Roy Rogers was an extremely popular actor in the peak of his career, which began in the ‘50s and lasted through the ‘70s. He was the most popular cowboy in the United States and was considered as a national symbol of what makes America great. In addition to his main role in numerous western films and of course, the popular Roy Rogers Show, he also had various cameos that were completely unexpected by fans. Roy appeared in everything from Wonder Woman, The Muppet Show, The Fall Guy and even Randy Travis’ music video of his popular 1990 song, “Heroes and Friends.”
Rogers also owned his own Hollywood production company and helped produce other projects, such as 1955’s CBS Western “Brave Eagle.” Rogers was inducted twice into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Western Performers Hall of Fame, at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Roy Rogers Food Chain
In 1968, the popular fast-food chain called RoBee's House of Beef was forced to rebrand itself, following a lawsuit from Arby's, who claimed that the name was too similar and was considered as trademark infringement and unfair competition. Luckily for the chain's founder, he was good friends with Roy Rogers' agent, which led to a licensing deal with the actor cowboy that led to its rebranding.
The new name of the chain was Roy Rogers Franchise Company, LLC. The Roy Rogers chain saw great commercial success, which led the fast-food chain to aggressively expand nationwide and eventually reach 600 locations in its peak. The menu consisted mostly of hamburgers, beef sandwiches, fried chicken and common beverages that you'll expect to find in a fast-food restaurant. The Roy Rogers chain is still alive and kicking in various locations, including New York, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and more.
Trigger’s Death and Roy’s Response
Trigger was a true favorite, not just to the fans, but also to the entire Rogers family. He had loyally followed and supported the family, both as a private steed to Roy Rogers, and as co-actor and traveling friend throughout the height of Roy’s career. Trigger appeared in over 30 films with the actor and was as remembered by fans as the cowboy himself. When Trigger past away in 1965, at age 30, Roy Rogers mourned the end of his over-20-year relationship with the steed.
When interviewed about his feelings regarding the horse’s passing, Rogers said “I just couldn’t think of burying old Trigger. Too many people loved him. We too took Trigger, Dale’s horse Buttermilk, and Trigger Junior and had them beautifully mounted.” It took the actor many years to mourn the passing of his loving Trigger.
Charities and Contribution
Rogers and Evans were known for being avid advocates of adoption, and had a total of nine kids, many of which were, in fact, adopted. They also founded and operated various children's charities, which led to many streets, highways and civic buildings being named after them in Apple Valley, California. One of the most important charities founded by Roy and Dale was the Happy Trails Children’s Foundation, whose purpose was to combat the phenomena of child abuse in families.
As devout Christians, and believers in kindness and virtue, the Rogers family was also part of the Hollywood Christian Group, which was founded by a good friend of theirs named Louis Evans, Jr.
The Happy Trails Foundation
The Happy Trails Foundation was a non-profit founded by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans to work with abused children and help curb the epidemic. The foundation is partnered with Trinity Youth Services and has two cottages, which host 44 beds for boys aged 10 to 16. It collects boys who have been abused and removed from their homes in southern California and hosts them for 12 to 18 months, providing them with individual and group therapy, as well as outdoor activities and sports.
The foundation is mostly supported privately through drawings and auctions, as well as the Single Action Shooting Society. But what happens to previously abused children after they finish their treatment with The Happy Trails Foundation?