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  THE CRIMSON CORRAL: Western Memories
Orvon Gene Autry
Born: Sept. 29 1907 - Died: Oct. 2 1998

By Tom Mason 

When I was young, one of my favorites was always Gene Autry,  Besides the action packed movies, there were all the products he endorsed.  I especially liked the cap guns and cowboy outfits.

My Dad was a fan of Gene's too.... I was young enough when WWII was on that I wondered where Gene had gone as there were no new movies and there was this "New Guy" Roy Rogers.  My Dad explained that Gene was in the service, just as he was, and would return after the war was over.

Sure enough, as my Dad had predicted, when WWII was over, Gene returned to the screen.  I remember attending the State Theater in Long Beach California, where his first new post war movie was playing in 1946.  His film was playing at an "A" theater and my Dad and I waited in a line that wound around the block.

When television came to the fore, Gene formed Flying A Productions and started producing and starring in 1/2 hour TV westerns with Pat Buttram.  Today those shows have been restored from Gene's personal copies and are playing daily on the Encore Western Channel.  Gene also produced other shows that made stars of other actors, Annie Oakley, The Range Rider, Buffalo Bill Jr.,  and even a TV show about the Adventures of Champion.

Gene in his later years bought the television station KTLA in Los Angeles as well as the Los Angeles Angels baseball team.  One of Gene's fondest wishes was that the Angels would win a league championship and play in the World's Series, but alas, that never was to be.

As he grew older, he appeared on the TNN  cable network with The Melody Ranch Theater. He and Pat Buttram did 93 episodes. They sat and  talked about their old days together and screened many of his westerns from Republic and Columbia. It was one of the highest rated shows the TNN Network had ever aired.

In 1988 he opened the now-famous Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum in Los Angeles and it features memorabilia from all aspects of the old west and movies dealing with all our western heroes both on the big screen and television.  It stands today as a tribute to the old west and the famous singing cowboy; Orvon Gene Autry.

Tom Mason 
aka The Crimson Collector

Click HERE for more info and a Filmography on Gene Autry


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