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What are Your Favorite Vintage Western Series?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by JohnHopper, Sep 16, 2018.

  1. Message #41 of 94 Sep 21, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
    Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Cinematographer

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    Gunsmoke, of course- it is the TV Western. Surprisingly, unlike other classis TV shows it has never been adapted for the big screen or subjected to a reboot. The TV-movies were basically sequels to the main series. Why hasn't CBS/Paramount considered a new version as either a film or series? For a film I'd envision Kevin Costner as Marshal Dillon, Susan Sarandon as Kitty, Bruce Dern as Doc, Luke Wilson as Newly, and Billy Bob Thornton as Festsus.
     
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  2. MartinP.

    MartinP. Second Unit

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    Wasn't twenty years of it enough?
     
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  3. ScottRE

    ScottRE Second Unit

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    Have Gun Will Travel is, by far, my favorite western. I always intend to pop in one episode and then realize I've just soaked up 5 or 6. I'm not even a fan of the genre, I just fell in love with this series. It's adult, tough and sometimes VERY "1950's cold." It has an edge to it and the stark music, whether specifically composed or taken from the CBS library, always helps maintain that grit.

    The acting and stories are generally great and Paladin is an amazing character. And I maintain that the fight scene in the opening of "Genesis" is the greatest and most convincing fight in the series.
     
  4. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Supporting Actor

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    What about Rawhide on the big screen?
    Who is gonna play Rowdy Yates?
    Scott Eastwood?
     
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  5. Arthur Powell

    Arthur Powell Stunt Coordinator

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    Zorro - one of my all time favorite shows
    Maverick - I like the James Garner episodes but not the Jack Kelly solo or post Garner-episodes. While I don't care for the Kelly solo episodes, the Kelly and Garner duo episodes are among the best of the series. Kelly and Garner worked very well with one another.
    Wild Wild West
     
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  6. Vic Pardo

    Vic Pardo Screenwriter

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    So you're envisioning a senior citizen version of Gunsmoke? Every one of those actors is decades older than the original actors were during the series run.

    Maybe if you're thinking of something like this, though...

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Darby67

    Darby67 Screenwriter

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    Thank you, Gary. It's always great to see a post from you pop up in these here parts! I hope you and the family are doing well.
     
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  8. ScottRE

    ScottRE Second Unit

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    Just watch the first 1:30 to get the best fight ever.

    Watch the whole thing for a great story...

     
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  9. ScottRE

    ScottRE Second Unit

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    And is it me, or do the first few seasons of Have Gun look like they were mastered from laserdiscs or something? Yikes...
     
  10. LouA

    LouA Screenwriter

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    This is a tough question .
    Off the top of my head :
    1)Have Gun Will Travel ( my all time favorite). Well written , great star , excellent theme!
    2)Gunsmoke Great stories , excellent ensemble cast + James Arness .
    3) Yancy Derringer - I just like the show !
    4)Wagon Train (hon. mention Frontier Circus) excellent guest stars driving each episode.
    5) Lone Ranger , Hoppy, Gene , Roy Rogers, Annie Oakley Sgt. Preston . Heroes for kids of all ages !
    6)Bonanza - The Cartwrights , the Ponderosa.
    7)Casey Jones , a western with trains !
    8) Sky King - A western with airplanes
    9)Grey Ghost - A Civil War western ( Honorable mention the Americans).
    10))The Rebel - Nick Adams and great stories !
    11) Restless Gun and The Texan . 2 forgotten but worthy shows .
    12) and I can't forget to mention the Disney Westerns . Davy Crockett, Zorro, Elfego Baca , Texas John Slaughter.
    13) Nor the Warner Bros westerns - Maverick. Sugarfoot , Bronco, Law Man , and my favorite WB western Cheyenne .
    Love them all and have collected them all on DVD!
    Plus , many more !!!!
     
  11. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Supporting Actor

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    I like the way you think, Lou...a very inclusive list. I completely understand...with the genre being such a favorite, it's probably easier for me to pick the few westerns I don't like so much (there are very few.) Heck, even those (to me) lesser ones are still pretty watchable. There was a general level of craft and entertainment value that most westerns achieved on a regular basis back then, that made for good viewing more often than not.
     
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  12. oldtvshowbuff

    oldtvshowbuff Supporting Actor

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    Tales of Wells Fargo, starring Dale Robertson as WF investigator Jim Hardie, tracking down road agents who would steal gold from stagecoaches and other crimes against the company. Been seeing it on Starz via Amazon Prime Video, and they're only the half-hour B&W episodes of seasons 1-5, season 6, hour format and in color not in the package, not as good as the earlier seasons with a supporting cast behind Robertson!
     
  13. Flashgear

    Flashgear Screenwriter

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    If there's just ONE episode that I think represents the epitome of greatness for TV Westerns, it's this one...Rawhide season one's Incident at Alabaster Plain (Jan. 16, 1959). Filmed at a World Heritage Site, the Spanish Mission of San Xavier del Bac...The "White Dove of the Desert"...The old mission, just outside Tucson, dates to 1691...was there ever a more beautifully dramatic setting as this in any Western? I think not...screen caps I took from the episode...
    Rawhide 1.JPG

    As the episode opens, the trail drive arrives at the mission in search of water...they just happen to arrive just in time to be invited guests at the wedding reception of two young locals...played by Troy Donahue and Suzanne Lloyd...rancher Joe DeSantis gives his daughter away in Holy Matrimony...
    Rawhide 2.JPG

    Gil Favor (the great Eric Fleming) watches the joyful wedding procession...this beautiful imagery reminds me of John Ford's My Darling Clementine...
    Rawhide 31.JPG


    This episode also features one of Rawhide's most memorable villains...the great Mark Richman as "Mastic"...he's evil as hell, and merciless too...a nasty fast gun, much feared in these parts...he goads Rowdy (Clint Eastwood) into a showdown...the Padre (played by the great Martin Balsam) pleads for calm as the hot headed but righteous Rowdy savors his anger and bides his time...
    Rawhide 33.JPG

    A close up of the gunslinger's heater...he taunts Rowdy: "This snake ain't on the ground boy. It's oiled and packed in leather"...
    Rawhide 34.JPG

    How evil is Mastic? Why, he kills his own Father at the wedding reception for his sister!

    This episode was directed by the unheralded Richard Whorf...he was an actor in the WB golden era, appearing in Yankee Doodle Dandy with James Cagney and Blues in the Night with Ida Lupino, among others, before directing television, where he is most noted for directing 67 episodes of Beverly Hillbillies...he died in 1966. His brilliant direction of the extended gunfight sequence in this episode is astounding...brilliantly staged, frantically paced over a large area, and supremely exciting! For me, it's the greatest gunfight in TV history...In my opinion, this easily matches the work done in the great Western feature films of the 1950s done by famous directors like Fred Zinnemann, John Ford, William Wyler, Anthony Mann, John Sturges or Budd Boetticher...or for that matter, Sergio Leone in the '60s...Richard Whorf was ably assisted by director of photography Philip Lathrop and assistant director Terence Nelson...as their cameras moved fluidly across the complex shot composition...a superbly staged and brilliantly executed 6 and a half minutes of gunplay...Wow!

    Mastic and his gun hands arrive at the mission...
    Rawhide 4.JPG

    Troy Donahue, Clint Eastwood and Martin Balsam...
    Rawhide 6.JPG
    Rawhide 7.JPG
    Rowdy dashes across the courtyard...incredible shot composition like this is cinematic in quality..
    Rawhide 8.JPG

    Gil tries to outflank Mastic and his gun hands, while they are taking aim at Rowdy running up the path...I just love the perspective here in this sophisticated framing...
    Rawhide 9.JPG
    Rawhide 11.JPG
    Rawhide 12.JPG

    Mastic is forced into the church and up the bell tower...
    Rawhide 16.JPG

    The enraged Rowdy in hot pursuit...
    Rawhide 18.JPG

    Mastic takes Gil under fire from the bell tower...
    Rawhide 20.JPG
    Rawhide 19.JPG

    The final encounter...
    Rawhide 24.JPG
    Rawhide 23.JPG
    Rawhide 25.JPG
    Rawhide 26.JPG

    What an astounding achievement for a newly broadcast weekly network TV show!...They could do this with permission at a renowned heritage site like this in 1958...in the overly sensitive, hyper anxious and tiresomely offended activist times we now live in, this would be a no - go...and this wouldn't be the last time that Rawhide would film at a spectacular site that would receive World Heritage or National Monument designation in the years to come...Cochise Stronghold and Casa Grande (among others) would also make for epic filming locations in season two...
     
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  14. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Supporting Actor

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    ¶ Episode #2 (S1)
    "Incident at Alabaster Plain"
    written by David Swift
    directed by Richard Whorf
    guests: Mark Richman, Martin Balsam, Troy Donahue, Joe de Santis, Suzanne Lloyd, Peter Mamakos

    It's a good mean gunslinger episode in which we learn a little bit about the life of Rowdy Yates because he meets an old friend named Buzz Travis from the Civil War who just got married with a rich Mexican woman. The guest cast is very good: Mark Richman as the vicious angry gunslinger Mastic returning home to get his due during the wedding party and Martin Balsam as Father Fabian. It's done like a grand drama and a western feature film. Note that Pete Nolan is depicted as a rough guy who play nasty tricks, especially on Wishbone.

    At last, the first sign-off scene appears and, furthermore, Gil Favor introduces his men at the start of Act 1 so let's hear it:
    "…But the way to even things up is to hire the best men in the business,
    and I got 'em—Pete Nolan, scout;
    Rowdy Yates, new as they come, but he's got the makings;
    Joe Scarlet, swing;
    Jim Quince, flank;
    and the man who can make-or-break the drive, the cook, Wishbone;
    and the cook's louse—his name is mushy.
    Now, somebody's got to kick this whole kit and caboodle along
    and that's me, Gil Favor, trail boss. I ride point."
     
  15. Message #55 of 94 Sep 23, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
    Bob Gu

    Bob Gu Screenwriter

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    Great episode! Stunning visuals! Best Gil Favor, trail boss, opening, and Suzanne Lloyd, too!! I am amazed at her output in the 50s and 60s. Even showed up in THE SAINT. She toured with Guy Williams promoting ZORRO.
    Guy%20Williams%20Zorro%20201%209-19-8.

    Notice, Rowdy kept Mastic's pistol at the end, and Eastwood kept the silver snake grips, in real life. He used them as The Man With No Name.
    41OkPVSrdsL. 41mOq4FQu1L.
    The snakes were detachable and easy to transfer to different pistol grips.
    thGJWRMWGX. thJTVFGOP7.

    James West/Bob Conrad used them too. Wonder if it is known who originally designed them?

    6f5b4bfdf6b34c60b928638adae9fc16. s-l1000.

    Speaking of Guy Williams, interesting to speculate what a different show BONANZA might have been if he did replace Pernell Roberts and stayed for the duration. If that happened he would not have done LOST IN SPACE.

    09aaf6dcecb16e43397093d471c9f1a8.

    I think Guy is riding Tornado here, too.

    JohnHopper, you mention putting RAWHIDE on the big screen. If they had revisited Rawhide in the 90s, Clint could of played old Rowdy, Sheb Wooley for old Pete, and I think Jack Palance , for Mr. Favor, and Geoffrey Lewis, for Mr. Wishbone, even though Lewis was actually five years younger than Clint.

    city_slickers_movie_image_jack_palance__1_. TMFO-Geoffrey-Lewis-10.

    Oh, Wait! Sorry Geoffrey, Paul Brinegar was still alive in the early 90s!

    08f65eca053ebe64dd7ec09ea716f58b.
     
  16. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Supporting Actor

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    Great picture!

    Too bad actor Eric Fleming died in 1966 during the shooting of an adventure film.

    Find the story at imdb:
    He acted in The Glass Bottom Boat in 1965, and he was hired by MGM-TV to film the two-part adventure program High Jungle in Peru. During the shooting of location shots on the Huallaga River on September 28, 1966, Fleming dove (intentionally?) from a dug-out canoe after paddling it beyond the rapids. His body was lost in the turbulent water and was not recovered until three days later.
     
  17. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Supporting Actor

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    Man, you guys are fonts of TV knowledge! Great stuff! I have never noticed Clint or James West's snake-handled pistol grips before...will be keeping an eye out for them from now on.

    I just picked up Rawhide season 1 last month, so I'm going to give this "Alabaster Plain" episode a spin, it looks terrific.
     
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  18. Message #58 of 94 Sep 24, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
    Bob Gu

    Bob Gu Screenwriter

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    The San Xavier del Bac Mission, also, appears in the feature, THE LONE RANGER AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD-1958.

    Here's a picture I found at Western Clippings. Must be 1961-62, since the cast of color Season 6 of TALES OF WELLS FARGO is there. Other shows represented: The Tall Man, Outlaws, Tombstone Territory, Laramie, National Velvet, Gunsmoke, and, Rawhide, Plus Iron Eyes Cody and actresses Suzanne Lloyd, (between Robert Fuller and Richard Eastman), and Joanna Moore?, (between Clint Eastwood and Frank McGrath), I think Moore's blocking Robert Horton or Dale Robertson, in the black hat. Probably taken at the old Republic back lot owned by Revue/Universal. Lloyd and Moore's dresses are seen so clearly we can probably figure out the series and episodes they were guesting on. Tombstone Territory was done at this point, so Eastman may have been guesting on another show too, or still promoting TT in syndication, at what ever was going on here.

    wt88_groupwithfuller western clippings.
     
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  19. oldtvshowbuff

    oldtvshowbuff Supporting Actor

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    The old Republic back lot at the time was being occupied by Four Star before the lot was bought by CBS and became the CBS Studio Center. Revue was on the Universal-International lot at the time before MCA bought Uni.
     
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  20. DavidDu

    DavidDu Auditioning

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    Interesting list of tv westerns from 1958. I only recognized about 60%.

     
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