Okay, if there's any younger readers out there, let's say in your teens or twenties, let me ask you a rhetorical question. What do you think you will remember as your favorite types of television shows when you grow older? When you're 50 years old, sittin' back and chillin' with your pals, what will be your impressions of the shows you enjoyed growing up with? I can guess some of it. You will have never known a time without cable TV. You will have always had more channels to choose from than what is humanly reasonable. Very unreal 'Reality' shows will be one of the predominant memories. Contests. Not just game show type contests or sports, but all kinds of competition: who can sing better, dance better, cook better,design clothing better, model clothing better, ad infinitum. Favorite cartoons will be 'The Simpsons, 'Sponge Bob Square Pants', 'South Park', etc. Super Heroes will roam the airwaves both in live action and cartoon form.
Know that all of this will end. Oh, not end entirely, there will still be re-reruns but just to put things in perspective remember that everything has its time in the sun - to everything there is a season. Roll back the years to the 1950s, my time in the sun. There were only six viewing channels. The four major networks: ABC, NBC, and CBS. The fourth major network, DuMont, ceased broadcasts in 1956. Some cities like mine (Milwaukee) would have a UHF channel - ours was Channel 18. And then there was PBS, then as now, Channel 10. Cowboys were King. No, NOT the Dallas Cowboys who didn't come along until 1960. I mean the kind that rode horses, fought Indians, and sang their way into our psyche. The cowboys I grew up with had absolutely no resemblance to real cowboys, whose work was dirty, hard, long, tedious, and dangerous. No, the cowboys I grew up with wore rhinestones, they always looked neat - spiffy - even after a knock-down, drag 'em out fight. When they shot people no blood was shed and many times it was 'just to wound' the bad guys. And many of them sang! And we loved it. It is this cultural backdrop which formed the basis for so many of the vintage toys featured here on Toys & Stuff.
The cowboy many consider to be the most popular was one of those singing cowboys - Roy Rogers. He was King of The Cowboys for a reason, he was also The King of Marketing, Roy Rogers marketed his name - his brand as it were - on everything from toys to bed blankets (I know. I had Roy Rogers bed blankets and drapes as a kid growing up!!). Today Toys & Stuff presents a Marx 1st series cabin from one of the Roy Rogers licensed products, the 'Roy Rogers Rodeo Ranch Set' of 1953. As I've said in the past, my collection has been focused on the tin-litho centerpieces found in many playsets of the era. One day I hope to be able display and photograph the few whole playsets I have in a more desirable fashion. I do in fact have a fairly complete Roy Rogers playset and would like to display it properly. But for today, let's just enjoy this toy from a simpler time when singing cowboys were 'in' and Roy Rogers was their King! - Enjoy!