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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)

  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

 

 


 

 

A PIONEER TREASURE
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

1934

 

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

c1936

 

 

Back: Karl & Hugh Farr

Front: Len Slye, Lloyd Perryman & Bob Nolan

c1936

 

 

1938

 

 

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

1938

 

 

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

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

1938

 

 

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

1938

 

 

Back: Hugh, Lloyd

Front: Bob, Pat and Charles Starrett

1938

 

 

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

1939

 

 

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

1940

 

 

Tim, Bob, Hugh, Pat, Lloyd and Karl

during shooting of "West of Abilene", 1940

 

 

Pat needs assistance.

1940

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

1943

Back: Karl, Bob, Hugh and Pat Brady

Front: Ken Carson, Roy and Tim

 

 

1943

Back: Tim, Hugh, Karl and Ken

Front: Bob, Roy and Pat

 

 

1943

Back: Tim, Hugh, Karl and Ken Carson

Front: Bob, Roy and Pat

 

 

1943

Ken, Hugh, Tim, Bob, Karl and Pat

"The Little Guy Who Looks Like You"

 

 

1943

Back: Bob, Tim & Ken

Front: Pat, Karl & Hugh

 

 

Bob & Ken Carson, 1943

 

 

Hugh & Karl Farr, 1943

 

 

Tim & Pat, 1943

 

 

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.

 

 

1943

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

1949

 

 


 

 

Candid Shots Taken by Fans

 

Sycamore Park c. 1935

Bob Nolan with Marie (?) 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

 

Pat

 

 

Madison Square Garden Rodeo, New York City, 1942

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

 

 

Bob

 

 

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

 

 

Tim

 

 

Tim

 

 

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

 

 

CLIPPINGS FROM NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES

 

Herb Angell

 

1940

 

The Alamo

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 


 

 

The Martha Retsch Collection

 

Scrapbook

 

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