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The John Fullerton Collection

Photos from Bob Nolan's Career & Movies from the private collection of John Fullerton.



This collection consists of seven parts -


  "A Pioneer Treasure" (introduction by John Fullerton)

  The Bill Bowen Collection of photographs

  Roy Rogers & the Sons of the Pioneers' 1943 Texas Tour

  Portraits, production and publicity stills

  Candid snapshots taken by fans

  The Martha Retsch Collection

  Tumbleweed Topics No. 11 and No. 16

  Clippings from Newspapers & Magazines

  A selection from the Roy Rogers Family Trust collection

  See Dale Warren's page for photos of the later Pioneers





by John Fullerton

For the past ten years I've been displaying my personal collection of Sons of the Pioneers memorabilia in the form of a traveling museum. My collection has been seen by thousands. I've taken it everywhere. An ongoing project, the collection continues to grow thanks to donations from fans and the internet marketplace, eBay.

Back in late 2004 Elizabeth McDonald mentioned to me by email a collection that was for sale located in Cambridge, Ohio, at the Hopalong Cassidy Museum. Elizabeth had heard about this from a friend who I contacted and got the scoop. I then contacted the Hopalong Cassidy Museum by phone and spoke with its owner, Mr. Howard Cherry. Howard stated that he obtained a large scrap book of movie stills and snap shots at an Ohio swap meet. The scrap book was falling apart and in terrible shape, but the items inside were okay. Howard paid $3,000 for the collection, 130 photos total, plus magazine and newspaper clippings on the group covering their years with Charles Starrett and Roy Rogers. Howard told me he believed this collection was assembled by several ladies and that all of them had passed away; the collection went from an estate sale to the swap meet and that's how he got it.

Howard replaced the original scrap book with a large photo album, a scrapbook-style photo album, that is, and placed it for sale at his museum, asking $2,500 for it. In our telephone conversation in March 2005 Howard stated that he was not having any luck, no interested buyers, so he planned to sell the photography off one by one, individually. That's when I jumped in and told him to wait, keep it all together, I'd like to buy it. In our next telephone conversation we negotiated the price and we agreed at $1,800. I asked if I could pay it off over the summer of 2005 with three payments of $600. Howard stated that was fine.


My final payment arrived to him in October, the collection was mailed to a Branson business I worked for, arriving at their post office box. Branson's Postmaster was very curious about the package when I picked it up on the morning of October 21, 2005. The package weighed nearly forty pounds, was eight inches thick, two feet wide and nearly three feet in height.

I was totally amazed with the photography and clippings in the collection, the images glued to construction paper that crumbled and flaked into tiny pieces as I turned the pages. Also included were poems written by the four ladies I assumed were responsible for collecting all the images. Their names were Marie Spellman, Lillian Nagode, Martha Retsch, and Virginia Gallick. Several of the snapshots included Lillian and Martha. Now remember, Howard believed all these gals were gone so I went with that belief all the way, even hunting on the internet for obituaries and stuff, but did not uncover anything about them.

Now lets jump to 2007. On eBay, five copies of the Tumbleweed Topics were placed for the world to grab and I was ready to pay dearly, but did really well, paying $51.00 for all five! Going thru these newsletters, I discovered the names of the four ladies from the scrap book were mentioned from time to time and, little by little, the mystery to this puzzle was beginning to unfold. In the spring of 2008 two more copies of the Tumbleweed Topics appeared on eBay. I got them, too, and again a couple of the ladies were mentioned. The girls were members of a Pioneers club based out of Pittsburgh, PA. They called their club the Pioneer Pals -the Stetson Gals.

With 2008 being the Centennial Celebration of Bob Nolan, I finally got to work removing all the photography from the scrap book. A lot of these images were collected by Marie and Lillian, with Marie placing the images in the scrap book. Lillian had written on the backs of a number of snap shots, and stills from the Starrett films. The collection covered the years 1938 thru 1946, with a few of the KQV radio posters from 1934, since KQV was in Pittsburgh. It took a couple of months, but by July 2008 I had successfully scanned all the images and placed them back in the scrap book. I sent the scans to Elizabeth on photo CDs.

In June of 2008 I mentioned to an audience, one evening during my show, about the fun I was having with the images, the info I was learning about the ladies involved and how I was stressed by the frustration I had encountered as far as not finding any info on the ladies - you know, when they died and so on. Well it just so happened that evening that some folks from Pittsburgh PA were in the audience and I mentioned Martha Retsch to them. The family suggested I try Google in my search for obituaries and I pointed out that I had done that several times and had given up.


Well the next day, June 17, my 30th birthday by the way, I was killing time before the show and just for kicks got on Google again and typed Martha Retsch for my search. To my surprise, at the top of the list was a link to a women's Hockey club - Hockey and High Heels. They mention an 89-year-old Martha Retsch who was a co-founder of what is today the Pittsburgh Penguins booster club. (She's the only living charter member!) Right then and there I knew this had to be the same lady from the Pioneer Pals-the Stetson Gals from the 1940s.


I sent an email to the Hockey site's webmaster and told them my situation and that if this was the Martha I was looking for, I needed to contact her right away and arrange an interview. Quickly I got a response and then another one from Jan Snyder, who interviewed Martha in the spring of '08. Jan put me in touch with Martha's friend, Alice. I contacted her, got a response, and arranged an interview with Martha.

With Alice's help the interview was set for Wednesday June 25 2008 at 2:30pm. I recorded the entire visit. Martha was an absolute sweetheart, a great gal with a wonderful sense of humor. She shared a ton of stories, we talked for nearly an hour! After our conversation I mailed a package of photo reprints of several images in the scrap book, asking her to identify any of her friends. On July 17 a large package arrived in my mailbox at home! Not only did she return my images with answers to all my questions, but she also enclosed all of her remaining Sons of the Pioneers memorabilia that she had saved.


A note came in the mail a few days later stating, "DO NOT RETURN ANYTHING!"

All of her Tumbleweed Topics were included as well as all of her issues from her own Prairie Prattler publication which she printed from 1943-46. Also included were snapshots of her visits to California, shots taken at Republic as well as in Tim Spencer's home. I'm still in shock over the amount of stuff she sent!

What an amazing year. As I think about it all, thanks to folks like Martha, I've learned more about the Pioneers than I could have ever imagined. A special thanks goes to Howard Cherry, who held onto the scrap book so I could buy it, to Jan Synder and Martha's friend Alice for assisting with everything, and to Martha Retsch, a wonderful lady who will be my Pioneer Pal forever.

Note: As you view these images there are a few mixed in with all of this from my original personal collection but most are from the scrap book. Enjoy!!!  Scans of the contents of Martha's package you will be able to enjoy here later as "The Martha Retsch Collection". (John Fullerton)





Portraits, Production & Publicity Stills




Bob Nolan

c. 1938



Bob Nolan c 1939



Bob, 1943



Bob Nolan

(from "Hands Across the Border", 1944)



Reverse of previous 1944 photo.



Bob Nolan c 1945 arcade card


Exhibit cards were predominantly found in vending machines in arcades, boardwalks, etc. Featuring primarily athletes, cowboys, movie and TV stars, they were manufactured from the 40s to late 60s. A copy of the performer's signature and "Printed in the U.S.A." are the only words on the card. While most cards are black & white, some are tinted in green, brown or pink. They measure approximately 3 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches.


Hugh Farr



Karl Farr



Tim Spencer



Tim Spencer



Tim Spencer



Tim Spencer



Pat Brady

from "Song of Texas", 1943



Pat Brady

from "Man from Music Mountain", 1943



Pat Brady, aka "Truthful Jones"



Pat Brady and Nellybelle c 1953



Pat Brady on wild stallion



Lloyd Perryman c 1938



c 1940

Lloyd Perryman


Lloyd Perryman c 1950






Publicity and Production Stills


Hugh Farr, Bob Nolan, Tim Spencer and Leonard Slye



Standing: Bob Nolan, Tim Spencer and Leonard Slye

Seated: Karl and Hugh Farr



Hugh Farr, Len Slye, Jimmy Masters, Lloyd Perryman, Bob Nolan & Karl Farr




Back: Karl & Hugh Farr

Front: Len Slye, Lloyd Perryman & Bob Nolan







Charles Starrett, Iris Meredith, Pat, Karl, Don Grayson, Lloyd, Hugh and Bob




Standing: Charles Starrett, Edward LeSaint, Don Grayson, unidentified

Mounted: Pat, Lloyd, Hugh, Bob and unidentified.




Pat, Hugh, Lloyd, Charles Starrett, Bob and Karl




Back: Hugh, Lloyd

Front: Bob, Pat and Charles Starrett




Karl, Pat, Hugh, Lloyd and Bob

from "West of the Santa Fe", 1938



Lloyd, Hugh, Pat, Karl, Bob and Tim

1939 radio show, "Sunshine Ranch"



from "Spoilers of the Range", 1939



Standing: Bob, Lloyd and Pat.

Seated: Hugh, Tim and Karl

Front: Charles Starrett and Iris Meredith

from "Spoilers of the Range", 1939



Standing: Lloyd, Pat and Bob

Reclining: Tim, Hugh and Karl




Reed's Ferry, NH 1941

Frances E. Bates photo


Standing: Karl, Tim, Bob and Hugh.

Front: Pat and Lloyd

Reed's Ferry, NH 1941

Frances E. Bates photo




Karl, Hugh, Bob, Lloyd, Tim and Pat

Front: Iris Meredith and Charles Starrett

from "The Man from Sundown", 1939



Back: Hugh, Charles, Iris and Bob

Front: Pat, Karl, Lloyd and Tim

from "The Man from Sundown", 1939



Tim, Lloyd, Charles Starrett, Hugh, Pat, Karl and Bob




Tim, Bob, Hugh, Pat, Lloyd and Karl

during shooting of "West of Abilene", 1940



Pat needs assistance.




Back: Hugh and Pat

Front: Lloyd, Tim, Karl and Bob

during shooting of "West of Abilene", 1940



Charles Starrett, Pat, Lloyd, Hugh, Bob, Tim and Karl

from "Thundering Frontier", 1940



Back: Tim, Lloyd and Pat

Front: Karl, Hugh and Bob





Mounted: The Sons of the Pioneers (only Lloyd visible)

Standing: Charles Starrett and Bob

Front: Hank Bell and unidentified

from "The Pinto Kid", 1941



Hank Bell, Bob Nolan and Charles Starrett

from "The Pinto Kid", 1941



Lloyd, Bob, Don Beddoe, Hugh, ?, Karl, Stanley Brown (seated), Pat, Charles Starrett and Tim.

From "Outlaws of the Panhandle", 1941



Bob, Tim, Hugh, Sally Payne, Pat, Roy, Karl and Lloyd

from "Red River Valley", 1941



Hugh, Pat, Gabby Hayes, Bob, Roy, Pat, Tim and Lloyd

from "Red River Valley", 1941



from "Red River Valley" 1942

Bob, Hugh, Pat, Roy, Karl, Tim and Lloyd



Hugh, Karl, Roy, Pat, Tim and Lloyd

from "South of Santa Fe", 1942



from "Sons of the Pioneers",1942



Tim, Maris Wrixon, Bob, Lloyd, Karl and Hugh

from "Sons of the Pioneers",1942



Joe Strauch Jr, ?, Gene Autry, Smiley Burnett, Tim, Karl and Pat

in "Call of the Canyon", 1942



The Sons of the Pioneers with the cast of "Call of the Canyon", 1942



in "Call of the Canyon", 1942



in "Call of the Canyon", 1942






Bob (in chair) with cast of "Sunset Serenade", 1942



Pat singing "I'm a No-Good Son-of-a-Gun"

in "Sunset Serenade", 1942



Standing: Tim, Bob, Hugh

Front: Karl, Lloyd and Pat

in "Sunset Serenade", 1942



Back: Tim, Karl and Pat

Front: Bob, Lloyd and Hugh

in "Sunset Serenade", 1942



Helen Parrish with Roy and Gabby singing Bob Nolan's "A Sandman Lullaby".

in "Sunset Serenade", 1942



Bob, Pat and Roy in "Heart of the Golden West", 1942



Roy, Ruth Terry, in "Heart of the Golden West", 1942





The Pioneers with Smiley Burnette and Roy Rogers

from "King of the Cowboys", 1943 (see back of photo below)





Clockwise: Tim, Hugh, Bob, Lloyd, Karl, Pat and Roy

in "Song of Texas", 1943



Pat, Roy and Bob

in "Song of Texas", 1943



in "Song of Texas", 1943



On fence: Shug, Bob, Ken, Karl, Tim and Hugh (mounted man unknown)

in "Song of Texas", 1943



Pat, Hugh, Tim, Ken, Roy, Bob and Karl

in "Man from Music Mountain", 1943



Hugh, Tim, Ken, Roy, Bob and Karl

in "Man from Music Mountain", 1943



Bob, Roy, Tim, Pat, Hugh, Karl and Ken

in "Man from Music Mountain", 1943




Back: Karl, Bob, Hugh and Pat Brady

Front: Ken Carson, Roy and Tim




Back: Tim, Hugh, Karl and Ken

Front: Bob, Roy and Pat




Back: Tim, Hugh, Karl and Ken Carson

Front: Bob, Roy and Pat




Ken, Hugh, Tim, Bob, Karl and Pat

"The Little Guy Who Looks Like You"




Back: Bob, Tim & Ken

Front: Pat, Karl & Hugh



Bob & Ken Carson, 1943



Hugh & Karl Farr, 1943



Tim & Pat, 1943




The Sons of the Pioneers with fanclub president, Martha Retsch. (reverse below)




Karl, Tim (unidentified lady, possibly Grace Purdy), Spade Cooley, Bob, Hugh and Ken Carson.




Back: Ken Carson and Karl Farr

Front: Hugh, Bob, Deuce Spriggins and Tim



Ken, Bob, Hugh, Tim, Shug and Karl

in "Yellow Rose of Texas", 1944



Ken, Bob, Hugh, Tim, Shug and Karl

in "Yellow Rose of Texas", 1944



Hugh, Tim, Bob, Ken, Shug and Karl

in "Lights of Old Santa Fe", 1944



Hugh, Tim, Bob, Ken, Karl and Shug

in "Lights of Old Santa Fe", 1944



Tim, Shug, Ken, Gabby, Bob and Roy

in "Lights of Old Santa Fe", 1944



Bob, Hugh, Karl, Roy, Ken, Tim and Shug

in "Utah", 1945



Tim, Karl, Hugh, Ken, Roy, Bob, Gabby and Shug

in "Utah", 1945



Roy, Ken, Bob, Tim (and on stage) Karl, Shug and Hugh

singing "Choo Choo Polka" in "Don't Fence Me In", 1945



Hugh, Ken, Bob, Gabby, Dale, Roy, Karl and Shug with the cast of

 "Don't Fence Me In", 1945



Tim, Bob, Roy, Ken and Karl

in "Song of Arizona", 1946



Back: Hugh, Karl, Bob and Shug Fisher

Front: Ken Carson and Tim

in "Song of Arizona", 1946



Back: Hugh & Karl

Front: Tim, Lloyd and Bob

in "My Pal Trigger", 1946



The Classic Sons of the Pioneers Reunited, 1946



Tim, Hugh, Lloyd, Pat, Karl and Bob

The Classic Sons of the Pioneers Reunited, January 1946


Tim, Lloyd, Hugh, Bob and Pat

in "Pecos Bill" (Melody Time), 1948



Touring, c 1948

Back: Hugh, Tim & Bob

Front: Karl, Lloyd and Pat



Clockwise from Shug on stool: Hugh, Ken, Bob, Karl and Lloyd






Candid Shots Taken by Fans


Sycamore Park c. 1935

Bob Nolan with Marie Spellman of Eagle Rock

Roy Rogers Family Trust


Sycamore Park c. 1935

Dolores Gantz and Elizabeth Halliburton Capps with Leonard Slye

Roy Rogers Family Trust


Sycamore Park c. 1935

The Pioneer Trio

Roy Rogers Family Trust


Bob Nolan (August 4, 1940)


Hugh and Karl Farr with a fan, Lillian Nagode.

(August 4, 1940)


Karl, left, and Lloyd, right, with Lillian Nagode.

(August 4, 1940)


Lloyd and Pat

(August 4, 1940)


Left: Pat

 Right: Tim, August 4, 1940





Madison Square Garden Rodeo, New York City, 1942

Bob with Martha Retsch, soon to be president of a Sons of the Pioneers fan club.






Valley View Park, Pennsylvania, July 20, 1941

Bob, Pat, Lloyd and Karl


Valley View Park, Pennsylvania, July 20, 1941

Clockwise from Tim: Tim, Hugh, Lloyd, unidentified, Pat, Sam Allen, Karl, Helen Schmuck and Bob.




Valley View Park, Pennsylvania, July 20, 1941

Left: Bob and Karl with a fan, Helen Schmuck. Right Karl and Pat.





Pat Brady with fan, Patsy Linton.

Sleepy Hollow Ranch, PA, 1941



Hugh with fan, Patsy Linton


Hugh and Lloyd



Martha and Lloyd (left: New York City, 1942), Lloyd and Tim (right).



Lloyd (left) and unidentified fan with Sam Allen.



The Sons of the Pioneers with their fan club, 1942, at Madison Square Garden, New York, in Roy Rogers' dressing room. Martha Retsch is 2nd from front left. Patsy Linton has her arm around Bob. The other ladies were members of Roy Rogers' fan club.












Tim and Karl (left) and Tim (right).



Tim in Boston, 1942



Standing: Hugh, Karl and Bob

Front: Lloyd, Tim and Pat

(Sleepy Hollow Ranch, Quakertown, PA, 1941)



Sgt. Patrick Brady





Herb Angell




The Alamo







For permission to use the photos, email John at nolanbaritone@lycos.com 





The Martha Retsch Collection




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