The Pony Express … and TV Guide

To celebrate the release of The Pony Express Romance Collection, we’re highlighting the date the first Pony Express run began — April 3rd — and looking at other dates in history to see what happened.

On April 3rd, 1953, the “TV Guide” was first published. During the 1940s, TV Guide magazine was comprised of three magazines, Chicago’s Television Forecast, Philadelphia’s Local Telviser, and New York’s Television Guide. They eventually merged and on April 3, 1953, the first national edition of TV Guide was released. The photo on the first edition of the newly formed TV Guide featured Desi Arnaz Jr., the baby of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

By the 1960s, TV Guide became one of the most circulated and read magazine in the country and in 1974, TV Guide became the first magazine in history to sell a billion copies.[1]

While it may be difficult to imagine a world without television, the truth is that before the 1950’s, televisions were a luxury, and in 1945, for example, there were probably less than 10,000 TV’s in the entire country. But by 1960, 90 percent of households had at least 1 set. [2]

This meant television shows had to be produced to fill those broadcast hours. Westerns have always been popular with the reading public, and so it seemed common sense that television viewers would also like to watch their favorite stars riding and bucking and shooting.

It should come as no surprise that several series have aired, including “The Pony Express” in 1959[3] as well as “The Overland Mail” and others[4]. The topic was also popular in a number of movies.

For a company that delivered mail for just over eighteen months, the legacy of the Pony Express still lives on. (tweet this) Perhaps it’s the lure of the unknown, the desire to make a difference, or simply the romantic notion that the Wild West was a better way of life. Whatever the reason, here’s to the ongoing interest in this nugget of American history.

Echoes of the Heart ponyexpressbookcover

by Donna Schlachter

Catherine Malloy, an orphan girl running from a compromising situation in Boston, answers a personal ad in a magazine, on behalf of her illiterate friend. Through his letters, she finds herself falling in love with this stranger. Benjamin Troudt is crippled and illiterate, and knows nothing of this ad. His route supervisor, Warton, who was helping Benjamin with the paperwork, has been given only a short time to live, and knows Benjamin needs help, so he places the ad. Can Catherine overcome her belief that the God of her parents has abandoned her? And can Benjamin allow God to open his eyes and his heart to love?

Hollenberg Pony Express Station

Kansas Territory

May 1860

Chapter 1

Catherine Malloy braced a hand against the doorframe as the stage rounded a turn. A cloud of dust encircled the coach, filtering through the gaps in the doors, the curtains, the floor, and the roof, threatening to choke her. She coughed politely behind her gloved hand, cringing at the sight of the stains on her once-white hand coverings. Her spirits were as rumpled as her sleeves and skirt. Would the dirt ever come out?

But no matter how primitive the conditions, no matter how hostile the natives or how cold the winters—all stories she’d heard about the Wild West—she would not turn back.

She had nowhere to turn back.

When she’d excitedly read the advertisement in the magazine to her friend Margaret, neither had truly contemplated just how far the Kansas Territory was from Boston. Four days on the train to St. Joseph, Missouri had been just the beginning. Three days in this bouncing torture chamber, surrounded by surly men, snot-nosed children, and sharp-tongued women caused her to question her sanity and her decision more than once. She’d already eaten more dust than she’d known existed.

In Mr. Troudt’s first letter, he’d explained that he ran a way station and needed a wife. Neither she nor Margaret knew what that was. They knew a man from Australia, who talked about working at a sheep station. Perhaps a way station was similar.

Not that any of that mattered. She had no reason to go back. No family. No job.

Not after the way Master Talbott had approached her.

aaadonna-img_6534-juggling-the-books-smallerDonna lives in Denver with husband Patrick, her first-line editor and biggest fan. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. Donna is a ghostwriter, editor of fiction and non-fiction, judges in a number of writing contests, and teaches online courses.

Donna’s Blog: HiStoryThruTheAges








Published by Pegg Thomas

Pegg Thomas lives on a hobby farm in Northern Michigan with Michael, her husband of *mumble* years. They raise sheep and chickens; keep a few barn cats, and Murphy the spoiled rotten dog. A life-long history geek, she writes “History with a Touch of Humor.” Pegg is published in the Barbour historical romance collections. Pegg also works as Publisher of Smitten Historical Romance, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. When not working or writing, Pegg can be found in her barn, her garden, her kitchen, or sitting at her spinning wheel creating yarn to turn into her signature wool shawls. Pegg won the Romance Writers of America's Faith, Hope, & Love Award for 2019, was a finalist for the 2019 ACFW Editor of the Year, and a double finalist for the 2019 ACFW Carol Awards.

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