Roy Rogers was an American singer and cowboy actor who was one of the most popular Western stars of his era. He appeared in over 100 films and numerous radio and television episodes of The Roy Rogers Show (his show ran on radio for nine years before moving to television from 1951 through to 1957). His productions usually featured a sidekick, and many times he appeared with his wife Dale Evans and his German Shepherd dog Bullet. Yet it was his golden palomino Trigger who completed the ‘cowboy’ image and became famous in his own right.
Trigger was a beautiful 15.3hh palomino horse. Originally named Golden Cloud, Roy Rogers changed his horse’s name when his Smiley Burnett (Roy’s sidekick in his first two films) commented that the big horse was sure “quick on the trigger”. Smiley was right, Trigger was very fast! He could stop on a dime, could cut and spin so fast that a less experienced rider could be left in mid-air! And yet his personality and disposition was such that Roy could put three or four kids up on his back at the same time without any worry they would be injured.
Together, Trigger and Roy became household names as they starred in American Western films throughout the 1940s and 50s. Trigger’s hoof prints even appear next to Roger’s hands outside the famous TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Trigger learned over one hundred trick cues and according to various sources close to the famous duo, could walk 50 feet (about 15 metres) on his hind legs. Trigger was a star performer and he quickly learned the movie business. When he heard the words, “Quiet on set,” he would perk up, and likewise when he heard “Cut!” he would relax.
Trigger became so famous he even had his own Dell comic book which recounted his various exploits with his rider and owner. Roy Rogers also made many personal appearances with Trigger in tow. According to his autobiography Happy Trails, on a number of occasions Rogers escorted Trigger up 3-4 flights of stairs at hospitals to visit with sick children.
This ‘one-in-a-million’ horse is arguably one of the greatest horses to ever appear in motion pictures. Has any globetrotter been lucky enough to visit the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood and see Roy and Trigger’s prints in the concrete out the front?
Image credits: Dallas News and Wikipedia