Bobby Benson was the hero of two network series a decade apart. His first, “The H-Bar-O Rangers” , debuted at WGR in Buffalo for CBS on 10-17-32. The Buffalo cast included Richard Wanamaker as “Bobby” and Herb Rice, the writer-director, as both the foreman and the Chinese cook. After one season CBS moved the production to NYC in the fall of 1933 where Billy Halop (later in the “Dead End Kids”) took the role of Bobby. The series lasted until December 1936, sponsored the whole period by the Hecker H-O Company. Over 700 episodes of this 15 minute show aired but not one recording is known to exist today.
In the fall of 1949 Rice, then an VP with WOR-Mutual, resurrected the series, re-named “Bobby Benson and the B-Bar-B Riders” . This show, usually 30 minutes, ran until mid-1955 and was a sustainer for Mutual for all but 1953 when Krafts Foods sponsored it. Ivan Cury played Bobby from 1949 to early 1951; Charles Irving was Tex Mason. Don Knotts played Windy Wales and Craig McDonnell was both Irish and Harka for the whole run. Clive Rice (using his professional name of Clyde Campbell) became Bobby in April 1951 and shortly thereafter Bob Haig replaced Irving as Tex. Approximately 600 episodes were aired, including a 5 minute version usually called “Songs of the B-Bar-B”.