Gene Autry in film collection, 1930-1955:
A Guide to the Collection
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.
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)
Access to Collection:
Collection is open for research use.
Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the DeGolyer Library.
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.
Gene Autry in film collection, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.
Anna Banhegyi, 2008
Lara Corazalla, 2009.
Detailed Description of the Collection