Rex Trailer Dies at 84; Share Your Memories, Photos

Boston TV icon hosted a children's show in the 1950s-1970s. Do you have any photos from back in the day?



Rex Trailer, a Boston TV icon who had been recovering from pneumonia recently, has died.

Trailer hosted “Boomtown,” a children’s show with a Western theme on WBZ-TV from 1956-1974. 

How did a Western cowboy make his mark in Boston? According to Wikipedia, his corporate overlords gave him a choice of Cleveland or Boston. But he's remembered for more than his cowboy get-up. The Boston Globe wrote in an editorial last year:

Kids adored Trailer’s rodeo tricks. But mostly they adored him for his consistent kindness and competence.

Trailer was 84. A funeral is being planned, but no date has been set yet, according to his website. 

Meantime, what are your memories of Rex Trailer? Did you ever meet him or have your picture taken with him? If you've got a photo, click the "Upload Photos and Videos" button at the top of this story. Or just tell us your memories in the comments section below.

David Ayotte January 10, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Of course I remember watching Rex as a kid but more importantly, I worked with him when he was on Ch 25 in the late 70s. Rex was a real gentleman and a complete professional to work with. RIP.
Karla Vallance January 10, 2013 at 05:28 PM
David, I wasn't familiar with him myself, but he sounds like quite the guy; you were fortunate. Do you have any photos from the late 70s?
siobhan hullinger January 10, 2013 at 05:34 PM
I was on his show once, as a child. Great memories - loved his show.
Steven Cavaretta January 10, 2013 at 06:14 PM
I had a chance to meet Rex on several occasions. He was a unique individual and a true gentlemen. They don't make them like Rex any longer. So long cowboy, happy trails.
Aron Levy January 11, 2013 at 12:13 AM
My old man was on 'Boomtown' and 'Major Muddy' a couple times when he was a teen. I really wish I could find the archival footage of his magic...
Birdwatcher January 11, 2013 at 01:09 AM
That is "Major Mudd"... "I'll be blasting you!"
Earnhardt January 11, 2013 at 03:14 AM
Hoof beats, hoof beats, hoof beats. So long Rex. I grew up watching you on Saturday mornings. And seeing you at Pleasure Island, You were a true cowboy.....
Vyvian Designs Interior Design & Home Decor January 11, 2013 at 03:56 AM
I watched him in early 1970's as a kid and remember his fringe suede "cowboy" coat. At 8 yrs old we went to Ca to visit relatives and went to Disney World and yes, I saw him and felt he was 12 feet tall. He must have been 45 yrs old then, and was like John Wayne to me. He knelt down, smiled at me, shook my hand and I kind of remember he had a another guy with him who had dark brown hair and a suede coat too? I will always recall his stature and how sweet he was to kneel down, smile into my eyes and extend his hand to me.
Mike Callahan January 11, 2013 at 04:15 AM
To my dear friend, Rex, Happy Trails, and I shall sadly miss you “Pardner”. Fortunately, I’ve had the great honor, privilege, and pleasure of becoming a close & dear friend of this kind and noble soul. As a fellow pilot, we often enjoyed flying to Nantucket, or Martha’s Vineyard together for dinner, or the so-called “Hundred Dollar Hamburger” trip for lunch. We enjoyed our final meal together a few Fridays ago, the day before he left to visit his sister in Florida. I somehow felt it could be the last opportunity to enjoy our sincere and mutually appreciated friendship, and unfortunately, it was. We promised to get together upon his return, but it simply wasn’t meant to be. Afterwards, when dropping him and his companion John off at his home, we had the opportunity to take a few photos in his driveway, under the American Flag that he so loved and deeply respected. He thanked my brother Wayne for his military service to our country, and also asked him to share his thanks with his fellow Veterans as well, during their occasional social group meetings. Sadly perhaps, it is one of the last photos to be taken of this great man, and I feel so blessed and privileged to be in it. Good bye Rex, my dear friend. You will be sadly missed by so many of us that grew up watching your show, and especially those of us privileged with the honor of becoming your friend. It’s been my sincere pleasure to have come to know you. I love ya buddy… Happy Trails. Michael Callahan
Kirk January 11, 2013 at 04:40 AM
I remember Rex when he did an event at Victory Field in Watertown. I was about 13. I saw this Caddy coming up Church St. pulling a horse Trailer and my father said here comes "Rex triailer" He waved as he went by . I thought i had just seen the president of the USA. Anyway, pretty cool . happy Trails as Steve Cav above said.
Aron Levy January 11, 2013 at 05:47 AM
Patty, you're right. My stupid autocorrect thinks it knows better than me. Guess I'll have to be more vigilant! IBBY! :D
GB January 11, 2013 at 01:39 PM
America needs more straight shooters like Rex. Honest, caring and morally straight. He never had an unkind word for anyone and I would not believe anything unkind that would ever be said of him. How many of us can leave the world a legacy like that? How much better our world would be with more Rex Trailer's showing the way. I was proud to be called up to the stage by Rex at his 84th Birthday Bash to share a moment in time with him. Boomtown and Rex Trailer memories will be remembered by 100's of thousands of folks. Physically, his memories are being preserved in the Waltham Museum with other Pioneers of Waltham Country Music. Happy Trails, my friend. Gordon Brown - Founder NE Country Music Historical Soc.
Leo Sarkissian January 11, 2013 at 03:02 PM
The Arc of Massachusetts expresses its sympathy to the family of Rex Trailer on his passing today. Rex was a strong advocate for children with disabilities. His TV show was the first in New England and possibly the nation, which included children with intellectual disabilities in his live audience while taping. While Rex made the decision to include children with disabilities in the late 1950s and early 1960s, educators at all levels were still keeping school doors closed to the same children. In 1961, Rex, in partnership with The Arc conducted a 16 wagon train journey across Massachusetts starting in Greenfield and ending at the State House steps. Over several days and nights, Rex's caravan educated tens of thousands about disabilities. Each day a roll of the day's action would run on WBZ TV and radio so that the general public could keep up with developments. The impact of the education was felt for years. Rex joined The Arc again in 2005 when we celebrated our 50th Anniversary recognizing heroes throughout the decades. In 2011, he helped us kick off the first "All Aboard The Arc" as wagon master and special guest. Thank you Rex for all you've done for people with disabilities and The Arc of Massachusetts! Frank Sally, President and Leo Sarkissian, Executive Director The Arc of Massachusetts sarkissian@arcmass.org (781) 891-6270, 106. 217 South Street Waltham, Ma 02453
Dennis Robart January 15, 2013 at 09:52 AM
Idea time- Re-write Rex's song "I appreciate You" to say "We Appreciate You", and do the best you can with whatever you can put together along this line of thoughts :) Thanks


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