Dusty Rogers: Some things are worth repeating (a lot)

In the previous blog, I took an overview of the upcoming Rose Bowl parade. Here's a peek at one of the key people.


For Roy Rogers Jr., this veers close to
being too much of a good thing.

During the two-hour Tournament of Roses
parade Monday, he said, he plans to sing “the same song, over and
over and over.” Fortunately, he's fond of:

– The song, “Happy Trails,” which
he'll keep singing. “Almost 400 people have recorded it,” he

– The songwriter. That's Dale Evans,
his step-mother. He was only six days old when his mother died; his
dad married Evans a year later and they were together 51 years.

Roy Jr. (usually called Dusty) keeps
returning to three songwriters – Evans, Bob Nolan (from his dad's
group, Sons of the Pioneers) and Cole Porter. “That's a pretty good
combination,” he said.

Yes, Porter. Long before becoming a
city sophisticate, he grew up on an Indiana fruit ranch. His “Don't
Fence Me In” captured the cowboy persona; Roy Rogers sang it in two
movies and most concerts,

Now Dusty does the same. “We've tried
to change our shows some,” he said, “but then people say, 'Hey,
why didn't you sing this one?'”

So he doesn't take any chances. Each
concert includes Evans' “Happy Trails,” Porter's “Don't Fence
Me In” and Nolan's “Tumbling Tumbleweed” and “Cool Water.”

Lately, that's been in Branson, Mo., in
a show that includes Dusty and his son Dustin. They did a long gig at
Mickey Gilley's theater; in April, they start doing a 2 p.m. show
daily at the RFD-TV Theater.

“It works out well,” said Patrick
Gottsch, the RFD founder. “That's Dale Evans' 100th

On Nov. 5 of 2011, the channel
celebrated Rogers' 100th birthday; that's the reason for
the float that closes the parade, complete with Dusty, Dustin and the
stuffed Trigger and Bullet. Almost exactly a year later – Oct. 31,
2012 – is Evans' 100th birthday.

By then, RFD will have transformed. In
February, Gottsch is planning a second channel, Rural TV. It will
take some of the current agriculture and equestrian shows, giving RFD
more room for its music – from old “Hee Haw” to new Marty
Stuart – and cowboys, including Rogers Rogers.

“We already have all (100) of his TV
episodes and 30 of the movies,” Gottsch said. “We're working on
getting the others.”

There are plenty more out there: Making
as many as nine movies a year, Roy Rogers did 80 in all. He became
the symbol of the American cowboy … which is why his image closes
the parade, while his son and grandson sing the same song, over and

– RFD-TV, via cable – especially in
smaller towns – and satellite

– Tournament of Roses parade is 11
a.m. to 1 p.m. ET Monday, with a preview at 10; the entire block
reruns from 6-9 p.m.

– The next Roy Rogers movie is “Don't
Fence Me In” – theme song by Cole Porter – at 2 p.m. Tuesday,
rerunning at midnight

– Episodes of Rogers' TV show run at
12:30 p.m. Sunday, rerunning at 5:30 p.m. Thursdays and noon