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Chronological List Of Movies and Song Titles

Movie "Stills" Of Smiley

Smiley came out West with Gene and Ina Autry in 1934.  Gene had been asked to make an appearance in the Ken Maynard western “In Old Santa Fe”.  Gene and Ina had invited Smiley to make the drive from Chicago with them.  What became history was a long friendship and movie career for both men.

Smiley was a man of many firsts.  Upon arriving at the studio with Gene, Smiley was asked if he could play the piano and of course the answer was yes along with more than 50 other instruments.  That lead to Smiley’s first film appearance along with Gene in “In Old Santa Fe”.  In this film Smiley sang the first song that he had written “Mama Don’t Allow No Music Played In Here  Gene also sang for his film's debut, a song that Smiley had written “Somewhere in Wyoming”. 

Smiley appeared in 54 westerns with Gene Autry before Gene left to serve in the Army during World War II, but also appeared in a variety of movie and serials.  Smiley would perform musical interludes in some of the movies like “Waterfront Lady”, and “Meet the Boy Friend”.  Smiley played a major role in films such as “Larceny on the Air” and in the serials “Dick Tracy” and “The Adventures of Rex and Rinty”.

Smiley’s beloved character “Frog Millhouse” grew as Smiley himself grew in prominence.  “Frog Millhouse” appeared in 65 films done between 1935 and 1944 for Mascot and Republic Studios.  Smiley actually used his own name in “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” but in his next film “Melody Trail”, Frog Millhouse was born.  One can only wonder what the Singing Cowboy Western would have been like without “Frog Millhouse’s” floppy black Stetson, checkered shirt, black baggy pants, and a white horse with a black-ringed eye.

Smiley wasn’t done by any means.  He ended his career at Republic Studio and moved to Columbia Studio in 1946.  He had to leave his colorful character “Frog Millhouse” behind as it was the property of Republic.  Smiley's new billing in the Durango Kid films became "The West's No. 1 Comic".  This was placed under his name in Lobby Cards, Stills, Posters, and other publicity items.  Smiley's song writing once again came to the forefront.  Many of the songs were tailored for the individual film and performed as only Smiley could perform them.

Just as Gene and Smiley had ushered in the Singing Cowboys, they now ended the era together.  They rode out of the silver screen in 1954 and left their fans six last films.