After 75 years, Pioneertown's very first public radio station has finally arrived!
Gene Autry was a very prominent figure in Pioneertown history.
But the entire time that he was working in Pioneertown and even the entire time he was fighting in WWII, Autry was also heard on the radio.
Gene Autry's Melody Ranch started on the radio in 194o and ran for 16 long years. It was a western music variety show that aired weekly on CBS Radio and was hosted by Big Jack Little. Though Little was the show's host, Gene Autry was the main star and also the show's producer. In addition to Autry's musical talent, the show also featured some of the best western and country musicians from that time.
It was for his Melody Ranch show that Autry created his Cowboy Commandments, which he tried to instill upon his youthful more more than anyone else. When Gene Autry ended his work in Pioneertown he took his Flying A Productions to Melody Ranch in Newhall, CA, which he had purchased in 1952. Melody Ranch was once known as Monogram Ranch. Monogram Studios had made over 75o movies at the location before they sold it to Autry and renamed Melody Ranch.
On July 26th, 1942, by request of the Pentagon, during a live broadcast of his Melody Ranch radio show, Gene Autry was inducted into the U.S. Army Air Forces as a Technical Sergeant. One week after Gene was sworn into the military, Gene Autry's Melody Ranch officially became the Sgt. Gene Autry Radio Show. The program continued airing music, comedy and action stories, but now included a heavy patriotic theme, which continued until August of 1943, when Autry was given new orders.
In June of 1944, he earned his service pilot wings and was promoted to Flight Officer before he was assigned to the 91st Ferrying Squadron of the 555th Army Air Base Unit, Air Transport Command at Love Field. Autry served with this unit as a pilot on cargo type aircraft until October of 1945. Gene transferred to Special Services at the end of the war where he took a USO troupe to the South Pacific until he was honorably discharged from service in 1946.
Autry then found his way to Pioneertown to start a new chapter in his life.