My Cowboy

“I’d like a coffee light, please.  It’s for Rex Trailer!!!”

rex_74hIt was probably 1958, maybe ’59.  Years before I realized that “TV PEOPLE!!!” were just people.  On TV.

I was getting a haircut at the barber shop in Pinefield Shopping Center in the Saxonville section of Framingham, MA.  Bob the Barber took a drag on his cigarette, and tapped it into the ashtray on the armchair.  He suggested it was going to be a special day, but wouldn’t say why.  And then his next customer walked in.

REX TRAILER!  Singing cowboy.  Star of “Boomtown” on Channel 4.  Friend of Pablo, and of boys and girls from Boston to Worcester and beyond.

He asked if I’d mind getting him a coffee at the bakery next door.  Mind?  I’d have robbed a bank to pay for it myself, but he gave me the quarter.  It was a huge responsibility.  And it would make a great story around the housing development Campanelli Builders called “Cherryfield II.”  (There was a field.  There were no cherries.)

Fast forward 50 years.  2008.

Rex TrailerI learned that I would be receiving an award for being relatively good at what I do, and for being, well, old.  I would be inducted into the “Silver Circle” of broadcasters at a ceremony in Boston.  And then I found out who was being inducted into the “Gold Circle.”  I called my mother to tell her about it.

“I’m going in with Rex F*****g Trailer!!!!  Can you believe it!!!”

I do believe that under the circumstances, Rex would have forgiven me for giving him a middle name in my excitement.  I neglected to mention that to him when we met on a glorious November night, though I was thinking it.  (“Me and Rex F*****g Trailer!!!”)

I babbled on about getting him that coffee 50 years earlier, and how much my brothers and I loved “Boomtown.”  He was genuinely appreciative.  Genuinely nice.

And today, I’m genuinely sad to learn he’s gone.

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About Gerry

I've been covering Connecticut news and sports since 1974. I know, I don't look that old.
This entry was posted in It's all about me, Living in the Past, Media, News, People, TV Stuff and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to My Cowboy

  1. Tony Castagno says:

    Great story, Gerry.

  2. Rich Baril says:

    Nice story. I wonder if he was as excited to know he was going in with Gerry Brooks? And your mother was okay with his middle name?

  3. Sandy says:

    I was on that she on BZ back, back, back in the day.

  4. Sandy says:

    Show and Big Brother Bob Emery.

  5. Jean says:

    Loved this story, Gerry–until the end. I remember when I was about 10, a couple of friends of mine got to be on his show. I’d never been so jealous of anything in my life, but it was still exciting to see them on tv!

  6. chris wilson says:

    Funny story (at least to me) Rex Trailer used to house his horse where I used to ride at millwood. He was leaving and slammed the door down, my horse bucked me off and went out the ring. The horse was red barren. My instructor yelled at me for getting bucked off. Knowcked the wind out of me and ended my riding career prematurely and I went on to traditional sports like football wrestling and baseball.

    Chris wilson fnhs 1973

  7. Kathy Kray says:

    Boom, Boom Boomtown!!!!

  8. Rocky's mom says:

    Great story. I didn’t live here then, so don’t know about this man but love the story and thank you so much for sharing it….and I love the pictures.

  9. Tony C says:

    We had Ranger Andy in CT… and 1-2-3-Winko on channel 22 in Springfield… Ranger Andy was a CT icon. However, having worked with Cowboy Don in Houston in the 1970s, I defer to Rex Trailer but wish I had seen him. Those were fun days, when normal (cool) people could draw huge audiences of kids just being fun, normal and nice.

  10. Paul says:

    When I was about eight he came to Willlimantic and did a show outdoors at Recreation Park. I got picked out of the crowd and Rex whipped a balloon and then a cigarette (unlit of course) out of my mouth with his bull whip. Later I got to pet Gold Rush. Up to that point it was the best day of my life. It still ranks up there.

  11. Bill says:

    Colonel Clown (Joey Russell) was on Channel 30. Glad I got to know him when I was an adult.

  12. Jeff says:

    Wow, Rex has gone to join Pablo in the big bunkhouse in the sky.

    I grew up in southern New Hampshire, and being a little kid in the late 50s / early 60s, Saturday morning was all about getting up and sitting in front of that old (gargantuan) RCA console TV in my pjs to watch Boomtown with Rex, Pablo, and of course “Goldrush”.

    The cool thing about Rex is that from everything I ever heard about him, in real life he was just one of those absolutely special people who could light up a room just by walking in.

    Thanks for sharing your special barbership story, and passing this along.

    Jeff

  13. Susan says:

    I somehow stumbled on this blog, Gerry and was struck by your story about Rex Trailer. Oh my goodness, did it bring back memories. I adored Rex Trailer and had forgotten all about him until your post. I’m a Worcester girl and about 2 years your junior, so all those names of the local shows that were broadcast in those simpler times came flooding back, especially Big Brother Bob Emory ( a lunchtime staple) and Major Mudd and his “IBBY” sign off. A guy I used to work with a lifetime ago and I used to laugh about how hammered the “Major” used to be during the broadcasts. I mean, even as 8 year olds, we could tell he didn’t even like kids! I also loved your other stories about all your golf trips. My husband, a golf nut if ever there was one, would absolutely love that Spyglass/Pebble Beach trip. I’m putting it on the agenda for his 60th…thanks for the idea and keep up the blog…great stories!!

  14. Jay Slater says:

    Gerry,
    As you know I was born & bred in Winthrop, Mass and a fellow UMass graduate. Besides Rex Trailer & Big Brother Bob Emery, I was on his show. I remembr drinking a glass of milk looking at a picture or President Eisenhower. The other 2 shows I recall was Romper Room and Ding Dong School with Miss Francis. Maybe we are getting old. Super story.

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