When I was in LA, I went to the Autry Museum of the West. I was so impressed with it, I took tons of photos and am writing three blogs about it.

Tom outside next to the statue of Gene Autry with his guitar and his horse, Champion

One of my favorite parts of the museum was the section devoted to movie and television cowboys. I forgot how much the cowboy dominated our media consumption for so many years. Like the lawyer or cop or FBI/CIA agent of today.

Here are some wonderful old movie posters, some with costumes and props from the movie.

Prop guns used in the more recent, very modern themed cowboy movie, Brokeback Mountain.

My relationship with onscreen cowboys was mostly through television. I was a huge Dale Evans and Annie Oakley fan.

The TV cowboys of the ’50s and ’60s spawned a whole industry of cowboy merchandise that we kids ate up.

I had either this gun or the Dale Evans gun – and holster of course!

My favorite TV cowboy and cowgirl, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Wonderful singers too!

Categories: American history, Ellin Curley, Gallery, Movies, old movies, Photography, Travel, Vacation, western movies

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21 replies

  1. Richard Boone’s Paladin was a man of the world. He quoted Shakespeare and Keats while shooting it out with the villains.


  2. I have many good memories of those cowboy movies.


    • I never could figure out how they sang without moving their lips. So I practiced. It turns out, you can, but some of the syllables sound a little funny. I suppose it improves with a guitar in the background.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Leslie, me too. Some of my happiest childhood memories. I always wanted to meet Roy, Dale and Gene — never happened. We saw them on a “Westerns Channel” show. Seated around a table, they talked about old times and how much they enjoyed their work, their fans and reaching out to the less fortunate in life. It was cool to know they liked each other and were supportive of the mutual charitable efforts. Unfortunately, all 3 passed away within days or weeks of each other.

      They’re all riding the high country now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It must have been interesting to see the Evans and Gene Autry together, talking about their shows and their lives. They seem to have been good people, focused on using their fame to help others. That’s good to know.


      • I actually did meet him once when I was doing the Morning News I was sleep deprived and usually too lazy to leave the control room and go to the studio to see a guest. Roy was an exception. I ran to the studio. My other two exceptions were Mickey Mantle and Dr Timothy Leary.


      • They set a good example for us, when we were young….


    • I liked a few of the singing cowboys, like Roy and Dale Evans. I don’t remember many others, and I think I was most taken with the outfits the girls wore, and the horses, which I loved. My best friend had a horse and I was into horses at the time.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Leslie, those shows clearly etched good versus bad. None of the thumb sucking, head scratching oaters of later years.
      I remember when Gary Cooper did “High Noon”, John Wayne was “angry” because’s Coop’s hero went begging for help against the bad guys. Duke didn’t believe in help (in movies, at least).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I like Roy and Dale SO much that I learned to sing “Happy Trails” with my teeth clenched while smiling.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ll put this on our “bucket list”. So much to see. Yes, my heroes have always been cowboys. I used to run around the house, jumping up and down, pretending I was riding Trigger. I got a Roy Rogers two gun set (w/ caps), the highlight of one Christmas. It left me behaving like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story”. My middle Brother, Billy, and I used to watch the Roy and Gene movies aired on New York’s Channel 9. We favored Roy who we thought rode better than Gene. In our childish minds, we laughed at Gene because it appeared he was wearing lipstick (A little too much makeup?). We followed Roy and Gene on radio and then. television. Gene aired Thursday evenings, I think, in the 7 or 730pm time block, sponsored by Wrigley Chewing Gum. Roy aired Sunday evenings, 6 or 7pm. I know he had multiple sponsors including Tony, The Tiger. Roy’s show usually preceded Sunday night dinner. My Brothers and I were always recapping the show over dinner til we were instructed with “….this is dinner time. Not time for TV talk. Garry–don’t look at me that way. Billy — I’ve got my eyes on you. Anton: That’s a good boy. Just don’t eat too fast..”. The radio was tuned into the Sunday evening lineup of “The Jack Benny Show”, “Phil Harris and Alice Faye”, “Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy”, etc. It was verboten to interrupt these broadcasts with our recaps of Roy, Dale, Bullet, Nellie Belle, and Pat Brady. We made secret faces of our heroes and giggled as we consumed the Sunday Pot Roast, browned potatoes or rice, those delicious brown ‘n serve rolls, and Kool-Aid to wash it all down. I loved the raspberry Kool-Aid. Mom had a firm hand on me if I tried to add extra sugar to my drink.

      Happy Trails — Tommy and Ellin — thanks for the memories — Happy Trails to you — til we meet again…..

      Liked by 1 person

      • Garry – you were way more into the TV cowboys than I was. But probably most boys were. It’s interesting how vivid your memories are of your TV idols and how much your memories are intertwined with family time and family memories. I watched my kid TV shows alone as a kid. I’m an only child and our only TV at first was in the all white living room, which was off limits except for parties, and for my TV watching. So my memories are not as rich and complex as yours are. Just me and Dale or the Mickey Mouse Club kids, Kuckla, Fran and Ollie, Sonny Fox and Wonderama, Shari Lewis and her coterie of adorable puppet friends, etc.


    • I liked Roy and Dale too, but not that much! I think I had a Dale Evans outfit and maybe her gun and holster, or Annie Oakley’s. But I did have a gun, which makes no sense to me now. I didn’t let my son get a toy gun growing up so he got light sabers and swords and created pretend guns. So he wasn’t deprved and I could still take the high ground as a parent!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ellin, my love of cowboys actually began with books when I was pre-school age. We had Luke Short and Zane Gray books in our home library that was rich with a variety of light and serious books. From books to radio to movies and TV.
        I’m sure Tommy remembers listening to William Conrad in the radio version of “Gunsmoke”.
        I still love westerns. We have “Western-Mania” in our streaming video package. It includes lots of b-movies with the likes of Bob Steele, Tim McCoy, Buck Jones, Roy, Gene, and all those Duke Wayne poverty row movies. We also have, in that venue, some cowboy TV shows like “Wagon Train (the early years with Ward Bond and Robert Horton); “Shotgun Slade”,
        Tales of Wells Fargo; “the Cisco Kid”, “Annie Oakley”, “Stories of the Century” with Jim Davis and “The Lone Ranger” (the early episodes). It’s fun to watch these. Many don’t quite hold up but no matter — they’re the stuff of childhood memories.
        My Parents were good about giving us the “cowboy stuff” always warning us to be very careful.


  4. We went to a museum like this in Arizona. It was one of the places where they shot a lot of old westerns and we took tons of pictures. Now, when we are watching old westerns, I look and say “Hey, I’ve got that picture!” We must have taken several thousand pictures in that area and all those shots show up in those movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Seeing the sets of so many old westerns must have been great, especially for Garry. I feel that way sometimes when I see something obviously shot on the Universal lot or somewhere on the tour.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ellin, I tried to query one of the proprieters of these cowboy venues but it was clear they didn’t know too much. So, I tactfully withdrew, very disappointed. Wish I was tagging along with you folks.


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