5 Things you don’t know about Gene Autry

15 Apr

From the 1930’s to the 1960’s Gene Autry was one of the major movers and shakers of Hollywood. It was in those decades that he amass a fortune as a singer, actor, business man, merchandiser and producer. He had almost a hundred movies, television and radio shows to his credit. To all of his fans he was simply known as the singing cowboys.

There are though items that fans didn’t know about their favorite star. The following is 5 of those items:

Christmas song

In 1947 Gene Autry co-wrote the song Here comes Santa Claus. We still hear the song every December as it is blast through the malls, played on the radio and in plenty of Christmas movies and specials.

Baseball

Mr. Autry was had been a baseball fan all of his life and was even offered a minor league contract at one time. He passed on playing but kept in touch with contact.. Then, when Mr. Autry was getting ready to hang up his spurs the major leagues were looking to expanding to the west coast. Seeing his opportunity he purchased the the new expansion team that was set to Los Angeles.

That was in 1961 and he owned the Angels until his death when ownership transferred to the Disney Corporation. When Mr. Autry died, in 1998, the Angels retired number 26 his honor.

First job

After highschool Gene Autry became a telegraph operator for the railroad. It was there that Will Rogers meet him and encouraged him to go into to showbiz. Gene Autry followed that advice and landed on a local radio station as Oklahoma’s yodeling cowboy.

Pilot

During World War II Gene Autry put his television career on hold to serve in the war. He went on to get his pilot’s license and flew cargo planes over the Himalayan Mountains. He was given permission to keep doing his radio show as he served. In between flights and doing his radio show he also worked with the USO to entertain the troops.

Ranch

In 1952 Gene Autry bough Monogarm Pictures ranch and renamed it Melody ranch. The ranch first opened in 1915 as a movie backdrop that included one of Mr. Autry’s earlier movies Tumbling Tumbleweeds. After Mr. Autry bought the ranch he kept on with the tradition of filming there. Many of the early western shows including Anne Oakley, Cisco Kid, Wyatt Earp and Gunsmoke were all filmed on his Melody ranch near Los Angeles.

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