Sunday, October 28, 2007
In 1958 ABC network launch the western television The Rifleman it was produced by Four Star Television. The western tv series cast Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain and Johnny Crawford as his son Mark lived on a ranch of North Fork, New Mexico Territory.
Paul Fix as Marshal Micah Torrance , Sweeney the bartender, and a half-dozen other denizens of North Fork. Fifty-one episodes of the series were directed by Joseph H. Lewis, the director of the classic film noir Gun Crazy (1950), which accounts for some of the show's virtuoso noir lighting and dark, brooding quality.
The series was set in the late 1880s according to the network publicists. McCain appears too young to be on the Army 25 years earlier, for historical accuracy, as did guest stars who also portrayed veterans of the Civil War. It seems that the time period was pretty much whatever a writer wanted to make it.
The 1st Season episode 39th, aired May 23rd, 1959 has a scene where a new grave stone has the year 1871 the year of death. The 45th episode "Tension" Second season, aired October 27th, 1959 makes reference to a robbery that occurred in 1871 which, according to one of the characters, was seven years earlier.
The western TV show series were extremely famous when The Rifleman premiered television producers find gimmicks to distinguish one show from another. The gimmick was a modified Winchester gun with a trigger mechanism allowing for rapid-fire shots. Connors displayed its rapid-fire action throughout the opening credits as McCain carried an unseen bad guy on North fork's main drag. furthermore the rifle may have showed in every episode, it was not constantly fired, as several plots did not allow themselves to violent solutions, A cruel teacher at mark's one-room school.
The several episodes of TV show series promote fair play toward one's opponents, neighborliness, same rights, along with the need to use violence in a highly controlled behavior. In other words, the program's bad guys tend to be those who cheat, who decline to help people down on their luck, who hold bigoted attitudes, also who see violence as a first resort rather than the last option. Indeed, a curious aspect of the program is that when they meet African-Americans, the people of North forks are actually color-blind.
Nevertheless , the TV show was created and developed by a young Sam Peckinpah, who would go on to become the last legendary director of classic Western movies Peckinpah, who wrote and directed many of the best episodes from the first season, based many of the characters and situations on real-life scenarios from his childhood growing up on a ranch. His insistence on violent realism and complex characterizations, as well as his refusal to sugarcoat the lessons he thought that the Rifleman's son needed to learn about life, soon put him at odds with the TV shows producers at Four Star Television. He left the show and created another classic TV series, "The Westerner," starring Brian Keith, which unfortunately was short-lived. The rifleman aired till 1963.
Friday, October 19, 2007
The television show Wanted: Dead or Alive was an American Western that ran for three seasons from 1958 till 1961, The leading man Steve McQueen, and was a spin-off of Trackdown in 1957-59, a western TV series featuring Robert Culp as a Texas Ranger. McQueen played bounty hunter Josh Randall. He carried a shortened Winchester 1892 Model carbine, called the "Mare's Leg," in a holster patterned after "gunslinger" holsters then popular in movies and television. Randall wore his holster on a belt with cartridges larger than what the real weapon carried to look more impressive. The original opening titles featured a black screen with ominous music with the flash and sound of the weapon as McQueen's character advanced to the front of the screen between the shots.
Randall was a bounty hunter with a relatively soft heart at times. He often donated his earnings to the needy, and would help his prisoners if they had bee
n wrongly accused.
Many viewers have panned this series. It was hockey and implausible at times. However, I recently watched the series again on the Westerns Channel and offer these observations:
When "Wanted" first came out the network TV was flooded with formulaic Warner Brothers westerns. With few exceptions they were all mostly repetitive and forgettable. My picks for exceptions are, obviously, Gunsmoke, which stood above the others, Have Gun Will Travel, Maverick and Josh Randall's Wanted Dead or Alive.
For the mid 1950s McQueen's character was ground breaking. He was the first anti-hero in a horse opera. Even when grouped with the line up of special gimmicks westerns (the rapid fire Winchester of The Rifleman; the weird Colt of The Rebel; Wyatt Earp's Buntline Special), Randall and his hog leg stood ou
t. Never mind that he didn't reload and the mechanics of the weapon were implausible, the series worked. It was unique. McQueen was unique.
I was 11 years old when the series started and it hooked me. Sure, it is difficult to watch it today without a laugh o
r question about its relation to reality. But back then it was cool and so was McQueen. And as someone else commented, only McQueen could have played the character of Josh Randall. For that matter, look at all his motion pictures. I don't believe any other actor could have made those films what they were.
Even 25 years after his death, McQueen is as popular as he ever was. As far as I can see, only John Wayne still has that kind of appeal.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
September 12, 1959 The American western/cowboy television series Bonanza was aired on the NBC television network until January 16, 1973. David Dortort was the writer and the producer of first pilot episode of the series. He the creator of tv series like The Restless Gun, The High Chaparral, The Cowboys, and the Bonanza prequel, Ponderosa. Bonanza was the first hour-long network television series filmed in color. For the 430 episode the series, the main sponsor was Chevrolet and the stars occasionally appeared in commercials endorsing Chevrolet automobiles. All the cast and members had appeared in numerous stage, television and film productions.
The series was aired on Saturday evenings on 1959, most typically a social night. It was soon targeted for cancellation, but given one last chance. A move to Sunday nights at 9:00 PM, caused the series to soar, and it remained high on the Nielsen ratings until Autumn 1972.Sunday time-slot was crucial to the success of the show: the show was #1 from 1964 through 1967, in the yearly Nielsen ratings. The series was moved to Tuesday nights during its 14th and final season. In terms of old age, the show remains the second longest-running series of NBC's, after Law & Order.
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.
Bonanza was brought back for three made-for-TV movies featuring the Cartwrights' offspring. Also include Bonanza The Next Generation 1988, Bonanza: The Return 1993 and Bonanza: Under Attack 1995. Michael Landon, Jr., who bore no resemblance to his father, played Little Joe's sons while Dirk Blocker, who looks and sounds exactly like his father, briefly portrayed an unrelated newspaper reporter in a small role, although clips of his appearance was heavily used in the advertisements before the film's broadcast.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Maverick is a comedy-western action television series created by Roy Huggins that launched on September 22, 1957 to July 8, 1962 at ABC. Maverick presented James Garner as Bret Maverick an adventurous gambler roaming the Old West, Jack Kelly as his equally skilled brother Bart Maverick and Roger Moore as English-accented cousin Beau Maverick. James Garner was the only Maverick in the series during the first seven episodes, and the show captivated the country, immediately launching the 29-year-old actor's career into heaven when Maverick develop a national sensation until a time of only three major television networks and just three or four TV channels accessible in most cities, besting both The Ed Sullivan Show and The Steve Allen Show in audience size.
The Series deliberately astern the average screen-cowboy customs running rampant through television and movies by that time dressing his hero in a fancy black broadcloth gambler's suit, an clothes normally reserved in western films for villains, and allowing him to be realistically afraid to risk his life, although Maverick always eventually wound up forcing himself to be courageous, usually in spite of himself.
Maverick pilot episode of "War of the Silver Kings," it was based on C.B Glasscock's "The War of the Copper Kings," which relates the real-life adventures of copper mine adventurer F. Augustus Heinze. Several of the incidents in the first episode actually occurred -- including the alcoholic judge and the dra
matic standoff scene in the streets against irate miners.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The Lone Ranger
ABC network launched The Lone Ranger on September 15, 1949 The television series was created by created by George W. Trendle. The first episode is the history of the famous masked man of the West. Television series starring Clayton Moore with John Hart as the Lone Ranger from 1952-1954 and Jay Silverheels laconic American Indian sidekick called Tonto. and his horse Silver. He is famous of saying "Hi-yo Silver, away!"
In later episodes the opening narration ended with the catch phrase "Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. “The Lone Ranger Rides Again” Episodes usually ended with one of the characters lamenting the fact that they never found out the hero's name only to be told, "Why, that was the Lone Ranger!" as he and Tonto ride away. The theme music was the "cavalry charge" finale of Gioacchino Rossini's William Tell Overture, now inseparably associated with the series, which also featured many other classical selections as incidental music including Wagner, Mendelssohn, Liszt, and Tchaikovsky. The Television series featured Gerald Mohr as the narrator.
The first 78 episodes were produced and broadcast for 78 consecutive weeks without any breaks or reruns. Then the entire 78 episodes were shown again, before any new episodes were produced.
The last new episode of the color series was broadcast June 6, 1957 and the series ended September 12, 1957
Saturday, May 12, 2007
A John Ford Film How the West Was Won," the Civil War A story of four generations of a pioneer family of New England farmers as they made their way west in the l840s, Describes the hard life and times of the Prescott's family across the continent and their fortune to the western shore after years of hardship, loss, love, war, danger and romance. The story touched all the bases: like runaway wagon trains a Indians stampeding Buffalo's; confused and erratic river rapids; the grandeur of Monument Valley, Utah; the rocky mountains the Black Hills of South Dakota; the clamor of gold in St. Louis the Cheyenne attack the Pony Express the overland telegraph; the coming of the steel roadway of the iron horse the bloody battle between cattlemen and homesteaders.
“How the West Was Won” Win an Academy Awards for Best Film Editing, Best Sound and Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen of James R. Webb and also nominated for Academy Award for Best Art Direction Set Decoration, Color, Best Cinematography, Color, Best Costume Design, Color, Best Music, Score Substantially Original Alfred Newman and Ken Darby and Best Picture.
The film has also been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. Popular western author Louis L'Amour.