Back to prior page


The Motion Picture Herald and Boxoffice Polls
and the Quigley Publishing Top Ten MoneyMakers Poll


From 1936-1955, there were several polls conducted to identify the popularity of the silver screen cowboys.  The polls were sponsored by two movieland trade publications, the Motion Picture Herald and Boxoffice.

In most cases, the list reflects a 'Top Ten' result, but during a few of the years, the results are less than ten. Be aware that in some years, the polls would list as many as twenty or more western heroes. However, I have limited the listing below to the Top Ten for each year.

Since the polls did not begin until the mid 1930s, early sound western favorites like Tom Mix, Ken Maynard, Hoot Gibson and Tim McCoy are not well represented in the poll data.

In addition to the most popular male cowboy stars, there were other individuals and groups that placed in these polls - included are George "Gabby" Hayes, Smiley Burnette, Dale Evans, Andy Devine, Leo Carrillo, the Three Mesquiteers, the Sons of the Pioneers, more.

Don Miller's original softcover Hollywood Corral (Film Fan Monthly, 1976) was both fun and interesting reading, thanks to Miller's knowledge and writing style.  That book was re-issued with significant enhancements and extra articles by Packy Smith and Ed Hulse (Riverwood Press, 1993).  It is now out-of-print, but you may be able to find a copy via a used book seller.  Over the years, I gathered Boxoffice and Motion Picture Herald poll information on the cowboy stars from various sources, and it was extremely time-consuming to locate the year-by-year poll data due to my chaotic filing system.  The updated Smith/Hulse version of Hollywood Corral contains a quick reference to the Top Ten results from the mid 1930s through the mid 1950s, and I'm thankful to them for providing that information.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

On the left is the inside cover of a pressbook touting Rex Allen's rise in the polls to 4th place in 1951 ... noting that Rex was "heading for the top in 52!"

Not sure where they got the 4th place info as the Motion Picture Herald poll results for 1951 show him in 5th place.


In addition to the Motion Picture Herald and Boxoffice western movie favorites, Tinseltown had an ongoing poll to recognize their top box office stars and moneymakers. This was the Annual Top Ten MoneyMakers Poll from Quigley Publishing who were the publishers of the Exhibitor's Herald and the later Motion Picture Herald weekly tradepapers. During the 1930s and 40s, the winners included Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Clark Gable, Shirley Temple, Mickey Rooney, Cary Grant, Abbott & Costello, lots more. Gary Cooper made the list beginning in 1936, John Wayne was ranked beginning in 1949, and Randolph Scott became a Top Ten MoneyMaker beginning in 1950. Gene Autry and Roy Rogers were B-western cowboys who were winners in this poll.


I've purposely put all of the results on a single webpage ... which you can print if you wish ... and you can also 'search'. If you wish to find a particular name, simply use your web browser's built-in FIND function and that will allow you to search down this page.  In the upper left of your screen, you should see the word 'EDIT'.  Click on that, and in the drop down menu, click on 'FIND' to do your search.  In web browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera and others, you can also hit the Ctrl-F key combination to open the FIND box (hold down the Ctrl Key in the lower left of your keyboard, and also press the key for the letter F).  In the 'Find What' box, type in a name like buck jones, or sunset carson, or Burnette, or Hayes.  When done typing, begin the search by clicking on the 'Find Next' button which will take you to the first occurrence of that word or phrase (or to the end of this page, if no match is found).  Keep clicking on the 'Find Next' button to continue down to all the matches.



Gene and Roy in the Quigley Publishing
Annual Top Ten MoneyMakers Poll


Gene Autry 1940 (4th place)
Gene Autry 1941 (6th place)
Gene Autry 1942 (7th place)
Roy Rogers 1945 (10th place)
Roy Rogers 1946 (10th place)
Link at the bottom of this page will take you to the reelclassics website which has a complete list of the Quigley Publishing Annual Top Ten MoneyMakers Poll from 1932-1970.



The Motion Picture Herald and Boxoffice Polls


1936
Motion Picture Herald Poll
1. Buck Jones
2. George O'Brien
3. Gene Autry
4. William Boyd
5. Ken Maynard
6. Dick Foran
7. John Wayne
8. Tim McCoy
9. Hoot Gibson
10. Buster Crabbe


1937
Motion Picture Herald Poll Boxoffice Poll
1. Gene Autry 1. Gene Autry
2. William Boyd 2. George O'Brien
3. Buck Jones 3. William Boyd
4. Dick Foran 4. Buck Jones
5. George O'Brien 5. Jack Holt
6. Tex Ritter 6. Dick Foran
7. Bob Steele 7. Ken Maynard
8. Three Mesquiteers series 8. Harry Carey
9. Charles Starrett 9. James Ellison
10. Ken Maynard 10. Tom Mix


1938
Motion Picture Herald Poll Boxoffice Poll
1. Gene Autry 1. Gene Autry
2. William Boyd 2. William Boyd
3. Buck Jones 3. George O'Brien
4. George O'Brien 4. Jack Holt
5. Three Mesquiteers series 5. Buck Jones
6. Charles Starrett 6. Tex Ritter
7. Bob Steele 7. Ken Maynard
8. Smith Ballew 8. Roy Rogers
9. Tex Ritter 9. Harry Carey
10. Dick Foran 10. Three Mesquiteers series


1939
Motion Picture Herald Poll Boxoffice Poll
1. Gene Autry 1. Gene Autry
2. William Boyd 2. William Boyd
3. Roy Rogers 3. George O'Brien
4. George O'Brien 4. Roy Rogers
5. Charles Starrett 5. Buck Jones
6. Three Mesquiteers series 6. John Wayne
7. Tex Ritter 7. Charles Starrett
8. Buck Jones 8. Tex Ritter
9. John Wayne 9. Smiley Burnette
10. Bob Baker 10. Bob Livingston


1940
Motion Picture Herald Poll Boxoffice Poll
1. Gene Autry 1. Gene Autry
2. William Boyd 2. John Wayne
3. Roy Rogers 3. William Boyd
4. George O'Brien 4. George O'Brien
5. Charles Starrett 5. Roy Rogers
6. Johnny Mack Brown 6. Buck Jones
7. Tex Ritter 7. Smiley Burnette
8. Three Mesquiteers series 8. Charles Starrett
9. Smiley Burnette 9. Johnny Mack Brown
10. Bill Elliott 10. Jack Holt


1941
Motion Picture Herald Poll Boxoffice Poll
1. Gene Autry 1. Gene Autry
2. William Boyd 2. William Boyd
3. Roy Rogers 3. Buck Jones
4. Charles Starrett 4. Tim Holt
5. Smiley Burnette 5. Roy Rogers
6. Tim Holt 6. Smiley Burnette
7. Johnny Mack Brown 7. Charles Starrett
8. Three Mesquiteers series 8. Johnny Mack Brown
9. Bill Elliott 9. Tim McCoy
10. Tex Ritter 10. Gabby Hayes


1942
Motion Picture Herald Poll Boxoffice Poll
1. Gene Autry 1. Gene Autry
2. Roy Rogers 2. Roy Rogers
3. William Boyd 3. William Boyd
4. Smiley Burnette 4. Tim Holt
5. Charles Starrett 5. Smiley Burnette
6. Johnny Mack Brown 6. Charles Starrett
7. Bill Elliott 7. Buck Jones
8. Tim Holt 8. Johnny Mack Brown
9. Don Barry 9. Gabby Hayes
10. Three Mesquiteers series 10. Tim McCoy


1943
Motion Picture Herald Poll Boxoffice Poll
1. Roy Rogers No Poll Conducted
2. William Boyd -
3. Smiley Burnette -
4. Gabby Hayes -
5. Johnny Mack Brown -
6. Tim Holt -
7. Three Mesquiteers series -
8. Don Barry -
9. Bill Elliott -
10. Russell Hayden -


1944
Motion Picture Herald Poll Boxoffice Poll
1. Roy Rogers 1. Roy Rogers
2. William Boyd 2. Gene Autry
3. Smiley Burnette 3. William Boyd
4. Gabby Hayes 4. Ken Maynard
5. Bill Elliott 5. Smiley Burnette
6. Johnny Mack Brown 6. Johnny Mack Brown
7. Don Barry 7. Charles Starrett
8. Charles Starrett 8. Gabby Hayes
9. Russell Hayden 9. Hoot Gibson
10. Tex Ritter 10. Tex Ritter


1945
Motion Picture Herald Poll Boxoffice Poll
1. Roy Rogers 1. Roy Rogers
2. Gabby Hayes 2. Gene Autry
3. William Boyd 3. William Boyd
4. Bill Elliott 4. Gabby Hayes
5. Smiley Burnette 5. Bill Elliott
6. Johnny Mack Brown 6. Johnny Mack Brown
7. Charles Starrett -
8. Don Barry -
9. Tex Ritter -
10. Rod Cameron -


1946
Motion Picture Herald Poll Boxoffice Poll
1. Roy Rogers 1. Roy Rogers
2. Bill Elliott 2. Gene Autry
3. Gene Autry 3. Gabby Hayes
4. Gabby Hayes 4. Bill Elliott
5. Smiley Burnette 5. William Boyd
6. Charles Starrett 6. Smiley Burnette
7. Johnny Mack Brown 7. Johnny Mack Brown
8. Sunset Carson 8. Ken Maynard
9. Fuzzy Knight 9. Charles Starrett
10. Eddie Dean 10. Sons of the Pioneers singing group


1947
Motion Picture Herald Poll Boxoffice Poll
1. Roy Rogers 1. Roy Rogers
2. Gene Autry 2. Gene Autry
3. William Boyd 3. Bill Elliott
4. Bill Elliott 4. William Boyd
5. Gabby Hayes 5. Gabby Hayes
6. Charles Starrett 6. Smiley Burnette
7. Smiley Burnette 7. Johnny Mack Brown
8. Johnny Mack Brown 8. Charles Starrett
9. Dale Evans 9. Bob Nolan
10. Eddie Dean 10. Bob Steele


1948
Motion Picture Herald Poll Boxoffice Poll
1. Roy Rogers 1. Roy Rogers
2. Gene Autry 2. Gene Autry
3. Bill Elliott 3. Gabby Hayes
4. Gabby Hayes 4. Bill Elliott
5. William Boyd 5. William Boyd
6. Charles Starrett 6. Smiley Burnette
7. Tim Holt 7. Tim Holt
8. Johnny Mack Brown 8. Charles Starrett
9. Smiley Burnette 9. Johnny Mack Brown
10. Andy Devine 10. Leo Carrillo


1949
Motion Picture Herald Poll Boxoffice Poll
1. Roy Rogers 1. Roy Rogers
2. Gene Autry 2. Gene Autry
3. Gabby Hayes 3. Gabby Hayes
4. Tim Holt 4. Bill Elliott
5. Bill Elliott 5. William Boyd
6. Charles Starrett 6. Andy Devine
7. William Boyd 7. Tim Holt
8. Johnny Mack Brown 8. Smiley Burnette
9. Smiley Burnette 9. Johnny Mack Brown
10. Andy Devine 10. Leo Carrillo


1950
Motion Picture Herald Poll Boxoffice Poll
1. Roy Rogers 1. Roy Rogers
2. Gene Autry 2. Gene Autry
3. Gabby Hayes 3. Gabby Hayes
4. Bill Elliott 4. William Boyd
5. William Boyd 5. Bill Elliott
6. Tim Holt 6. Tim Holt
7. Charles Starrett 7. Andy Devine
8. Johnny Mack Brown 8. Smiley Burnette
9. Smiley Burnette 9. Charles Starrett
10. Dale Evans 10. Johnny Mack Brown


1951
Motion Picture Herald Poll Boxoffice Poll
1. Roy Rogers 1. Roy Rogers
2. Gene Autry 2. Gene Autry
3. Tim Holt 3. Gabby Hayes
4. Charles Starrett 4. Tim Holt
5. Rex Allen 5. Dale Evans
6. Bill Elliott 6. Judy Canova
7. Smiley Burnette 7. Smiley Burnette
8. Allan Lane 8. Bill Elliott
9. Dale Evans 9. Rex Allen
10. Gabby Hayes 10. Charles Starrett


1952
Motion Picture Herald Poll Boxoffice Poll
1. Roy Rogers 1. Roy Rogers
2. Gene Autry 2. Gene Autry
3. Rex Allen 3. Tim Holt
4. Bill Elliott 4. Dale Evans
5. Tim Holt 5. Bill Elliott
6. Gabby Hayes 6. Judy Canova
7. Smiley Burnette 7. Rex Allen
8. Dale Evans 8. Smiley Burnette
9. Charles Starrett 9. Vaughn Monroe
10. William Boyd 10. Charles Starrett


1953
Motion Picture Herald Poll Boxoffice Poll
1. Roy Rogers 1. Randolph Scott
2. Gene Autry 2. Roy Rogers
3. Rex Allen 3. Gene Autry
4. Bill Elliott 4. Rod Cameron
5. Allan Lane 5. George Montgomery
- 6. Dale Evans
- 7. Rex Allen
- 8. Tim Holt
- 9. Bill Elliott
- 10. Judy Canova


1954
Motion Picture Herald Poll Boxoffice Poll
1. Roy Rogers 1. Randolph Scott
2. Gene Autry 2. Roy Rogers
3. Rex Allen 3. Gene Autry
4. Bill Elliott 4. Rod Cameron
5. Gabby Hayes 5. George Montgomery
- 6. Dale Evans


1955
Boxoffice Poll
1. Randolph Scott
2. Roy Rogers
3. Rod Cameron
4. George Montgomery
5. Gene Autry
6. Dale Evans




Links

The Boxoffice website is at: http://www.boxoffice.com/

The Quigley Publishing Company website has a brief history and timeline about Martin J. Quigley and their early Exhibitor's Herald and the later Motion Picture Herald weekly publications: http://www.quigleypublishing.com/AboutUs.html

The reelclassics website has a list of the Quigley Publishing Annual Top Ten MoneyMakers Poll from 1932-1970, and that includes Gene Autry and Roy Rogers in the 1940s: http://www.reelclassics.com/Articles/General/quigleytop10-article.htm



Back to prior page