Christian Living

ChurchWatch 01/04/12

At 100 Roy Rogers Still Inspires

Roy Rogers' 100th birthday was marked in November of 2011 and his wife, Dale Evans, will be 100 in October of 2012. So to honor the compassion, leadership and faith of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, friends and family have released a new film, "Dale Evans: Life Beyond the Happy Trails”.

I've always loved to read and in my early teen years I picked up my mother's copy of Dale Evans autobiography, "Trials, Tears and Triumph." I was inspired by the way that Dale and Roy had both struggled in their early lives, but then came together to form a loving marriage and family. Through tremendous highs and grinding lows, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans never turned from their faith in God, their love for each other, or their commitment to their children.

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans 

And they remained a shining example of faith in the midst of trials to their fans for decades.

That same story has been retold in this new film, "Dale Evans: Life Beyond the Happy Trails", from Director/Producer Steve Morales, The Dale Evans Project, and Henniger Media Services Inc.  

This documentary looks at the issues of family and faith in the lives of these icons of film, TV, and radio. Behind the curtain of their glamorous careers, the documentary portrays the heroic compassion that moved them to adopt nine orphans and the abiding faith that anchored them through the tragedy of burying three of their children.

“We didn’t want the legacy of Dale and Roy to be forgotten,” said Morales who heads up The Dale Evans Project, a grass roots organization whose mission is to unite multiple generations to discuss the character and values that make this country great. “No couple epitomized good, morale character more than Roy and Dale. Unfortunately, most people under 55 don’t know about them,” continued Morales.

The team of Rogers and Evans—and not to forget their faithful steed Trigger—lit up the big screen co-starring in more than 28 films during their heyday of the1940s and 1950s, when going to a good cowboy movie on Saturdays offered escape from the realities of a world at war. With 2,000 fan clubs from the US to England to Japan and Australia, Rogers and Evans charmed and inspired generations with their humor, vitality and solid moral character.

Life Beyond the Happy Trails

In the beginning, Evans’ beauty and song-bird like singing voice caught the attention of Hollywood film studio execs in search of a leading lady to star opposite Rogers, dubbed the Singing Cowboy. Becoming one of the first icons for American girls, Evans was labeled “Queen of the West” for her portrayal of feisty characters, who could hold their own.

Though Dale grew up in a Christian home in Uvalde, TX, she began to re-examine her faith as a mother experiencing “deep loneliness” while husband Roy worked long hours. For the first time, the focus came off of herself, and Dale found comfort and new-found happiness that intrigued Roy and others.

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans

“He wanted to know what it was all about,” said Dale’s oldest son Tom Fox about Roy’s decision to also trust Christ as his savior.

Judy Whisenant, a close family friend, remembered, “Dale never preached or drilled you with her faith—but she lived it.”

Off the well-documented happy trails of their on-screen magnetism, Dale and Roy blazed a trail of compassion caring, against doctor’s orders, for their Down-Syndrome baby Robin who died in their home two days before her second birthday. Dale’s best-selling book, Angel Unaware, a tribute to Robin, affected millions of special needs children and their families. In the book, she recalled, “She’s our angel and we are going to take her home.” 

Also during this period, Dale penned with Robin in mind the trademark chorus “Happy Trails to you until we meet again.”

Then, in 1964, their 12-year-old daughter Debbie, whom they had adopted from South Korea, was killed in a bus accident during a mission trip to Mexico. And, less than one year later, their son Sandy had a freak accident and choked to death while stationed with the military in Germany.

“You are not supposed to bury your children,” said their eldest son Roy Rogers Jr. choking back tears in the film. ”People realized their faith was real the way they dealt with tragedy.”

“Mom and dad knew something good had to come from whatever was bad,” said Marion Fleming Swift, a foster daughter Rogers and Evans adopted from Scotland. Out of the tragedies came more books, the proceeds of which were donated to humanitarian organizations like World Vision and Campus Crusade for Christ.

Order your copy of "Dale Evans: Life Beyond the Happy Trails"

For information about The Dale Evans Project and for 100th Birthday Party Celebrations happening near you, visit http://www.royanddale.com./ 

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