Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"You betchum, Red Ryder"


My earliest cowboy memory -- one of my favorites -- is Red Ryder.  I recall listening to the Red Ryder radio series in the 1940s before we got our first television in 1949.  

One of my favorite activities back then was to listen to the radio show and read the Sunday comic strip at the same time.  It didn't matter that the tales were different.  I could hear Reed Hadley intone the Western drawl of Red Ryder, and visualize what he looked like through Fred Harman's fabulous comic strip characters.


I soon discovered Daisy's Red Ryder BB guns, and like most youngsters of the era my relentless begging eventually won out; allowing our backyard to become a tin can shooting gallery (photo courtesy of Bruce Hickey).


Red Ryder in film...

Fred Harman's 'Red Ryder' character made its debut in 1938, and by 1940, Don 'Red' Barry was the first to portray the Red Ryder comic character on the silver screen in a Republic cliffhanger.


Adventures of Red Ryder (1940) starring Don 'Red' Barry, Noah Beery, Tommy Cook (Burro Flats) (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Between 1944 and 1946, Bill Elliott made 16 Red Ryder films


Tucson Raiders (1944) starring Bill Elliott, George 'Gabby' Hayes and Robert Blake (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Marshal of Reno (1944) starring Bill Elliott, George 'Gabby' Hayes and Robert Blake (Iverson Ranch) Republic

San Antonio Kid, The (1944) starring Bill Elliott, Robert Blake and Alice Fleming (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Cheyenne Wildcat (1944) starring Bill Elliott, Robert Blake and Alice Fleming (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Vigilantes of Dodge City (1944) starring Bill Elliott, Robert Blake and Alice Fleming (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Sheriff of Las Vegas (1944) starring Bill Elliott, Robert Blake and Alice Fleming (Iverson Ranch) Republic


Great Stagecoach Robbery (1945) starring Bill Elliott, Robert Blake and Alice Fleming (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Lone Texas Ranger (1945) starring Bill Elliott, Robert Blake and Alice Fleming (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Phantom of the Plains (1945) starring Bill Elliott, Robert Blake and Alice Fleming (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Marshal of Laredo (1945) starring Bill Elliott, Robert Blake and Alice Fleming (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Colorado Pioneers (1945) starring Bill Elliott, Robert Blake and Alice Fleming (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Wagon Wheels Westward (1945) starring Bill Elliott, Robert Blake and Alice Fleming (Iverson Ranch) Republic

California Gold Rush (1946) starring Bill Elliott, Robert Blake and Alice Fleming (Iverson Ranch) Republic


Sheriff of Redwood Valley (1946) starring Bill Elliott, Robert Blake and Bob Steele (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Sun Valley Cyclone (1946) starring Bill Elliott, Robert Blake and Alice Fleming (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Conquest of Cheyenne (1946) starring Bill Elliott, Robert Blake and Alice Fleming (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Between 1946 and 1947, Allan Lane made 7 Red Ryder films


(Black Jack in the photo above -- was beautiful black stallion -- owned and ridden by Rocky Lane.  According to Bobby Copeland's book "Silent Hoofbeats" Black Jack was a Morgan that Lane bought from Bill Elliott in 1946.  I believe the horse was probably 'Thunder' in both of their respective Red Ryder roles.)

Santa Fe Uprising (1946) starring Allan Lane, Robert Blake and Martha Wentworth (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Stagecoach to Denver (1946) starring Allan Lane, Robert Blake and Martha Wentworth (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Vigilantes of Boomtown (1947) starring Allan Lane, Robert Blake and Martha Wentworth (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Homesteaders of Paradise Valley (1947) starring Allan Lane, Robert Blake and Martha Wentworth (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Oregon Trail Scouts (1947) starring Allan Lane, Robert Blake and Martha Wentworth (NOT CHATSWORTH) Republic

Rustlers of Devil's Canyon (1947) starring Allan Lane, Robert Blake and Martha Wentworth (Iverson Ranch) Republic


Marshal of Cripple Creek (1947) starring Allan Lane, Robert Blake and Martha Wentworth (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Between 1949 and 1950, Jim Bannon made 4  Red Ryder films  


Ride, Ryder, Ride! (1949) starring Jim Bannon, Don Reynolds, Emmett Lynn (Iverson Ranch) Eagle-Lion

Roll, Thunder, Roll! (1949) starring Jim Bannon, Don Reynolds, Emmett Lynn (Iverson Ranch) Eagle-Lion

Fighting Redhead, The (1949) starring Jim Bannon, Don Reynolds, Emmett Lynn (Iverson Ranch) Eagle-Lion

Cowboy and the Prizefighter, The (1950) starring Jim Bannon, Don Reynolds, Emmett Lynn (Iverson Ranch) Eagle-Lion


In addition to the comic strips, radio and film both Jim Bannon and Allan Lane attempted to rework their films into early television roles -- unfortunately neither were successful.

We sure could use a good Red Ryder tale for today's audience.  Hey Mr Spielberg -- if you're listening?

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