Volume 3, Number 1
FEBRUARY - MARCH - APRIL
(2nd Anniversary of the Prairie Prattler)
• PRAISE FOR THE PIONEERS (by Virginia Gallick)
Well, by now most of you know your two Presidents had a trip out to Hollywood. Martha has been home for over a month now and I'm still out here. Two other fan club members made the trip with us and the three of us are still together.
When we got here, we got in touch with Miss Florence Whiteman, the secretary of the Pioneers, and she made arrangements to meet us and to take us to one of the Goodyear shows. After that, we saw them all. Three times we were on the set at Republic Studios to watch them record their songs and to do some acting.
We all agree the "boys" are just grand fellows and we have had a lot of fun and laughs together. One Sunday night at rehearsal, Hugh had Karl and Deuce team up with him and, just for me, he played my favorite instrumental number COW ACROSS THE ROAD. Need I say I was pleased and happy?
Another time, Bob and Peanuts took us out and, as we were walking toward our table, the man at the electric organ recognized Bob and immediately started to play TUMBLING TUMBLEWEEDS. Bob just sat there and smiled but we were all proud of him.
I cornered Karl and I asked him the question so many of you fans have asked me [What brand of toothpaste does Karl use?] and the answer is "Ipana".
Our first Sunday out here we were invited to dinner at the Tim Spencer's. Tim's den could very easily be the envy of every cowboy.
One time when we were on the set, the Pioneers were dressed as Indians, and making the Indian Dance scene, "Cherokee". Indian parts were acted so realistically by Shug Fisher and Ken Carson that even the youngsters backed away from them.
We renewed our acquaintance with a friend from back home, Ellen Sutton. Ellen is a singer, too, and she really has what it takes. She has been touring Army camps for the past 2 years and she was on the Camel Caravan when the Pioneers were on it. Ellen is a grand gal, and she sure has shown us some good times.
Tim introduced us to Don "Red" Barry and he talked to us about Pittsburgh. We also talked to a a cowboy singer from Canada known as the Calgary Kid. He has been in a lot of big rodeos. Bill Elliott and Gabby Hayes are some more we met.
Went to Ray Whitley's Barn Dance, and saw Al Dexter there; and at some of the radio barn dances saw Johnny Bond, Jimmy Wakely, Eddie and Jimmie Dean and a very witty MC known as Cottonseed Clark.
Now that summer is soon here, and if there is anyone who can crochet, you can crochet Bob Nolan a sail for his boat. (You didn't know Bob was a sailor at heart, did you?)
• One of hour Honor Roll Members has been missing in action since around November. He is Roy DeWitt and I'm sure all of you members hope he'll soon be found. Roy was a great booster of the Pioneers and other western stars.
• NEWS ABOUT THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS by Martha Retsch.
The day after Ginny, Maym and Helen Could and myself landed in California, we were fortunate enough to meet Miss Florence Whiteman who is the publicity agent for the Pioneers. She took us all down to radio station KHJ where the Goodyear program rehearsal was in full swing. It was really swell to see the boys once again, and to talk with them.
As could be expected, we were right up front - just so we wouldn't miss anything. (Continued on page 4)
• NEWS ABOUT THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS by Martha Retsch (cont)
Before the broadcast started, we had the opportunity to meet Deuce Spriggins, who slaps the bass for the radio show. Deuce is really a nice fellow and is a natural born comedian. All the while the show is going on, someone is doing something so any of you that hear that undercurrent of laughter and wonder what it's about, it's either Roy or the Pioneers.
After the show, we were driven home by Ken. Later that evening, Tim and Velma and Bob and "Peanuts" (their wives) dropped in on us for a little visit. While they were there, we discovered that after seeing both the rehearsal and broadcast, we could also hear it on the air again at 8:30 pm. You see, it's first broadcast at 5:30 pm for the east, then transcribed and rebroadcast at 8:30 pm for the west coast.
On March 5th, we really had a treat. Tim arranged for the four of us to visit Republic Studios. That was something we had all wanted to do and we were really thrilled at the idea. A new movie was in the making and the boys were recording the songs for it. While on the set, we had the opportunity of meeting Roy Rogers again and also Dale Evans and Gabby Hayes. Oh, yes, also met Roy's little daughter, Cheryl, and she's a little doll.
To get back to the songs now. The new movie - Roy's last by the way - is titled "Man from Oklahoma". Roy and the Pioneers did "Prairie Mary", and "Draggin' the Wagon." The Pioneers did "Cherokee" and the whole cast did "Skies are Bluer" or "Oklahoma USA". Oh, yes, Roy and Dale did "The Martins and the Coys." It was really very interesting and a little strange. The songs would be recorded then they'd troup out of the recording studio and listen to themselves on the screen then back in to do it a little better. It took them from about 10:00 am until about 10:30 pm to get the songs recorded just right. So you can see that things are done right and to a perfection.
Another day when we were lucky enough to get on the set, a few of the scenes were being filmed. The setting was the interior of a City Hall and the discussion was the wagon race which was to be held. This scene had Dale Evans, Gabby Hayes and Roger Pryor, along with the Sons and Roy. Quite a lot of rehearsing was done before the scenes were shot, too. One incident that was really odd - and comic - featured Roy and Dale. Their families are feudin' throughout the picture and when Dale starts singing, Roy is motioned to sing with her. They're singing "The Martins and the Coys" and keep grabbing the mike from each other. Roy got so enthusiastic he pulled the mike apart. The song was being played back and Roy and Dale were singing a duet with themselves.
One other day that we got on the set, we were greeted by six solemn Indians. After taking a second look, we discovered it was the Pioneers made up in Indian outfits for their song "Cherokee." Wait until you see them -0 they look swell. Bob had a chief's headdress on and I was informed he was "Heap Big Chief Standing Room Only" while Ken informed me that he was "Little Chief Pushum Up Daisies." They worked on the set until pretty late and had to rush for their broadcast - in Indian outfits. Those of you who heard the program on March 27th, may remember all the laughing that was going on. Everyone was completely surprised, including Roy as he had been on location that day and came straight to the broadcast, too.
We saw all their broadcasts, and quite a few rehearsals. Also, we saw a couple special programs which were recorded to be used at a later date (while Roy is on tour with the rodeo.)
March 16th we saw a very good program, one which isn't broadcast to the nation but is put on especially for the boys overseas. It's called "Command Performance" and the only way the stars can perform on there is if the service men request their presence. This particular program had the Pioneers on, and along with them were a lot of well-known stars. Namely: Herbert Marshall as MC, Janet Blair, Jimmy Durante, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart and Edward Arnold. Ken Carpenter was the announcer. The program lasts between 30 and 45 minutes and is really a great show. The Pioneers did "Columbus Stockade Blues" with Ken taking the lead.
We spent a very nice Sunday afternoon with Tim and Velma at their home one day and also visited Bob and "Peanuts" at their home one evening. The boys treated us swell - had lunch with Bob, Hugh, Ken and Shug.
Their publicity agent, Miss Whiteman, saw to it that we had tickets for various popular radio programs and we sure did see plenty of them.
Had the opportunity of meeting all the boys' wives and they're swell. Even had the chance to meet Pat's wife, Fayetta, and she's just as friendly as Pat is. By the way, while on the subject of Pat, I'm just wondering how many of you members had the opportunity of seeing him in a newsreel recently. According to Karl, the part Pat is in is titled A GI's View of the War. Pat tells all about being wounded and receiving the Purple Heart. I, myself, haven't see it yet - but hope to. Hear that Pat has grown a mustache, too, and that he is still the same old Pat. Hope all of you get to see it.
Bob recently bought himself an 18-ft. sail boat and hopes to be sailing just as soon as possible. That is his main hobby.
Ken and Kitsy are expecting a visit from the stork sometime in August. Ken sure keeps on the go - don't know how he does it. Works in movies, rehearses for broadcasts and also does an 8-hour shift at Lockheed.
Tim is really the "Brains of the Outfit" (as it was once said in a recent movie) and one of his main ambitions is to produce a big musical show featuring the Sons.
The outdoor man of the outfit is Hugh. He just loves hunting and fishing and recently bought a camping outfit. He has a very rare gun collection which is his pride and joy.
Heard some rumors that Karl Farr, Jr., is giving his famous dad some competition on the guitar. Be nice hearing Karl and his son doing a duet sometime.
One feature of the broadcast you can't miss is Deuce Spriggins slappin' that ol' dog-house. (Bass Fiddle to those who don't know.) His ambition is to be a musician - all his life.
"Shug" Fisher handles not only a bass fiddle, but a guitar and fiddle as well. Started in radio in 1927 and has been on the go ever since.
Roy had his physical on March 17th (St. Patrick's Day) and passed all tests. He leaves for the Army sometime in June. Right now he's on tour visiting Service Hospitals and has a few rodeo dates to play.
Guess I've covered enough for the time being. Don't forget to be on the lookout for UTAH, BELLS OF ROSARITA (which also stars Bill Elliott, Don Barry, Sunset Carson and Bob Livingston, along with Roy and the Pioneers) and MAN FROM OKLAHOMA.