When I was a little girl, cowboys were all the rage. The 'golden age' of the cowboys began in the 1930s and 1940s, with the advent of celebrity cowboy movie stars and singers, such as Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, the Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, and Tex Ritter. Of course, there had been earlier cowboy celebrity heroes, such as Tom Mix and William S. Hart, but these later stars became much more commercially successful and marketable. [OK, to be fair, there was an earlier Golden Age of Cowboys....that would have been when the genuine cowboys roamed the Wild West in the 19th century!]
In the 1950s, when I was little, television westerns were the most popular genre for entertainment. In addition to the above stars, we kids adored Davy Crocket, Zorro, (he may not have been a cowboy, but he was definitely a western hero!) Rin Tin Tin (a doggy western hero), Daniel Boone. My personal favorite TV westerns were Maverick, Wagon Train, the Rifleman, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, the Virginian, and the Wild, Wild West. By the mid-60s, the western genre had lost popularity, and only a few die-hard series such as Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and the Big Valley remained.
But cowboys weren't just for the movies, television and records. Cowboys were everywhere. On lunchboxes, games, home accessories, table linens, clothing, dishes, books, jewelry, calendars, and of course, toys. Some toys capitalized on licensed characters such as Hopalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers. (Very collectible, and expensive today). Others just clung to the spurs, so to speak, of the trend, and used generic cowboys and cowgirls to sell merchandise.
Here's my collection of mostly toys, but a few other items used by children and adults alike. I hope you like, and if you had, or still have any cowboy or cowgirl toys, why don't you leave a comment and share your story? (Click on any image for a closer view).
|Cowboy Checkers by Fairchild Corp. Cowboy game by Milton Bradley. Notice the Cowboy Joe game piece from Go to the Head of the Class|
|Roy Rogers and Trigger neckerchief|
|More cowboy themed handkerchiefs|
|Misc. cowboy toys|
|Roy Rogers watch, and some toy watches|
|Toy watches and western set|
|Miss Davy Crockett purse|
|Cowboy themed wall art and accessories|
|Cowboy paper doll|
|Cute cowgirl birthday card|
|Mattel cowboy 'Ge-tar'|
|Cowboy and horse themed wall plaques|