Do You Remember The Great Old Westerns?

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and    Remembering the Singing Cowboys

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Clicking links on this page will take you to a great website: Old Corral


The homepage URL for the Old Corral website is:

The webmaster/curator is: 

Chuck Anderson and the Old Corral went online in May, 1998


The Heroes (and 1 Heroine) - Click Below:

• Duncan Renaldo 
• Whip Wilson 
• Eddie Dew
• Wally Wales (Hal Taliaferro)
• John Wayne  ... in the 1930s
• Smith Ballew
• Sunset Carson
• 'Wild Bill' Elliott
• Lee 'Lone Ranger' Powell
• Jack Randall
• George Houston ... The Lone Rider
• Bob Custer
• Spade Cooley
• Bob Steele
• Johnny Mack Brown
• Tom Tyler
• Tex Williams
• Don Barry
• Tim Holt
• Ken Curtis
• Reb Russell
• Jack & Al Hoxie
• Buck Jones
• James Warren
• Gene, Roy & Hoppy
• Ken Maynard
• Buzz Barton
• Dave 'Tex' O'Brien
• Sammy Baugh
• Monte Rawlins ... the Masked Phantom
• Ray Whitley
• Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams
• James Newill
• Rex Bell
• Jim Bannon
• John (Johnny) Carpenter
• Lane Chandler
• Harry Carey
• Hoot Gibson
• George O'Brien
• Wayne Morris
• Herb Jeffries  ... the Bronze Buckaroo
• Bill Cody
• George Montgomery
• Dorothy Page  ... the Singing Cowgirl
• Dick Foran
• Buddy Roosevelt
• Jack Perrin
• Tex Fletcher  ... the Lonely Cowboy
• Tex Ritter
• Rex Lease
• Jay Wilsey / Buffalo Bill, Jr.
• Kirby Grant
• Rod Cameron
• Charles Starrett ... the Durango Kid
• Tom Mix
• Bob Allen
• Jack Luden
• John 'Dusty' King
• Clayton Moore
• Monte Hale
• Tom Keene
• Allan 'Rocky' Lane
• Ray 'Crash' Corrigan
• Bob Livingston
• Rex Allen
• Russell Hayden
• James Ellison
• Buster Crabbe
• Kermit Maynard
• Eddie Dean
• Lash LaRue
• Dave Sharpe
• William Boyd/Hopalong Cassidy
• Jimmy Wakely
• Fred Scott
• Tim McCoy
• Bob Baker

Cowboy Trio Series - Click Below:

• Republic's Three Mesquiteers
• Monogram's Rough Riders
• Monogram's Range Busters
• Monogram's Trail Blazers
• PRC's Texas Rangers
• PRC's Frontier Marshals
• Trios That Weren't Official Trios
• Dennis Landadio Reviews the 3 Mesquiteers

The Lone Ranger - Click Below:

• The Lone Ranger Serials 
• Clayton Moore
• Lee Powell
• Bob Livingston
• Chief Thunder Cloud (1st Tonto)

Other Series & Themes - Click Below:

• Lone Rider series at PRC
• Billy the Kid at PRC
• The Mountie Films
• Red Ryder in Films, TV & Comics 
• Durango Kid - Charles Starrett
• Cisco Kid Films
• Duncan Renaldo - the Cisco Kid 
• The B-Western Goes To War!

Faces and Profiles of Heroines, Second Leads, Sidekicks, Kid Helpers, Villains, Henchies, Stage Drivers, Singers, Singing Groups - Click Below:

• Singers-Musicians-Groups
• Ray Whitley
• Bob Nolan (& the Sons of the Pioneers)
• The "Indians"
• Heroines/Leading Ladies
• Villains & Supporting Players 
• Saddle Pals-Sidekicks-Kids-2nd Leads
• The "Henchies" (henchmen)
• At The Reins - The Drivers 
• Republic's Stable of Bad Guys

Plus, there's expanded coverage on:

• Charles 'Slim' Whitaker
• Charlie King
• Jack Ingram
• Kenne Duncan
• Victor Daniels/Chief Thunder Cloud

Hollywood Families and Some Individuals - Click Below:

• Fred MacKaye, Violet Neitz & Alan James
• The Tansey Family in Hollywood
• Producer Jesse James Goldburg
• The Geraghty's of Hollywood
• Producer Robert J. Horner
• Producer Victor Adamson/Denver Dixon
• Harry S. Webb & Reliable Pictures
• Nat Levine & Mascot

Stunt Men & Women - Click Below:

• Dave Sharpe
• Yakima Canutt 
• More Stunt Men & Women
• At The Reins - The Drivers 
• Stunt Folks - A Day At The Office

More Stuff - Click Below:

• Dual Roles 
• TV Westerns (external sites)
• Trusty Steeds - Movie Horses
• Big Little Books, etc.
• Cowboy Comic Books
• Golden Boot Awards
• Under The Big Top / Circus Days
• Tommy Scott's Wild West Show
• Gunbelt Trivia 
• Cowboy Cliffhangers (Serials)
• In Search Of ... (Obits, Death Records, Soc Security, Burial Locations) 
• Boyd Magers' Best & Worst of the West Film Reviews (2000+ film reviews) 
• Bobby J. Copeland's Bunkhouse News (Film Festivals, Fan Clubs, more) 

Ramblings and Writings - Click Below:

• Remembering Jack Mathis
• Geronimo Film & WW2 Paratrooper Yell
• Sunset, Ken & Tex in the MARSHAL OF WINDY HOLLOW
• Les Adams Remembers Alan G. Barbour
• End of the Trail (B-western bites the dust)
• Buck Jones & the Cocoanut Grove Fire
• Poverty Row & the B Western Producer
• Character Identification Guidelines
• Film Company Logos

Spreadsheets, Statistics, Film Counts, Popularity Polls & other Nitty Gritty - Click Below:

• The Western Film ... By The Numbers!
• Prolific Performers
• Cowboy Popularity Polls & Rankings
• Producers
• Script, Screenplay, Writers 
• Heroines
• Character Actresses
• Directors
• Sagebrush Trivia

Movie Locations - Click Below:

• Movie Locations
• Monogram/Allied Artists Western Street
• Corriganville Movie Ranch

Photos - Faces to Identify - Click Below:

• Who's That Face?
• Memories (snapshots from contributors)
• Behind the Scenes ...
• Photo Fun 
• The Bob Burns Museum

Film Festivals, Photos, DVDs, Videotapes, CDs, Books, Newsletters, Auctions, TV Schedules, Movie Databases, Posters, Comics, Big Little Books - Click Below:

• Videotapes/DVDs 
• Movie Databases to Search
• Satellite/Cable TV Schedules
• CDs/Audio Tapes/Records
• Auctions - Posters, Comics, Big Little Books, etc.
• Online Movies/Streaming Videos
• Books-Print Media-Newsletters-Photos
• Film Festivals & Nostalgia Conventions

Misc Stuff - Click Below:

• Message Boards (external websites)
• Old Corral Changes/Updates
• Links to other websites
• Search the Old Corral
• Acknowledgments & Thanks
• AOL Users - Read This
• Viruses/Trojans/Worms/Hoaxes/Chain E-mails
• Chuck Anderson's Biography
• About the Old Corral Website
• Trapped inside someone's frames? Click Here to break free!



Have Gun -- Will Travel



Richard Allen Boone (June 18, 1917 – January 10, 1981) was an American actor who starred in over fifty films.

Boone was born in Los Angeles, California. He worked in several odd jobs, including boxing and painting, before serving in World War II in the US Navy. He later studied acting in New York, and in 1950, Boone made his screen debut as a Marine in Halls of Montezuma. He starred in three movies with John Wayne: The Alamo as Sam Houston, Big Jake and The Shootist.

From 1954 to 1956, Richard Boone starred in The Medic television show, receiving an Emmy nomination for Best Actor Starring in a Regular Series in 1955.

However, it was his second show that Boone became a national star with his Paladin character in Have Gun, Will Travel. The show ran from 1957 to 1963, with Boone receiving two more Emmy nominations in 1959 and 1960. During the 1960s Boone also appeared regularly on other television programs. For example, he did stints as both a guest panelist and as one of the What's My Line? Mystery Guests on the popular Sunday Night CBS-TV quiz show.

After Have Gun, Will Travel, Boone had his own anthology television show called The Richard Boone Show. Even though it only aired from 1963 to 1964, he received his fourth Emmy nomination in 1964. Along with The Danny Kaye Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Richard Boone Show won a Golden Globe for Best Show in 1964.

He continued to star in many more movies, commonly as villains, with his pock-marked face, tobacco-fuelled bass voice and sullen demeanor a gift to directors of his most notable films, The Raid (1954), Man Without a Star (1955 King Vidor), The Tall T (1957 Budd Boetticher), The Alamo (1960 John Wayne), The War Lord (1965 Franklin Schaffner), Hombre (1967 Martin Ritt), The Arrangement (1968 Elia Kazan) and The Shootist (1976 Don Seigel). In 1965, he won the third place Laurel Award for Action Performance (Sean Connery won first place with Goldfinger and Burt Lancaster won second place with The Train).

In his final role, he played Commodore Matthew Perry in Bushido Blade. He died soon afterward of throat cancer in St. Augustine, Florida






Have Gun, Will Travel transplanted the chivalric myth to television's post-Civil War west. The hit CBS series aired from 1957 to 1963 and was centered on Paladin, an educated knight-errant gunslinger who, upon payment of $1,000, would leave his well-appointed suite in San Francisco's Hotel Carlton to pursue whatever mission of mercy or justice a well-heeled client commissioned. Paladin was played by Richard Boone, an actor who had risen to TV fame in 1954 with his intense portrayal of Dr. Konrad Styner, the host/narrator of the reality-based hospital drama, Medic.

Have Gun was created by Sam Rolfe and Herb Meadow, two innovative ex-radio writers who had been tipped that CBS was in the market for a cowboy show with a "different" twist. They thereupon fashioned the first truly adult TV western--a story centered on a cultured gunfighter who had named himself Paladin after the legendary officers of Charlemagne's medieval court. A gourmet and connoisseur of fine wine, fine women, and Ming Dynasty artifacts, Paladin would quote Keats, Shelley, and Shakespeare with the same self-assurance that he brought to the subjugation of frontier evildoers.

Because the entire concept revolved around Paladin, its success hinged on the ability of his portraying actor to, in creator Rolfe's words, "'play a high-IQ gunslinger and get away with it.'" (Edson, 1960). When western movie icon Randolph Scott (the first choice for the role) was unavailable, the producers turned to Richard Boone who, they were overjoyed to find, actually could ride a horse. Boone's intimidating growl, prominent nose and pock-marked visage physically distanced him from the standard fresh-faced cowboy hero in the same way that his character's cultured background distinguished him from those prairie-tutored rustics. After watching Paladin muse about Pliny and Aristotle, one television critic marveled, "'Where else can you see a gun fight and absorb a classical education at the same time?'" (Edson, 1960).

The show's identifying graphic was Paladin's calling card--bearing an image of the white knight chess piece and the inscription, "Have Gun, Will Travel . . . Wire Paladin, San Francisco." The responses that these cards generated were brought to Paladin by the show's only other continuing character--an Oriental hotel minion named Hey Boy (Hey Girl in 1960-61 when actress Lisa Lu temporarily replaced actor Kam Tong who had moved to another series). Without an ensemble cast, the entire weight of the series rested on Richard Boone's shoulders. Paladin's mannerisms and motivations had to be what propelled and interlocked the show's episodes from week to week and season to season.

A genuine descendent of Kentucky frontiersman Daniel Boone, method actor Richard successfully met this challenge both on camera and off, directing several dozen of the later episodes himself. The sophisticated elegance of his character also brought him more loyal feminine fan mail than was received by any of his more photogenic cowboy contemporaries. The show's off-beat quality was further enhanced by its practice of using mainly new writers who had not been drilled in conventional saddlesoap story lines. Have Gun became an immediate hit, ranking among the top five shows in its first season and was the consistent number three program from 1958-61. But by early 1962, Boone was growing weary of the project and felt it had run its course. "Every time you go to the well, it's a little further down," he lamented. "It's sad, like seeing a (Sugar) Ray Robinson after his best days are past. You wish he wouldn't fight any more, and you could just keep your memories" (Newsweek, 1962).

Have Gun's distinctive inverting of the television horse opera provided many memories to keep. In virtually every episode, Paladin would be seen in ruffled shirt, sipping a brandy or smoking a fifty-eight-cent cigar before or after embarking on his latest paid-in-advance assignment to the hinterland. Like Captain Marlowe from Conrad's Heart of Darkness, he was always the brooding observer as well as the valiant if somewhat vexed participant. Unlike the archetypal western hero, Paladin wore black rather than white, complete with an ebony hat embellished by a band of silver conches and a holster embossed with a silver chess knight. He sported a villain's mustache and wasn't enamored of his horse; declining even to justify its existence with an appealing name. And he seemed to relish the adventures of the mind--his chess matches and library--far more than the frontier confrontations from which he drew his livelihood.

As articulator of Have Gun's central premise, its theme song, The Ballad of Paladin, became a success in its own right. Sung by the aptly-named Johnny Western and written jointly by Western, Boone and series creator Rolfe, the tune was a hit single in the early 1960s. The first words of the lyric encapsulated both the show's motivating graphic and the chivalric roots of its central character:

Have gun, will travel reads the card of a man A knight without armor in a savage land.

Occasionally, this unshielded self-sufficiency would cause Paladin (again like Conrad's Marlowe) to turn on his employers when he determined them to be the unjust party. For a nation that, in 1957, was just becoming politically aware of cowering conformity's injustices, this may have been Have Gun's most potent, if most understated, element.

-Peter Orlick






Marshal Matt Dillon is a fictional character featured on both the radio and television versions of Gunsmoke. Dillon is the U.S. Marshal of Dodge City, Kansas who works to preserve law and order in the western frontier of the 1870's.

On radio, Dillon was portrayed by William Conrad, whose booming voice helped to project a larger than life presence.

In the opening of most radio episodes, the announcer would describe the show as "the story of the violence that moved west with young America, and the story of a man who moved with it." Matt Dillon would take over, saying, "I'm that man, the first man they look for and the last they want to meet. It's a chancy job, and it makes a man watchful . . . and a little lonely." Dillon narrated many of the radio episodes, and in radio and to a lesser extent on television, he often struggled with the dangers and reality of his job and the tragic results of most situations. In both versions, too, his closest friends were his deputy Chester, physician Doc Adams, and Miss Kitty Russell, the saloon girl. On radio, Marshal Dillon often referred to his good friend Wild Bill Hickock.

In a 1949 audition show (or pilot) for the radio series, the character was named "Mark Dillon," but by 1952, when the regular series aired, he had become Matt Dillon. When the program came to television in 1955, James Arness was given the role, and would play it for the next twenty years.

James Arness (originally Aurness) (born May 26, 1923 in Minneapolis, Minnesota) is an actor best known for portraying Marshal Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke for 20 years, a record length for prime time shows that is shared with Kelsey Grammer’s portrayal of Dr. Frasier Crane. Arness's parents were Rolf Cirkler Aurness and Ruth Duesler, descendants of German and Norwegian immigrants. Arness is the older brother of actor Peter Graves. He was the tallest actor ever to play a lead role, standing 6' 7" (2.01 m).

Though primarily identified with Westerns, he also is remembered for appearing in two science fiction films, The Thing from Another World and Them!

James Arness served in the United States Army during World War II and was severely wounded at the Battle of Anzio. He was a close personal friend of John Wayne's and co-starred in a film with him called Big Jim McClain. In fact, Wayne recommended Arness for the role of Matt Dillon.

Since Gunsmoke ended, Arness has continued to perform primarily in western-themed movies and television series, including How the West Was Won, and five made-for-television Gunsmoke reunion movies between 1987 and 1994. A notable exception was a brief turn as a big city policeman in the short-lived 1981 series, McClain's Law.

For his contribution to the television industry, James Arness has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1751 Vine Street. In 1981, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


  Gunsmoke was a long-running old-time radio and television Western drama program set in Dodge City, Kansas during the settlement of the American West.

It was created by director Norman Macdonnell and writer John Meston


The radio show first aired on April 26, 1952 and ran until June 18, 1961 on the CBS radio network. The series starred William Conrad as Marshal Matt Dillon, Howard McNear as Doc Charles Adams, Georgia Ellis as Kitty Russell, and Parley Baer as Deputy Chester Proudfoot. Doc's first name and Chester's last name were changed for the television program.

Gunsmoke was notable for its critically acclaimed cast and writing, and is commonly regarded as one of the finest old time radio shows.

Some listeners (such as old time radio expert John Dunning) have argued that the radio version of Gunsmoke was far more realistic than the television program. Episodes were aimed at adults, and featured some of the most explicit content of the day: there were violent crimes and scalpings, massacres and opium addicts. Miss Kitty's occupation as a prostitute was made far more obvious on the radio version than on television. Many episodes ended on a down-note, and villains often got away with their crimes.


The television show ran from September 10, 1955 to September 1, 1975 on CBS for 635 episodes. To this day it is the longest run of any single entertainment series with continuing characters in prime-time TV in the United States.

Conrad was the first choice to play Dillon on television, having established the role, but his increasing obesity led to more photogenic actors being considered; losing the role he'd created embittered Conrad for many years to come. Raymond Burr was considered, but he too was seen as too heavyset for the part. Rumors that the part was offered to John Wayne have been largely debunked.

The primary roles were recast, and Macdonnell had nothing to do with the television version of Gunsmoke, but Meston stayed on as head writer.

James Arness played Marshal Matt Dillon throughout its 20-year run, the longest uninterrupted period any actor has played the same role in the same show in prime time. (Kelsey Grammer has since tied the role-playing record as Frasier Crane, but that role spanned two different shows, Cheers and Frasier). Actors possibly asked to play Matt Dillon on TV before Arness included Denver Pyle. It was John Wayne who recommended Arness for the part, and "The Duke" also introduced the first episode of the series.

Dillon's assistant/deputy was at first Chester Goode, played by Dennis Weaver, then Festus Haggen, played by Ken Curtis. Other important ongoing characters were the town doctor, Doc Adams (Milburn Stone) and the saloon girl, later saloon owner, Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake). While Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty clearly had a close personal relationship, viewers were seldom offered a deep look into that side of Dodge City life.

There were character differences between the radio and TV characters. The radio series Doc was acerbic, somewhat mercenary, and at times, came close to being alcoholic. The television Doc, though crusty, was in many ways softer and warmer. Another difference in characters was Miss Kitty, who in the radio series was just a saloon girl, not the owner, and it was often hinted that she did more than serve customers. Producer Norman MacDonnell put it bluntly in an interview with Time magazine: "We never say it, but Kitty is a prostitute, plain and simple." On television, if the Long Branch did house prostitutes, the show put a good spin on Miss Kitty and viewers were never made privy to what exactly she did besides run the Long Branch saloon.

From 1955 to 1961, Gunsmoke was a half-hour show. It then went to an hour-long format for the rest of its long run. From 1955 to 1966, it was in black and white, then in color from 1966 to 1975. In the early 1960s, older episodes of the series were rebroadcast under the title Marshal Dillon.

In 1967, the show's twelfth season, CBS planned to cancel the series, but widespread viewer response — it was even mentioned in Congress — along with domestic pressure on the CBS head of programming by his wife, convinced them to continue it in the early evening on Mondays instead of Saturday nights. This seemingly minor change led to a spike in ratings that saw the series once again reach the top 20 in the Nielsen ratings before fading again before its cancellation in 1975. Gunsmoke was the show that ushered in the age of the adult western, which brought about Bonanza, Wagon Train and literally a hundred others. Ironically, it also was the last western still airing when it was cancelled. James Arness and Milburn Stone were the only 2 original series regulars to remain with the series for the entire duration of its 20-season run.

In 1987, many of the original cast reunited for the made-for-television film, Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge, which was filmed in Alberta, Canada. This was a huge ratings success and led to four more reunion films being filmed in the U.S.: Gunsmoke: The Last Apache (1990), Gunsmoke: To the Last Man (1992), Gunsmoke: The Long Ride (1993), and Gunsmoke: One Man's Justice (1994). The series also inspired a Gunsmoke video game produced for the NES by Capcom.

As of the start of 2005, two American series are aiming at matching or beating Gunsmoke's 20-year record. The sitcom The Simpsons, now in its 17th season, has been renewed through its 20th season, whilst the police procedural/courtroom drama Law & Order, now in its 16th year, is also expected to be a possible 20-year survivor. WWE RAW claims to have aired more shows than Gunsmoke as of a July 25th airing; this claim has yet to be conclusively validated and RAW is considered a sports, rather than dramatic or comedic, series.

In syndication, the entire 20-year run of Gunsmoke is separated into three packages by CBS Paramount Television:

  • 1955-1961 half-hour episodes: These episodes are sometimes aired in their original aired format, and sometimes in the Marshal Dillon format. These ceased general syndication in the 1980s, but do air from time to time on cable TV.
  • 1961-1966 one-hour Black and White episodes: These episodes have not been widely seen in regular syndication since the 1980s. Currently the one hour episodes are aired on the Encore Westerns channel.
  • 1966-1975 one-hour Color episodes: These are the most widely syndicated episodes of the entire series' run, and are still aired on many television stations in addition to its run on the TV Land cable channel.

Regular Cast, Major Characters

Regular Cast, Minor Characters

  • Clem (bartender; 1959-61): Clem Fuller
  • Sam (bartender; 1961-73): Glenn Strange
  • Rudy (bartender; 1965-67): Rudy Sooter
  • Floyd (bartender; 1974-75): Robert Brubaker
  • Quint Asper (blacksmith; 1962-1965): Burt Reynolds
  • "Thad" - Deputy Clayton Thaddeus Greenwood (1965-1967): Roger Ewing
  • Newly O'Brien (gunsmith; 1967-1975): Buck Taylor
  • Wilbur Jonas (storekeeper, 1955-63): Dabbs Greer
  • Howie Uzzell (hotel clerk, 1955-75): Howard Culver
  • Moss Grimmick (stableman; 1955-63): George Selk
  • Jim Buck (stagecoach driver; 1957-62): Robert Brubaker
  • Louie Pheeters (town drunk; 1961-70): James Nusser
  • Ma Smalley (boardinghouse owner; 1961-72): Sarah Selby
  • Hank Miller (stableman; 1963-75): Hank Patterson
  • Mr. Bodkin (banker; 1963-70): Roy Roberts
  • Barney Danches (telegraph agent; 1965-74): Charles Seel
  • Roy (townsperson; 1965-69): Roy Barcroft
  • Halligan (rancher; 1966-75): Charles Wagenheim
  • Mr. Lathrop (storekeeper; 1966-75): Woody Chambliss
  • Nathan Burke (freight agent; 1966-75): Ted Jordan
  • Percy Crump (undertaker; 1968-72): Kelton Garwood
  • Ed O'Connor (rancher; 1968-72): Tom Brown
  • Judge Brooker (1970-75): Herb Vigran
  • Dr. John Chapman (1971): Pat Hingle
  • Miss Hannah (saloon owner; 1974-75): Fran Ryan




The Cast of Bonanza

Bonanza on the cover of TV Guide magazine.

Bonanza on the cover of TV Guide magazine.



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Bonanza logo was superimposed upon a map of a wild west frontier area.

The Bonanza logo was superimposed upon a map of a wild west frontier area.

Bonanza was an American western/cowboy television program, the first regularly broadcast American television program to be filmed in color. It aired on NBC from September 12, 1959 through January 16, 1973.

From 1961 to 1972 it aired on Sunday nights. This timeslot was crucial to the success of the show: from 1964 until 1967, the show was #1 in the yearly Nielsen ratings. In terms of longevity, the show was the second-most popular western in the history of television, behind Gunsmoke.

Bonanza got its name from the Comstock Lode which was "an exceptionally large and rich mineral deposit" of silver. Virginia City was founded directly over the lode and was mined for 19 years. Ponderosa was an alternative title of the series, often used for the broadcast of syndicated reruns in the 1970s and 1980s.

The show chronicled the weekly adventures of the Cartwright family, headed by widowed patriarch Ben Cartwright (played by Lorne Greene). He had three sons, each by a different wife: Joseph or "Little Joe" (Michael Landon); Adam (Pernell Roberts); and Eric, better known to viewers by his nickname of "Hoss" (Dan Blocker). The family's cook was the Chinese immigrant Hop Sing (Victor Sen Yung). The family lived on a thousand-square-mile ranch called "The Ponderosa", on the shore of Lake Tahoe in Nevada; the name refers to the Ponderosa Pine, common in the West. The nearest town to the Ponderosa was Virginia City, where the Cartwrights would go to converse with Sheriff Roy Coffee (played by veteran actor Ray Teal). Greene, Roberts, Blocker, and Landon were equal stars. The opening credits rotated among four versions, with each of the four being shown first in one version (in the order above).

An accidental running gag, which also occurs in the TV western The Big Valley, was that every time one of the Cartwright sons became seriously involved with a woman, as soon as he was married, she was killed off or died gruesomely in the same episode. This also occurred in the case of the patriarch, Ben Cartwright, whose sons were each born to a different wife, and when shown in flashback episodes, each wife died in the same episode, except for the wife who gave birth to Hoss who lasted two episodes.

The cast was very popular with viewers, and Lorne Greene recorded several record albums in character as Ben Cartwright, scoring a #1 hit with his dramatic spoken word performance of "Ringo".

The show slowly lost its original format when Pernell Roberts left the series in 1965 after a dispute with the show's writers. The show still drew high viewing figures with just two Cartwright brothers, but it slowly dropped out of the number-one spot that it had held for so long. When the show's creator, David Dortort, named himself executive producer in 1967, handing production duties to Robert Blees and removing himself from the day-to-day running of the show in order to spend more time producing the series The High Chaparral, the show's popularity waned even more. In 1967, David Canary joined the cast as Candy Canaday, a drifting cowboy-turned-ranch foreman; a popular addition to the cast, he left in 1970 due to a contract dispute.

In 1970, 14-year-old Mitch Vogel joined the series as Jamie Hunter, the orphaned son of a rainmaker. Ben adopted Jamie in a 1971 episode, and once again Ben had three sons; this was not to last.

In 1972, after the sudden death of Dan Blocker, the show was moved to Tuesday nights. Both moves signaled the end of the program. Canary returned to his former role of Candy (to make up for Blocker's absence), and a new character named Griff King (played by Tim Matheson) was added. Griff was a one-time outlaw who was paroled into Ben's custody and got a job as a ranch hand; several episodes were built around his character, one Matheson never had a chance to fully develop before the show's sudden demise in January 1973.

During the latter years of the series, Michael Landon began writing and directing episodes of Bonanza.

For 14 years the Cartwrights were the premier western family on American television and are still immensely popular on networks such as TV Land and Hallmark.

Following the program's cancellation it was brought back as several made-for-television movies. These include Bonanza: The Movie (1988), Back to Bonanza (1993), Bonanza: The Return (1993), Bonanza: Under Attack (1995), and Bonanza: The Next Generation (1995).

In 2001 there was an attempt to revive the series' ideas with a prequel, Ponderosa, with a pilot directed by Kevin James Dobson and filmed in Australia. Covering the time when the Cartwrights first arrived at the Ponderosa, it lasted 20 episodes.

Bonanza also featured a memorable theme song that is often parodied. Lorne Greene and the cast recorded versions of the song with lyrics. Although the Bonanza theme is one of the best known pieces of made-for-television music, it was not used for the entire run of the series. A new theme song was written in 1970 and replaced the oft-remembered tune that fall.

The program's Nevada set, the Ponderosa Ranch, operated as an amusement park from 1967 until September 2004, remaining a popular attraction for a considerable period after the program's cancellation.

Famous director Robert Altman (Nashville (1975 film)) directed some episodes of the show.



The Rifleman


Kevin Joseph Aloysius Connors, better known by his professional name of Chuck Connors (April 10, 1921 – November 10, 1992), was an American actor and professional basketball and baseball player.

Of Irish heritage, Connors was the son of Allan and Marcella (nee Lundrigan) Connors of Placentia Bay, Newfoundland who emigrated to Brooklyn, New York in 1920. Connors grew up with a sister named Gloria. He attended a private high school and later attended Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. He then dropped out in 1942 to join the Army at Camp Campbell, Kentucky and next went to West Point.

After his military discharge in 1946, he joined the newly formed Boston Celtics of the Basketball Association of America, but left the team for spring training with Major League Baseball's Brooklyn Dodgers. He played for numerous minor league teams before joining the Dodgers in 1949 for a few weeks. Later, in 1951 he also played for the Chicago Cubs. He was then sent to the minor leagues again, in 1952, to the Cubs' top farm team at the time, the Los Angeles Angels. Playing baseball near Hollywood proved to be fortuitous. He was spotted by an MGM casting director and cast in the upcoming Tracy-Hepburn film Pat and Mike, in which he played a state police captain.

Connors was best known for his television work. He appeared in a 1954 episode of The Adventures of Superman titled Flight to the North, in which he played a good-natured (and very strong) backwoods fellow named Sylvester J. Superman.

He starred in the television Western series The Rifleman (1958-1963) and Branded (1965-1966), as well as the 1967 Cowboy in Africa TV series, alongside Ronald Howard and Tom Nardini. In 1973 and 1974 he hosted a television series called Thrill Seekers. He had a key role as a slaveowner in the famous 1977 miniseries Roots.

In 1991, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Connors was frequently a supporter of the Republican Party, and attended a few fundraisers for campaigns of President Richard Nixon, who reportedly was a fan of Connors.

Chuck Connors died of lung cancer in 1992 at the age of 71 in Los Angeles, California.

"Chuck Connors" is also a character in O. Henry's short story "Sisters of the Golden Circle" which says that he led reform in New York in O. Henry's time.



  The Rifleman

Premiered: September 30, 1958

The Rifleman was a television program that ran from 1958 to 1963. The black-and-white western starred Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain, a widower and Union veteran of the Civil War. McCain and his son Mark (Johnny Crawford) lived on a ranch just outside the fictitious town of North Fork, New Mexico Territory. Regulars on the program included Sheriff Micah Torrance (Paul Fix), Sweeney the bartender, and a half-dozen other denizens of North Fork.

According to network publicists, the series was set in the late 1880s. Unfortunately for historical accuracy, McCain seemed too young to have served in the Army 25 years earlier, as did guest stars who also portrayed veterans of America's Bloodiest War. Further complicating the issue, the famous rifle carried by McCain was made in the 1890s, yet had obviously seen years of use, and been the source of the nickname by which he was known far and wide.

Westerns were extremely popular when The Rifleman premiered, forcing television producers to find gimmicks to distinguish one show from another. The Rifleman's gimmick was a modified Winchester rifle with a trigger mechanism allowing for rapid-fire shots. Connors demonstrated its rapid-fire action during the opening credits as McCain dispatched an unseen bad guy on North Fork's main drag. Although the rifle may have appeared in every episode, it was not always fired, as some plots did not lend themselves to violent solutions, e.g., a cruel teacher at Mark's one-room school.

The various episodes of The Rifleman promote fair play toward one's opponents, neighborliness, equal rights, and the need to use violence in a highly controlled manner ("A man doesn't run from a fight, Mark," McCain tells his son, "But that doesn't mean you go looking to run TO one!"). In other words, the program's villains tend to be those who cheat, who refuse to help people down on their luck, who hold bigoted attitudes, and who see violence as a first resort rather than the final option. Indeed, a curious aspect of the program is that when they meet African-Americans, the people of North Fork are truly color-blind. In The Most Amazing Man, a black man (played by Sammy Davis, Jr.) checks into the only hotel in town; for the entire show, no one notices his race. Not only is this noteworthy for the 1880s setting, it was radical for Hollywood of the early 1960s. While the message was clear, it was neither heavy-handed nor universal. A certain amount of xenophobia drifts around North Fork, however, forcing McCain to defend the right of a Chinese immigrant to open a laundry (The Queue) and the right of an Argentine family to buy a ranch (The Gaucho). This racial liberalism does not extend to villains, however. The Mexicans in The Vaqueros are indolent, dangerous, and speak in the way of most Mexican outlaws in Westerns of the time.

Another fundamental value of the series is that people deserve a second chance. Sheriff Micah Torrance is a recovering alcoholic and McCain once gave an ex-con a job on his ranch (see The Jailbird). Royal Dano appeared as a former Confederate soldier, given a job on the McCain ranch, who encounters the Union soldier who had cost him his arm in battle. The soldier, now a general, arranges for medical care for the wounded former foe, quoting Abraham Lincoln's orders to "Bind up the Nation's wounds."

In retrospect, The Rifleman holds up better than most Westerns of its era, partly because Connors fit so well into the role (his gravestone reads "The Rifleman") and partly because the father-son interactions between Connors and Crawford seem genuine. And the Lucas McCain character has an angry, vindictive streak that makes him more human. Finally, the lighting and camera angles give the program a mildly artistic look. A young Sam Peckinpah developed the series and wrote the scripts for several episodes. The excellent musical score for the series was composed by Elmer Bernstein.

The Residents of North Fork:

Lucas McCain....................................Chuck Connors
Mark McCain.......................................Johnny Crawford
Marshal Micah Torrance...................Paul Fix
Sweeney, the bartender....................Bill Quinn
May Sweeney, the bartender's wife.Helen Beverly
Charlie Willard, storekeeper............Russell Collins
Hattie Denton (1958-1960)..............Hope Summers
Miss Milly Scott (1960-1962)...........Joan Taylor
Lou Mallory (1962-1963)..................Patricia Blair
Eddie Holstead, The Hotel Clerk...John Harmon
Nels Svenson, the blacksmith.......Joe Higgins
Nels Svenson, the blacksmith.......John Dierkes
Dr. Jay Burrage..................................Edgar Buchanan
Dr. Jay Burrage..................................Jack Kruschner
Dr. Jay Burrage..................................Ralph Moody
Angus Evans, the gunsmith............Eddie Quinlan
Ruth, a hotel waitress......................Amanda Ames
John Hamilton, the banker..............Harlan Warde
Miss Aggie Hamilton........................Sarah Selby
Josh Moore, Hardware Store..........Charles Tannen
Toomey, the undertaker...................Robert Foulk
Freddy Toomey, undertaker's son..Robert Crawford

Come along to North Fork and see how Lucas struggles to build a ranch and make a home for his son on this newly settled land.  He teaches his son to appreciate the wild and beautiful country that surrounds know the meaning of bravery and courage...the necessity of tolerance and understanding...the wisdom behind justice...and the physical skills for a youngster living in an untamed land. To believe and trust in the Lord and to use violence as a last resort.





Rawhide Picture

Keep movin', movin', movin',
Though they're disapprovin',
Keep them dogies movin', Rawhide.
Don't try to understand 'em,
Just rope 'em, throw
and brand 'em.
Soon we'll be livin' high
and wide.
My heart's calculatin',
My true love will be waitin',
Be waitin' at the end of my ride.
Move 'em on, head 'em up,
Head 'em up, move 'em on,
Move 'em on, head 'em up, Rawhide!
Head 'em out, ride 'em in,
Ride 'em in, let 'em out,
Cut 'em out, ride 'em in, Rawhide!
Keep rollin', rollin', rollin',
Though the streams are swollen,
Keep them dogies rollin', Rawhide.
Through rain and wind and weather,
Hell bent for leather,
Wishin' my gal was by my side.
All the things I'm missin',
Good vittles, love and kissin',
Are waiting at the end of my ride.
Move 'em on, head 'em up,
Head 'em up, move 'em on,
Move 'em on, head 'em up, Rawhide!
Head 'em out, ride 'em in,
Ride 'em in, let 'em out,
Cut 'em out, ride 'em in, Rawhide!

Rawhide Artwork

A brief synopsis of every Rawhide episode!

Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates

Clint Eastwood played Rowdy Yates for 7 years on T.V.'s Rawhide. Here are a few things you may not have known about young Rowdy.

Did you know...

Rowdy went to war at the age of 16 (Incident at Poco Tiempo, 1960).

In Rio Salado (1961), Rowdy meets up with his drunken lout of a father Dan Yates. It seems he ran out on Rowdy and his mother some years before, cites wanderlust as his justification. Not the noble fellow his son turned out to be, as is evidenced by his willingness to shoot a fellow (admittedly a bandit, but a nice bandit) in the back in the episode. He's killed in the end by the dead man's friends.

Mother was not happy about Rowdy becoming a drover (Incident near the Promised Land, 1960).

In Clash at Broken Bluff, 1965, Rowdy claims that he had a stepmother. So does that mean that Dan Yates got married again after running out on his family? What's the story?


Long before his days as an accomplished leading actor and acclaimed director, before his sleek portrayals of Dirty Harry Callahan and The Man With No Name made him an instant star, Clint Eastwood was another Hollywood contract player trying to make ends meet appearing in small unmemorable roles in Hollywood B-movies. However, in 1959 that was all about to change.

When 'Rawhide' made it's television premier on January 9th, Eastwood's career took off. The series went on to become a major hit giving Eastwood the experience and knowledge of a business that he would ultimately master.

The year was 1958 and in America the tubes were saturated with westerns. The public's appetite was insatiable. Every night, people were glued to the likes of 'Cheyenne', 'Maverick', 'Bronco', 'Lawman', 'Gunsmoke', 'The Rifleman', 'Wyatt Earp', 'Sugarfoot', 'Have Gun Will Travel' and the real biggie of the time 'Wagon Train' with Ward Bond.

Amidst all this was Charles Marquis Warren, writer, producer, director, especially of Westerns. He had been instrumental in adapting 'Gunlaw' (which became 'Gunsmoke') from radio to television in 1955. Warren had just finished working on the western film "Cattle Empire" with Joel McCrea when C.B.S. was looking for an answer to 'Wagon Train'.

Warren was approached and asked to come up with an idea for a Western series to capture the public's imagination. This of course was a major obstacle in itself, just about every conceivable sort of Western show had been done, or at least was being done right now! However Warren had enjoyed "Cattle Empire" and decided he would depict a show that centered around a long, hazardous cattle drive, featuring the drovers and their daily problems, plus of course, the many characters they would meet along the way.

You could easily see a comparison to 'Wagon Train', but whereas that show would often degenerate into a glorified soap opera, 'Rawhide' would generally retain a gritty edge and sustain realism, seldom seen on the televisions of that era.

Actually, 'Rawhide' had three sources aside from Warren's contribution. Warren obviously took from the film "Cattle Empire", but for inspiration, he had a diary written by George C Duffield, who had been a drover in 1866, on a drive from San Antonio to Sedalia. This diary was a major aspect of 'Rawhide', especially during Warren's seasons. In these episodes, Gil Favor (Eric Fleming) would be seen at the beginning of each episode introducing himself, with what could easily be notes from his own diary.

The next source, was Borden Chase's novel The Chisholm Trail, which in itself inspired the final source and the one most closely associated with 'Rawhide'. "Red River" was an epic Western with John Wayne and Montgomery Clift. To a certain extent (and with some embellishments), Eric Fleming took on the Wayne role and Clint Eastwood, the Clift role.

Neither of these actors were well known at the time. Despite having played the lead in several films, Eric had still not hit the big time, and apart from "Conquest of Space" most of these films were low budget quickies. Clint had been the support or just in brief walk-ons, so at this time the two actors were delighted at the prospect at being the leads in a prime-time show.

Finally C.B.S. gave the go-ahead to film ten episodes and here is where we come to one of the 'Rawhide' myths. I will dispel all of these in this article.

Three episodes have been designated as the pilot. The most often quoted is 'Incident West of Lano' and this is totally incorrect. In actual fact this was the first episode filmed to have location footage. The next episode has been called the pilot because it was the first one to air but in fact it was not the first one filmed. The episode first to air was 'Incident of the Tumbleweed Wagon'. Warren picked this one to air first because the real pilot, 'Incident at Barker Springs' was disappointingly ponderous. 'Barker Springs' is however interesting because in the original filmed episode, Robert Carricart appears as Wishbone. He however was quickly replaced and his scenes refilmed with Paul Brinegar taking over the role. Both versions of the pilot are available in the States.

One cannot help but feel sorry for poor Carricart, he really missed his opportunity. C.B.S. wanted a comedy actor and Warren felt that Brinegar filled the part, he had been in Warren's film "Cattle Empire" as a cook. Previous to 'Rawhide' he had been a regular in 'Wyatt Earp' for a time.

An interesting note to "Cattle Empire" is the fact that a good observer could spot Steve Raines (Jim Quince), Rocky Shahan (Joe Scarlet), and Robert Cabal (Jesus). Another interesting fact about the original version of the pilot is that there is no Frankie Laine song, just a basic theme which resurfaced over the end credits of 'Rawhide's' last season.

Originally the show was to be titled "Cattle Drive" but wisely Warren amended this to 'Rawhide'. The rest of the cast aside from Eric Fleming, Clint Eastwood and Paul Brinegar consisted of Sheb Wooley as Pete Nolan, Rocky Shahan as Joe Scarlet, Steve Raines as Jim Quince, James Murdock as Mushy and occasionally John Erwin as Teddy, Don C. Harvey as Collins and John Cole as Bailey, (in fact John Cole can be seen in several other episodes as an Indian, rustler etc.). Robert Cabal as Hey Soos only appeared sporadically at first, his part grew later in the series. Later in the series others were to appear and this will be discussed later.

After ten episodes, C.B.S. got cold feet and decided there were too many westerns on the tube so 'Rawhide' was shelved. Naturally disappointed Eric and Clint moved on to other things. Clint appeared in a humorous 'Maverick' episode. Then just a month or two later C.B.S. reconsidered, 'Rawhide' would after all go ahead.

Warren himself had created one of the most famous lines in television history. "Head 'em up, move 'em out" became the catch phrase of the early sixties. Warren also had a hand in creating some of the positions worked by drovers on the herd, although most of these such as ramrod, drag and trail boss, were authentic.

Warren then set about casting for his show and quickly selected Eric Fleming after a screen test. He was the perfect choice for the part, as the rough trail boss. Tall, handsome and possessing a remarkable deep voice, he certainly had all the qualities required for the part. The second lead, of course, was to be Clint, and after a screen test with Eric, Warren decided they worked extremely well together.

It would be a mid-season replacement and would air on January 9th 1959. It's popularity was slow to come, it struggled for most of the first season however some excellent episodes in the second season ensured a rapid gain in popularity. It reached the number one slot several times in Britain and in the States it achieved a way high sixth during the 1960-61 season. Even the critics seemed to be won over.

During the show's first three seasons Charles Marquis Warren remained at the helm and he set out to provide a rigid format, gritty realism, great characters, great stories, nearly all centered around the cattle drive. From the beginning there was no doubt Eric was the lead as the tough, taciturn trail boss. He possessed an awesome inner strength that came out in the character of Gil Favor. In fact as the seasons progresses his character was to toughen up even more.

Second in command was Rowdy. Clint's role matured from the hot headed punk who originally was not featured much, but became an integral part of many story lines. Actually, some of Clint's finest moments on film can be seen in some of these shows.

Sheb Wooley also proved adept and featured prominently until 1962 when he left to purse his music career. He was sorely missed and did return for a short while during the 1964-65 season as well as an appearance or two in between years. He was replaced for some time by Charles Gray as Clay Forrester who never inspired the affection one felt for Pete Nolan.

Several years later when producer Warren left the show it was to signal the beginning of many changes. Some of the feel of authenticity was to be left behind. For example no more readings from Gil Favor's diary. However there was still many good episodes, some of them rather violent and some outrageous comedy. Endre Bohem was to take over as producer. It was promotion really, as he had been working with Warren on the show for some years. Therefore the characters remained much the same. However, the writing, storyline, and scheduling did not.

Clint eventually went on to become trail boss and the leading star of the series. Clint 's salary improved, reaching the neighborhood of about $100,000 a year toward the end of the run. C.B.S. even offered to defer part of his salary, which he took them up on. It saved taxes, and the money accrued interest while the network held it for his. Yet Clint has been quoted as saying that towards the end, he grew tired of portraying Rowdy Yates due to the fact that he never got to play a character with him that he wanted. There was no darkness in him, not even some odd quirks.

When the series was finally officially cancelled in 1966, Clint was ready for change - any change. Little did he know at the time that a small budgeted Italian western he had made during 'Rawhides' offseason was about to launch him into superstardom. That film of course, A Fistful of Dollars.



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