Believe it or not young Americans, Roy Rogers is more than just a fast food chain -- he's an icon, too. Though certainly not as prevalent today as he was many moons ago, Rogers was a popular cowboy actor in the '30s, '40s and '50s, and he was one of the biggest box office draws of his time. Now it looks like the King of the Cowboys is hitting the dusty trail once more and riding into the new millennium.
Variety has the story that 821 Entertainment and Roy Rogers Family Entertainment Corp. are planning a film trilogy about Rogers, though it won't be a biopic -- it'll be about the character of Rogers and his supporting cast.
"[The planned trilogy] will not be a traditional Western, but rather a family fantasy adventure," said Eric Geadelmann, CEO of 821 Entertainment. "Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and Trigger are quintessential figures of America, and we will introduce this franchise to a new audience while capitalizing on the millions of Roy Rogers fans worldwide."
Trigger and Dale Evans are the names of Rogers' horse and wife, respectively. While Rogers' stage name and character name were most often one and the same, Dale Evans was known to play multiple characters, such as Stormy Billings in "The Golden Stallion" and Connie Edwards in "Home in Oklahoma." She used her own name on "The Roy Rogers Show" TV series however.
In addition to the movie plans, Variety notes that Rogers will return to the mainstream eye through "animated TV, interactive game and merchandising efforts." Considering that Rogers' horse Trigger often went off on his own misadventures in earlier Rogers fare, he could be an ideal candidate to focus an animated series on.
From a financial standpoint, there's a lot to gain from a successful Roy Rogers reprisal. The characters truly do lend themselves to a family audience, and with the built-in franchise of the Roy Rogers food chains, I can only imagine that everyone involved in the property is seeing dollar signs all over the place. Cash-in opportunities aside -- and that's not necessarily a bad thing -- I think that an updated adventure with the King of the Cowboys could actually be quite fun if handled with care.
What say you, readers? Think Roy Rogers deserves an update, or is he best left out in the desert of the past?