Scholars agree that the Western Genre reflects American sensibilities and values. Of course there will always be debate over just what those values and sensibilities are.
Western stories are generally set in the rural Western portion of the United States, primarily the Southwest, and take place during the mid to late 1800's. But like the West itself, the genre is too big and wild to be constrained even by these rules.
The frontier itself forms a theme of many Western Stories--specifically in the forces of civilization over coming wildness and lawlessness. Western heroes are bound by a code of honor not unlike the knights in European tales of chivalry. Whether this code is the "Law of the Land" such as the Marshall is upholding authority of his Tin Star, or a more personal sense of Right and Wrong, like The Lone Ranger who only used his remarkable marksmanship to shoot the six-guns out of the bad guy's hands.
The antagonist in most western stories are the forces that oppose the advancement of civilization, usually in the form of a bad guy who seeks to take advantage of those in a weaker position. These may be "Dirt Farmers," Settlers, even "Friendly Indians" whose cause the hero has taken up.
There are several typical villains in the westerns. They may be a marauding gun-slinger who bullies the settlers; a band of bloodthirsty Indians; a con-man that cheats honest cowboys out of their hard earned wages; or a merciless land-grabbing rancher who doesn't want farmers encroaching on the water he needs for his cattle.
This is the great irony of the western – the cowboy hero is often supporting the very forces that will eventually eliminate him and his way of life.
Kids and Cowboys just go together, and producers knew it. And they set up their Westerns to appeal to them. Take a look at one of the earliest successful Kiddie Westerns, Bobby Benson and the B Bar B Riders (1932-36, 49-55). The first kiddie element is Bobby himself, who, even though he was a youngster he was the owner of the B Bar B spread. His foreman and mentor is the real hero of the show, Tex Mason. Tex was good with his guns, but was the sort to shoot to wound or disarm, not to kill. He always knew the right thing to do (his personal code) and would side with defenseless Indians or the poor, hard working settlers. He probably let Bobby stay up too late. The young listeners got to participate in the adventures by eating the sponsor's cereal and sending in the box top premiums for "valuable prizes" like Bobby Benson Code books, cereal bowls, drinking glasses and card games.
Bobby Benson and the B Bar B Riders:
The classic kiddie Western is The Lone Ranger (1933-56). With his companion, Tonto, the Masked Man did more to tame the Old West than the Calvary, the Pony Express, and Roy Rogers combined!The fact that the Ranger has a closer relation to Batman than to true-life cowboys is beside the point. He was a hero who always shot the gun out of the bad guy's hands instead of killing them; he never appeared with out his mask or a disguise, and always left his audience wanting more (Who was that Masked Man?)
Most of the Kiddie Western Heroes didn't have time for women-folk. They were to busy clearing out the Bad Guys. Red Ryder (1941- 51) would go riding with the local School Marm, but not for yucky stuff like kissing and swooning. And she would lose his attention very quickly when he finds out the Bad Guys are up to no good. Red Ryder came to the Radio from the Comic Pages. Like other Kid's Serials, Red Ryder came with a built in Bad Guy, Ace Hanlon; and a "Little Buddy", his Indian ward Little Beaver, whom every kid listening wished they could be.
Kiddie Serials were usually scheduled for the late afternoon, so the kids could hear them after school, but before Dad got home for dinner and the start of more family oriented family fare. An important element of the Kid Serials were the give-away premiums. Brand Recognition is all well and good, but what really prompted the kids to woof down bowl after bowl of the sponsor's cereal was the need for box tops they could send in for "Valuable Prizes." Premiums varied from the "Injun-uity Cards" placed between layers of Shredded Wheat for Straight Arrow (1948- 51) to the multiple Decoders and Badges of the Tom Mix Ralston Straight Shooters Club (1933-50s). For many the ultimate prize was the wooden revolver Tom Mix offered; but no amount of Hot Purina cereal could make up for the disappointment the kids found out what a cheap toy it was in the later years of the show.
Tom Mix Ralston Straight Shooters Club:
Both Kinds of Music: "Country and Western"
The movies did not invent the Singing Cowboy. The first Western song is thought to be 1844's Blue Juaniata, the story of an Indian Maiden awaiting her lover along the banks of a Pennsylvania River (in 1844 anyplace West of the Appalachian Mountains was "Out West.")
Western Music has its roots in English folk music, just like Country or "Hill Billy" music. Western is seasoned with the influence of Mexican Music, and scented with the smoke of thousands of campfires. Due to the realities of the Open Range, where the music developed, traditional instruments are of the hearty and portable type; guitars, fiddles, and occasionally harmonicas. Early Western Music had three tempos that were influenced by the cow-pony: walk, trot and lope.
"Country and Western" music were two separate things until they were lumped together by Billboard Magazine. The earlier term for Country Music, "Hillbilly Music", fell out of favor when fans and performers began to feel the term was belittling in the 1940's. Country music has similar origins to Western Music, coming from the folk music of the British Isles.Hill Billy, or Country music took root in the American Old South, and took influences from the music of the cultural mix there. Instrumental influences include the West African banjo, the Italian mandolin, the German dulcimer and the Spanish guitar. Country Music twas shaped by Negro Spirituals that would develop into both the Blues and Gospel.
One of the earliest regular Country Music broadcasts was National Barn Dance from WLS, Chicago, beginning on Apr 19, 1924. The original announcer George Hay left the show in Nov 1925 for WSM, Nashville. The WSM Barndance would later become the Grand Ole Opry.
National Barn Dance:
Hollywood Barn Dance (1943-48) started as a replacement for singing cowboy Gene Autry's very popular Melody Ranch (1940-56)when Gene joined the Army Air Corps.These programs featured music with more Western influence, thanks largely to the Hollywood popularity of the Singing Cowboys.They are among the many Musical Variety shows that featured comedy and sketches along with the music.
Hollywood Barn Dance:
The promotion of consumer products has long been the driving economic force in Commercial Radio and for some reason Flour Milling Companies had a great affection for Western Music programs. The Light Crust Dough Boys were a Western Swing band that formed in 1931 to promote the product of the Burrus Mills and Elevator Company. Western Swing is fusion of Country and Western with influences of polka, blues, Dixieland Jazz and augmented by horns, piano, electrically amplified string instruments, especially the Steel Guitar. The Dough Boys would break up into Pat O'Daniel and His Hill Billy Boys (1939), featuring the Flour Company president Pappy O'Daniel as announcer (O'Daniel would ride his radio popularity into the Texas Governor's mansion and the US Senate.) Later the Doughboys would reform and have their own radio show in the late 40's.
The Light Crust Dough Boys:
Pat O'Daniel and His Hill Billy Boys:
Another great Flour program would be the Mother's Best Flour Show (1951-52), a fifteen minute morning spot in Nashville featuring Hank Williams and his Band having fun and playing music. The Ten Two Four Ranch Show (1944-45) featured music from "The Sons of the Pioneers" and others. The program was a fun advertisement for Dr Pepper soda pop.
Mother's Best Flour Show:
The Ten Two Four Ranch Show:
True History of a Popular Myth
The great majority of Western Programs featured recurring characters and situations. An exception would be the western movie adaptations presented on Lux Radio Theater and Screen Director's Playhouse. Another exception is the Historical Anthology programs.
Death Valley Days (1930-51), sponsored by the Pacific Borax Company, would be a part of Family Entertainment well into the Television Age. The series was created by Vassar graduate and New York city resident Ruth Cornwall Woodman. To write authentically for the show she spent several summers travelling the deserts of the Southwest. Ruth would become a respected authority of Western Lore and History.
Death Valley Days:
Frontier Fighters (1938) presented 15 minute dramatizations of persons and events from the History of the American West. The short format forced a compressed look at the subjects. However the shows are still used today by many Educational Organizations as a sort of "Audio Textbook."
Historic persons and events are also explored in American Trail (1953). Sponsored by the Women's Auxilliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the programs have a pleasant and decidedly Patriotic tone.
Grown Up Westerns
Scholars recognize three distinct but overlapping eras of Western Fiction in literature and movies. These are the Wholesome Era which lasted into the '50's; the Flawed Hero Era of the Sixties, and the often violent Anti-Heroes of the 1970s which have lasted to a certain extent through the present day.
The heroes of the Kiddie Westerns are clearly part of the Wholesome Tradition, which is very appropriate for children. But once the kids have gone to bed, the Radio Western was allowed to reflect the growing tastes and desires of a Grown Up audience (of course not too Adult; even if the Kids are in bed--walls are thin.)
One of the first Adult Western was Hawk Durango/Hawk Larrabee (1946-48). Hawk was a small time rancher in 1840's Texas who dealt with the coming of civilization to his small frontier community. Frontier Town (1952-53) would deal with this theme from a slightly differing perspective. In this case the rancher's son has gone "back East" for his education but returns to the West to deal with lawlessness using his education in the Legal Profession.
A strong indication of the coming Anti-Hero Era would be Gunsmoke (1952-61). The characters and situations would later be very much cleaned up for Television Audiences, but while William Conrad was "Marshall Dillon" the West was a savage and dangerous place. In the opening episode a young miscreant slips through the Marshall's fingers who would later grow into the famous sociopath Billy the Kid. In the brutal West of Gunsmoke the Marshall can't always arrive in time to save the day, but he is an admirable figure because through his scars he holds to his "Code of Honor," the law that will eventually bring civilization to the western wilderness.
An interesting comparison is one of radio's best produced and acted Westerns, James Stewart's portrayal of "Britt Ponsett," The Six Shooter (1952-53). Ponsett is a drifting cowboy with a sense of right and wrong. Although he has a reputation as a fierce fighter, he avoids violence when he can. He sees that civilization is coming to the West, and sees it is a good thing, Ponsett can see that he (and with him the myth of the American Cowboy) will never be able to settle down, fated to drift forever.
The Six Shooter:
Another incredibly well done Radio Program is Have Gun, Will Travel (1958-60). Coming near the end of the Golden Age of Radio, Have Gun, Will Travel is a bit of an anomaly; the program came to Radio from Television instead of the other way around. The stories of Paladin are terrific fare from TV's Golden Age, but many feel the radio version is a better program. Paladin may be a flawed hero in that he is a gun for hire, but even though his services are expensive, he always winds up on the side of "the little guy" and the persecuted.
Have Gun, Will Travel:
Into the Setting Sun
Many times the Western has been called a dying genre, yet it continues to resurface. In literature the trend seems to be towards Westerns as Historical Novels.
In film and television, the Western is becoming more and more rare. When a Western project does come along, it usually garners critical and commercial success, like Deadwood and the recent remake of True Grit (2010).
Radio Westerns are largely frozen in time. Country and western music is a growing segment of the Local radio market, but DJ programs do not compare with the live performances of the variety music shows from the golden era of radio.
Like old movies, the radio western dramas remain great entertainment, even if they showcase an obsolete art form. They have value as a snapshot of our values and expectations during their time in history.
|Show Title||Date||Subgenre||Hero||Side Kick||Premise||Notes|
|Adventures of Champion||1949 - 50 ||Juvenile Serial ||Champion, Gene Autry's Horse ||Ricky West and his dog, Rebel ||Champion is Gene Autry's horse. "The Adventures of Champion" spun off from Autry's "Melody Ranch." Ricky is a young boy living on a ranch with Uncle Smoky, who narrates the stories. ||Uncle Smoky's ranch is the Flying A, which is also the name of Autry's production company. Gene Autry left show businesss temporarily during WWII and flew cargo plans over the Burma Gap. |
|All Star Theater ||1946 - 48 || Musical Variety ||Cottonseed Clark ||Foy Willing and the Riders of the Purple Sage vocal group ||Music numbers around a sketch featuring B - actors or radio and movie comedians. ||Initial airing was for the West Coast market,on KNX and KHJ. Entire two year run was recorded but Universal Broadcasting Service for later syndication. Episodes were broadcast as late as 1955. |
|American Trail ||1953 ||Historical Drama ||The United States ||The American West ||Dramatized History of the US and the West, emphasizing patriotism and the American Spirit. ||Sponsored by the VFW Ladies Auxilliary. Bing Crosby and his son Lindsey are featured in CA Gold Rush episode; Jimmy Dolittle in "The Blue Yonder. |
|Arthur Smith's Corner Store||1948 - 52 ||Hillbilly Musical Variety ||Arthur Smith ||His Band, The Carolina Crackerjacks ||Just visit to the local country store to relax and put your feet up on the cracker barrel while the guys behind the meat - counter give us a fun tune. And we will always have an inspirational tune thrown in too. Lots of fun for all. ||Arthur Smith is famous for his country instrumentals and experiments with electric guitar in Country Music. His Guitar Boogie is the first intrumental to top the country charts. He is alos famous for Dueling Banjos |
|Bobby Benson and the B - Bar - B Riders ||1932 - 36, 1949 - 55 ||Kiddie ||Tex and Bobby ||Windy and Harka ||Young Bobby Benson is the owner of the B Bar B, but his friend Tex runs it. They spend their time foiling Bad Guys and righting Wrongs. ||The early version predated The Lone Ranger. The Later verision was very successful popular on Mutual and AFRS. Mnay premiums were given away. A 20yo Don Knotts, later Andy Griffith's Deputy Barney Fife, can be heard as the Old Geezer, Windy. |
|Chuck Wagon Jamboree ||1948 || Country Music ||Ken Curtis ||The Novelty Aces ||All Folk, , and Hillbilly Music, solos, duets, and ensemble pieces featuring Curtis and members of the Novelty Aces. ||Ken Curtis had a long and varied Musical career, including a stint as Frank Sinatra's replacement with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Curtis is best remembered by Fans as Marshal Dillon's crusty TV sidekick, Festus Haggen. |
|Cisco Kid ||1942 - 58 ||Kiddie Serial ||Cisco Kid ||Pancho ||The Kid is a Heroic Mexican Caballero who wanders the West with his friend Pancho performing Robin - Hood - like good deeds and wooing pretty senoritas. ||The Cisco Kid character was originally a vicious Outlaw in a story by O. Henry. |
|Country Music Time (Airforce)||1952 - 57 ||Country and Music for Air Force Recruiting ||Various Artists ||Various Artists ||Plenty of Steel Guitar Twang from Nashville and notices about the opportunities for young men and women in the Air Force. ||The Air Force is the youngest Branch of the Armed Services, created in 1947. |
|Country Style USA ||1957 - 60 || Musical Military Recruiting Tool ||US Army ||Young American Men ||15 minute program, featuring popular Country recording artists, packaging an Army Recruiting Notice. ||Featured artists include Johnny Cash, Hank Snow, Grandpa Jones, Ernest Tubb, Red Sovine, Ray Price, and the Jordanaires. |
|Death Valley Days ||1930 - 51 || Adventure Anthology ||The Old Ranger ||Pacific Borax Company ||Created by Ruth Cornell Woodman, who did her research in the desert near Death Valley. Stories of prospectors, Indian Fighters, and cowboys. ||Long time advertising vehicle for the Pacific Borax Company. Ronald Reagan became the TV host. |
|Dinner Bell Roundup Time ||1945 - ||Live Music ||Cliffie Stone ||Carl Saunders (Announcer) ||One of Cliffie Stone's many efforts to bring Country Music to the Los Angeles Market. Sponsored by severa LA Area Businesses. ||To help young people get into the Country Music business Stone wrote books about the business of song writing and using talent shows to launch a career. |
|Doctor Six Gun ||1954 || Adventure Drama ||Dr. Gray Matson ||Pablo (with his own sidekick, the raven, Midnight) ||Dr. Matson is equally comfortable using his medicine or his gun. He travels the length of the Indian Territories with his Gypsy peddler companion, Pablo. ||Star Karl Weber also played Ellis Smith on "Guiding Light" |
|Fort Laramie||1956 || Drama ||Capt Lee Quince ||Sgt Gorse, Lt. Seiberts ||Depicting Calvary life at Old Fort Laramie in 19th Century ||The show ran for one season starring Raymond Burr. The following year he became the star of TV's "Perry Mason", the previous year he starred as reporter Steve Martin in "Godzilla, King of the Monsters" |
|Foy Willing and the Riders of the Purple Sage||1948 - 52 || Music ||Foy Williams ||Riders of the Purple Sage ||Foy Willing and the Riders of the Purple Sage rose to prominence as the regular band on Cottonseed Clark's "Hollywood Barn Dance." ||There were at least three Bands which borrowed the title of the Zane Gray novel. A West Coast band used the name for about 2 years in 1932. Guitarist Buck Page and the Riders of the Purple Sage formed in Pittsburgh and brought three - part Harmony to a coast to coast audience in the pre WWII years. Foy's band formed during the war and had success on radio and in films. The latest verision of the band has roots with both Page and Williams, and performs in Southern California. |
|Frontier Fighters ||1938 ||Historical Dramatizations ||Various ||Various ||True stories and Characters from the History of the Frontier. Included are Lewis and Clark, Zebulon Pike, Brigham Young, the Little Big Horn Battle, and others. ||The series is used still used as an "Audio History Book." |
|Frontier Gentleman ||1958 ||Adult ||J.B. Kendall ||N/A ||"An Englishman's account of life and death in the West" Sent to the Wild West by The London Times, Kendall gets involved with fictional drifters and outlaws, as well as historical characters like Calamity Jane and Jesse James. ||Well done program, a "thinking man's " like Have Gun, Will Travel. However it came too late after Paladin, Gunsmoke, and the proliferation of TV s. |
|Frontier Town ||1952 - 53 ||Adult ||Chad Remington ||Cherokee O'Bannon ||Rancher's Son goes to college to become a Lawyer, then returns to Dos Rios to clean up the town and territory ||Syndicated in a bundle with Pat O'Brien From Hollywood, Frontier Town, and The Adventures of Frank Race as low cost programing to stations. |
|Gunsmoke ||1952 - 61 ||Adult ||Matt Dillon, played by William Conrad ||Chester, Miss Kitty, Doc Adams ||The West is a savage place, but Matt Dillon strives to keep peace in Dodge City. However Dillon is every bit as savage as the bad men he is up against. ||CBS CEO Paley asked for a "Philip Marlow" type show set in the old west. "Gunsmoke" on the radio was noted for it's gritty realism, many felt the TV adaptation to be a weak imitation. "Gunsmoke confined by a picture could not possibly be as authentic or attentive to detail." (Dunning, 305)|
|Hashknife Hartley||1950 || Adventure Drama ||Hashknife Hartley ||Sleepy Stevens ||Hashknife and Sleepy are a pair of drifting cowpokes who wind up solving mysteries on the ranches where they work. Series is narrated by the author, W.C. Tuttle ||Author W.C. Tuttle was born in Montana. He worked as a sheepherder, cowpuncher, railroader, baseball player and cartoonist. He published more than 1000 stories in pulp magazines. |
|Have Gun Will Travel ||1958 - 60 ||Adult ||Paladin ||"Hey - Boy", The Chinese Bell - hop at the Carlton Hotel. In some episodes his girl friend, "Miss Wong" takes his place long before "Hey - Girl" on TV ||Paladin is a "Champion for Hire." He differs from other heroes with his wealth of education and sophistification. His gunfighting skills are the best, but he would rather find a non - violent solution to problems. His services are expensive, but he is more likely to take the side of the impoverished underdog. ||The radio program spun off from the TV program. Early episodes were reprise of the stories from the weeks TV episode, but later original stories were written. |
|Hawk Larabee ||1946 - 48 ||Adult ||Hawk Larabee ||Barney Phillips ||Larabee is a small ranch owner in 1840's Texas dealing with Civilization coming to the Frontier. Features Harmony group singing the bridges like Soaps used organ music. ||CBS's first attempt at an Adult , 6 years before Gunsmoke. Originally "Hawk Durango', the show went through title and cast changes, but never had the success of Gunsmoke. |
|Hollywood Barn Dance ||1943 - 48 || Music Variety ||Cottonseed Clark,Dusty King ||Andy Parker and the Plainsmen ||Hollywood Barn Dance filled the schedule hole left when Gene Autry left "Melody Ranch" for WWII. Very similar in content to Melody Ranch and the later All Star Theater. ||1947 movie based on West Coast Radio show with Ernest Tubb but none of the radio cast. |
|Hoofbeats with Buck Jones ||1937 || Adventure Serial ||Buck Jones ||His Horse, Silver ||Buck Jones, one of the most successful of the Movie cowboys of the 30's and 40's stars in this exciting serial, tales of the dusty trail, and encounters with Bad Men. Kids are given a chance to join "The Buck Jones Club" and recieve a Buck Jones pin for a letter that includes a Post Grapenuts Flakes box top. ||The Daisy "Red Ryder Model" Air rifle did not come with a compass and sundial in the stock as popularized in the movie "A Christmas Story." Those were features of the "Buck Jones Model" Air Rifle. |
|Horizon's West ||Historical Drama ||Capts Lewis and Clark ||The Corps of Discovery ||Thirteen part serial following the journey of the Lewis and Clark company as they explored the unknown American West in the early 1800s. ||Produced for AFRS, the program was broadcast in the Far East to US Troops. |
|Johnnie Lee Wills and his Boys ||1933 - 58 || Swing Music ||Johnie Lee Wills ||His Boys ||When Bob Wills left the Texas Playboys brother Johnie Lee took over. They played a regular Saturday show for KVOO for 25 years ||Sponsored by Red Star Flour |
|Light Crust Doughboys ||1946 - 50 || Swing Music ||Light Crust Fluor ||The Dough Boys || Swing Music sponsored by by Flour Company. Bob Wills, king of Swing Music, was an original member of the band. ||When the Light Crust Doughboys began to perform together, they dressed in white baker's uniforms for the sponsor. |
|Lightning Jim ||Early 1940's || Drama ||U.S. Marshall Lightning Jim Whipple ||Deputy Whitey Larson ||History of the West through the Eyes of US Marshall Jim Whipple.Stereotypical treatment of Native Americans, the Union - Pacific Railroad. Marshall Jim meets several Historical figures like Kit Carson and Wild Bill Hickok||Few Surviving Episodes |
|Lone Ranger ||1933 - 56 ||Kiddie ||The Lone Ranger ||Tonto; their horses, Silver and Scout ||The Lone Ranger is a Masked Crime Fighter who wanders the West righting wrongs and protecting the innocent. He originally donned the mask to hide his identity from bushwacker who thought he was dead. Later it allows him to be more effective and terrifying to the bad guys. ||Created by Producer George Trendle and writer Fran Striker. |
|Luke Slaughter ||1958 || Adult Drama ||Luke Slaughter ||Wichita ||Civil War cavalryman turned Arizona cattleman. This is an adult show with a hardboiled cowboy facing murderers, swindlers, cheats, robbers, and more as Luke Slaughter and his sidekick Wichita try to run their cattle ||Program had a short run before its timslot was taken by "Have Gun, Will Travel." |
|Melody Ranch ||1940 - 56 || Music Variety ||Gene Autry ||Pat Buttram ||Music from the original singing cowboy, with jokes and a sketch featuring Gene, Pat, and Gene's horse, Champion. ||Gene left show business during WWII, and flew C47's over the Burma Hump. Other Singing cowboy shows stepped in to fill the slot. |
|Melody Roundup ||1942 - 45 || Music Variety ||Uncle Sam ||Our Troops Overseas ||Collection of Music and Variety, various artists. || These AFRS broacasts were usually not available to the folks back home. |
|Mothers Best Flour ||1950 - 51 || Music ||Hank Williams ||The Drifting Cowboys ||Fifteen minute morning spot on Nashville Radio. Featuring Hank and his band greeting the day and having a good time, making good music and joking. ||See also: Hank Williams|
|National Barn Dance ||1924 - 50 ||Country Music Variety ||Joe Kelly ||Country Music ||The first American Country Music Radio Program, and a direct precursor to the Grand Ol Opry. In the early days audiences paid 75 cents admission and the musicians were seated on haybales. ||Creator George Hay left Chicago in 1925 for Nashville where he would create "The Grand Ol Opry" |
|Navy Country Hoedown||1957 ||Country and Music for Navy Recruiting ||Host Ernest Tubb, later Jimmy Dean ||Tex Ritter, Hank Snow, Faron Young, Merle Travis and Others ||Popular Country and artists perform and make plugs for Navy recruiting. ||Jazz fans please see "The Navy Swings" |
|Pat ODaniel and his Hillbilly Boys ||1939 || Swing Music ||Pat O'Daniel ||His Hillbilly Boys || Swing Music played under Flour Company Sponsorship. ||Previous to Light Crust Doughboys |
|Pinto Pete and his Ranch Hands ||1930's || Music ||Pinto Pete ||His Ranch Hands ||A typical day on the ranch with the Boss and the Hands singing and making music between meals and working the stock ||Rare recordings |
|Red Foley Show ||1951 - 61 ||Music ||Red Foley ||The Cross Roads Gang ||Red Foley made a major contribution to the popularity of Country Music after WWII. The Red Foley Show had a ten year run with sponsorship from Dow Chemical ||The Red Foley maintained a fictitious on - air fued with friend Ernest Tubb. |
|Red Ryder ||1942 - 51 ||Juvenile Adventure || Red Ryder ||Little Beaver ||Based on the comic strip by Fred Harman. Red Ryder fought bad guys with the help of his young sidekick Little Beaver. Billed as "America's Fighting Cowboy" Red would usually shoot the gun out of the bad guy's hand to avoid killing them. ||The Red Ryder BB gun from the movie "A Christmas Story" was marketed by Daisy Air Rifles, but did not have the features list by Ralphie. |
|Renfro Valley Gathering ||1939 - Present ||Country Music ||John Lair ||Renfro Valley Entertainment Center ||After John Lair left the production of "National Barn Dance" he created Renfro Valley Gathering featuring country and Bluegrass music on Saturday nights. CBS wanted a companion program, not necessarily religeous, to fit its Sunday morning line up. The result was Renfro Valley Gathering. ||Renfro Valley Gathering is the third longest continually running radio broadcast in the US, and the second oldest Country Music program after the Grand Ol Opry. |
|Roy Acuff Show ||1950's ||Country Music ||Roy Acuff ||Royal Crown Cola, the Duke of Paducah ||Country, Bluegrass, and Gospel music with large helping of fun with Roy Acuff, one of Country Music's all time Greats. ||Roy Acuff was the first person induced intot the Country Music Hall of Fame while still living. After the death of his wife he moved into a small cottage on the grounds of Opryland in Nashville. |
|Roy Rogers ||1944 - 55 || Music and Variety ||Roy Rogers ||Dale Evans, his wife; his horse, Trigger; The Sons of the Pioneers ||The King of the Cowboys may not spend a lot of time chasing cattle or mending fences, but he does provide some great entertainment! ||Trigger was a star before working with Roy Rogers. The horse had appeared in Teh Adventures of Robin Hood |
|Six Shooter ||1953,54, one season ||Adult ||Britt Ponsett ||His horse,Scar ||Jimmy Stewart plays a drifter with a fearsome reputation who finds himself in situations ranging from comical to life threatening. He tries to mind his own business and avoid violence, but he is tempered by his sense of right and wrong. ||Very well written and performed dramas. James Stewart sometimes drops his delivery to a whisper for great dramatic effect. |
|Sky King ||1946 - 54 ||Kiddie /Aviation Adventure ||Schuyler (Sky) King ||Penny and Clipper, his niece and nephew ||Sky was a WWI aviator and barnstormer who now owns the Flying Crown ranch in Arizona. He catches the bad guys or finds the missing children using his airplane. ||Sky King flew a Cessna T - 50 "Bamboo Bomber" and later a Cessna 310. Both planes were called "Songbird." Penny sometimes flew Songbird. |
|Smokey the Bear and the Sons of the Pioneers ||1955 - 59 ||Public Service Announcement ||Smokey Bear ||The Sons of the Pioneers ||Smokey Bear invites us for "small visit with a big Star" who will discuss ways to prevent Forest Fires. ||Stars include Tennessee Ernie Ford, Lawrence Welk, Danny Thomas, Dick Powell and many others. |
|Straight Arrow||1948 - 51 ||Cereal Serial, Juvenile ||Steve Adams, aka "Straight Arrow ||Packy McCloud, and Straight Arrow's palomino, Fury ||Young Comanche lad has been raised by whites, now owns the Broken - Bow Ranch as Steve Adams. When Bad Guys are about he dons his Secret Identity, Straight Arrow. Of course he encounters bank robbers, claim jumpers, stage - coach bandits, and all the excitement a kids serial needs. ||Nabisco printed "Injun - uity" cards on the dividers of Shredded Wheat boxes as an advertising tie - in. The cards had well researched Indian Lore and are currently traded by collectors. |
|Sunny Valley ||1937 ||Country and Gospel Music ||Jed and Ma Simpkins ||The Sunny Valley Boys ||The story of Sunny Valley told in music, mostly through the eyes of General Store owners, Jed and Ma Simpkins. ||Sponsored by "Friendly Dentist, Dr Cowan" |
|Tales of the Diamond K ||1951 - 52 ||Juvenile ||Ken Maynard ||His horse, Tarzan ||Tales of cowboys and cattle trails, rodeos and parades,hidden gold and buried treasure, told by one of the original White Hat - wearing Singing Cowboys. ||Ken Maynard made a fortune as a Movie Singing Cowboy, but fell on hard times. These well done recordings are part of an attempt to get back on his feet, they are very well done, but part of a sad story. |
|Tales of the Pacific Powerland ||1961 - 78 ||Historical Dramas/Stories ||The Pacific Northwest ||Nelson Olmstead, story teller ||These five minute spots were produced for Pacific Power and Light, presenting stories of Settlers, Industry, Natural Wonders, Explorers, and Indian Legends. More than 1300 of the short programs were recorded. ||Original Writer and Producer ... left the program in 1973, and went "Down Under" to produce a similar program, "Trailblazers of New Zealand." |
|Ten - Two - Four Ranch (10 - 2 - 4 Ranch) ||1944 - 45 ||Country and Music ||Dr Pepper ||The Sons of the Pioneers ||The show is an advertisement for Dr Pepper soda pop with music added. But it is good music and a very fun show. ||Charles Alderton of Waco, Texas first served Dr Pepper in 1885, the year before John Pemberton invented Coca Cola |
|Texas Rangers (Tales of the Texas Rangers) ||1950 - 52 ||Adult Police Proceedural Drama ||Texas Ranger Jayce Pearson ||His Horse, Charcoal ||Called "Dragnet with a Flair." Set in "contemporary times" (1950) in Texas, which still calls for lots of horse work along with semi - hard boiled detective work. ||Sponsored by Wheaties. The show would be reprized for TV in 1957, but more as a kid's show. |
|Tom Mix ||1933 - 50's ||Cereal Serial, Juvenile ||Tom Mix, played by actors ||His Horse, Tony ||Highly fictionalized adventures of cowboy Tom Mix, an original Silent Movie Cowboy. ||In the movies Mix did his own stunts, and was injured many times |
|Wild Bill Hickok ||1951 - 54 ||Cereal Serial, Juvenile ||Wild Bill Hickok ||Jingles ||The infamous gunfighter is transformed into a White - Hatted Hero for the kiddies. ||The show made the transition to TV, but one of the few that took the Radio Cast with it. |