Wednesday, May 1, 2019

DVD Review: The Roy Rogers: Happy Trails Collection

Mill Creek Entertainment; Amazon
At one point in my life, I would never take the time out to watch westerns from the 1940s and 1950s. Yes, that means I'm not a John Wayne fan; I'm more of a Clint Eastwood fan, which would explain why I own every season of Rawhide on DVD. Besides from John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, one of the biggest (or more recognizable) star of the western genre was Roy Rogers. Yep, the King of Cowboys, who appeared in over 100 movies and starred in his own television series from 1951 to 1957.

Why am I talking about Roy Rogers?

Well, over the last few nights I have been watching The Roy Rogers: Happy Trails Collection DVD Set ($19.98; Not Rated; 21 hrs 2 mins) that was recently released by Mill Creek Entertainment. It's basically a re-release of the Timeless Media DVD set that was released in 2010, but with a new artwork on the DVD jacket.

This release features 20 films from the "Happy Trails Theater" which aired on TNN in the late 1980s and was hosted by Roy Rogers and his wife Dale Cooper. There would be a short segment at the beginning (sometimes with a special guest), followed by a feature film, and then there would be a wrap up segment at the very ending. A few of the western guest stars included Gene Autry, Iron Eyes Cody, Pat Brady, Ruth Terry, Roy "Dusty" Rogers Jr., and Pat Butram. The original running time for the films were shorten to fit within the 90-minute television spot with commercials! All the of the movies on the four-disc set are the edited versions, except for Cowboy and the Senorita, which doesn't have the "Happy Trails Theater" segments.

The film titles are:
  • Sons of the Pioneers (1942; 62 minutes)
  • Trigger, Jr. (1950; 64 minutes)
  • Pals Of The Golden West (1951; 63 minutes)
  • Young Bill Hickok (1940; 62 minutes)
  • Don't Fence Me In (1945; 61 minutes)
  • Down Dakota Way (1949; 62 minutes)
  • The Golden Stallion (1949; 63 minutes)
  • Man From Oklahoma (1945; 62 minutes)
  • Rainbow Over Texas (1946; 62 minutes)
  • Trail of Robin Hood (1950; 64 minutes)
  • Sunset in El Dorado (1945; 63 minutes)
  • North of the Great Divide (1950; 64 minutes)
  • Bells of Coronado (1950; 63 minutes)
  • South of Caliente (1951; 63 minutes) 
  • In Old Amarillo (1951; 64 minutes)
  • Along The Navajo Trail (1945; 61 minutes)
  • Twilight in the Sierras (1950; 64 minutes)
  • Susanna Pass (1949; 63 minutes)
  • Spoilers of The Plains (1951; 62 minutes)
  • Cowboy and the Senorita (1944; 77 minutes)

Bonus Features include:
  • Roy Rogers Biography
  • "Sidekicks" starring Gabby Hayes, Pat Brady, Pinkie Lee & more!
  • Tour of the Roy Rogers Museum hosted by Roy "Dusty" Rogers Jr. 

Final Thoughts

Despite my limited knowledge of older western films, I'm well aware of Roy Rogers, his horse Trigger, and his dog Bullet; though I had never watched a full Roy Rogers' film until I received the DVD set. Well, I wouldn't call them full films as 19 are the edited television versions with many missing scenes.

All the films are more or less family friendly, lighthearted adventures with Roy Rogers typically playing a fictional version of himself. The plots are silly and very outdated, but they're still entertaining.

The picture and quality aren't the best, but that's to be expected when there are five movies crammed onto each disc. The quality varies from film to film; from average to poor. The DVD set comes with a digital code that can only be redeemed and streamed on Mill Creek Entertainment's website.

Overall, I enjoyed watching The Roy Rogers: Happy Trails Collection. If you have kids or grandkids, the DVD set is great way to introduce Roy Rogers to them.

*Note: I received a review copy from Mill Creek Entertainment. 
All opinions are my own.

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