I’ll warn you right off the bat that this sentence contains a bit of hyperbole…but it seems to me that the secular content of the programming on most of the public domain and religious-themed stations boils down to two classic TV programs of the past: The Lone Ranger and The Roy Rogers Show. (Though I have noticed that Sergeant Preston of the Yukon and Lassie are runners-up.) I can’t swear that Classic Media owns the rights to all of the programs (Ranger and Lassie are definite, that I do know) but the syndicator who supplies these reruns to those channels must give them one heck of a break on the price.
“The King of the Cowboys,” Roy Rogers, began his six season-stint on the small screen in the fall of 1951, but his run on radio began seven years prior to that. When it premiered on Mutual in the fall of 1944, The Roy Rogers Show was a lot like Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch: a half-hour of homespun banter and campfire music, supplemented with a comedic or dramatic skit. Its later NBC run resembled the movies that Roy made for his bosses at Republic; as one wag for The Christian Science Monitor observed “a little song, a little riding, a little shooting, and a girl to be saved from hazard.” Rogers’ trusty sidekick George “Gabby” Hayes would join the program for a few seasons, as would “The Queen of the West”—Mrs. Roy Rogers herself, Dale Evans. The Roy Rogers Show would last on radio until July 21, 1955 and although it would be silly to compare its rootin’-tootin’ juvenile adventure to shows like Gunsmoke or Frontier Gentleman, the program is pretty solid entertainment.
I make this claim because I did a liner notes booklet for a Radio Spirits release of the series in 2016, and this week I want to give away a copy of King of the Cowboys to some little pard in the Thrilling Days of Yesteryear faithful. How can I make this happen, I hear you asking? Here are the details:
1) Send an e-mail with “King of the Cowboys” in the subject header to igsjrotr(at)gmail(dot)com. You have until 11:59pm EDT on July 27, 2019 (next Saturday) to enter, and unless you’re up to writing a long biography about yourself (“I like long walks in the moonlight and Ho-Ho’s”) you can just submit your name and your undisclosed location. If your name is picked, I can give you a nice shout-out on the blog (“He said my name…he said my name!”) while I’m waiting for the more detailed snail-mail information on how I aim your prize toward the house.
2) The contest is only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. It’s my decision to open this up to Canadian residents, I know, so I got no kick coming…but if I told you what I spent on postage to The Great White North for the last contest your reaction would be “What the…front yard?” (In the meantime, if you see something you like in one of my eBay auctions consider a purchase so that I can continue doing the Lord’s mail deliveries.)
3) If you’ve been a previous winner in a TDOY giveaway, please consider waiting thirty days before entering another so that someone without your phenomenal streak of good fortune gets a chance to win some swag. This is more of a courtesy thing, really, because if some cartooner out there is extraordinarily lucky and they win every two weeks someone might think these contests aren’t kosher…and then an ugly riot will break out.
4) I will choose a winner (via the Random Number Generator at Random.org) the morning of July 28 and inform the lucky individual via e-mail shortly thereafter. I haven’t always performed the task of mailing out the prize in a timely manner, and for that I apologize; I’m generally having to haul a bunch of stuff down to USPS on Friday mornings and to save myself an extra trip I’ll put the TDOY swag to be mailed with the eBay packages.
I’m going to confess to a little bias here and admit that I am a Roy Rogers fan…but I really do believe The Roy Rogers Show is entertaining radio, and I think you’ll agree if you get the opportunity to listen. Of course, you’re getting an opportunity right now—but you can’t win if you don’t enter. And remember: Thrilling Days of Yesteryear is the phrase that pays!