Southern Methodist University

Gene Autry in film collection, 1930-1955:

A Guide to the Collection


Creator: DeGolyer Library
Title: Gene Autry in film collection
Dates: ca. 1935-1950
Abstract: Gene Autry (1907-1998) was a versatile American entertainer who performed in film, radio, television, and live theater and rodeo. He gained fame as America’s most popular "singing cowboy." This collection includes film stills, lobby cards, and motion picture posters related to Gene Autry’s feature films.
Accession No: Ag1986.0600x
Quantity: 1 box and 10 oversize posters (46 items)
Language: Material is in English
Repository DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

Gene Autry (1907-1998) was the most successful of the so-called "singing cowboys," and the only entertainer to have all five stars – radio, recording, motion picture, television, and live performance (including rodeo) – on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In a career that spanned over 70 years, Autry appeared in 93 movies and 91 television productions (always as himself), and recorded hundreds of songs. From 1934 to 1953, Autry popularized the musical western in motion pictures, taking a break in 1942 to join the Army Air Corps – where he flew hazardous supply missions in the Asian theater of war as Sgt. Gene Autry – and resuming his movie career in 1946.

For more than sixty feature-length westerns in the 1930s and the early 1950s, comedy actor Smiley Burnette accompanied Autry as his lovable comic-relief sidekick Frog Millhouse. Autry’s main partner and sidekick, however, was his horse Champion, also known as the "World’s Wonder Horse." The name Champion in fact referred to a variety of trick horses over the years, all sorrel-colored geldings with a blaze and white stockings. The original Champion performed with Autry in the 1930s and died when Autry was in the service.

Besides movies, Autry also ventured into radio and television production: his weekly radio show, Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch, aired on CBS radio from 1940 to 1956, while half-hour episodes of The Gene Autry Show appeared on CBS Television between 1950 and 1955. In all of his shows and performances, Autry offered a combination of singing, comedy, and action-filled adventures suitable for young audiences.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

This collection contains 46 items related to 26 of Gene Autry’s feature films. The majority of the collection is comprised of lobby cards (11 x 14") and posters (one-sheet and three-sheet sizes), though there are also a few publicity stills (8 x 10") and other promotional material. There are typically one or two items related to each film.

The films included in the collection:

The Blazing Sun (1950)

Boots and Saddles (1937)

In Old Monterey (1939)

Last of the Pony Riders (1953)

Man from Music Mountain (1938)

Manhattan Merry Go Round (1937)

Melody Trail (1935)

Mexicali Rose (1939)

Oh Susanna! (1936)

The Old Barn Dance (1938)

Rancho Grande (1940)

Ride Ranger Ride (1936)

Ride Tenderfoot Ride (1940)

Riders in the Sky (1949)

Riders of the Whistling Pines (1949)

Rootin’ Tootin’ Rhythm (1937)

Rovin’ Tumbleweeds (1939)

Saddle Pals (1947)

The Singing Cowboy (1936)

Sons of New Mexico (1949)

South of the Border (1939)

Texans Never Cry (1951)

Tumbling Tumbleweeds (1935)

Under Fiesta Stars (1941)

Valley of Fire (1951)

Yodelin’ Kid from Pine Ridge (1937)

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into 2 series by type of material:
Series 1: Lobby cards, publicity stills, and promotional material
Series 2: Posters


Access to Collection:

Collection is open for research use.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the DeGolyer Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Sensitive Material Statement:

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications for which DeGolyer Library assumes no responsibility.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Autry, Gene, 1907-1998 -- In motion pictures.
Western films -- United States.
West (U.S.) -- In motion pictures.
Film stills.
Motion picture posters.
Lobby cards.

Related Materials

Collection of western film posters (Ag1986.0597x)

George A. Custer in film collection (Ag1986.0565x)

Larry McMurtry in film collection (Ag1986.0569x)

Collection of western film pressbooks, 1935-1983 (A1986.1372x)

Collection of western film scripts (A1986.1387)

Collection of Gunsmoke television scripts (A1986.1369)

Ronald L. Davis oral history collection (A1980.0154)

The most extensive records about Gene Autry and his films are housed at the Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles, California.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Gene Autry in film collection, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 1986.

Finding aid written by

Anna Banhegyi, 2008

Encoded by

Lara Corazalla, 2009.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Lobby cards, photographs and promotional material
36 items / 4 folders

This series includes 11 x 14" lobby cards, 8 x 10" publicity stills, and one printed advertisement, in four folders arranged by type of material. Lobby cards are arranged within their respective folders (one housing only single lobby cards and the other housing singles and sets in individual mylar covers) alphabetically by film title.
Box Folder
1 1 Lobby cards, bulk
The Blazing Sun (1950)
Boots and Saddles (1937)
In Old Monterey (1939)
Man from Music Mountain (1938)
Manhattan Merry-Go-Round (1937)
Melody Trail (1935)
The Old Barn Dance (1938)
Ride Ranger Ride (1936)
The Singing Cowboy (1936)
Saddle Pals (1947)
South of the Border (1939)
Texans Never Cry (1951)
Tumbling Tumbleweeds (1935)
Box Folder
1 2 Lobby cards, individually laminated
Last of the Pony Riders (1953)
Rancho Grande (1940)
Riders of the Whistling Pines (1949)
Sons of New Mexico (1954) – set of 8 lobby cards
Under Fiesta Stars (1941)
Valley of Fire (1951) – set of 2 lobby cards
Box Folder
1 3 Stills & prints
7 untitled black and white 8 x 10" publicity stills of Gene Autry (some with horse Champion)
Color 8 x 10" glossy print made from lobby card for Ride Tenderfoot Ride (1940)
Box Folder
1 4 Miscellaneous promotional material
Advertisement for Manhattan Merry-Go-Round (1937), printed on a brown paper bag

Series 2: Posters
10 items

This series includes eight 27 x 41" (1-sheet) and two 41 x 81" (3-sheet) posters arranged by film title. Some posters are mounted on thick paper or cardboard sheets, others are in mylar covers.
Yodelin’ Kid from Pine Ridge (1937), 27 x 41"
Yodelin’ Kid from Pine Ridge (1937), 41 x 81"
Melody Trail (1935), 27 x 41"
Mexicali Rose (1939), 27 x 41"
Oh Susanna! (1936) 27 x 41"
Rootin’ Tootin’ Rhythm (1937), 27 x 41"
Rootin’ Tootin’ Rhythm (1937), 41 x 81"
Rovin’ Tumbleweeds (1939), 27 x 41"
Saddle Pals (1947), 27 x 41"
South of the Border (1939), 27 x 41"