Queen of the West Wednesday, Chapters Thirteen and Fourteen

This is it–the final Queen of the West Wednesday. The book officially launches on Friday, April 15. It’s hard to believe I started this series way back on February 2! Thanks for sticking with it or for popping in now and then. Here are the final two chapters, along with their opening lines.

Chapter Thirteen. A Date with Dale: Maintaining a Television Career

A period of calm set in for Dale Evans and Roy Rogers, so they took the opportunity to try something new to reach more existing fans and perhaps acquire new ones.

It was the late 1960s, and Dale was in her mid-fifties. She and Roy still hoped to land a prime time television show but had no luck. They opened a museum in Apple Valley to showcase their movie and t.v. careers. Dale wrote books as she wrestled with the social, political, and cultural changes of the decade. In the early 1970s she began planning her own Christian talk show. After more than a decade, it finally appeared in 1985 on the Trinity Broadcasting Network as A Date with Dale, a thirty-minute weekly program that focused on Christian and spiritual topics.

Roy Rogers Museum - Apple Valley, California | Apple valley california,  California, Roy rogers

(postcard of the museum in Apple Valley, CA)

Chapter Fourteen. “Thank Heavens for Dale Evans”: Becoming the Legendary Cowgirl

While Dale Evans was never exactly put on a pedestal, she received more honors during this late stage of her life, often accompanied by descriptions of her as a “legend.”

In 1990, a new, all-female group then known as the Dixie Chicks, wrote a song about her. Through that decade, despite a myriad of health problems, Dale filmed episodes of A Date with Dale, recorded more songs, and wrote more books. She endured the death of her beloved husband, Roy Rogers, in 1998, and died at home three years later, surrounded by family.


Happy trails, everyone!

Queen of the West Wednesday, Chapter Five

Chapter Five. The Cowboy and the Senorita: Rising Star at Republic Pictures

In a fit of pique, Dale Evans severed her relationship with Art Rush and signed with Danny Winkler, a friend of Joe Rivkin and an agent long associated with Myron Selznick’s firm.

Dale Evans - ca.1942
Pic Source: @cjubarrington (Twitter)

(Dale Evans c. 1942)

Dale had not even been in Hollywood for a year and a half, and she was already on her third agent. Losing Joe Rivkin, who brought her out there in the first place, had been out of her control. With the United States at war, Rivkin signed up for military service. He recommended that Dale talk to Art Rush about representation. Rush had worked for RCA Victor Records before opening his own talent agency in 1939, with some high-profile singers/actors signing on.

Front entrance to the Hollywood Canteen, Vine St., Hollywood, 1942

(Hollywood Canteen on Vine Street, 1942)

Though Dale Evans and Art Rush initially worked well together, it only took a few months for her to conclude that he was not paying adequate attention to her career. She accused him of spending all his time promoting his favorite client, his rising star, the singing cowboy Roy Rogers. Dale had nothing against Roy. Rush had introduced the two of them when they both appeared at an Army air base in California to perform for the troops. Dale liked Roy, found him “a very real person.” But she had no intention of playing second fiddle to him with Art Rush. So Dale fired Rush and moved on to her third agent.

In early 1943, Danny Winkler arranged an audition at Republic Pictures. Dale Evans wowed everyone at the small studio, and she was hired. Ironically, Roy Rogers was also under contract there, one of the studio’s biggest “B”-movie stars. And in another twist, Dale’s career at Republic did not really take off until she was featured in 1944’s The Cowboy and the Senorita–with Roy Rogers.

Cowboy and the Senorita (1944) movie poster

This was not what Dale Evans envisioned for her Hollywood stardom. She had to figure out what to do about it.