Although he died in 1972 aged 77 because of the showing of his old films on television he was still a hero to a new generation of youngsters, and I am sure Hopalong Cassidy will ride the range in our minds for many years to come.
Although Gene Autry was not the first singing cowboy, he is the one we will most remember for singing at the drop of a hat. Gene was as popular on the radio as he was on the screen with his famous mount was Champion. In later years when he formed a television production company, "Champion the Wonder Horse" was one of his shows. Up to the war Gene Autry was the King of the Cowboys, in 1942 enlisted but paid dearly for it for when he returned from the war a new "King" was on the cowboy throne; Roy Rogers.
Roy Rogers was born Leonard Franklin Slye in Cincinnati, Ohio, where his family lived in a tenement building Dissatisfied with his job and city life, Andy Slye, Leonards father, and his brother Will built a houseboat from salvage and in July 1912, the family floated off towards Portsmouth, Ohio. In 1919, the Slyes purchased a farm near Lucasville, 12 miles north of Portsmouth. They built a six-room home here but Leonard's father realized that the farm would provide insufficient income for his family so he took a job at a shoe factory. He lived away during the week and returned at weekends, bearing gifts for the family following paydays. One notable gift was a horse on which Leonard learned the basics of horsemanship. When he was 17, Leonards family returned to Cincinnati, where his father began work at another shoe factory. Leonard soon decided he had to help his family financially, so he left school, joined his father at the shoe factory.
Leonard and his father felt imprisoned by their factory jobs. In 1929, his older sister, Mary, moved to California with her husband. Father and son decided to quit their jobs and the family packed their 1923 Dodge to visit Mary and stayed four months before returning to Ohio. Almost immediately Leonard had the opportunity to travel through California with Mary's father-in-law, and the rest of the family followed in the spring of 1930.
The Slyes rented a small house near Mary and father and son found employment as truck drivers for a road construction project. They reported to work one morning to learn their employer had gone bankrupt. This was the time of the Great Depression and they found themselves traveling from job to job picking fruit and living in worker campsites. One day, Andy Slye was told of a shoe factory hiring in Los Angeles and asked Leonard to join him in applying there for work. Leonard, having seen the joy that his guitar and singing had brought to the destitute around the campfires, told his father that he was going to pursue a living in music. With his father's blessing, he and cousin Stanley Slye went to Los Angeles and worked as The Slye Brothers.
In 1932, Leonard, now known as "Len," met Lucille Ascolese. That same year, a palomino gave birth to a foal named "Golden Cloud" and later renamed "Trigger" and in 1938 after he was acquired by Len. In May 1933, Len proposed to Lucille then went on tour with the "O-Bar-O Cowboys" and in June 1933 met Grace Arline Wilkins in New Mexico. By August 1934, Len and Lucille had separated, she was tired of being a musician's wife. Having corresponded since their first meeting, Len and Grace Arline Wilkins were married on June 11, 1936.
In 1941, the couple adopted a girl, Cheryl Darlene. Two years later, Arline bore a daughter, Linda Lou. By this time Len had changed his name to Roy Rogers and he and Arline had a son, Roy Jr. ("Dusty") in 1946, but Arline died of complications a few days later. Roy had met Dale Evans in 1944 when she was in a movie with him. Roy Rogers proposed to her during a rodeo at Chicago Stadium. They married on New Year's Eve in 1947 at the Flying L Ranch in Oklahoma, where a few months earlier they had filmed Home in Oklahoma. Rogers and Evans remained married until Roy's death in 1998.
Roy Rogers was an idol for many children through his films and television shows. Most of his postwar films were in Trucolor during an era when almost all B-movies were black-and-white. Some of his movies would be animal adventures, in which Trigger would go off on his own for a while, with the camera following him.
With money from not only his films but his own public appearances going to Republic Pictures, Roy brought into the studio so he would have the right to his likeness, voice and name for merchandising. There were Roy Rogers action figures, cowboy novels as well as a comic strip, a long-lived Dell Comics comic book series and a variety of marketing successes. Roy Rogers was second only to Walt Disney in the amount of items featuring his name. In August 1950, Dale Evans and Rogers had a daughter, Robin Elizabeth, who had Down Syndrome and died of complications with mumps shortly before her second birthday. Roy and Dale were also well known as advocates for adoption and as founders and operators of children's charities. They adopted several children and both were outspoken Christians.
His and Evans's famous theme song, "Happy Trails", was written by Dale Evans; they sang it as a duet to sign off their television show. He made numerous cameo or guest appearances on popular television shows, starring as himself or other cowboy-type characters
In 1968 he licensed his name to the Marriot corporation, which converted its Hot Shoppes locations to Roy Rogers Restaurants, with which he otherwise had no involvement.
When he died on July 6, 1998, he was living in Apple Valley, California. He was interred at Sunset Hills Cemetery in Apple Valley, as was his wife, Dale Evans, three years later.
Here I must declare an interest in that I remember in 1952 at the tender age of six my mother and grandmother took meto see Roy Rogers at the Holborn Empire.
Hello - I was googling Nelson Trowbridge and your site came up? Can you help us track him down? He was a friend of my parents (Margaret and Ernest Tranter of Copnor) and his Mum used to look after me and my sister when we were nippers. Sadly my dad and Mum have passed and my sister and I wondered if we could find him. We also found a clipping from the Evening News where Nelson won 3rd prize of a photo of us! If you can help we would be very grateful - all the best
News and Views:
The "Queen of Counry Music," Kitty Wells (nee Muriel Deason) passed away Monday July 16th in Nashville at the age of 92.
The "Queen of Counry Music," Kitty Wells (nee Muriel Deason) passed away Monday July 16th in Nashville at the age of 92.
On this day 4th August 1960-1965
On 04/08/1960 the number one single was Shakin' All Over - Johnny Kidd & the Pirates and the number one album was Elvis Is Back - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Rawhide (ITV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 04/08/1961 the number one single was Well I Ask You - Eden Kane and the number one album was Ipswich. The top rated TV show was Harpers West One (ATV) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £not very interesting and 13.25 were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. he big news story of the day was No Hiding Place (AR).
On 04/08/1962 the number one single was I Remember You - Frank Ifield and the number one album was West Side Story Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. he big news story of the week Marilyn Monroe dies.
On 04/08/1963 the number one single was (You're the) Devil In Disguise - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. he big news story of the day was Computer will predict chances of marriage success.
On 04/08/1964 the number one single was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 04/08/1965 the number one single was Help - The Beatles and the number one album was The Sound of Music Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Riviera Police (AR) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions