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A popular singing cowboy for Republic Pictures (nearly 20 films), Allen was billed as “The Arizona Cowboy” and was the last of Hollywood’s singing cowboy stars. This lanky, sandy-haired, velvety-voiced veteran of radio and rodeo engagements was often paired with sidekick Slim Pickens.
Rex Allen, The Arizona Cowboy, is one of only a handful of silver screen cowboys who actually came from a cattle ranching background. He learned to ride almost as soon as he could walk, and helped with the livestock and ranch chores before and after school. From early childhood, music filled the Allen house. His dad played the fiddle and Rex learned to play a Sears and Roebuck mail-order guitar to accompany him at dances. Wherever and whenever possible, the boy would sing and at 12, had a fine bass voice that spanned three octaves. For awhile, young Allen considered competing professionally in rodeos, but found riding a two thousand pound bull was quite a different story from the steers he’d conquered locally. Music was undoubtedly more rewarding and definitely a lot safer. But he never lost his love for the rodeo and its bronc and bull riders, many of whom became good friends.