don't remember the first time I saw Roy and Dale. Maybe on TV or
maybe it was at the movies on a Saturday afternoon. Whenever it
was, they stuck with me from the git go. Oh sure I liked Hoppy and
Gene and The Lone Ranger and The Three Mesquiteers and The Range
Rider and Ken Maynard and then Maverick and Rowdy Yates and lots
of others who came later (Steve McQueen, Nick Adams, Richard Boone)
but Roy and Dale always came first and they've been there all my
we were kids my sister and I played at being them. We knew every
detail- -Trigger (of course) but also Buttermilk and Nelly-Belle
and Bullet and the Pats- -Brady and Buttram- -and Smiley Burnette,
Gabby Hayes, The Sons of The Pioneers. Everything.
had the albums too, not knowing until much later who the songwriter
was. (It was Dale. "Faith, Hope, and Charity" stands out in my memory.)
the most important memory I have only goes back a decade and a half,
to a radio gig I was doing at the time, yakking every morning as
talkradio hosts do, when my boss brought Roy into the studio for
an interview. He had a new album out, and had just shot a music
video with Clint Black, the Country star (who looks like he could
have been Roy at 30- -uncanny the resemblance.) We hit it off, and
Roy came back to make regular appearances on the air from time to
time, telling stories of his life in movies and music, and being
very amusing and friendly and always referring to Ms Evans as the
reason he was successful.
one of the amazing things about being in Southern California. If
the guy in Starbucks looks like George Clooney or Ted Danson, chances
are it really IS George or Ted. Here nobody much blinks if you happen
to see the Olsen twins at the movies or John Tesh in line at the
store. They all have to eat too, and most try to live as normal
a life as possible.
first time I actually met Dale Evans was in line at the candy counter
of a movie theater, surrounded by a flock of kids, grandchildren
and neighbors and friends, and all of them clamoring for whatever
their favorite gooey treat was. She was trying to keep the order
straight, and since it was just me and a couple of kids, she invited
me to go ahead of her. Of course, I could not. I introduced myself
as that radio guy who had had her husband on recently, and of course
she had been listening, and we struck up a conversation. I have
no idea what the movie was now, but I will always remember that
silly moment with all the kids asking for Goobers or Raisinets,
and oblivious to the fact that a cultural icon was trying to buy
them all candy as they kept changing their minds. After all, to
those kids, she was just a Grandma, and like all Grandmas, she was
enjoying just being with the kids and didn't care how long it took.
saw each other on a number of occasions over the next couple of
years until Roy's health declined, and they didn't go out as much,
and he no longer came on the radio program. (Roy wore hearing aids
in his later years and would put the headphones on in the studio
and then say they weren't turned on. In reality, they were turned
up so loud, it's a wonder his ears didn't bleed.)
or twice I performed at their charity fundraisers, which always
featured their son Dusty and a continuing version of The Sons of
The Pioneers. (Remember, Roy had been a recording artist before
he was in the movies. Dale also had been a big band singer.)
one fundraiser I did for a local church they had been slated to
perform with me, but health concerns intervened and they had to
bow out. Dale wrote such a heart-felt letter for me to read to the
gathering that truly touched everyone. I will never forget it. I
still have it.
will be said and written about the amazing lives of these two people.
I am one of the lucky ones who got to share a little saddle time
with them. The King of The Cowboys moseyed on in 1998. Now The Queen
of The West has joined him.
trails to you 'til we meet again.
warmest tribute to Dale Evans: October 31st, 1912 - February 7th,