26 August 2014

TV Cowboys Addendum

In last Friday’s blog post, Remembering the Cowboys, I reminisced about cowboys and presented my A list of TV Westerns from the 1940s and 1950s. If you were watching TV Westerns in those years, I’m sure you have your own favorites. If they weren’t there last Friday, maybe they’ll be on today’s B list of other TV Westerns I would always watch when I could. (They’re listed more-or-less chronologically.) 
A DVD case from the TV Western The Cisco Kid, 1950-56, which starred Duncan Renaldo with Leo Carrillo as his sidekick Pancho. (Photo from www.sitcomsonline.com/photopost/showphoto.php/photo/154938)
Hugh O’Brian was the lead in the TV series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, 1955-61. (Photo from matineeclassics.com/images/thumbs/9ff11672-a0e8-473b-9a40-5ca6c9e37a13.jpg)
Clint Walker (6 ft-6 in tall) played Cheyenne Bodie in TV’s first hour-long Western Cheyenne, 1955-62. (Photo from multiple websites)
James Garner and, after several episodes, Jack Kelly were the poker-playing brothers, Bret and Bart, in the TV series Maverick, 1957-62. Garner left the show in 1960, and Roger Moore was cast as their cousin Beauregard (“Beau”), 1959-61. (Photo from multiple websites)
Have Gun--Will Travel, 1957-63, with Richard Boone as the gentleman gunfighter, Paladin, was almost on my A list; but I guess I didn’t see enough episodes. (Photo from multiple websites)
I thought Steve McQueen was great in just about anything he did. His role as bounty hunter Josh Randall with a shortened rifle in the TV Western Wanted: Dead or Alive, 1958-61, was no exception, whether the episodes were good or not. (Photo from multiple websites)
A comic book after the TV Western The Rifleman, 1958-63. The show starred 6 ft-5-3/4 in Chuck Connors as rancher Lucas McCain, with a customized rapid fire Winchester rifle, and Johnny Crawford as McCain’s son, Mark. (see note below) (Photo from www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=199831)
Given its longevity, Gunsmoke deserves special recognition, but forgive me; I never got into the show. Until 1967, Gunsmoke was broadcast late Saturday night, when I was either out partying or home sleeping.
Gunsmoke began on the radio and was on TV for 20 years, 1955-75, during which time, the main cast members hardly changed: James Arness as Marshal Matt Dillon and Milburn Stone as Doc, from beginning to end; Amanda Blake as Kitty, 1955-1974; Dennis Weaver as Chester, 1955-64; and Ken Curtis as Festus, 1959-75. Among many others, Burt Reynolds was in 50 episodes, 1962-65.
Whatever hour Bonanza and Rawhide were broadcast, I wasn’t watching closely. They premiered in 1959, when there were 26…Twenty Six!...TV Westerns in prime time. Hmmm…could that be why viewers got tired of TV Westerns?

OK. Go ahead. Take your shots. Tell me about your favorites.

P.S.

Note about The Rifleman: Before taking up acting, Connors spent a few years playing professional basketball (Boston Celtics, one season) and baseball (Brooklyn Dodgers and Chicago Cubs, mostly minor league). Crawford was one of Disney’s original Mouseketeers.

Useful references include:
www.wikipedia.org/
www.imdb.com/
www.jimwegryn.com/Names/Cowboys.htm
www.tv-cowboys.com/
www.ourchuckconnors.com/

 

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