One of televisions first cowboys was Rex Trailer. Had it not been for a movie actor by the name of George
Hayes, we may never have known Rex.
George was known to cowboy movie buffs as 'Gabby' Hayes. He had a long career in those cowboy movie years
of the 1930's and 40's, playing a colorful, cranky and comical sidekick to Roy Rogers and others. Rex met
Gabby backstage at a rodeo they both were in at Madison Square Garden. Gabby saw Rex's skills at this rodeo
and invited him up to his ranch for kids in the Catskill Mountains in New York. Rex couldn't refuse the cash offer
Gabby made.While working on the ranch together, Hayes saw how well Rex entertained the children and
suggested to Rex that he consider a career in children's tv. He truly believed that this was Rex's calling.
Yes, ol' Gabby was Rex Trailer's mentor.
Rex was off to New York to get into television. He saw stagehands painting canvas at the Dumont Television
Network and someone asked if he could paint scenery on canvas. Rex replied 'yes', though he never had and
was hired. Next, he was asked if he knew the job of a production co-ordinator and of course, he repied "yes".
Same for assistant director and director, to which he answered "yes", yet again. He hadn't exactly spoken the
truth for any of these jobs, but he landed them! When the network began interviews for a cowboy host for a
children's show, Rex was ready for his moment. While some candidates may have sung better, Rex knew he had
the job because they all had Brooklyn accents and he had a real Texas accent, so that sealed it and a tv career
was now underway.
What followed was a string of kids cowboy shows starting off with
'The Oky Doky Ranch' from 1948 to 1950.
Rex was at WPTZ from 1950-1956 with a string of children's shows such as
'Ridin' the Trail with Rex Trailer', 'Hi-Noon with Rex Trailer' and 'Rex Trailer's Ranch House'.
When the Philly station was sold and with six weeks remaining on his contract, Rex was offered a show in
Cleveland or Boston. "I'd never been to Cleveland, but I LOVED Boston", said Rex, and so he rode into channel
4 in April of 1956.
Ch.4 constructed a whole outside back lot set for the new children's program which would soon be
named 'Boomtown'. Rex had spotted the name somewhere in an old Clark Gable movie. "What a great name for
an old western town!", he thought.
It WAS a great name and kids loved yelling out the name while singing the 'Boomtown Theme Song'. That song,
by the way, was written just two days before the premiere of the show. It was sung at the beginning and end of
The show had a twenty year run! Over 200,000 kids got on the program!
Over the course of the show, Rex had three sidekicks. First there was Pablo.
Next was Cactus Pete and last there was Sgt. Billy. All were incredibly popular.
Rex knew talent when he saw it,(and Rex helps develop talent to this very day over at his tv school at Emmerson
College).There were others through the years who rounded out the cast as well, Uncle Sam and his band and
the Chief just to name a couple.
Another amazing thing about this program is that it never had a script!!!
How did a show, a three hour show(!),-on both Saturday AND Sunday mornings last so long on television?!!!
If this wasn't enough, Rex also ran charitable events.
Jerry Lewis named Rex as national spokesman for Muscular Dystrophy one year and Rex had kids run their own
'Backyard Carnivals' to help in the cause. He and some of the cast members would often make surprise public
appearances at such events, he was that dedicated and sincere to the fight for a cure. He often brought kids on
the 'Boomtown' show to publicly thank them for their efforts to raise cash donations. This drive involving kids
having their own shows went on for years.
Rex also led a wagon train all across Massachusetts in the fall of 1961, to bring attention to another health issue,
mental retardation. They collected donations for the Massachusetts Association for Retarded Children. The trek
was all the way across Rt.20 from western end of the state and ending at the State House in Boston. They
circled their wagons for camping out every night in a different town, but not before putting on stage shows for
everyone who came out to see them.
People get so excited to hear the name Rex Trailer!
To this very day he brings back so many good memories and he seems to remember everything about the
events he's put on for over 50 years now.
He is everywhere it seems, but you have got to seek him out!
Visit his website and mine for the very latest news regarding public appearances!
|There can be 300 people in the room, but , Rex listens and
treats you as if you are the only one there. The ONLY one