By EW Staff
Updated October 27, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT
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The Roy Rogers Collection

type
  • Movie

I am a big Roy Rogers fan — I’m talking about the man now, not the restaurant — so I really enjoyed the eight videos in The Roy Rogers Collection (1949-50, Republic, unrated, $9.98 each, $79.98 for the set). Everyone needs a hero, and Roy is someone kids can look up to. He has such integrity and compassion. In The Trail of Robin Hood (1950), for example, bad guys try to sabotage a Christmas tree farm in order to make money, but Roy prevents that so the poor children can get the trees and have a happy holiday.

Likewise, in North of the Great Divide (1950), he stops some greedy cannery owners from destroying the salmon that the Indians need for food. Basically, all the tapes have the same plot, so you can predict the whole story — but it’s still reassuring to know that in the end, Roy will come through for the underdog.

As someone involved in the hamburger business, I related closely to Down Dakota Way (1949), in which cattle are struck with foot-and-mouth disease.

I do think the Roy Rogers movies stand the test of time, even though audiences are more sophisticated now. In Robin Hood, a little girl’s ”pet” turkey is shown in the yard and then the camera cuts to a shot of a turkey carved up on the table for Christmas dinner. When these movies came up, no one noticed anything strange about that. But now I would never be able to do a Wendy’s commercial like that, featuring a cow and a hamburger. It wouldn’t be politically correct.

The cliche ”They don’t make ’em like they used to” definitely applies to Roy. He was a simple cowboy with a six-shooter, but now movies feature Rambo-like weapons used to blow up cities and one another. We need a modern hero. Someone who puts himself on the line and teaches people not to be crooks. Till that star comes along, I’ll take Roy any day. The whole collection: A

Dave Thomas is the founder of Wendy’s International and has appeared in 450 of the hamburger chain’s TV ads.

Episode Recaps

The Roy Rogers Collection

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  • Movie
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