Hopalong Cassidy

Hopalong Cassidy, the TV ‘good-guy’ cowboy who wore a black hat was a good-guy off screen as well. He visited Australia in November 1954. 60,000 people turned up to see him driven around Albert Park, Melbourne, in a Landrover. Hoppy’s visit co-incided with a polio epidemic here and this was 2 years before Salk invented the polio vaccine. He was touring to raise money for kids crippled by polio. The Queen had already come to see us in February that year – people had to remain at least 9 feet away, no-one was allowed to touch her and had to put any flowers on the ground at her feet so she wasn’t infected. But Hoppy hugged and kissed people without reserve.

Hopalong took a few days out in Darwin and aboriginal stockman rode up to 500 kilometres to see him. In Darwin, 1954, Wednesday was the only evening of the week there wasn’t a curfew on aboriginal people, so some, dressed up in their cowboy gear, got to see their hero. It’s not known how Hoppy felt about exchanging his horse Topper for a cut away FJ holden.

I never knew Hoppy’s wife’s name until now….. oh, joy.

Hopalong won’t go this-a-way

Thousands of young Melbourne Hopalong Cassidy fans took a very dim view of the Melbourne City Council traffic committee today. And they’ll be even more sour when they see today’s picture of Bourke Street (above), which was taken at the time Hopalong’s sponsors wanted him to ride on a decorated float next Saturday morning.

The committee refused permission for a Hopalong float to be driven down Bourke Street. Its reason:

We have enough traffic in Bourke Street on Saturdays as it is without cluttering it up with floats.

One 10-year-old telephoned The Herald today to protest over the council ban.

One float wouldn’t cause all that much of a traffic jam, he said. And we’ve been looking forward to seeing Hoppy ever since we heard he was coming here. Those city councillors must be getting pretty old. I bet they would have liked to see their heroes when they were kids.

Hopalong’s gala arrival on a float had been planned as a prelude to a children’s party at Myers. The Children’s Welfare Association has Invited Hopalong, film and TV actor Bill Boyd, to Victoria.

Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), Saturday 13 November 1954, page 3

Hopalong Guns Held by Customs

SYDNEY, Wednesday — Hopalong Cassidy’s famous pearl-handled twin 45 Colt revolvers, which have thrilled millions of child fans throughout the world, his holsters, ammunition belt and his equally-famous spurs, were seized by the Customs at Kingsford-Smith airport tonight. The belt and spurs were Impounded under Commonwealth quarantine regulations: the guns are being held until the police issue a permit for them. Hoppy’s black 10-gallon hat, however, got through customs formalities. The impounded equipment and other belongings of the Western film star, William Boyd, arrived in Sydney by Qantas with Hoppy’s manager, Mr. Bob Stabler.

Goodwill Tour

Hopalong Cassidy arrives in a week as the guest of the Crippled Children’s Society of New South Waies. He is visiting Australia at his own expense, on a good-will tour, especially for children. Customs officials told Mr. Stabler that anything which has contacted an animal overseas must be quarantined.

Perhaps the formalities can be cleared up by the time Hoppy arrives,

said Mr. Stabler. In the 11 days he will be in Australia Hoppy will visit Melbourne and Adelaide as well as Sydney.

Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), Thursday 4 November 1954, page 10


SYDNEY, Thursday.— The biggest crowd ever seen at Mascot airport today welcomed the king of the cowboys, Hopalong Cassidy, when he arrived from Darwin. “Hoppy” stepped from the Qantas Constellation dressed in a black suit, white shirt and his famous white, 10 gallon Texas hat. He walked down the passenger ramp toting his two pearl-handled revolvers.

Thirty extra police tried hopelessly to control the crowd of almost 5000. Children swarmed over the wire enclosures. One girl, standing on her mother’s shoulders, lassooed the famous cowboy, but he managed to free himself. “Hoppy” (film star Bill Boyd) was accompanied by his blonde, attractive wife, “Tripalong.” “Hoppy” said later it was the greatest welcome he had ever received. He praised the children he had met during his stop-over at Darwin. An airport official said the crowd was bigger than that at Mascot when Mrs. Petrov started to return to Russia.

HOPALONG CASSIDY IN SYDNEY (1954, November 12). Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 – 1954)

Fans in wild stampede

Police stood powerlessly by when 12,000 adults and children ran wild at a Hopalong Cassidy show at Wirth’s Circus yesterday. In an amazing half hour 7000 gate-crashers fought with 5,000 ticket-holders to get near the visiting film star. Young children were knocked aside.

Cassidy had his shirt partly torn, and the children milled about his car, threatening to push it over. Cassidy tried to appeal for order above a screaming din, but the children could not be controlled and the whole show was cancelled.

Organisers, radio station 3AW sold 5,000 tickets for the show and these people waited in orderly fashion near the admittance entrance. But about 7,000 children without tickets also arrived and when Cassidy was taken from his car through a back entrance, these youngsters surged under the tent flaps and inside the big top.


The ticket-holders, bewildered by the entrance of the gate-crashers and fearing they might not gain admittance, surged into the tent through the regular entrances. Inside there was jostling, pushing, and fighting.

The noise was deafening. A worried Cassidy tried to shout for order, but the children would not quieten.

Two Wirth’s circus elephants were used to try to stop the stampeding crowd. The crowd ran around them.

Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), Saturday 13 November 1954, page 1

Susan Just Knew It Was Hopalong

A 13-year-old blind girl yesterday told Hopalong Cassidy:

My, but you’re handsome

The girl, Susan Fry, made the remark after she had run a finger over Hoppy’s features when he visited the Vic-torian School for Deaf Children. There Hoppy cheered the hearts of 300 deaf, blind, dumb, and crippled children. Whatever, their handicaps the children sensed the moment their hero swept into the school drive in his shining open car.

Wild cheers

Spontaneously they burst into rounds of cheers as Hoppy stepped from the car and walked towards them. It was one of the great moments of their lives. And Hoppy did nothing but increase their happiness.

He had a kiss or hug for every one of the 300, and his laughing quips brought a smile to many tear dampened cheeks. Many a shy girl blushed deeply as William Boyd, the cowboy of cowboys, treated her to a kiss.

To those kiddies with the gift of sight, Hopalong was a debonair figure in black cowboy garb, complete with silver six-shooters, gun-belt, and clinking spurs. Those less fortunate coniured up their own picture of Hoppy, slightly different, but just as vivid. Hopalong drew cries of delight from these blind kiddies with drawled quips like:

Feel a hunk of Hoppy, partner – plenty of horsemeat, uh?

Getta feel of this six-shooter – best shootin’ iron this side of the black stump!

As Hoppy strode among the excited throng, children’s fingers gently groped and felt his gun-belt, revolvers, and spurs. It was he – the one and only Hoppy.


Even Hoppy’s eyes were opened wide by Melbourne’s welcome. Resting after his school visits Hoppy said:

It has me by the heart, this riproaring loving welcome which is everywhere. The people in the hotel, in the streets and above all the children, particularly the deaf and blind children I met today, have given me the most wonderful experience of a lifetime. My first message of welcome was written in Braille from a little girl, and it will make Melbourne live for ever in my heart. I’ll be back some day if I can make it. I want to stay longer and see more of this great country.

Today Hoppy will be the centre of attraction for almost 100,000 people, when he parades in and around Lonsdale st., city, for his round-up at Myers. He is due to start from Lonsdale st. at 9.5 a.m. In the afternoon he will arrive at Albert Park at 3 p.m., and make several cir-cuits of the lake for the thousands expected to see him.vHopalong and his wife, Tripalong, will return to the United States via Manila, Japan, Hong Kong, and Honolulu, helping children at every place they visit.

Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), Saturday 13 November 1954

What a swell guy eh?    And loaded as well apparently…

Keith Dunstan’s HOLLYWOOD

NEW YORK — The Hopalong Cassidy craze has gone so far in recent months that this easy-going cowboy has licked in popularity every American hero who ever existed. Babe Ruth, Lindbergh, Buffalo Bill, Mickey Mouse — none of them ever swept the country the way Bill Boyd has done.

A circus recently billed Hopalong  Cassidy as the “outstanding personality in the world today.” Perhaps he is not quite that, but you can’t walk anywhere on Long Island, or anywhere else for that matter, without seeing squads of small fry shooting it out in their Hopalong suits. Twelve months ago, Hopalong Cassidy was a back number, and Bill Boyd did not even have the price of a train ticket from Los Angeles to New York. This year he expects to make over a million dollars. The secret of his success, of course, is the revival of his films on television.

Television has brought many old-timers back to fame, but Hopalong has staggered everyone. This year there will be a total U.S. retail sale of 70 million dollars worth of Hopalong Cassidy goods. There are Hopalong cowboy suits, Hopalong bicycles, fitted with necessary holsters, guns, water bottles, etc.; Hopalong skates, fitted with spurs; and Hopalong wallets. waste paper baskets, ties, cookies, cereals, candy, plastic masks, underpants, blankets, wallpaper, two million comic books, and a Hopalong comic strip which is syndicated right throughout America. One company has sold 400,000 bars of Hoppy soap, another sold 1 million Hoppy knives in the first ten days. Bill Boyd’s happy rake-off on all these things is 5 per cent. Anything associated with Hoppy just can’t lose. On the West Coast a bread company has launched a Hopalong Troopers’ Club. Tom Sholts, the organiser, overnight found himself with an organisation big enough to rival the Boy Scouts. There were two million members, he had no programme, and not knowing what to do with all the gun-toting kids, he had a nervous breakdown.

This Hoppy is a different character from the one I used to remember. In the old days he used to slosh down his rot-gut neat from the bottle, spit tobacco juice, treat his women rough and kill three or four men each picture.

Now he drinks sarsaparllla, doesn’t smoke, has polished manners, is polite to women, and never kills anyone. Boyd married for the fifth time recently, but he still has no children, Not his own, that is— usually on a tour of any large city there is a stampede of anything up to 200,000 children. In their chaps, cowboy boots, spurs and ten gallon hats, they shake his hand, look fiercely into his eyes: and say

Howdy podner

And he loves it.

Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 – 1954), Saturday 1 July 1950, page 15

(Note: Hang-on: 5 percent of $70,000,000 is 3.5 million – Hoppy was ripped off???)

In a farewell message, Hopalong said:
Melbourne’s people are the friendliest and nicest In the world. The depth of their welcome has made my heart so big that I can hardly use my throat now. May God bless each one of you.


EIGHT-YEAR-OLD American visitor, Michael Silverstein, prefers to be known as Hoppy. His mother, Mrs Maurice Silverstein, says Hopalong Cassidy is the hero of Michael and most other American children. Michael wears this outfit to school back home.
Hoppy quotes:

TELEVISION has given the kids back to mum and dad and mum and dad back to the kids. The sooner you get it the better, he said. Television has made American homes real homes, not just guest-houses. Instead of running around seeking amusement, mum, dad and the kids find it in their living room. Not only television entertaining, but it keeps the family together.

Hopalong said he met at least five million children a year.

The relationship between children and me is of mutual respect, he said. I speak to them as little adults and talk to them on their own level.

Hopalong’s advice to parents:

Whenever things trouble you, just look into the eyes of a child and you’ll see beauty that will lift you to the top.

Hopalong paid a tribute to his wife, “Tripalong,” who, he said, had stood by him through his most difficult years.

Any man who thinks he can forge his way to success alone is completely wrong, he said. Every man I know who is considered a success knows it in his heart. Tripalong is an awful nice girl . . . the nicest thing in the world.

I guess I have ‘killed’ enough bad guys in films to fill a graveyard the size of Australia. Sometimes kids ask me what happens to a man after I shoot him. I always tell them he gets paid for being shot and then gets up and goes to lunch.

Tripalong quotes:

Yes, I first fell in love with Hoppy when I was 10, she said. He was in the silent film ‘Volga Boatmen’. Ten years later we were married. And I wouldn’t be separated from Hoppy for anything, she added.
Tripalong made films before her marriage 17 years ago.
I was always ‘the other woman,’ she explained, with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. Then in 1940 I wanted to buy Hoppy a Christmas present (a tractor), so I began
work again.
ALL I want to know now is – where did the moniker ‘Hopalong’ come from??

Hop-along Cassidy is a fictional cowboy hero created in 1904 by Clarence E. Mulford. In his early writings, Mulford portrayed the character as rude, dangerous and rough-talking. He had a wooden leg which caused him to walk with a little “hop”, hence the nickname.

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