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ISSUE NO. 858
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Texan Gene Autry, the original singing cowboy, began his recording career in 1929 with Columbia records. Autry sang dozens of hit Christmas songs, including "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," "Frosty the Snowman," and the holiday classic "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." He even wrote and recorded his very own holiday tune, "Here comes Santa Claus."

Autry broke into films in the 1934, starring in a string of successful westerns as Hollywood's first singing cowboy. following in Autry's footsteps was Cincinnati, Ohio, native Leonard Slye, who rose to prominance playing the guitar, singing and yodeling with a country and western trio called "Sons of the Pioneers."

Leonard got his first movie role in the 1930s, when he dropped his birth name, and took the stage name Roy Rogers, inspired by American folk hero Will Rogers. When it came to making cowboy movies, Rogers was a natural, bursting with folksy charm and good-natured charisma. He was Hollywood's top western movie star for a record for 16 consecutive years, from 1939 to 1954, earning his title as "King of the Cowboys."
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His close-up ready good looks were tailor-made for film, and, in adition to a movie career, Roy and his wife, Dale, were also the stars of their own TV show on NBC from 1951 to 1957.

The show's theme song, "Happy Trails," was written by Evans, who was called the "Queen of the West." Roy also had his very own comic book, which ran for 91 issues, from 1948 to 1955. Below is the cover of Roy Rogers Comics #1 (Janury 1948), published by Dell Comics.
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BELOW: Back cover art from the 1960 Roy Rogers Annual...
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Roy's famous horse Trigger co-starred with him in a spin-off book, Roy Rogers and Trigger, which ran for 54 issues from 1955 to 1961.
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Roy's contract had a unique feature. It gave him a cut of all "Roy Rogers" merchandise!
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Roy and Dale also appeared in loads of other places, including a Whitman book series. "River of Peril," cover pictured above, with teo pieces of original art from the book seen below.
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Roy's wife, Dale Evans was a huge celebrity in her own right, and she starred in her own book, published by DC. Pictured below are two house ads for Dale's comic...
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Reader, you may not be a big Dale Evans fan, but I bet you're a fan of the artist who drew her back-up feature -- a young man by the name of Alex Toth! Here's some of Toth's work on that series, Sierra Smith, Western Detective.
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Dale Evans wasn't the only member of the Roy Rogers "family" to get her own title. Roy's sidekick, Gabby Hayes, also had his own comic...
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If you want to see more, get this harcover reprint collection from Dark Horse...
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VIDEO CLIP BELOW: The Hollywood Canteen presents Roy Rogers and Trigger, 3 minutes, 34 seconds.

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DC's Vigilante!
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