A plethora of marathons are about to take off on the Encore Western Channel this coming weekend. There are worse ways to spend New Year's Eve and Day other than tuning in on the antics of Neville Brand, Sheb Wooley, and James Arness (who will be appearing in bite-size doses). Each of these shows is slated to join the daily line-up on Encore Western:
Dec. 31stLaredo (1965)
My main memory of this dimly recalled show from childhood was the seemingly awesome presence of Philip Carey (long before his soap opera years), but he shared the screen for two years with other Texas Rangers played by that loose cannon Neville Brand, the equally scary but better groomed William Smith and a supporting cast that included Peter Brown and later, Robert Wolders (who joined the series in season two). You can see a complete list of episodes scheduled for broadcast here.
Guest stars in the first 24 episodes include Burgess Meredith, Leo Gordon, James Farentino, Vito Scotti, Star Trek's James Doohan, Martin Milner, Shelley Morrison, Battlestar Galactica's Donnelly Rhodes, Bruce Dern, Jeanette Nolan, Jim Davis, Arthur Hunnicutt, Alan Napier, George Kennedy, Hawaii Five-0's Jack Lord, Peter Graves, Claude Akins and Fernando Lamas.
Jan. 1st Rawhide (1959-1966)
The show with that iconic theme song that launched the career of Clint Eastwood, starred the ill-fated Eric Fleming
as the no-nonsense trail boss involved in a seemingly endless task of herding cattle and men along toward the rail heads and marketplaces in the 19th century will run throughout New Year's Day.
Guest stars in the first 24 episodes include John Larch, Peter Mark Richman, Martin Balsam, Troy Donahue, Dan Duryea, Martin Milner, The Virginian's James Drury, Jay C. Flippen, Lon Chaney Jr., Brian Donlevy, Rodolfo Acosta, Michael Pate, June Lockhart, Star Trek's DeForest Kelley, Ron Soble, Macdonald Carey, Noah Beery Jr., Mercedes McCambridge, R.G. Armstrong, Hawaii Five-0's Jack Lord, Gary Merrill, Guy Stockwell, Leslie Nielsen, Martin Landau, Kathleen Crowley, Victor Jory, Nina Foch, Brian Keith, Linda Cristal, Elisha Cook Jr. and Viveca Lindfors. You can see a complete list of scheduled episodes here.
Thank you, Frankie Laine! Take it away...
and watch where you crack that whip, you varmint!
Jan. 2ndMarshall Dillon (1955)
The first half hour programs of Gunsmoke
were renamed "Marshal Dillon" for syndication. They are (at least for me) among the best in the program's run--concise, nimbly acted and often a bit grittier than the later, longer stories.
Guests during the marathon include John Wayne (hosted the pilot episode), John Dehner, Claude Akins, Royal Dano, John Larch, Get Smart's Edward Platt, Keye Luke, Sebastian Cabot, John Carradine, The Virginian's James Drury, Lola Albright, Strother Martin, Perry Mason's William Hopper, Star Trek's DeForest Kelley, Leo Gordon, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'s Robert Vaughn, Charles Bronson, Dabbs Greer, The Rifleman's Chuck Connors, Bonanza's Bing Russell, Lancer's Andrew Duggan, Simon Oakland, Raising Hope's Cloris Leachman and Mannix's Mike Connors. A list of all the episodes scheduled to air is here