Rex Elvie Allen was an American film actor, singer and songwriter who is particularly known as the narrator in many Disney nature and Western film productions. For contributions to the recording industry, Rex Allen was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Allen was born to Horace E. Allen and Luella Faye Clark on a ranch in Mud Springs Canyon, 40 miles from Willcox, Arizona. As a boy he played guitar and sang at local functions with his fiddle-playing father until high school graduation when he toured the Southwest as a rodeo rider. He got his start in show business on the East Coast as a vaudeville singer, then found work in Chicago as a performer on the WLS-AM program, National Barn Dance. In 1948 he signed with Mercury Records where he recorded a number of successful country music albums until 1952 when he switched to the Decca label where he continued to make records into the 1970s. He also recorded one album for Buena Vista in the 1960s, although sources vary on the date of issue.
When singing cowboys such as Roy Rogers and Gene Autry were very much in vogue in American film, in 1949 Republic Pictures in Hollywood gave him a screen test and put him under contract. Beginning in 1950, Allen starred as himself in 19 of Hollywood's Western movies. One of the top-ten box office draws of the day, whose character was soon depicted in comic books, on screen Allen personified the clean cut, God-fearing American hero of the wild west who wore a white Stetson hat, loved his faithful horse Koko, and had a loyal buddy who shared his adventures. Allen's comic relief sidekick in first few pictures was Buddy Ebsen and then character actor Slim Pickens. He gained the nickname, The Arizona Cowboy.
One of Allen's most successful singles was "Don't Go Near the Indians", which reached the top 5 of Billboard magazine's Hot Country Singles chart in November 1962. It features The Merry Melody Singers. The producer was Jerry Kennedy. The song is a tale of a young man who disobeys his father's advice stated in the title. When the father finds out that he had developed a relationship with a beautiful Indian maiden, he decides to reveal to his son what he had kept secret for so long: The man's biological son was killed by an Indian during a clash between the white man and a tribe, and in retaliation, he kidnapped the boy as a young baby and raised him as his son. The other secret: His son cannot marry Nova Lee because she's the boy's biological sister.