This is a really nice set that would make a perfect stocking stuffer for anyone who loved the movies back in the day. It’s 20 movies on 4 discs. Run times range from 52-72 minutes.
The digital restoration is very extensive and they clearly had some poor stock to work from. They look very clean, but as is typical of extensive restoration there is some reduction in resolution at times. Sometimes you can see a slight blur where the old scratches are that were repaired -and there are many. Some reels are pretty clear while others are a bit more blurry but nothing is intolerable in my opinion.
The loss of resolution is most noticable in the darkest scenes. There are many dark scenes where it’s clear there wasn’t enough visual information to restore it to full light.
Despite everything, the movies are very watchable. My mother who saw all these movies every Saturday for a nickel was very happy, as I expect most people of that generation would be with these discs.
Overall, the resolution is slightly better than VHS tape, but much lower than a typical, modern DVD. The sound was only very occasionally muddy and is really pretty good for the most part. They’ve also got all the sound at a pretty consistent volume so there are no extreme changes in volume.
Considering the very economical price, I’d say the set is well worth what you pay. I’d be a little disappointed if it were an expensive set, but it’s OK for the money. If you’re tempted, I say go for it. You won’t be sorry. You get the stories and the characters just fine and that’s what’s important.
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Roy Rogers, with his fancy, spangly duds, his ornate six-shooters and gorgeous white stallion, once was every kid’s ideal of what the King of the Cowboys should be. Roy’s three-reel movies always took time out for a little music, whether it be by Rogers himself or the Sons of the Pioneers– the singing group he started out with in 1935 as Leonard Slye. Between 1938 and ’51, Roy appeared as himself in over 70 films. Additionally, his TV show ran for 100 episodes from 1951 to ’57.
The ROY ROGERS 20 MOVIE PACK offers a choice selection of Roy’s oaters. Along with wife Dale and sidekicks Gabby Hayes and Smiley Burnette, our hero somehow manages to get into all kinds of fixes. Inside of an hour though, the bad guys always lose and Roy and gang’ll sing a song or two. It’s a surefire formula, one that every fan of westerns is certain to appreciate.
The following list includes individual poll results for each film, as well as years of release and main co-stars.
(6.4) The Arizona Kid (1939) – Roy Rogers/George “Gabby” Hayes
(6.6) Bells of Rosarita (1945) – Roy Rogers/Dale Evans/George “Gabby” Hayes
(5.1) Bells Of San Angelo (1947) – Roy Rogers/Dale Evans/Andy Devine
(6.0) Billy The Kid Returns (1938) Roy Rogers/Smiley Burnette
(6.4) The Carson City Kid (1940) – Roy Rogers/George “Gabby” Hayes
(6.4) Colorado (1940) – Roy Rogers/George “Gabby” Hayes
(6.1) Cowboy And The Senorita (1944) – Roy Rogers/Dale Evans
(5.4) Days Of Jesse James (1939) – Roy Rogers/George “Gabby” Hayes
(6.2) Hands Across The Border (1944) – Roy Rogers/Ruth Terry/Guinn “Big Boy” Terry
(6.3) Heldorado (1946) – Roy Rogers/Dale Evans/George “Gabby” Hayes
(5.5) In Old Caliente (1939) Roy Rogers/George “Gabby” Hayes
(6.2) King Of The Cowboys (1943) – Roy Rogers/Smiley Burnette/Sons Of The Pioneers
(5.9) Lights Of Old Santa Fe (1944) – Roy Rogers/Dale Evans/Geore “Gabby” Hayes
(6.4) My Pal Trigger (1946) – Roy Rogers/George “Gabby” Hayes/Dale Evans
(5.9) Robin Hood Of The Pecos (1941) – Roy Rogers/George “Gabby” Hayes/Marjorie Reynolds
(5.9) Rough Riders’ Round-Up (1939) – Roy Rogers
(5.6) Sheriff Of Tombstone (1941) – Roy Rogers/George “Gabby” Hayes
(5.0) Under California Stars (1948) – Roy Rogers/Andy Devine
(5.7) Utah (1945) – Roy Rogers/George “Gabby” Hayes/Dale Evans
(5.9) Young Bill Hickok (1940) – Roy Rogers/George “Gabby” Hayes
A lot of folks don’t know that ROY ROGERS (Leonard Slye; 1911-1998) was born at approximately where 2nd base in Cincinnati’s old Riverfront Stadium would eventually be located. How American is that? It’s a wonder he didn’t emerge from the womb draped in The Stars And Stripes, holding aloft an apple pie still hot from “the oven” and whistling Yankee Doodle Dandy (or Take Me Out To The Ballgame). Everytime Pete Rose slid into 2nd base, ol’ Roy probably thought that the Reds had scored a run because Charlie Hustle was safe at “home.”
Roy Rogers was one of my great heroes when I was a kid, and I can still recall the pride with which I wore my bright yellow raincoat with the black pictures printed on it of Roy (“King Of The Cowboys”), Trigger (“The Smartest Horse In The Movies”), and (“The Queen Of The West”) Dale Evans. I even had a little schoolboy crush on Roy’s wife, Dale.
These old “B” Westerns starring Roy were so wholesome and exuded such innocence that I can’t help saddling up from time to time with my old hero and revisiting a simpler, more pleasant bygone time that won’t be riding our way again. Heaven? Well, it can’t be much better than lounging around late on a Saturday morning in cotton flannel jamas, with hot coffee, and watching Roy round up rustlers. “Look out behind that rock, Roy!” Too late. Oh well, Roy will ultimately win the fight (even if he does consistently “fall” for that leg sweep trick) because the good guys and bad guys are always clearly delineated in “B” Westerns and the good guys always win. And what’s wrong wit dat?
In 1990, my girlfriend and I self-published “CALAMITY CAT’S AND BLACK COLE KID’S UNCOMPLICATED GUIDE TO WESTERN MOVIES FOR THE SIMPLE-MINDED COWPERSON.” It’s quite a collector’s item now; I’ve even heard of some copies selling for as much as ten cents! Calamity Cat and I saw every Western you can think of (and plenty that you can’t). On September 7, 1990, we drove out to the Roy Rogers Museum in Victorville, California, and since The Good Lord had taken a liking to us, we actually met Roy and Dale. I recognized that distinctive “double rolled” crown of his cowboy hat as he drove past in a van. “It’s him!” I yelled. “Cut him off at the pass!” Calamity demanded. I was really going to attempt to box him into the parking lot with my car (Calamity and I were both temporarily insane), but he pulled over of his own volition.
When Roy said he no longer signed autographs, Calamity and I were crushed. He added, “But we’ll be happy to have our picture taken with you.” Yeah sure. We watched Roy work the crowd for awhile and then as someone started to hustle him off, he stopped and said, “Wait! You two wanted a picture, didn’t you?” We couldn’t believe it! He and Dale posed with us and Roy insisted that a second shot be taken for insurance. (I later tried to feed Trigger a handful of oats but he refused to take a bite as he was already stuffed.) We were so eager to see the pictures that Calamity and I went to a one-hour photo joint in Victorville and waited while the film was processed.
Roy Rogers was probably the most famous of the old “singing cowboys”, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that the “singing” part was just a movie production gimmick. Roy was a founding member of the renowned and influential Country-Western group THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS, and he had a d*mn fine voice and really knew how to swing. There was nothing “B” about Roy’s vocals, no sir – he was the real McCoy when it came to music. And by all accounts, one of the nicest gentlemen in the history of Hollywood. (But then there’s never been a lot of competition in Tinsel Town in that department.)
Although the audio/visual quality of some of these old prints is pretty ragged at times (see Nick Damato’s good review on this product page for more on this), you’re getting 20 of Roy’s classic Westerns (2 in Trucolor – which is something of a small fib) for a dern low price. Will you find a better deal anywhere? “Neigh.” Included is 1944′s historic “COWBOY AND THE SENORITA” (the first time Roy and Dale appeared in a film together) and perennial favorites of the Roy Rogers fan clubs, “KING OF THE COWBOYS”, “ROBIN HOOD OF THE PECOS”, and “MY PAL TRIGGER” which chronicles the birth of Roy’s famous palomino.
For this little wrangler, the inclusion of my three favorite R.R. pictures alone made this DVD worth the price:
“HELDORADO” has Nevada Ranger Roy tracking counterfeiters in Las Vegas. It includes the quintessential old coot sidekick, GABBY HAYES (“Pershnickety females!”); the rubber-faced pre-Jim Carrey Jim Carrey, PAT BRADY, who sings the wonderfully comic “I’m A High-strung Lad”; Roy’s great line when he rescues Dale from a locked refrigerator (I won’t spoil it); and concludes with an astounding shot of what downtown Las Vegas looked like in 1946!
BELLS OF SAN…