Westerns Channel Ropes and Restores
89 Films from Gene Autry "The Singing Cowboy"
Posted July 25, 2001
Starz Encore Finances Restoration of Films
Not Seen in Their Entirety for 50 Years
Englewood, Co. – Starz Encore's Westerns has again joined forces with Gene Autry Entertainment to fully restore 89 of the "Singing Cowboy's" feature films, which will be added to the Westerns channel lineup beginning January 2002. This will be the first time the films have been broadcast in their original theatrical length. They have not been viewed in this format since they originally played in movie theaters over fifty years ago. The restoration elements are from Gene Autry's personal film collection of original 35mm and 16mm material housed at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles and the restoration is done by RPG Productions. Last year Westerns and Gene Autry Entertainment's Flying A Pictures partnered together to restore all 91 episodes of "The Gene Autry Show" television series currently airing on the popular cable channel.
"Based on their success with Gene's TV shows, it was only natural that we should team up once again with Westerns to restore his movies," says Mrs. Gene Autry. "Our relationship with Westerns has been a true pleasure. They are good people who have lived up to their commitment to preserve and present the west. Gene would be pleased to know his films are safe in their hands and will once again be enjoyed by his fans and new audiences still to discover him."
Gene Autry is recognized as one of the greatest entertainers of the Twentieth Century, and the only entertainer to have five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one each for records, radio, movies, television and live performances. Starting his career in the late Twenties, he was voted America's 4th biggest box office attraction by 1940 with success in every endeavor. His entertainment career was interrupted only by voluntary service in the US Air Force during World War II. As the original "Singing Cowboy" he introduced the format of the musical western on screen and later on television. As a top recording star Gene Autry charted more than two dozen gold and platinum awards bringing Western music into the popular culture. He was a generous philanthropist and successful businessman who owned hotels, television and radio stations and a professional baseball team. Gene's dream of a world-class educational and historical center saluting the history of the American West became a reality in 1988 with the founding of the Autry Museum of Western Heritage.
Starz Encore's Westerns, whose slogan is "Saddle Up with the Legends," is available on cable systems throughout the country and on the leading direct to home satellite systems including DirecTV and EchoStar. Film and television cowboy icon Dennis Weaver has hosted the channel since 1997.