||[observation, 1988] To tell you the truth, I even think there's room for a singin' cowboy today.
||I happened to come along in an era when movies were changing. That was about 1934. There was a break between the great silent screen stars - Buck Jones, Tom Mix and Hoot Gibson - and the new crop that was to come along. I was the first of the singing cowboys. If I'd come into pictures five years earlier or five years later, I might not have succeeded. As I look over my life, I'd say the most important thing is to be at the right place at the right time.
||My movies were always clean. Parents didn't need a babysitter. For fifty cents they could send their kids down to see my pictures and know they would be entertained wholesomely.
||I think the He-men in the movies belong in the Army, Marine, Navy or Air Corps. All of these He-men in the movies realize that right now is the time to get into the service. Every movie cowboy ought to devote time to the Army winning, or to helping win, until the war is over - the same as any other American citizen. The Army needs all the young men it can get, and if I can set a good example for the young men I'll be mighty proud. (1942)
||[about his "image" as a cowboy star] I couldn't shoot a man in the back. I couldn't take a drink at a bar. They would have run me out of town.
||[on the difference between modern westerns and the westerns made during his day] I could never have played scenes like where The Sundance Kid kicks the guy in the nuts [in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)] or anything like Clint Eastwood does.
||[on Errol Flynn] He spent more time on a bar stool, or in court, or in the headlines, or in bed, than anyone I knew.
||In my day, most people thought dance hall girls actually danced.
||[on the music industry] It occurs to me that music, with the possible exception of riding a bull, is the most uncertain way to make a living I know. In either case you can get bucked off, thrown, stepped on, trampled--if you get on at all. At best, it is a short and bumpy ride.
||[in a conversation with director Frank McDonald about his career] I'm not a good actor, a good rider or a particularly good singer, but they seem to like what I do, so I'll keep on doing it as long as they want.