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Have Gun Will Travel or Wanted: Dead or Alive

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Have Gun Will Travel or Wanted: Dead or Alive

Postby cinemalover » April 7th, 2008, 12:31 pm

We've been having fun discussing the differences and preferences between two (mostly) 60 minute western dramas in Gunsmoke and Bonanza on another thread. I thought we might do the same with two of the better 30 minute westerns, though neither had anywhere near the longevity of the other shows.

Have Gun, Will Travel was on air from 1957-1963 and produced 226 episodes. It featured the non-traditional hero of Richard Boone as Palidin, the aforementioned gun for hire.

Wanted: Dead or Alive launched Steve McQueen into a decade of bad boy stardom in the 60's. For some he defined "cool" in that decade. I can no longer hear his name without the Sheryl Crow song that features his name cueing up in my head. This show lasted a briefer three years from 1958-1961, and only produced 94 episodes, but due to the charisma of its star it is very fondly remembered.

Do you have a preference or any particular memories of these dynamite shows?
Chris

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jdb1

Postby jdb1 » April 7th, 2008, 12:51 pm

It's no secret I'm a Steve McQueen fan. However, I have to admit I barely remember his TV Western; can't say why not - I'm sure I watched it at least once in a while.

I do have much stronger memories of Paladin, though. I always liked Richard Boone; didn't know he was a snake in real life, as I have since heard. It was a joke at the time that his first name was "Wire." Remember? He used to hand out a business card that said:

Have Gun, Will Travel
Wire Paladin
San Francisco

Maybe because Boone didn't look like the typical Western hero of the time -- in the late 50s and early 60s it seemed like there were nothing but Westerns on TV.

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Postby ChiO » April 7th, 2008, 2:04 pm

With James Dean gone, this young Hoosier boy saw Steve McQueen as the heir apparent to "Indiana Cool" (or is that an oxymoron?) and always watched Wanted: Dead or Alive (I got a toy version of the sawed off rifle for Christmas one year). But...

Have Gun - Will Travel was my favorite TV Western. Richard Boone had adult "cool" with no hint of vulnerabilty. I still try to watch it (2 episodes) every Saturday night; it follows 77 Sunset Strip (snap snap) and precedes I Love Lucy, Burns and Allen, Dick Van Dyke (2 episodes), The Honeymooners and The Jack Benny Show. Unfortunately, the other person who lives here, if she's still awake, will usually ask at the start of the second HG-WT episode, "Is there anything else on?" To which I reply, smiling, "Not really. Would you like to watch GUN CRAZY instead?"
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Postby movieman1957 » April 7th, 2008, 2:39 pm

I never have seen "Wanted: Dead or Alive" but it will go on my Netflix queue.

I have been going through the first season of "Have Gun, Will Travel" It's an interesting character Boone plays. Tough but not at all nasty like he played later. Well educated and well mannered he often thought to teach others the finer points of life while helping them get their justice as needed.

Either of these could use a turn on the Westerns Channel.
Last edited by movieman1957 on April 7th, 2008, 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby SSO Admins » April 7th, 2008, 3:13 pm

HGWT hands down. I'm not sure there's ever been a better western on TV.

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Postby Lzcutter » April 8th, 2008, 1:34 am

Forty five years later, I still remember Have Gun Will Travel. I can sing the theme, I remember the business card, I still love Richard Boone and his voice.

I like Steve McQueen but I can't remember enough of Wanted Dead or Alive to distinguish it (except for his rifle) from many of the other Westerns on television of that same era.

I remember more episodes of the The Virginian, Gunsmoke and The Rifleman than I do of WDOA.
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Postby movieman1957 » April 8th, 2008, 8:19 am

Lynn:

The funny thing about "HGWT," at least in the first year, is there were two different closing themes. One had some guy named Johnny Western sing this odd little song. (I didn't think he was very good.) The other was the Bernstein theme.

They seemed to be played randomly. After the first four or five episodes the song went away but showed up again after about ten using the theme and have sporadically changed since.
Chris

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jdb1

Postby jdb1 » April 8th, 2008, 8:42 am

movieman1957 wrote:I never have seen "Wanted: Dead or Alive" but it will go on my Netflix queue.

I have been going through the first season of "Have Gun, Will Travel" It's an interesting character Boone plays. Tough but not at all nasty like he played later. Well educated and well mannered he often thought to teach others the finer points of life while helping them get their justice as needed.

Either of these could use a turn on the Westerns Channel.


Yes. I've been remembering HGWT since we started talking about it. One thing I recall is Paladin's weary and resigned sigh when a recalcitrant adversary wouldn't listen to reason, and Paladin was forced to draw his gun. I also remember he sometimes wore a cool leather jacket (which I think had a zipper - possibly anachronistic). As someone else has said on SSO, it's really hard to imagine that Richard and Pat Boone were cousins. Richard and Randy Boone, yes; Richard and Pat --- nah.

"Have gun, will travel" reads the card of a man.
A knight without armor in a savage land.
His fast gun for hire heeds the calling wind.
A soldier of fortune is the man called "Paladin."
Paladin, Paladin, where will you roam?
Paladin, Paladin, far, far from home.

I think that one ranks right up there with "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling," and "A Living Man" from Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.

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Postby cinemalover » April 8th, 2008, 9:21 am

Paladin was certainly the more esoteric of the two. He had a cerebral approach that was uncommon to the genre. He had that world weary face that could convey his constant disappointment in humanity, or at least certain factions of it.
Last edited by cinemalover on April 8th, 2008, 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby movieman1957 » April 8th, 2008, 9:39 am

It must have been tough being so much smarter than everyone else. But he had a good heart.
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Postby knitwit45 » April 8th, 2008, 1:54 pm

JDB said
I always liked Richard Boone; didn't know he was a snake in real life, as I have since heard.


Details???

I met him at LAX years ago. My son was only 2, and he was very gentlemanly, spoke to all of us, asked about my son, etc.

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Postby jdb1 » April 8th, 2008, 3:30 pm

Lawsy, Knitty, that would be a project and a half, garnering the details. My readings over my awfully long life have left me with the impression that he drank much too much, and could be a real bear. That doesn't mean he couldn't also be a nice guy once in a while. And it also doesn't mean I can't like him as an actor.

Maybe one of our colleagues knows something more?

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Postby cinemalover » April 10th, 2008, 1:00 pm

Does anyone remeber Boone as Hec Ramsey? Sort of a forensic lawman of the wild west.
Chris



The only bad movie is no movie at all.

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » April 10th, 2008, 1:15 pm

Yes, I remember that one. Maybe that's the one I'm thinking of where he wore a leather jacket with a zipper?

I remember that he used the revolutionary forensic technique of fingerprinting.


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