Author Holly George-Warren researched the origins of Gene Autry's Cowboy Code and wrote about it in her award winning book Public Cowboy No. 1: The Life and Times of Gene Autry. Here's an excerpt:
Gene's Ten Cowboy Commandments began to evolve from such Autry-related publicity as the item "Nine Cardinal Rules Govern Production of All Autry Films," which ran in the 1949 press book for Riders in the Sky. As early as August 1947, Gene had pronounced cowboy-code mandates during his Melody Ranch radio show dramas. Gene's PR team promoted his Cowboy Code, which was referred to in the 1948 Life magazine feature, and fan magazines began to publicize the rules as they evolved. Tenets promoting an ethical, moral, and patriotic lifestyle had an affinity to those of such youth organizations as the Boy Scouts, which developed similar doctrines. The rules were a natural progression of Gene's philosophies going back to his first Melody Ranch programs – and early pictures.
© Autry Qualified Interest Trust
Riders in the Sky
Bonus material includes press book info on The Cowboy Code.
Back to index