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WAGON TRAIN -- 5th Season ( 1961-1962 )

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Executive, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. Executive

    Executive Stunt Coordinator

    Sep 26, 2010
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    I just bought the first full previously "missing" season in that very familiar metallic tin, after spotting it in a Fry's Electronics store earlier this month.
    5 of this group of 37 episodes were originally filmed in color. We know this from the end credits where it reads "Color Consultant : Alex Quiroga" , who also worked on the earliest seasons of The Virginian at Revue Studios. Consolidated Industries is where the color film processing was done on a few of those shows -- the rest at Pathe. What's more the Revue logo at the end is the very differently designed color version used on regularly-filmed color series from the studio at the time such as "The Kraft Mystery Theatre", the final year of "Tales of Wells Fargo" and later the first 2 seasons of The Virginian.
    Unfortunately NBC / Universal didn't seem to have the original color prints, and so all we have left are lesser-quality B & W copies.
    Those episodes were "The Kitty Albright Story" ( with Polly Bergen ), "The Jenna Douglas Story" ( Carolyn Jones ), and "The Lizbeth Ann Calhoun Story" ( Dana Wynter) from early in the year, and from the second half of this season, "The Amos Billings Story" with Paul Fix (then on a break from The Rifleman) and "The Lonnie Fallon Story" with future Virginian regular Gary Clarke and Alan Hale.
    Although the series wouldn't be regularly shot in color until it moved from NBC to ABC and expanded to 90 minutes in 1963, only these color episodes also feature different drawings of John McIntire and Robert Horton in the opening that don't match the rest of the season.
    That was Robert Horton's last year, and there were even more episodes than usual that he wasn't in.
    Flint McCollough's final episode "The Nancy Lee Davis Story" was interesting but a bit off. Although we're told (after the fact) that he decided to leave the wagon train. According to my episode guide, that was 4 shows before the end of the season.
    However, Flint is seen briefly at the end of "The Hiram Winthrop Story", an episode which is listed as the next to last and establishes that the train is close to Los Angeles en route north to San Francisco and their usual final destination : Sacramento. Since no mention was made of McCollough returning in that or any other show, I would recommend watching it before "The Nancy Lee Davis Story" ! :)
    One note about the season finale "The Heather Mahoney Story", and this isn't a spoiler :
    The running time on my copy is 38 minutes instead of the usual 49 or 50 !
    Did anyone else notice this ? :huh:
  2. oldtvshowbuff

    oldtvshowbuff Second Unit

    Mar 26, 2010
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    James Beer
    I haven't ordered season six of Wagon Train yet, but I'll do so later this spring, but if you have your copy of that set, let me know how it looks.

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