Roger Anderson (1916-2005) lived an artful and art-filled life. He grew up in an era when America was still being settled, crafted, divided and fought over. Barefoot ranch hand, student of flight, WWII bomber pilot, business owner, Hollywood movie actor, radio DJ, award-winning national radio/television/print commercial producer, photographer; Roger’s story is one filled with many assorted chapters. While he was ultimately the sum of those diverse experiences, he was indisputably one-of-a-kind.
As the Master Storyteller, his true-life adventures enthralled everyone lucky enough to be within earshot. They had an aura of fiction, being so dramatic and removed from our own reality. As he wrote them down later, in his inimitable reporter/commercial copywriter style, they documented global history and events that we’d only previously read about in textbooks.
Roger’s story, with the countless twists and turns his life inevitably took while on “the road less traveled,” is also a narrative of our country; the heroes and villains who created it, the major milestones, accomplishments, battles and scars, proudly carried within its history.
It cannot be overlooked that “Pioneer Days,” featuring Roger’s recorded interviews with some of those pioneers who were the first settlers of the Arizona Territory in the 1800’s, and which he later incorporated into a radio series, is still one of the best-kept secrets of our collective heritage. These priceless interviews, conducted in 1959 and 1960, provide insight and reflection into the hard lives and extreme times surrounding the birth of our nation.
He wrote in the prologue to his book: “As the leaves tumble in the wind and the days grow short, I still hear distant thunder, and I look off at the horizon, waiting for something. The fire may be gone…but the coals are alive, and still there.”