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Ray Whitley

May 10, 1974 OH195 88 min.


Cowboy singer, songwriter, and movie actor. Born December 5, 1901. Died February 21, 1979. Full name: Raymond Otis Whitley. Successful dual career in music and movies. Starred in sixteen singing cowboy shorts for RKO and appeared in sixty feature films overall, including his final film role in the 1956 epic, Giant. Wrote several western standards, including “Back in the Saddle Again,” and “Lonely River” (co-written with Fred Rose). Worked with Gibson Guitar Company to develop the J-200 model guitar, a prototype of the guitar model popularized by the singing cowboy films. Member, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Interview Summary

1974 May 10
(1 hour, 28 minutes)
Entertainer Ray Whitley talks about the start of his career. Discussion includes the development of the J-200 guitar by Gibson and the Ray Whitley line of guitars; his career prior to his start in music; his early music career; the decision to move west; his experiences as a Texas cowboy; meeting Tom Mix; his movie career; managing the Sons of the Pioneers; recording with the Frank Luther Trio; a description of the trio’s work with Hardy Murphy and Old Buck; memories of his early performances as a musician, including his work with the Range Ramblers; and comments on his work as a rodeo entertainer.

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