As a boy I really enjoyed watching my favorite cowboys, Hop Along Cassidy, Roy Rodgers, and the Singing Cowboy! This day in 1942 actor Gene Autry is sworn into the Army Air Corps on the air, during his regular radio show, Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch. He served as an officer until 1945, when he resumed his show.
Autry was born in Tioga, Texas, in 1907, the son of a livestock and horse trader who was also a Baptist minister. The family later moved to Oklahoma. In high school, Autry worked as a railway telegrapher at the local railroad depot, where he spent slow moments strumming his $8 guitar and singing. Passing through the depot one day, a stranger, who turned out to be Will Rogers, suggested that Autry try singing on the radio. Inspired, Autry traveled to New York City to look for a singing job but had no luck.
Back home, he began working for a local radio station and found success as “Oklahoma’s Yodeling Cowboy.” Eventually, Autry and railroad dispatcher Jim Long wrote several country songs, including the world’s first gold record, “That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine.” Autry became a regular on National Barn Dance, the forerunner of the Grand Ole Opry. In 1934, producer Nat Levine was looking for an actor who could sing and ride a horse. Autry wasn’t an actor but had already established a loyal radio audience, so Levine put him in numerous B-grade westerns. Playing the lead role in a long-running series of Saturday matinee films, Autry became America’s favorite singing cowboy.
In 1940, his musical-variety radio show, Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch, debuted; it ran until 1956. He became America’s favorite TV cowboy in 1950 when he debuted The Gene Autry Show, which ran through 1956. In each episode, he and his sidekick, Pat Buttram, rode from town to town, maintaining law and order. From “Back in the Saddle Again” to yuletide mainstays such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman,” Autry’s music became part of American life.
The 100th American Legion coins are available! As you will recall we Legion guys voted to buy 20 more 100th Anniversary coins as we have sold all we had. If you see one of boys around town ask. It is a once in a lifetime collector’s item
Don’t forget our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM. 2nd of August will be the next one. Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in July and August are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). Just watch the weather, it is the only factor that my change that. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.