Wagon Train - Season 1

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by silverking, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. Ron Lee Green

    Ron Lee Green Supporting Actor

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    I got my set today and you weren't kidding. The pockets are extremely tight. Its very hard to pull the discs out.
     
  2. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    It's Kinda A bummer when I see the quality of the shows that Encore Westerns are running now. They apparently have been remasted, yet Timeless went for some 2nd gen stuff from collectors.
     
  3. oldtvshowbuff

    oldtvshowbuff Second Unit

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    Wagon Train has now rolled onto the Me-TV schedule on Saturdays @12 p.m E/11 a.m. C, and its the B&W episodes from the very beginning, season one. You know, the ones with Ward Bond and Robert Horton, so they're not exclusively on Encore Westerns, which I don't get, for I don't get cable or satellite, just OTA.
     
  4. GMBurns

    GMBurns Stunt Coordinator

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    Can someone make a recommendation for or against purchasing Wagon Train from Timeless? It's a show I've always been interested in and I'm finally starting to consider it. Are the shows watchable? Is there any way to purchase them in something other than a tin?
     
  5. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    The Timeless releases are, I think, good quality. Seems to be for sale at Amazon for c. $35, which is about a dollar per episode. As I'm sure you know, the TV Western for grown-ups was launched in 1955 with shows like Gunsmoke, which was a half-hour show done at first on a very low production budget. It was such a ratings hit, however, that in 1957 the bigger-budget Wagon Train debuted. It was an hour-long show that tried to do almost a mini-Western movie with each episode. The shows are mostly good and watchable, with big guest stars and lots of location photography. The DVDs usually have good enough picture quality. Like almost all Westerns of the time, however, there are sometimes racist stereotypes of "Indians," who once-in-a-while get shot down repeatedly almost videogame style. That can be bothersome imho, but you have to make some allowances for the era in which this show was made.

    The huge success of Wagon Train helped inspire other Westerns, including my favorite which I'll make a brief plug for: The Virginian, starring James Drury in the title role, which debuted in 1962. It was in some ways the high point of the TV Western. With a 90-minute timeslot (75 minutes without commercials) it really was a full little Western movie each week in color, with lots of location photography, as well as big guest stars like Lee Marvin, Robert Redford, etc. The Virginian also decided they didn't want to use the cliche of the yelling Indian, and with just a couple of exceptions they did that during the long run of the show. It has gunplay, but is less of a shoot-em-up Western than a drama set in the West. Mostly the long running time works, but it's true that a few episodes feel slow and padded. Wagon Train is a little more "action packed," but less sophisticated.

    Anyway, my bottom line is that Wagon Train is a good show, but The Virginian is even better imho. The picture quality for The Virginian is also better, because it was seemingly better preserved and had a more recent and thorough remaster. For some reason, first season of The Virginian costs only $15- $25, which is a bargain for 30 Western movies.
     
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  6. ScottDombrowski

    ScottDombrowski Second Unit

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    I would definitely recommend trying Wagon Train, at least the first season to see if you like it. I'd had various Columbia House tapes of the show and always liked it but just recently finally got around to buying the first season on DVD. I bought mine on Amazon and it didn't come in the metal tin. Mine came in a thick plastic case with multiple spindles inside that hold each disk. I find the picture quality to be really good and consider myself at least somewhat picky. It's definitely much better quality than some of the other Timeless sets I own such as Laramie, Laredo, and Cimarron Strip though I do consider those to be more than watchable too. As for the show itself, I don't think you can go wrong with Ward Bond as the wagon master and Robert Horton as Flint, the scout. Then you have some beautiful wide-open location scenery and a really great roster of guest stars with some truly big names from movies such as Bette Davis, Jane Wyman, Charles Laughton, Peter Lorre, Lee Marvin, Ronald Reagan, Mickey Rooney, Barbara Stanwyck, etc., along with a lot of then and future television stars like you see on most of the old western series. The episodes usually focus on the guest stars with the main cast integrated into the story though there are episodes that focus on Ward Bond and Robert Horton as far as ones that I've seen. Anyway, there are probably others who've seen more of the series than I have who could give you a better overview of the entire series, but I think this show ranks up there with the best western series and is of really high quality!
     
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