Deep in the saddlebags that contain all the Hopalong Cassidy prose, motion picture, comic book and newspaper comic strip stories there are often-forgotten nuggets: 104 half-hour radio adventures which hold up as well today as when they were first broadcast in 1950-52. All of the episodes survive and are available in audiotape and MP3 formats for the avid collector or casual listener.
JINGLE OF THE SILVER SPURS examines the Mutual, and later CBS, networks series, its background, its producers, its performers, its writers, its sponsors, its storylines, its merchandising in detail seldom seen in histories of old-time radio shows. Illustrations include rare advertisements, photographs and press kits. Foreword by Western author, Loren D. Estleman.
Hopalong Cassidy of the Airwaves Rides Again in New Book
Those prolific editors at BearManor Media in Albany, GA continue to dazzle OTR fans with books on such diverse and unusual subjects as comic strips on radio, the story of the series Straight Arrow, and biographies of Walter Tetley, Agnes Moorehead and Jerry Colonna, seemingly leaving no stone unturned with regard to golden age of radio.
BearManor Media’s latest excursion into old-time radio involves a look at one of radio’s most beloved cowboys, Hopalong Cassidy. In Jingle of the Silver Spurs: The Hopalong Cassidy Radio Program, 1950-1952, author Bernard A. Drew examines, in depth,
the genesis and recording of the radio drama series, which began broadcasting in 1948 and ended in 1950 after which the series went into television. The half-hour western was syndicated through Commodore Productions, and heard mostly on Mutual stations.
William Boyd, who had played the silver-haired good guy who dressed in black in a series of films beginning in 1935 with Hop-A-Long Cassidy—reissued later and better known today as Hopalong Cassidy Enters—and ending in 1948 with Strange Gamble, starred in the series with Andy Clyde offered an ideal blend of rangeland crime puzzles and good humor, with Boyd’s belly laugh and Clyde’s braying wheeze delighting family members young and old.
Drew notes that, “Hopalong Cassidy was an iconic character, particularly when Bill Boyd brought him to television in the early 1950s.” He also writes that, “The radio show was a small piece of an enormous merchandising effort which included not only films and television shows but new hardcover fiction books, comic books, and every conceivable piece of merchandise a youngster could want – from trading cards to lamps to bed sheets to toy six-guns. There is still a huge Hoppy fan audience who should be curious about another aspect of their hero’s career.”
Drew’s book follows screen actor William Boyd’s negotiations with Cassidy creator Clarence E. Mulford as well as Boyd’s agreement with Commodore Productions. The book also includes a complete Mutual Broad-casting System press kit for the radio show, and provides a complete list of all 104 programs complete with plot description.
The material in the 144-page book will be of interest not only to Hoppy fans but to anyone curious about the heyday of radio comedy/drama programs as well.
Bernard A. Drew currently resides in Great Barrington, MA. He holds a B.A. in English from Northeastern University and has authored more than 30 books, including The 100 Most Popular Genre Fiction Writers, If They Close the Door on You, and Go in the Window: Origins of the African American Community in Sheffield, Great Barrington & Stockbridge. He is also the author of Hopalong Cassidy: The Clarence E. Mulford Story (1991) for The Scarecrow Press. He currently works as a freelance editor and writer, as well as a part-time newspaper copy editor and page designer.
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