The horse was first domesticated more than 4,000 years ago, and the noble animal has been a part of mankind's development ever since. The horse has been a part of agriculture, warfare, sport, religion and recreation.
We like to think of the wild horse as the nobility of the steppes and plains where they evolved. They are, in fact, a prey animal and have developed physical characteristics and behaviors in response.
Horses are highly social animals. The herd is a primary means of protection from predators. As a herd, while individuals are resting or eating, there are always herd members watching for approaching danger. These instincts are part of the reason the horse so willingly serve man.
Horses have excellent vision and can see 350 degrees without moving their heads. Each of their ears can rotate 180 degrees, which makes their auditory sense beneficial to their survival. It may also be why they are such delightful characters on Radio.
Western movies were hugely popular during the Golden Age of Hollywood, in part because “horse operas” were relatively cheap to make. This economy is laughable when compared with how cheap it is to put a horse on a radio program. In fact, on the radio they didn't even need a horse!
The Old West was built by men on horseback, even when the Old West was a radio studio in Detroit. One of the greatest of all radio horses was the Lone Ranger’s companion, Silver. Silver was the son of King Silvin and the gentle Musa. The great herd lived in a secret valley, but the bad guys led by Butch Cavendish had heard of the magnificent horses and wanted to tame them to ride away from their robberies. The Lone Ranger knows of Butch’s plans, but can the Masked Rider act in time to save the King of the horses?
Desperate to get George on Television, Gracie decides to enlist the aid of none other than Hopalong . She convinces Hopalong that George used to have an act with a horse, but George thinks he wants to see him dance with his old girlfriend, Trixie Lorraine. When has there been any confusion when Gracie Allen is involved?
On the Gunsmoke episode “Don’t Pester Chester” the deputy has a run-in with a pair of no-good cowboys. They drop a rope around Chester and drag him out of town behind their horses. Seeing his friend near death, Marshall Dillon is so angry that he hangs his guns in the jail and goes after the cowboys. If Matt Dillon is dangerous with a pair of six-guns, imagine how mean and cunning he can be with just his fists and his wits!
The racetrack at Santa Anita is a bit of a playground for Hollywood types. Even Texaco Town has a horse. Unfortunately, he cannot find a race for his horse. That is until he gets a challenge from Jack Benny, who thinks his old Maxwell is faster than Eddie’s horse!
One of the funniest race horse stories in radio situation comedy was based on a real situation. Jack Benny’s valet, Rochester, had a horse entered in the Kentucky Derby. Rochester was played by Eddie Anderson, who shared his boss’s enthusiasm for the ponies. Anderson invested in a string of thoroughbreds, one of which, Burnt Cork, was actually entered in the 1945 Kentucky Derby. On The Jack Benny Program, Jack made out as though he sold the horse to Rochester for $4 (Jack used the horse for plowing his daisy field- thinking he could make rubber from the flowers!) The gang is highly supportive of Rochester’s efforts, but Jack won’t let him go to Kentucky until he checks with his fortune teller.
Burnt Cork was the first entry in the Kentucky Derby owned by an African American, but Andy of Amos ‘n’ Andy bought a fine horse from the Kingfish. What Andy doesn’t know is that Kingfish’s brother in law has the horse because he is too old to race anymore. The problems of being a Racing Tycoon in Harlem!
In “Muddy Track” on Radio's Outstanding Theater of Thrills, Suspense, a down-on-his-luck horse player is studying his racing form when a pretty girl buys him a drink. The girl's friend is a bookie who offers our track-side scientist a job, a job that gets him framed for murder!
The Lux Radio Theater production of “Thunderhead, Son of Flicka” stars Roddy McDowell, Rita Johnson and Preston Foster reprising their screen roles as a family in the story of a boy's love for his horse.
During the War, when rubber rationing was a reality, Fibber McGee bought a horse because the tires on his car were so thin. It certainly seemed like a good idea at the time, but how will he tell Molly?
This collection includes all things horse of course in old time radio straight from the horse's mouth at the microphone. You can lead a horse to great old time radio shows, but your can't make him listen.