Being there . . . . old-time movie buffs to have your hearts and minds throb, flutter, beat rapidly
and strongly, when on any particular Saturday at noon mom gave you a quarter to rush over to
either the Rialto or Ritz Theatre for a ticket and bag of hot popcorn to watch for two hours the
latest feature to arrive from Dreamland – Hollywood, California, “Snoring Rattlesnakes”, or
“Spitting Ink Scorpions”, “Cuddling With Black Widow Spiders”, or you choose the title, starring,
not so much the guy who rode him, but our favorite animal on earth or heaven, the strong,
handsome, loving, golden palomino – – – TRIGGER, himself! Of course, if you’re younger than
70, you may have no idea who Trigger was and why he or she should be of any interest. But, as
us oldies know, and we’ll be forever grateful to the McFARLAND & COMPANY, INC.,
PUBLISHERS, for giving us Leo Pando’s “TRIGGER, Second Edition – – The Lives and Legend of Roy
Rogers’ Palomino”, Roy and the horse are as integral to us as any members of our extended
families. As riveted as we were sitting up close to the silver screen in the darkened theater, we
weren’t interested in Trigger displaying his gifts of nimble dexterity and intelligence, or his
extraordinary mammal genius needed to engage and participate, i.e., co-act, in celluloid
dramas. As kids we weren’t interested in whether “Old Trigg” met the studio production rule,
precisely the same as that of the polo game, for height – – never over “14 hands and 1 inch” tall.
We loved Trigger because he seemed to always be looking directly at us while munching,
crunching, and stuffing a white starchy mass of corn kernels, butter-dripping all over our
clothes and highly salted to make us wish we had another dime for a Coke. When he stood on
two legs instead of four and whinnied, or, on all four, turning his marvelous head and good-
looking face, toward us, his huge black eyes sparkled. And then when he neighed, softly and
gently, we knew he was talking to US! We all believe that to this very day! But, dear Trigger,
wherever you are today, hopefully hardy and speedy, know this: without Roy atop you lifting
the rein, his heels at your side, whether walking, trotting or full out running you from the start
at a low, smooth gait known in polo as “daisy clipping”, you are still loved and worshipped, but
impossible to fully define . . . .
Reviewed and highly, highly recommended by Don DeNevi
“TRIGGER – – The Lives and Legend of Roy Rogers’ Palomino”, Second Edition, by Leo Pando,
Forewords by Corky Randall and Cheryl Rogers-Barnett. McFARLAND & COMPANY, INC.,
PUBLISHERS: 2019, 363 pages, 7” x 10”, softcover, $39.95. Visit, www.mcfarlandpub.com.
Agreed, Trigger was, and remains, the most famous horse in the American film industry – to
this very hour! Whether he was more popular than the gentle, good man who rode him is still
open to debate. At the age of 12 or 13, would you have given up your precious quarter to
watch, “Thundering Hoofs Trampling the Badmen of El Paso”, without Roy? “Western
Clippings” has it right, “Meticulous. You’ll come away knowing more about the most famous
horse in westerns than you ever deemed possible!” “Big Reel” echoes, “If you want to know
the real Trigger’s full story, Leo Pando’s book is the source to consult.”
In its expanded second edition, this detailed book looks at men, women, and extra horses
who created the legends that Roy, Gabby, and Trigger were the smartest and best STARS of the
western features. Leo’s focus, however, is the life story of the original Trigger, his many
“doubles”, particularly Little Trigger, the extraordinary “trick horse”.
Interestingly, movies in which Trigger appeared without Roy are also discussed at length.
More than 200 photographs (90 new to this second edition), in addition to 30,000 words of
additional material, are included, covering unresolved aspects of Trigger’s history, controversies
surrounding the sale of the Roy Rogers Museum collection, and the fate of the long-built Roy-
Trigger legacy. Leo, a Roy and Trigger fan since elementary school in Santa Fe, has worked as a
freelance illustrator/graphic designer in Los Angeles and New York , and as an assistant
manager for an Arabian horse breeding facility in Edmonton. He lives in Maine.