The Adventures of Champion
Gene Autry's Champion comic book cover
|Genre||Juvenile adventure serial|
|Running time||15 minutes|
|TV adaptations||The Adventures of Champion|
|Directed by||William Burch|
|Air dates||June 20, 1949 to November 1949|
The Adventures of Champion is an American adventure serial radio drama directed by William Burch about screen cowboy Gene Autry's horse Champion. Each 15-minute episode was broadcast weekday afternoons on the Mutual Broadcasting System in 1949 and 1950. (Another source says that the program ran "June to November 1949.")
The Western mystery tales focused on 12-year-old Ricky West, who is raised in the wilderness by his adopted Uncle Sandy, and his German Shepherd named Rebel. Champion was depicted as a wild horse who let only Ricky ride him. While the series covered gold mines, rustlers, and Indian problems, the primary focus was on the faith and loyalty between a boy, a dog, and a horse. Stories ran in five installments each, beginning on Monday and ending on Friday.
The radio series was a spin-off from Gene Autry's Melody Ranch, a CBS radio network Sunday-afternoon program featuring the singing cowboy from 1940 to 1956. (Jack French and David S. Siegel, in their book Radio Rides the Range: A Reference Guide to Western Drama on the Air, 1929-1967, opined: "The Adventures of Champion was not a spin-off of his [Gene Autry's] popular radio show, Melody Ranch, even though both programs had the efforts of the same people. Just grasping the basic scenario of The Adventures of Champion required a substantial suspension of belief in what its juvenile listeners knew to be gospel. Champion was Autry's horse and had a major role in all of his movies, television programs, and personal appearances.")
Little is known about the cast of the program. French and Siegel wrote, "However, one of the most curious mysteries about this series was who played the leads of Ricky and Uncle Smoky; contemporary accounts of the program have been unsuccessful in unearthing their identities, and the vast Autry Library and Research Services in Los Angeles, CA, has no record of who the performers were." One participant who was identified was Dave Light, an animal imitator who provided sounds of all animals on the program.
- Rosenkrantz, Linda (September 11, 2005). "Trigger had film hay-day". Union Tribune San Diego. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
- French, Jack; Siegel, David S. (2013). Radio Rides the Range: A Reference Guide to Western Drama on the Air, 1929-1967. McFarland. pp. 13–14. ISBN 9780786471461. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
- Magers, Boyd. "Adventures of Champion". Western Clippings. Retrieved May 2, 2014.