TODAY   |  July 13, 2010

Roy Rogers memorabilia hits the block

Dusty Rogers, son of the legendary TV cowboy, previews some of the items that are up for auction at Christie’s, including Trigger, his father’s stuffed golden palomino, and a pair of bronzed cowboy boots.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

MATT LAUER, co-host: We are back at 8:45 with a taste of the Wild West right here in Manhattan . Starting tomorrow, Christie's is auctioning off items once owned by the King of the Cowboys and the Queen of the West , Roy Rogers and Dale Evans . Al is just down the block at the auction house with a preview. Al :

AL ROKER reporting: Hey, thanks a lot, Matt. Joining me is Roy Rogers Jr ., Dusty . Good to see you. Mr. ROY ROGERS Jr.: Al . God bless you . Good to see you, sir.

ROKER: You know, over 1,000 items, this was in your family's museum...

Mr. ROGERS: Yes.

ROKER: ...and how come you're letting it go?

Mr. ROGERS: Well, we're not really letting it go, we're passing history on to other people. Mom and Dad kept it for 42 years. Dad said when it gets to the point where it's causing you kids a problem just, you know, move it out, so that's what we're doing. And Mom and Dad left us a lot of legacies, the museum and their things were one, music was the next and their books, and we're still able to continue that music in Branson ...

ROKER: Mm-hmm.

Mr. ROGERS: ...with my band the High Riders at the Gilley Theatre , but these things have to go out into the public.

ROKER: So let's take a look at some of this. And you designed this.

Mr. ROGERS: I did.

ROKER: This is the Shooting Gallery .

Mr. ROGERS: Yeah. We had it made in England and shipped over here. I designed it, you know, because I thought I had to have all the elements with Gabby and Pat , which was Dad 's other sidekick for years.

ROKER: Sure.

Mr. ROGERS: And the fellow behind the bars and the one behind the window, the bad guys...

ROKER: Mm-hmm.

Mr. ROGERS: ...you know, you got to have the bad guys.

ROKER: Of course .

Mr. ROGERS: But it's a very active gun...

ROKER: A little gun -- a little gunplay.

Mr. ROGERS: Everybody wants to play guns.

ROKER: Now as far -- as we take a look up here, this -- besides Trigger and Buttermilk and Bullet being the centerpiece of this exhibit and this auction, this Bonneville designed by Nudie , the guy who did all your...

Mr. ROGERS: Yes.

ROKER: ...your folks' costumes.

Mr. ROGERS: He made all of the -- yeah -- all of the outfits for Mom and Dad , all the rhinestones.

ROKER: And this -- tell me about this car. This is unbelievable.

Mr. ROGERS: It's a -- it's a '63 Bonneville Pontiac and completely done with all leather interior.

ROKER: Mm-hmm.

Mr. ROGERS: There's like 20 different guns on here, there's over 300 silver dollars. And every handle or knob or door handle is a gun, so.

ROKER: And there are some -- there are some famous names on -- signed on the back of this thing.

Mr. ROGERS: Elvis Presley , yeah, and John Wayne and Jim Davis , Governor Jim Davis , and Mom and Dad signed it, and so a lot of great names.

ROKER: You know, what's fascinating also, your dad drove around in this thing.

Mr. ROGERS: He used to hunt with it, yeah. Hey, I've seen him with bobcats on the hood of it, so.

ROKER: Oh, my gosh.

Mr. ROGERS: Yeah.

ROKER: And of course a cowboy is known for his boots.

Mr. ROGERS: Absolutely. Yeah. This was his very first pair, you know, and you got to have your baby shoes bronzed, so Dad was no different, he had to have his first boots bronzed, so.

ROKER: And he -- and he worked on all of his boots himself.

Mr. ROGERS: He did. Because he was -- he -- his first job was at the United States Shoe Company in Cincinnati , that's what his first job was.

ROKER: Wow.

Mr. ROGERS: So he knew how to build boots from the ground up .

ROKER: That is fascinating. As we head on into here, you know, one of the things that your folks were known for, their costumes.

Mr. ROGERS: Yes.

ROKER: I mean, they had some amazing costumes.

Mr. ROGERS: Yeah. And I think a lot of that had to do with coming to Madison Square Garden because the kids couldn't see them in the middle of the arena so they started putting rhinestones on things...

ROKER: Mm-hmm.

Mr. ROGERS: ...and made them pop out in the middle of the arena.

ROKER: OK, we would see them in public in this, but when...

Mr. ROGERS: Yes.

ROKER: ...when you were home with them, what would they wear?

Mr. ROGERS: Oh, Dad was usually in a pair of jeans, an old -- an old striped shirt and sneakers. That's what he did. That was Dad at home, but...

ROKER: Tell me about your mom.

Mr. ROGERS: Mom Dale , I'll tell you, she had her hands full with nine children, you know, they adopted four and had one foster child .

ROKER: Mm-hmm.

Mr. ROGERS: And then they had the children between the two of them , and how they survived nine children. I mean, she was the greatest Christian lady you'd ever want to meet.

ROKER: Tell me about this piece here.

Mr. ROGERS: Very special piece to mom. It's a -- it's a charm bracelet that Ralph Edwards and "This is Your Life " gave to Mom in 1952 ...

ROKER: Mm-hmm.

Mr. ROGERS: ...when they -- when they surprised Dad with that -- with that show. It has -- it completely chronicles Roy and Dale 's life from the time that Dad was in Duck Run , Mom was in Texas , and then it chronicles their life all through in charms that actually work and...

ROKER: Wow, that's...

Mr. ROGERS: ...it's made right here in New York .

ROKER: It's beautiful.

Mr. ROGERS: Yeah.

ROKER: And of course , the music collection here of instruments.

Mr. ROGERS: Guitars.

ROKER: Your dad was -- had a beautiful voice.

Mr. ROGERS: Oh, absolutely. Well, he started as a Sons of the Pioneers 1934 , and of course they went on and just -- Dad signed his first contract '38 and went on to be King of the Cowboys .

ROKER: Well, it's a -- it's a piece of Americana .

Mr. ROGERS: It is.

ROKER: We don't have the cowboys to idolize anymore.

Mr. ROGERS: Not the same heroes we had.

ROKER: Yeah.

Mr. ROGERS: No.

ROKER: Well, Roy Rogers Jr.

Mr. ROGERS: Al , thank you, sir.

ROKER: Thank you so much . People want more information, go to our Web site , todayshow.com, to find out about the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans collection that's being auctioned off at Christie's . Matt :