Sunday, August 08, 2010
Jango Song Of The Day-Tex Ritter
Album:A Proper Introduction To Tex Ritter: Sing, Cowboy, Sing
I'm sure you're familiar with the late sitcom actor John Ritter from his days in Three's Company and other shows. But you may not know that his father Woodward Maurice "Tex" Ritter was a very popular singing cowboy in the 30s and 40s and a popular recording artist. Rye Whiskey is one of his early recordings and he sang it in his film debut. He was born Jan. 12, 1905 in Murvaul, TX and attended high school in Beaumont. While studying pre-law at the University Of Texas, he was bit by the acting bug and moved to New York City in 1928 after singing at a Houston radio station. Ritter appeared in several Broadway productions and radio shows like Tex Ritter's Campfire and Cowboy Tom's Roundup. He signed with Columbia Records country music producer Art Satherly in 1933 and recorded several songs including Rye Whiskey. At the time, singing cowboys were becoming popular in the movies. The fledgling B-movie studio Grand National Pictures was looking for their own Gene Autry and they liked Ritter's recordings. This comp from the British label Proper is a good intro to Ritter's early recordings. So they signed him up and Song Of The Gringo was his film debut in 1936 and Rye Whiskey was one of the songs he sang in the film. BTW, his co-star was Joan Woodbury. When Grand National started having financial problems in 1938, Ritter moved to Monogram Pictures and remained there for most of his film career. He also co-starred in several films with his wife Dorothy Fay. They married in 1941. Ritter left films in 1945 and concentrated on his recording career with Capitol Records. He had several hits but the biggest was probably the theme from the 1952 film High Noon which won a Best Song Oscar. Tex Ritter appeared frequently on TV in the 50s and moved to Nashville in 1965. He was one of the founding members of the Country Music Association and was named to the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1964 and he worked for the Grand Ole Opry. After an unsuccessful 1970 Tennessee Senate run, he made his final recordings in 1973 and died of a heart attack on Jan. 2, 1974 at age 68. His son John Ritter was a very successful actor until his 2003 death and his grandson Jason Ritter is also an actor. Here's Tex Ritter performing Rye Whiskey in the 1936 film Song Of The Gringo.