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Recommendations wanted for a vintage half hour western

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Josh Steinberg, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I just realized the first season of Gunsmoke had 39 episodes.
     
  2. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, they could really crank 'em out back then. The first season of Perry Mason had 39 one-hour episodes!
     
  3. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    You can see why I get annoyed that the shows I watch now only do 6-13 episodes! :D
     
  4. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    Really? The color seasons (I'm on 14 now) are like someone else mentioned in another thread like 50 minute Western movies. The remastered DVD's are fantastic.
     
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  5. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    You hit on one of the primary reasons HGWT trumps Gunsmoke for me. The location work is spectacular! Love the scenery in many of the episodes. And while I really do enjoy James Arness, I think Richard Boone is just a tad better. So his series wins out in my book.

    Gary “long live Paladin” O.
     
  6. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Really, I never cared for Gunsmoke when I watched it back in the 1960s and and 1970s. I watched the first two episodes of the first season tonight and they were fine.
     
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  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Same for me.
     
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  8. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Robert, I think Gunsmoke actually holds up better today than when it originally aired. I’m a bit too young to have seen it during its original run, but when I tried watching it in the ‘80s I didn’t care for it as I was a big fan of The Big Valley at that time. But when I started watching Gunsmoke when the DVD seasons began coming out I fell in love with the show and now I think it’s up there with the best TV Westerns (granted I haven’t seen seasons 14-20 yet).
     
  9. Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    You've already received many fine suggestions for reliably entertaining, if not outright great, half hour western series...Gunsmoke and Have Gun Will Travel are both two of the prestige "Adult" TV westerns of that era, often sophisticated, literate (especially HGWT) and surprisingly grim, and representing some of the best network television drama of the '50s and '60s. The short run (13 eps.) The Westerner is another gem. Same with Tate...For a lighter, comedic half hour 'western', you can't do better than the superb Yancy Derringer with the great Jock Mahoney. It strongly reminds me of the great, early seasons of Maverick.

    For shows most reminiscent of the Republic/Monogram B western template, perhaps Lone Ranger, Cisco Kid and others already mentioned.

    I also have a strong affinity for the great ZIV produced half hour westerns...Cisco Kid, Bat Masterson, Tombstone Territory and Mckenzie's Raiders are all available on DVD. Bat Masterson (from TGG) and Tombstone Territory (from TMG/Shout!) have been remastered, surprisingly, to the impeccable standards of the CBS sets...I took these screen caps from the Tombstone Territory set, from the first season episode, "Rose of the Rio Bravo" guest starring a very sexy and evil Kathy Nolan (The Real McCoys) and a young and gullible pre- Bonanza Michael Landon...
    A kathy 18.JPG
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  10. Vic Pardo

    Vic Pardo Screenwriter

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    "Have Gun Will Travel" had a great Season 2 episode, "The Moor's Revenge," with Vincent Price as a Shakespearean actor stopping in San Diego, where Paladin happens to be. Patricia Morison (who died last year at the age of 103!), a Broadway star and B-movie actress, played Price's wife and acting partner. They perform "Othello."

    There was also a Season 4 episode, "Fogg Bound," featuring Phileas Fogg, the lead character in "Around the World in 80 Days," passing through town and requiring Paladin to help him on his way.

    I recently watched a Season One episode, "Hey Boy's Revenge," about justice for Chinese railroad workers, featuring Kam Tong, Lisa Lu and Philip Ahn, with Bonanza's Pernell Roberts as the villain. "Gunsmoke" has a Season 1 episode like that, "The Queue," with Keye Luke.
     
  11. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    So, I watched the first episodes of Gunsmoke and Have Gun Will Travel last night, and I enjoyed both! I think I liked the Have Gun pilot ever so slightly more, but it was close.
     
  12. Message #32 of 70 Feb 11, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
    Gary OS

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    Josh, if you preferred (even slightly) the HGWT pilot over the Gunsmoke pilot you should know that “Matt Gets It” was a very highly rated episode for that 1st season. For me it is right at the top. But on the other hand, “Three Bells to Perdido” doesn’t even begin to approach the top episodes of that first season of HGTW. There are far better Paladin stories to come as you continue with that initial season. Of course, everyone’s mileage may vary but I stand firmly by that assessment.

    Gary “no disrespect intended to Gunsmoke” O.
     
  13. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Does Disney’s 1950s-ish Zorro show count as a western? I just realized that I bought that years ago but still haven’t watched it.
     
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  14. Vic Pardo

    Vic Pardo Screenwriter

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    I saw it as a kid, but never thought of it as a western. More of a swashbuckler. Fox's big-budget THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940), with Tyrone Power, is definitely always classified as a swashbuckler. However, in retrospect, I'm guessing the Disney show probably followed the template of the western more than it did the swashbuckler.
     
  15. GMBurns

    GMBurns Second Unit

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    Zorro is set in the western part of the country, so it maybe, kinda sorta could qualify....

    It is a ton of fun, so watch it anyway. Completely different in tone from Gunsmoke and HGWT, but still a blast.
     
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  16. Message #37 of 70 Feb 12, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
    Bob Gu

    Bob Gu Screenwriter

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    Of course Zorro is a western. So is Sgt. Preston and Hawkeye. All frontier stories. TV Guide was confused about this. They called some of them Adventures, Dramas, and Westerns.
    1957.
    The Disney Zorro is an excellent show. Great music by William Lava and fantastic stunts under the direction of the Yakima Canutt family. Zorro was the highest budgeted half-hour show, in 1957, as Disney doubled the ABC licensing fee. Which is tricky accounting since ABC bankrolled Disney Land.
    cbb3946d9dc93d341df032f864749644.
    Guy%20Williams%20Zorro%2053%202-4-5.
    Guy%20Williams%20Zorro%2073%202-4-5.

    025-zorro-theredlist.

    Some exciting stunts in this Zorro opening. I think this opening is from the second season or the 1966 syndicated run. The swirling Z in the beginning may have been a bumper from the first season, too, but I don't think it's on the DVDs. It's on one or two of the VHS white clamshell releases.
     
  17. Message #38 of 70 Feb 12, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
    BobO'Link

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    IMHO, Yes! It's part western, part swashbuckler, all fun. It's not a "traditional" western BUT Don Diego and his father own a ranch. It's really more like The Scarlet Pimpernel (fop by day, formidable swordsman and a quick-thinking escape artist fighting oppressors by night). It's a top 10 favorite from my childhood days and I still greatly enjoy the show. I get a thrill every time I hear the theme song.
     
  18. Mark McSherry

    Mark McSherry Stunt Coordinator

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    The fellow who plays Zorro, Guy Williams, has great charisma and screen presence. And in some episodes, Guy Williams gets to do to Jonathan Harris, what he couldn't do as 'Professor John Robinson' to 'Dr. Smith.' :)
     
  19. Bob Gu

    Bob Gu Screenwriter

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    And Dick Tufeld, the Robot's voice, was the announcer for Zorro.
     

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