Boomtown was a children's show on WBZ-TV in Boston, Massachusetts that ran Saturday and Sunday mornings from 1956 through 1974. The show was a three-hour, weekend morning broadcast hosted by singing cowboy Rex Trailer; the first hour of the show always took place in the "bunkhouse" set, where Trailer and sidekick would engage in slapstick comedy and tomfoolery. There was a practical reason for this segment. Although the kids at home were awake and ready to watch early, it would have been too difficult to have the young studio audience in place for that 7 a.m. opening. Trailer would mount his horse and ride across a "prairie wide" onto the western-themed Boomtown studio set to interact with his live audience for the other two hours. Somehow, he and his crew were able to convincingly re-create the Old West on Soldiers Field Road in Brighton for generations of viewers. With a natural ease and charisma, Trailer led his young studio audience in contests of skill and singalongs. Trailer regularly demonstrated his considerable cowboy skills, which he picked up while spending his childhood summers on his grandfather's ranch in Texas.
In addition, Rex Trailer worked with guests. He was aided on the show by a succession of sidekicks over the years, including Pablo, Cactus Pete, Sgt. Billy, Terrence Currier and Bill O'Brien, respectively. One recurring, memorable segment of Boomtown was set to the music of Hey. Rex would appoint two children sheriff and deputy, hand them a wanted poster showing another member of the studio audience thinly disguised; as the music played, the entire "posse" would march through the sheriff's office, waving for the camera. Trying for a prize, the young lawmen would attempt to pick out the person shown on the poster as he passed through the office. Trailer had moved from Philadelphia to Boston to host Boomtown on a short-term contract, but the show ended up running for two decades. Two-hundred thousand children appeared on Boomtown during its run, another four million watched on TV or saw Rex at his many personal appearances across New England. Trailer played himself, so he was never caught out of character: kind confident, eminently capable, wholesome.
Parents and children alike responded to Boomtown's subtle, integral messages encouraging respect for others and nature. Rex Trailer settled in the Boston area permanently where he remained a major local celebrity decades after the final episode of Boomtown aired. Trailer died in 2013. Trailer opened and closed each installment of the show with a live rendition of the Boomtown theme, a song, said to have been "as sticky as the molasses used for grandma’s cookies on the old frontier." His audience participated by miming the shooting of a pistol into the air as they raucously sang along to the refrain of "Boom- Boom- Boomtown!" The complete lyrics to the song, are: Howdy there, folks, we're glad to meet you in Boom- Boom- Boomtown! There's a bunch of folks who'd like to greet you in Boom- Boom- Boomtown! You can bet we'll have lots of Western fun And excitement for you We'll ride and rope, do a square dance and shoot a gun And we'll sing a song or two Come along, now we're gonna start the fun in Boom- Boom- Boomtown!
From six to sixty there's something for everyone in Boom- Boom- Boomtown! So do-si-do and swing around, Get your gal and promenade down to Boom- Boom- Boomtown! Boomtown ran on WBZ-TV until the last day of 1974. Trailer and some of his associates moved the show to a fledgling UHF station, Channel 25, but that station lacked the facilities to recapture the show's glory and audience. In the 1990s, Trailer and Sgt. Billy moseyed on over to cable television with a retrospective series called Boomtown Revisited. Little footage exists of Boomtown because the shows were broadcast live, any segments that were recorded were taped over after broadcast. However, a documentary film titled Rex Trailer's Boomtown was produced by Milford, Massachusetts native Michael Bavaro. Bavaro used rare archival footage along with the memories of Boomtown fans to provide a nostalgic overview; the Emmy® nominated film aired on WBZ-TV on June 18, 2005 with encore broadcasts on WGBH in 2010, 2013, is now sold in DVD format.
Rex Trailer - official site
James Kenneth Johnson was a colonel in the United States Air Force. In the Korean War he was a double ace, credited with shooting down ten enemy aircraft, he had one "kill" in World War II, when he was a lieutenant colonel. He received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross. Johnson was born on May 1916, in Phoenix, Arizona. In 1939, he graduated from the University of Arizona. On December 28 of that year, he entered the Army Air Corps' Aviation Cadet Program, training at Kelly and Randolph Fields, he was commissioned on August 30, 1940, when he received his wings. From 1940 until October 1943, he was the Squadron Commander of the 43d Pursuit Squadron serving at Albrook Field in the Panama Canal Zone, where he helped protect the Panama Canal with his P-40 Warhawk, he was Deputy Commander of the 404th Fighter-Bomber Group from November 1943 to October 1944. In March 1944, he went with the 404th to southern England to prepare for the Normandy landings, flying a P-47 Thunderbolt.
From October 1944 until after the end of the war, in June 1945, he commanded the 48th Fighter-Bomber Group in Belgium. He flew 92 missions in the Thunderbolt, during which he was credited with one kill: an Fw 190. After World War II, Johnson served at Ellington Field in Texas, where he was Base Commander, Instructor Pilot, project officer, Commander of the 3605th Navigation Training Group. From September 1951 to October 1952, he was Commander of the 3595th Flying Training Group at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. During the Korean War, Johnson commanded the 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing from November 1952 to August 1953, flying combat in an F-86 Sabre. On March 28, 1953 he became the war's 29th jet ace when he shot down his fifth MiG-15. After 86 missions and eight months of combat, he had destroyed ten enemy aircraft, damaged nine more, had three probables, making him the first double jet ace wing commander. From when the war ended in 1953 until September 1956, Johnson worked at the Air Force headquarters in the Pentagon, where he was chief of the Air Defense Group in Research and Development.
He commanded the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Forbes Air Force Base in Kansas from September 1956 to August 1959. After that, he went to Carswell Air Force Base, where he commanded two groups: the 3958th Operational Test and Evaluation Group from August 1959 to March 1960, he was posted to the 19th Air Division, with whom he was Director of Operations, from June to September 1961. The 43rd, the first supersonic bomb wing helped test the new, supersonic B-58 Hustler, developed by the Air Research and Development Command, Strategic Air Command, Convair. With the B-58, the 43rd Wing broke eleven records for aircraft performance. In September 1961, he served at Headquarters Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, he retired from the Air Force on November 30, 1963. James Johnson had four daughters with his first wife Mary Ellen, he has several grandchildren including Jennifer Rachel Hecker, great-grandchildren including Forest Shannon Hecker and Reed Bennett Hecker. In 1979, Johnson was remarried to his wife Sylvia, with Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater as his best man.
He died on August 22, 1997, was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. On November 25, 1953, Johnson was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star for actions on June 30 and May 17, 1953, respectively, he received two awards of the Legion of Merit and three of the Distinguished Flying Cross. While he commanded the 43rd Bomb Wing, he became the first and only wing commander to win the Blériot, MacKay and Harmon trophies; the Johnson Dining Facility at Kadena Air Base is named for Johnson. List of Korean War flying aces