By: Ed Creamer
When growing up, cowboy movies were the thing. Most days they’d have a double feature and you didn’t have to hock the family farm for a box of popcorn. While Tom Mix and Hoot Gibson were a little before my time, we did have Lash LaRue with his famous whip. We’d watch him crack that whip and snatch a desperado’s pistol from his hand faster than the IRS can pick your pocket.
The Cisco Kid use to travel with his side kick Poncho. Saving maidens from the clutches of the evil mortgage holder who was calling the loan on her ranch was their game. Back in those days nobody thought it strange that these two, single men who traveled and slept together out on the open range never, not once, ever got the girls. “Oh Cisco.” “Oh Poncho.”
The Lone Ranger and Tonto were the only cowboys I knew who used an opera theme for background music. Not many cowboys were into even the Grand Old Opera in those days. But, they did and we could always tell when the bad guys were about to appear.
The music got quieter. Suddenly, the drums would kick in and violins would play. Never once wondered where the bad guys got their violins. The adventures of Red Rider and Little Beaver didn’t last very long. After a couple of years, Little Beaver grew up and nobody wrote scripts for a Big Beaver. Nor did they have many Zorro movies. Seems by that time Hopalong Cassidy had come along and didn’t need to swish a sword to disarm his villains.
Gene Autry and Andy Devine were another duo that seemed to travel the west and never have a job. Now, Gene would normally have a guitar close by as well as a backup set of guitar welding singers. Never knew who paid their way.
I imagine the cowboy that sticks in most of our minds is Roy Rogers. And, where there was Roy there would be Dale Evens and Gabby Hayes. At least Roy ended up with a girl and very seldom had to kiss his horse Trigger. There use to be a Roy Rogers museum down on Interstate 15 in Victorville. Roy had Trigger stuffed and put in the museum. I wonder if Trigger minded. The museums been torn down and is no longer there.
They no longer make cowboy movies any more. And, like Roy’s museum, they’re a part of our past. Nobody’s left to sing to us, “Happy trails to you. Until we meet again.”