CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., 'Dale Evans: Beyond the Happy Trails', from Director/Producer Steve Morales, covers less explored ground in the lives of film, TV, and radio icons Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Behind the curtain of their glamorous careers, the documentary portrays the heroic compassion that moved them to adopt five children, and the abiding faith that anchored them through tragedy.
'Dale Evans: Beyond the Happy Trails' pays homage for the first-time to Evans' extraordinary life through vintage video footage, photos, interviews, and song -- will premiere before thousands of fans, old and new, in 150 U.S. cities during the kickoff to the 100th Birthday Celebrations of Rogers and Evans, Nov. 5, 2011. Rogers died in 1998 at age 86, and Evans followed in 2001 at age 88. Commencing with Rogers' birthday Nov. 5, nationwide birthday celebrations, held in homes, community and retirement centers, and veteran organizations among the 60+ million seniors who grew up with Rogers and Evans, will continue through Evans' 100th on October 31, 2012.
"We didn't want the legacy of Dale and Roy to be forgotten," said Morales who heads up The Dale Evans Project, a grass roots organization whose mission is to unite multiple generations to discuss the character and values that make this country great. "No couple epitomized good, morale character more than Roy and Dale. Unfortunately, most people under 55 don't know about them," continued Morales.
In the 1940s and 1950s, the team of Rogers and Evans lit up the big screen, co-starring in more than 28 films when going to a cowboy movie offered escape from the realities of WWII. With 2,000 fan clubs from the US to England to Japan and Australia, Rogers and Evans inspired generations with their character and solid moral character. Becoming one of the first icons for American girls, Evans was labeled "Queen of the West" for her portrayal of feisty characters.
Though Dale grew up in a Christian home, her faith became real later in life. For the first time, Dale found comfort and new-found happiness that intrigued Roy and others.
Off the well-documented happy trails of their on-screen magnetism, Dale and Roy blazed a trail of compassion, caring for their Down-Syndrome baby Robin, who died before her second birthday. Dale's best-selling book 'Angel Unaware', a tribute to Robin, affected millions of special needs children and their families. Also during this period, Dale penned with Robin in mind the trademark chorus "Happy Trails to you until we meet again."
Then, in 1964, their 12-year-old daughter Debbie was killed in a bus accident during a mission trip to Mexico. And, less than one year later, their son Sandy had a freak accident and choked to death while stationed with the military in Germany.
"You are not supposed to bury your children," said their eldest son Roy Rogers Jr., choking back tears in the film. "People realized their faith was real the way they dealt with tragedy."
"Mom and dad knew something good had to come from whatever was bad," said Marion Fleming Swift, a foster daughter Rogers and Evans adopted from Scotland. Out of the tragedies came more books, the proceeds of which were donated to humanitarian organizations like World Vision and Campus Crusade for Christ.
For information about The Dale Evans Project and 100th Birthday Celebrations happening near you, visit www.royanddale.com.