Picks and Pans Review: A Tribute to the Singing Cowboy

updated 08/02/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/02/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

TNN (Mon., Aug. 2, 10 p.m. ET)

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Long before Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, TV had Frontier Doctor, starring that crooning caballero Rex Allen. In fact, the singing cowboy was a staple from the 1930s to the early days of TV. This special, taped at the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum in Los Angeles, honors wranglers of yesteryear, including Allen, Autry, Eddie Dean, Monte Hale and Roy Rogers (who could not be present because wife Dale Evans was ailing, but appears in a segment taped later).

It's superficial, but the program has nice touches, such as performances by Clint Black, Emmylou Harris and Dwight Yoakam. Fittingly for a special hosted by Dennis Weaver (who was Chester on Gunsmoke), there is a segment saluting comic sidekicks—e.g. Gabby Hayes, Smiley Burnette, Pat Buttram and Buddy Ebsen.

Happily, these Western troupers know howtoaccept awards: They humbly, succinctly thank everyone in two or three sentences and briskly hie themselves offstage.

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