Gene Autry earned the nickname of “America’s Favorite Cowboy” when he starred in a series of Republic feature films playing a guitar and singing ballads in between fighting the bad guys. He made his debut in the 1934 film In Old Santa Fe.
In the 1950s, Gene Autry made a transition to the new medium of television with his own syndicated western series THE GENE AUTRY SHOW/CBS/1950-56 (produced by his own Flying A Production Company).
With his sidekick Pat Buttram, Gene rode the dusty trails of the Southwest on his horse Champion, the Wonder Horse and helped those in distress. His theme song was “Back in the Saddle Again.”
In 1955, fifty-six of his old black and white western movies were repackaged into 60-minute format and syndicated to television by MCA-TV Syndication.
Gene Autry (Probably best known for singing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”) died of Cancer on October 2, 1998 at the age of 91.
Note: Champion the Wonder Horse also starred in a TV series THE ADVENTURES OF CHAMPION/CBS/1955-1956 (re-broadcast under the title CHAMPION THE WONDER HORSE in the United Kingdom). The series followed the adventures of 12-year-old Ricky North (Barry Curtis), who lived with his uncle Sandy North (Jim Bannon) on a ranch in the American Southwest. Ricky’s companions were Champion, a wild Mustang stallion, and Rebel, a German Shepherd (played by Blaze the dog).