Gene Autry - Sons of the Pioneers
(1936 - 1942)
Gene Autry's first starring feature length film was called "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" after Bob Nolan's famous song. It was also Republic's first singing cowboy movie and Gene sang the title song. The movie was a tremendous success and this prompted Gene to ask Bob to write a hit song for him. Bob would always agree but the song was never forthcoming. Possibly Bob knew Gene well enough to know that Gene insisted on having his name as co-writer on songs written for him. The Sons of the Pioneers were featured in one of Republic's Gene Autry films (The Old Corral) and included as guests only in two more: The Big Show and Call of the Canyon.
Roy Rogers - Bob Nolan and Sons of the Pioneers
(1941 - 1948)
The Sons of the Pioneers appeared in all of the Roy Rogers films from the end of 1941 until late summer of 1949. Although they were in more Republic than Columbia pictures, their roles were much diminished. The Columbia/Starrett/Sons of the Pioneers movies were their best showcase.
Musical Director Cy Feuer describes music in the Republic films.
Monte Hale - Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers
HOME ON THE RANGE (Republic / Hale - 1946 04 18)
"Let me tell you how I got into Home on the Range, my first starring picture. They wrote a picture for me called Don’t Fence Me In. It was to have all of Roy’s [Rogers] cast in it: Gabby Hayes, Dale Evans, The Sons of the Pioneers—the whole bunch. This was when they thought Roy was going into the Army. They wrote it for me and gave me the script. I learned every part in it. I studied that script day and night. Then one day they called me up to the office and told me Roy was not goin’ into the service and I wasn’t goin’ to make the movie, that Roy wanted to make it.
"It broke my heart a little bit. They knew that, I guess, because it wasn’t long after that that Loud Gray, the producer, started dreamin’ up a little script about animals that he called Home on the Range. It was to be Republic’s first color film, and they put me in it. Robert Blake was in it, too. He was a little boy about, oh, ten or eleven years old—a great little kid. (Monte Hale to David Rothel in The Singing Cowboys, 1978, p. 233)