The ‘King of the Cowboys’ Was A Collector
By Tom Morrow
A number of years ago, I interviewed Roy Rogers and Dale Evans before one of their performances at the Orange County Fair. I found it interesting that whenever I, or any of the other newsies asked a question of Roy, Dale answered. It was as if he wasn’t there.
Then I thought of a question Dale probably couldn’t answer.
“Roy, my Dad and I always noticed while watching your movies and TV shows that when you get in a fist-fight you never lost your hat – why is that?”
The King of the Cowboys smiled, thought for a moment then said, “Well, partner, I was paying for the production costs and if I had lost the hat, before we could start filming again, we’d have to take time out to measure where my hat landed. Time is money.”
To prove a point on Rogers’ frugality, I met him at his Apple Valley museum years later. I noted that the place was filled with everything from the old Dodge truck he drove to California from his native Ohio to stuffed mounts (Trigger, Trigger, Jr., and Buttermilk), as well as Pat Brady’s Jeep and a collection of old bowling balls and old razors. Unlike Gene Autry’s Western Museum in Los Angeles, the Apple Valley museum was more of a collection of unrelated junk.
I asked Roy why he kept so many things from his many years?
“Partner, I grew up in the Great Depression. We didn’t have anything. I figure times might get rough again someday, so you never know when I might need some of these things.”
When I asked about those old Gillette razors, Roy reckoned he’d have a hard time getting new blades.
Alas, after Roy’s death, his son, Roy “Dusty” Rogers, moved the museum to Branson, Mo., but after a few years of slumping business, he closed it and sold off Trigger, the old Dodge truck and Pat Brady’s Jeep. I assumed the razors and bowling balls are somewhere in the hinterlands.
REAGANISM – This quote by the late President Reagan is right in fashion with today’s California: “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it, if it keeps moving, regulate it, and if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
COWBOY LOGIC – “There are two theories to arguing with a woman – neither works.” – Will Rodgers
GROANER — A movie producer was planning his next blockbuster — an action docudrama about famous composers, so he set up a meeting with such noted icons as Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Arnold Schwarzenegger, offering each a chance to select which famous musicians they’d like to portray.
“I’ve always admired Mozart,” Stallone said. “I’d love to play him.”
“Chopin has always been my favorite,” said Van Damme. “That’s the part for me.”
The producer turned to Schwarzenegger. “And you, Arnold? Who do you want to be?”
There was a long silence, then Arnold replied, “I’ll be Bach.”
FINAL WORDS — On Ribbesford, England cemetery tombstone: “Anna Wallace — The children of Israel wanted bread, and the Lord sent them manna. Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife, and the Devil sent him Anna.”
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