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wouldbestar

Trackdown

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Does anyone know that MeTV has started broadcasting the late 50's classic Trackdown on Saturday mornings?  For some reason this got past my radar when it was originally on so this is like a new series for me.  This made Robert Culp a star and was one of the first 4-Star Western hits. 

 

 

I'd seen the pilot on Zane Grey Theater so I knew it was 4-Star and therefore worth my time. It deals with the beginning of the Texas Rangers and scripts come from their records.  It's done documentary style with narration by an uncredited but unmistakable William Conrad.  Many "usual suspects" from other of the company's shows appear; one of the two on today had Lawrence Dobkin-with hair-and Phyllis Avery who was a popular but now forgotten actress of the time.  Like the other shows it has a stirring and memorable theme although Herschel Burke Gilbert is not credited with this one.

 

In short, "Damn, it's good!"

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Does anyone know that MeTV has started broadcasting the late 50's classic Trackdown on Saturday mornings?  For some reason this got past my radar when it was originally on so this is like a new series for me.This made Robert Culp a star and was one of the first 4-Star Western hits. 

 

 

I'd seen the pilot on Zane Grey Theater so I knew it was 4-Star and therefore worth my time. It deals with the beginning of the Texas Rangers and scripts come from their records.  It's done documentary style with narration by an uncredited but unmistakable William Conrad.  Many "usual suspects" from other of the company's shows appear; one of the two on today had Lawrence Dobkin-with hair-and Phyllis Avery who was a popular but now forgotten actress of the time.  Like the other shows it has a stirring and memorable theme although Herschel Burke Gilbert is not credited with this one.

 

In short, "Damn, it's good!"

Robert Culp did a memorable turn on a "The Virginian" episode with Randy Boone in which he played a veterinarian who was trying to save the life of a wild horse that Boone wanted to keep alive. 

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Oops!  According to Wiki it was Lorne Greene who narrated the show just before Bonanza debuted;  I never noticed how much he sounded like William Conrad before.

 

Also as this show, along with The Rifleman, Johnny Ringo and Black Saddle, were spun from Zane Grey Theater a future show will introduce us to Steve McQueen's Josh Randall and lead to Wanted:  Dead or Alive.  The Rifleman gave us Michael Ansara's Marshall Sam Buckhart  in Law of the Plainsman.  The Big Valley would come later.  If there are any more 4-Star goodies for me to discover let me know.

 

Culp also did great work on a Bonanza episode as an ex-con or reformed gunman trying to go straight but many in the town won't let him.  He sang in it and was not that bad.

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The Steve McQueen episode was on this morning but was vastly different than from what I've read about it.  He did not play Josh Randall but twin brothers, one a killer the other a solid citizen, which gave him a real opportunity to show off his talent.

 

Hoby is on his way to pick up the wanted killer when he's robbed of everything but his clothes by an unseen man.  When he arrives in town the sheriff won't believe his story and says the real Ranger has him in custody.  It turns out that's the thief and other brother who believes the accused one is innocent.  When they finally talk at a girlfriend's place the killer's true colors come out his brother realizes he's been duped. 

 

Hoby's only friend in town runs the livery stable-can you believe Richard Devon as a good guy?  He tells Hoby the sheriff's corrupt and in on the fix; as he's like the job himself he helps out when Hoby and the good brother join up to bring down the other one.

 

There's wasn't much humor in this episode which is what made Wanted:  Dead or Alive different from what you'd expect from the premise.  McQueen had a subtle comic touch which rung a smile out of the most serious situations and the show so enjoyable.  He didn't scream "future star" here but that changed the next year. 

 

 

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