Janey Way Memories #160
Remembering My Favorite Cowboy Heroes
By Marty Relles
Back in the 1950s, when I grew up on Janey Way, all my heroes were cowboys. I watched them every Saturday on a black and white television. I loved them all, but three of them stood out as my favorites: Hopalong Cassidy, the Lone Ranger and Roy Rogers.
I remember Hoppy riding across the screen on his tall white stallion wearing a 10-gallon white cowboy hat. He seemed larger than life. The bad guys he chased, after all, wore dark clothes and hats and even rode dark horses. We had no problem separating the heroes from the villains.
The Lone Ranger was a different kind of cowboy than Hoppy. He rode a white horse called Silver and wore a dark mask. That made him seem very mysterious, almost like a villain. Also, he had a Native American sidekick named Tonto who looked out for him. Tonto always seemed to show up when the Ranger got into trouble.
The story of the Lone Ranger is interesting. He supposedly started out as a Texas Ranger, patrolling the badlands in search of outlaws. Then one day, a group of them ambushed him, and left him for dead. Tonto found him there and nursed him back to health. That is when he decided to put on the mask and go off in search of the thugs who had ambushed him. Thereafter, he patrolled countryside, helping the ranchers and the townspeople to fend off trouble in the Wild West.
It made a good story. People soon recognized “the masked man” as a good guy. When he rode off at the end of the show, someone always said, “Who was that masked man.?” Then someone else retorted, “That’s the Lone Ranger.”
I loved the Lone Ranger, but my favorite cowboy was Roy Rogers. Roy was a lot less complicated. He rode a beautiful palomino stallion called Trigger and his partner was his wife, the beautiful Dale Evans. I always wondered why she had a different last name. It must have been a mystery of television. Anyway, they made a good pair.
Roy could ride and rope and shoot a gun right out of the hand of a villain. Dale rode well and shot her own little gun pretty well herself. I remember Roy riding quickly into town, then pulling his horse up and dismounting in one athletic move. When Roy got knocked down in a fist fight with the bad guys, He could flip back up without even using his arms. What a guy!
Back then in the 1950s, we had no trouble differentiating good from evil. The good guys, like Roy, wore white hats; the bad guys wore black hats. Roy always said “howdy” and had a smile for everyone he met. The bad guys were mean.
These days, the cowboys no longer ride across our 50-inch, flat panel television screens. The characters that appear on the screen now seem a little less friendly.
Now, the days when I watched my cowboy heroes on Saturday morning television, are just another nostalgic Janey Way memory.