…It was designed with Gene Autry’s personal involvement, the catalog claimed. With ‘rodeo brown’ finish, jewelled fenders and chainguard and a pony head on the fork crown, it seemed ready for the silver screen, if not for the rigors of real life on the range. Genuine leather holster and red handled pistols were standard equipment. Boys’ and girls’ bikes both came in 24″, 20″, and 16″ models …for buckaroos and buckarettes of all sizes.
As production returned to normal after WW2, American companies were on the lookout for novel bicycle designs. A tie-up with a celebrity had obvious advantages, as their endorsement would provide extra advertising possibilities. Rollfast was in collaboration with Hopalong Cassidy. Silver King was a division of the Monark Battery Co, and this company joined forces with Gene Autry in 1950 to promote a new line of bicycles fitted with a horse’s head and cowboy accessories. Described in contemporary advertising as ‘Monark Gene Autry’s Western Bike’ it was offered as Boys’ and Girls’ models, with both 24″ and 20″ wheels. For younger children (ages 3-6) the company offered a ’16-Inch Circle H Western Bike’ with stabiliser wheels. Instead of the pistol and holster on the Gene Autry, this small bicycle had a rifle and scabbard, and a bag in place of the horse’s head.
1951 Monark Silver King ‘Gene Autry’ Girls’ Bicycle
GENE AUTRY TRICYCLE