The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #35911   Message #37545
Posted By: Art Thieme
09-Sep-98 - 12:24 AM
Thread Name: Strawberry Roan - ( & Sheepherder version?)
Subject: RE: Strawberry Rows, Lyrics ?
When I was VERY YOUNG, not more than 8 or 9, my mother took me to the Oriental Theater in Chicago to see a film called THE STRAWBERRY ROAN starring Gene Autry. It was a fine film and in color--rare for Cowboy movies in those days. But these were the days of stage shows! Gene Autry and Champion were there IN PERSON ! Gene rode champ out onto the stage after the movie was over and the great horse reared up on his hind legs! It was fantastic. Gene then put Champ through his paces---Champ pranced around the stage, danced and even "prayed". (Good thing he didn't attend Chicago schools.) The applause was as thunderous as it was tonight when Mark McGwire hit his 62nd homer of the season.

Gene got off the horse while the applause continued and he slowly walked toward the mike while Champ dropped a HUGE PILE on the stage---which Gene never noticed. All the kids were pointing at the steaming mound so recently housed within the beautiful horse. Gene waited for the ovation to subside and then he said, "Now that Champ has done his show, it's time for me to do mine!" We all expected our favorite cowboy to drop his pants! Instead he picked up his guitar and sang, not the "Strawberry Roan" but "Ridin' Down The Canyon"---a song he and Smiley Burnett had written while going to a gig in the Chicago area when both were singing on THE WLS BARN DANCE---a radio show the was on the air earlier in the century than the Grand Ole Opry.

WLS stood for "Worlds Largest Store"---the station was owned by Sears.

I've always loved the song, "THE STRAWBERRY ROAN"! It was sung prominently in the movie. I did manage to videotape the film from TV when it was once aired hosted by Gene and his, sidekick, Pat Butrim on the Nashville channel.