Monday, July 12, 2010

A Dog Named Bullet and a Horse Named Trigger

A few days ago, Mom and I were shocked to read in the paper that Roy Rogers' horse, Trigger, is being SOLD, and also Dale Evans' horse, Buttermilk.  And most important of all, Bullet, the brave and faithful German Shepherd dog, is being sold, too.  And all of this is happening because the Roy Rogers Museum, which used to be in Branson, MO, has closed, and all the stuff that was in it had to go somewhere.  So it got sent to New York to this place called Christie's, where they auction things off for Big Bucks.  The auction will happen on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, and after that, who knows where Bullet and all of Roy Rogers' stuff will end up.

The real name of Roy Rogers was Leonard Franklin Slye, and he was born in 1911 in Ohio.  While he was growing up, he learned to do lots of things, such as riding, farming, playing musical instruments, and teaching animals to do tricks.  Then he went to California and sang with a group called The Sons of the Pioneers, and he changed his name to Dick Weston.  After that, he started being in movies, and he changed his name again.  This time he changed it to Roy Rogers.  Then he became famous as The King of the Cowboys, so he didn't change his name again.

Roy Rogers got married to Dale Evans, and it was his 3rd marriage and her 4th marriage, but they loved each other and they stayed together for 51 years until Roy Rogers died.  Also they had a bunch of kids, some of which were adopted.

For a while they had a radio show, and then later they had a TV show.  Mom used to watch this show when she was little because she liked any shows that had horses or dogs in them, but she especially liked shows with horses.

Trigger was Roy Rogers' horse, and he was born on July 4, 1934.  At first, he was named Golden Cloud because that was the name of the ranch where he was born.  Then he got sold to a stable where they trained horses to be in the movies.  He was in a movie called The Adventures of Robin Hood, and Olivia de Havilland rode him while she played the part of Maid Marion.

After that, Roy Rogers needed a horse to ride in a movie called Under Western Stars, and he liked Golden Cloud so much that he bought him for $2,500.  Mr. Rogers changed his horse's name to Trigger, and he taught him a bunch of tricks.  Soon Trigger was known as "The Smartest Horse in the Movies," and he could do about 60 tricks, such as walking on his hind legs, knocking on doors, untying ropes, and counting.

Trigger was in all of Roy Rogers' movies after that, and he was also on the TV show from 1951 to 1957.  He learned even more tricks until he knew about 100 of them.  Mr. Rogers loved Trigger, and he sat on Trigger when he asked Dale Evans to marry him.  In 1953, Trigger won the P.A.T.S.Y. award, which is like an Oscar, except for animals.

Sadly, Trigger got old and died at age 30, one day before his 31st birthday.  Roy Rogers decided to have Trigger mounted for his museum, which was done by stretching Trigger's skin over a plastic model.  After Trigger got too old to work, Trigger, Jr. took his place, but he was not related to the original Trigger.

Now I will tell you about Bullet, the dog.  He was an AKC registered German Shepherd whose real name was Bullet Von Berge.  He started his movie career in the Roy Rogers film Spoilers of the Plains in 1951.  Then he was on The Roy Rogers Show on TV from 1951 to 1957.  Bullet helped Roy and Dale fight all the bad guys in the town of Mineral City.  He would usually run beside Trigger, but sometimes he got to ride in the jeep, Nellybelle.  Bullet always knew who the bad guys were, and he could lead Roy Rogers and Dale Evans to where they were hiding.  He could bite the gun out of a bad guy's hand or untie Roy and Dale if they got captured by the bad guys.  And when he wasn't working, Bullet just got to hang out and be the family dog.

I couldn't find the date when Bullet was born or when he died, but he got mounted after he died, just like Trigger did.  Buttermilk, who was Dale Evans' horse, also got mounted, and so did Trigger, Jr.  So if you want to buy one of these famous animals to keep in your living room, here's what Christie's thinks they will sell for:

Trigger:  $100,000 -- $200,000
Bullet:  $10,000 -- $15,000
Buttermilk:  $30,000 -- $40,000
Trigger, Jr.:  $30,000 -- $50,000

It seems to me like it would be a good idea for Mom to buy Bullet, so we could have him sitting around in our house.  He wouldn't need to be fed or taken for walks, and he wouldn't even have to go see the vet.  But Mom thinks it's kind of morbid to mount all these dead animals, so I didn't ask her to buy Bullet for us because I knew she would say no.

Anyway, just to show that Mom really was a true fan of The Roy Rogers Show, here's a photo of her wearing her Dale Evans outfit that she got for her 5th birthday.  Now she could buy a real outfit that Dale Evans actually wore, but I'll bet she won't do that, either.


  1. Sooooo happy to read today's blog! I, too, was SHOCKED about the closing of Roy/Dale Rogers Museum. It's very sad that so many people, those under a certain age, do NOT know about my favorite TV cowboys/cowgirls (I also liked the Lone Ranger & Tonto)! They were such nice, nice people - to animals AND children w/special needs! Thank you, Thank you for pointing out the importance of the "Rogers Family!" Wish you could hear me sing a few bars of "Happy Trails to you...until we meet again..."
    Love, AP

  2. Dear Aunt Patty,
    I am glad you liked my blog about Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and Bullet, the dog. The Lone Ranger and Tonto were nice enough, but they didn't have a DOG, so I'm not going to write about them. I wish you could come over to my house and sing "Happy Trails." I think I would like that!
    Love, Piper

  3. A true Roy Rogers fan!!! My brother and I would
    write letters to Roy all the time. We always
    received a letter telling us to visit the ranch
    any time. Can you beleive that!! The wonderful
    memories will be frozen in that wonderful period
    of time that will never be again!! How lucky
    we were to have been part of that wonderful time!

  4. How about a rendition of "A four legged friend" cowpokes! I remember getting a Roy Rogers tie.

    1. A Roy Rogers tie sounds awesome. My mom knows an organist who once got a request to play "Happy Trails to You" at a funeral.

  5. Loved Roy and Dale. Wonderful people. Just finished watching a Roy Rogers show. Watch it every day. They don't make shows like that anymore. Dale was also a great writer.

  6. Dear Fay, Thanks for your comment! I didn't even know they still had the Roy Rogers show on TV, but I guess maybe you can see any of the old shows somewhere! My mom, the human, says she used to watch Roy Rogers when she was a little girl, but she has not seen the show for a long time!