Thursday, November 12, 2009

Worth 1,000 Words: GENE AUTRY, JOAN CAULFIELD & CHAMPION


BACK IN THE MAKE-UP CHAIR AGAIN is cowboy great GENE AUTRY [Sept. 29, 1907-Oct. 2, 1998], as “The Smartest Horse in the Movies,” CHAMPION, waits his turn. “The Singing Cowboy” Gene, whose real first name was Orvon (Gene was his middle name), sang, acted, and rode the range in 100 movies from 1934-55. His distinct cowboy-country voice was featured in 600 songs that sold in the millions. His best sellers, the biggest being Christmas tunes, include: Back in the Saddle Again (his theme song), That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine (which he wrote), Here Comes Santa Claus (which he also wrote), Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (his biggest hit, still heard every December). Gene Autry is represented by five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At the time of his death in 1998, Autry was still eagerly waiting for the baseball team he owned, the Los Angeles Angels, to win a World Series pennant.
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A Trivia Note: The early years of TV’s Gunsmoke were filmed at Gene Autry’s movie ranch, named after one of his films as well as a song: Melody Ranch.
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THIS CBS PUBLICITY STILL is a curio. Dated May 5, 1953 (on back), its headline is: TOUCH-UP. The suggested text to be run in newspapers and magazines nationwide: CBS-TV star Gene Autry and his horse, Champion, receive a final touch-up from Joan Caulfield and make-up artist Joe Schenck, in busy CBS Television City, Hollywood. The world’s largest plant built exclusively for television broadcasting will be the origination point for Miss Caulfield’s starring vehicle, “My Favorite Husband,” when it has its CBS-TV premiere in the fall. [from Steve Crum’s showbiz memorabilia collection]
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More Trivia: Previous to its television run, Joan Caulfield’s sitcom, My Favorite Husband, had a healthy run on radio in the late 1940’s with Lucille Ball as its star. Lucy’s CBS-TV show, I Love Lucy, was #1 in viewer ratings in 1953.
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Gene Autry is back in the saddle again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLEGcD0FCNk&feature=related

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