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Philadelphia idyll—Roy Rogers & Dale Evans

“I will not be in Westerns,” she had said with simple dignity.

She figured they’d listen closely. Republic had signed her for high-budget musicals, and she was planning to do wonders for them.

They listened closely all right, and then they put her in Westerns, and she said nothing further. You can talk big, but you have to know when to stop, and her job was important to her.

She came from Texas, but she couldn’t ride, at the time. That’s one thing Westerns have done for her. She’s made twenty-four Roy Rogers pictures, and now she rides like Paul Revere.

Dale was the only female in the Rogers troupe—you know the set-up: Roy, the Sons of the Pioneers, Gabby Hayes. She also had a face that started strangers spilling their tales of woe to her. She became everybody’s confidante.

The troupe could be on location, and there could be a perfectly adequate seamstress along, but if one of the guys needed a snap in his shirt, he’d get Dale to sew it on.

It was the beginning of a lot of friendships. Dale got to know the wives of all the boys; if a birthday or anniversary was coming up, she’d help with shopping. Roy’s kids were crazy about her; she was adopted aunt to twenty children.

When Roy’s wife died, last November, Dale was one of the people who stood by, took the two older children, Cheryl and Linda, off his hands some Saturday afternoons, was a quiet, understanding companion on the set.

He was grateful, and the friendship deepened.

This year, they’ve had some nice times together. Recently, Roy had his own rodeo on tour, and the first city they played was Philadelphia.

Dale was excited about the prospect. “I’ve never been there,” she said. ‘‘There’s so much to see—”

There was so much to see, and no time to see it in.

There were performances, and autograph fans, and more performances.

“I’ll show you the city,” Roy kept saying, and then, miraculously, a free day came along, and they decided that this was it. 

At the hotel where the troupe was staying, Roy advised Dale to eat a good breakfast, and then they embarked on a tour, with juvenile screechers following them from museums to bridges to statues.

Occasionally, Dale would make small noises about “My feet.”

“You asked for it,” Roy teased.

Toward the end of the afternoon, they came to Christ Church, and they went in and sat down in the pew where George Washington had always sat, and gazed around them.

The church was cool; it was good not to talk, and when they came out again, all the children seemed to have disappeared, and even their tiredness was rather pleasant.

“I could sleep for a week,” Dale said.

“Till tomorrow!” said her boss. “The show goes on!”

And they both laughed, walking through the dusk to the hotel.



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