The Dr. Pepper Show at the 10-2-4 Ranch
According to historian, Ken Griffis, on November 22 1941 the Pioneers signed to do a series of 15-minute radio transcriptions for the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company, featuring Dick Foran. This live show was broadcast from coast to coast on the Mutual Broadcasting System and the Pioneers had a 45-minute stage show for the studio audience directly after it. Dr. Pepper sponsored and syndicated the show, beginning as 10-2-4 Ranch then transitioning to 10-2-4 Time to provide broader popular appeal. Both shows were produced by Tracy-Locke-Dawson Co., Dallas, and recorded by Radio Recorders of Hollywood. At least 500 were produced and some 50 to 80 are still in circulation. Dr. Pepper also sponsored two other variety programs from the late 1930s through the 1940s: "Dr Pepper Parade" and 1939's "Dr. Pepper’s Treasure Hunt". Partial list of available programs.
There is no date on this magazine but it refers to "their latest pictures: "Red River Valley", "Man from Cheyenne" and "South of Santa Fe", all of which were filmed late in 1941 and early in 1942. The probable date of this issue is mid-1942, roughly the same time frame as Tumbleweed Topics No. 15.
The audio introduction to the program that you can hear on this page was part of the 10-2-4 program aired on January 8, 1943. The rare fanzine below, from the Calin Coburn Collection, is the first of a series and plugs the Dr. Pepper drink relentlessly.
THE PEPPER RANGERS GAZETTE (Vol. 1 No. 1)
Because the text is right across the centerfold of the two following pages, it will be awkward to read so we have typed it below for your convenience:
America's Number One Cowboy Composer. Born in the timbered valleys of the St. John's River in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. As a youngster he drifted down across the plains of our own great cattle lands...down into Old Mexico and up by the shores of the Pacific to the paradise of dreamers - Hollywood. Here it was, in 1930, he helped begin the organization of The Sons of the Pioneers. At that time he had Tim Spencer and Hugh Farr as his fellow dreamers and planners. He had something else too...in his soul was the music that has since earned him such titles as "The Stephen Foster of the West" and the one with which we begin this paragraph. "Tumbling Tumbleweeds", "Cool Water", "Way Out There", "Happy Cowboy" and scores of other songs are the evidence that his titles are well deserved. [For the truth about Bob's life, see his Biography.]
Sentimental Songster of the Sage. Sang his opening song at Webb City, Missouri...migrated into the foothills of Colorado (Trinidad) with his parents by the covered wagon route at the age of two. When Tim writes of "Sunset on the Trail", "Wagons Westward", "That Pioneer Mother of Mine" and "Over the Santa Fe Trail" he knows his subject. He's lived the life, knows the country and authentic western songs are the result.
The Man with the Flyin' Fiddle. Comes from the cattle country of West Texas. San Saba County to be exact. Learned to ride before he learned to walk. He's a rough and rugged man of the open spaces. "Fiddlin' is as natural as feedin' my face," says Hugh. His "noodlin' on the fiddle" set a style that is imitated throughout the country. A bass singer like nobody's business. Smooth as hummingbird down is his C below low C.
The Man with the Gallopin' Guitar. Hugh's brother and admittedly one of the three greatest guitar players in America today. Together with Hugh, Karl creates the original instrumental arrangements that lend distinction to the Pepper Rangers style. He is also one of the original Sons of the Pioneers, having joined with Bob, Tim and Hugh in 1933. [For the history of each member of the group, go to Sons of the Pioneers.]
Smooth Voice. Lloyd's our hillbilly. Comes from Izzard County, Arkansas. Insists that he's Bob Burns' "Cousin Crawford." Lloyd has a "year fer music". Plays guitar and always knows when somebody needs a cigarette paper under them to keep from singing flat. The youngest member of the act...both in years and in point of service. The "ambitionest" guy in the whole outfit and without him life would be pretty dismal. He's the one who takes the high ones with the trio.
The Clown from the Cow Country. Truthful Jones to you. Those who know his rigid standards of honesty call him the "Diogenes of the Desert". Plays the clown and the bass fiddle. Comes from California's San Joaquin Valley. Joined the Sons of the Pioneers in 1936 and there hasn't been a dull moment since. (Note: I did not write this article and I am not responsible if it falls below my standards of "honesty"...Editor Jones.)
Put them all together and they spell THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS, that singin', swingin' sextet now ridin' herd on the 10-2-4 Ranch under the proud title of THE PEPPER RANGERS. From 1937 to 1939 inclusive this group was featured in thirty Columbia Western pictures in which Bob Nolan played second lead and for which Bob and Tim Spencer wrote all the songs. They have recently signed a long term contract with Republic Pictures. Their latest pictures: "Red River Valley", "Man from Cheyenne" and "South of Santa Fe". The act is unique in that while each of its members is a real man of the range, he is, at the same time, an outstanding natural musician.
Through the Dr. Pepper program which gives full play to the original songs of Bob and Tim, the musicianship of Hugh and Karl, the clowning of Pat (Truthful Jones) and the talent and enthusiasm of Lloyd, the boys are entertaining their old friends and making thousands of new ones. Their adherence to close harmony and authentic cowboy music have made them American's outstanding cowboy combination.
Later, when Dick Foran left the show, Martha Mears became the "Boss". Although they were announced as "Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers", we hear very little from Bob other than singing. Don Forbes, Martha Mears and Hugh Farr have most of the dialogue. Martha sings at least one and often two pop solos.
Courtesy of Laurence Zwisohn