Roy Rogers and Trigger
Lorraine Dudley remembers her first crush. It was a horse...Trigger, the faithful steed of singing cowboy Roy Rogers.
“I was always horse crazy,” said Dudley, a long-time Crown Point resident. “I always liked the old cowboy movies when I was a kid. The first thing I always noticed were the horses. I loved Trigger.”
That love of Trigger eventually grew to include Rogers.
Now, more than 70 years after Tiger, Rogers, and Rogers’ wife Dale Evans debuted in the movies, they are being remembered in a book. “The Touch of Roy and Dale: The Impact and Influence of Roy Rogers, the King of the Cowboys, and Dale Evans, the Queen of the West” was released Dec. 1 by author Tricia Spencer.
The book includes a fan letter written to Rogers from a young Dudley.
“I really don’t remember writing the letter,” Dudley said. “It was a long time ago. It doesn’t surprise me I would write a letter to Roy Rogers, I loved him, but I can’t remember it.
“When they (book publisher West Quest) called me to tell me I was in the book I was very surprised,” she added. “It’s kinda exciting.”
The book tells the rippling affect that Rogers and Evans had on the lives of others, told through stories from family, friends and fans. The book marks the 100th birthdays of the late stars. Rogers would have been 100 in 2011 and Evans in 2012.
When Spencer acquired 40,000 pieces of fan mail from the Rogers estate more than eight years ago, she discovered fan letters, never-before-seen photos, poetry, art and songs end to Rogers and Evans. Included was a letter from Dudley.
Dudley said she was attracted to Rogers because of his horse and his goodness.
“Morally he was very good person,” Dudley said. “In real life he helped a lot of people. He did a lot of good. I think that’s what really drew me to him.”
Rogers and Evans were known as philanthropists. In keeping with their legacy, a portion of the book proceeds will benefit The Happy Trails Children’s Foundation, the non-profit group home for neglected and abused children that Rogers and Evans founded in the southern California.
“Roy and Dale’s greatest accomplishment was never their celebrity,” Spencer wrote. “As the collective voices of this book so poignantly, sometimes humorously, sometimes rawly, reveal, it was their uncommon and generous humanity that made them heroes.”
Dudley is pleased money from the book’s sale will aid a charity.
“I think that’s very important,” Dudley said. “It’s what I remember most about Roy Rogers. He was always the good guy.”
Spencer stressed the book is not a biography.
“It is a celebration of two American heroes who had extraordinary influence in the lives of their fans,” the author said. “And there’s no one better to tell those stories than the fans themselves, including Crown Point’s own Ms. Dudley.”
Rogers, a singer and cowboy actor, one of the most heavily marketed and merchandised stars of his era. He, his wife Evans and Trigger were featured in more than 100 movies and “The Roy Rogers Show.” The show ran on radio for nine years before moving to television from 1951 through 1957. Rogers became known as King of the Cowboys” and Evans was “Queen of the West.”
Trigger became the most famous horse in film entertainment, even having his own Dell comic book recounting his exploits.