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Those Television Thrills Of Yesteryear


TomJH
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As a boy watching early television in the fifties I can still recall the excitement I felt over various adventure or western TV series. There may be a few that I saw in syndication after their original broadcast as I eagerly looked forward to each episode

It seems to me that it was always on Saturday mornings that I faithfully tuned into two favourites, The Cisco Kid, with Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carillo ("Oh, Cisco! Oh Pancho!"), as well as Wild Bill Hickok, with a clean cut Guy Madison who looked nothing like the real Hickok, of course, along with Andy Devine as his bulbous sidekick, Jingles. These two shows both fell into the category of kiddie fare. Perhaps a few adults watched them, as well, but only, I rather suspect, because they were flickering on their living room boob tube.

I definitely got into the merchandising in those days, proudly possessing a Wild Bill Hickok lunchbox and thermos when I went to school. In fact I still have that lunchbox today but it's pretty scratched up, now containing an assortment of nails and screws. The thermos disappeared long ago to wherever TV series inspired thermoses go.

Horses That Old Western Stars of B-Films and Their Sidekicks Rode -  ReelRundownSold Price: Clean Wild Bill Hickok Tin Lunch Box - July 3, 0119 10:00 AM EDT

Years later my parents look me to the circus when it came to Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens, the highlight of which, for me, was when the Cisco Kid rode around the ring on his faithful horse Diablo (similar to those seeing Hopalong Cassidy do the same thing in De Mille's Greatest Show On Earth). I recall getting in a long excited lineup of kids with my Dad to meet Duncan Renaldo, who was handing out Cisco Kid photographs of himself. My Dad, who had been born and raised in Mexico, spoke Spanish to Renaldo for about twenty seconds or so, one of the few exchanges of that kind, I'm sure, that the actor had that day. (There wasn't exactly a lot of Spanish spoken in late 50s, early 60s Toronto).

The Cisco Kid (TV series) - Wikipedia

It wasn't just the western frontier that seized my television viewing childhood imagination, though. There were also those wild jungles of Africa (as seen through cardboard studio backdrops) in Ramar of the Jungle, featuring Jon Hall. For a while the series changed location to India but it was still the same studio stuff done on the cheap (which my little eyes always failed to notice). I recall my parents buying me a Ramar of the Jungle marble game. It was a circular plastic half bowl through which you had to use your manual dexterity to have a marble travel without getting stuck in a trap. Along the way of the jungle trail, of course, there were colourful painted depictions of crocodiles, lions, elephants ready to stampede, etc.

Ramar of the Jungle, The New Jungle Game | Board Game | BoardGameGeek

Disney drew my adolescent attention, of course, with two of my TV favourites, one of them Davy Crockett (a five part miniseries on Disneyland, my favourite when Davy had to take on Mike Fink and the river pirates). For obvious reasons I didn't much like it when Davy went to the Alamo. Fess Parker became my newest hero, a decade or so later to largely relive the similar frontier adventures, only this time in the form of Daniel Boone. And, yes, I had a Davy Crockett coonskin hat which I proudly wore.

Sometimes I lie awake at night... — Davy Crockett, King of the Wild  Frontier (1955) ...  1950s BOY DRESSED IN COONSKIN HAT & FRINGED VEST LIKE DAVY CROCKETT  OUTDOORS IN BARN WINDOW Stock Photo - Alamy

Also with Disney, of course, were two seasons of the exciting adventures of Zorro, featuring dashing Guy Williams in his pre-Lost in Space days. Still with the merchandising, I bought a Zorro plastic toy (err, action figure) who, if I recall correctly, had a horse with him, as well.

Guy Williams Posed wearing Zorro Outfit With Sword' Photo - Movie Star News  | AllPosters.com  1950s Lido Walt Disney 4.5 Mounted Zorro Black Plastic - Etsy Canada

Not long after this I would be deep into weekly viewings of The Rifleman, with Chuck Connors and that loop lever winchester that Connors always looked so great spinning and rapid firing (with amplified sound effects). Talk about cool!

The Rifleman Intro GIF | Gfycat

I later wondered about Lucas McCain's death toll because it seems to me that he was reluctantly pushed into mowing down at least three or four bad guys in close to every episode. Of course, there was also Johnny Crawford as his son Mark. Lucas could get a bit patronizing with his stern morality lecturing to Mark much of the time, especially for someone who had gunned down more people than Billy the Kid, Jesse James and Doc Holiday combined. But, as a kid, I never thought about this kind of stuff. Connors was definitely hero worshipped in my young eyes. I think I even had a Rifleman rifle for a while as a kid. My parents forked out a small fortune to keep me happily immersed in TV merchandising.

Now a lot of these shows are currently available on DVD and even some television stations. The early kiddie stuff, such as Cisco Kid, Wild Bill Hickok and Ramar, is probably best left to my rose coloured childhood imagination. However, I've seen some of the Disney stuff, as well as episodes of The Rifleman and they still hold up pretty well to my eyes. In fact I recorded the entire Rifleman series when Encore Westerns broadcast it ten or fifteen years ago.

So anyone else with nostalgic recollections of television series from the '50s or early 60s?

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Oh yeah! Saturday mornings for me included: "Roy Rogers" "Andy's Gang" with the aforementioned Andy Devine, "The Lone Ranger"  and "Circus Boy" starring future Monkee, Micky Dolenz.

A few years ago, Harvey Levin of  the show "TMZ" gave the trivia clues: "Penny"  "Nabisco" and "Songbird". 

 I yelled out "SKY KING"!

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Yeah.  My brother was a HUGE Hopalong Cassidy fan.  But I was more into THE LONE RANGER .  But at my age it was more into the John Hart years.

We used to watch those other shows you mentioned along with 

241bc820c1927eae8fcaef87f47bd032.jpg             df8a46c724599e85c0deb5d23a1da278.jpg

The Adventures of William Tell

the-adventures-of-william-tell-uk-tv-ser           69c779db9f14026bfa2673a474377370.jpg

Plus all those ABC westerns  like 

LAWMAN

SUGARFOOT

MAVERICK

BROKEN ARROW

Also other shows kinda westerns but not really.  Like---

d0c48d2beb4eaa72423a5fc2fbfbb5d6.jpg        3c30bcfb1b4a5b45d5bcf02a9901d2e9.jpg

And of course, I can't forget-----

Havegun-500x500.jpg

Sepiatone

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OH yeah...all of the aforementioned here to be sure. Watched 'em all as a youngin.

However, this pic that Sepia posted above...

d0c48d2beb4eaa72423a5fc2fbfbb5d6.jpg

...is reminding me of something I'll now occasionally do while playing tennis.

The Cottonwood (Arizona) Recreation Center, a 30 minute drive from where I reside in Sedona, is where I play tennis twice a week. It's situated just a couple of miles away from the Cottonwood Municipal Airport.  On occasion an older twin-engine Cessna will fly overhead while we're hitting the ball around, and yep you guessed it.

If this plane happens to fly overhead during a changeover or a break, I've been known to point up to it and mustering up my "announcer's voice" exclaim, "Out of the clear blue of the western sky, comes SKYYYY KINGGG!"

(...ain't I a character...and btw, for a while there was a guy who'd fly his replica Supermarine Spitfire overheard on occasion as well...what beautiful aircraft THAT is)

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In the Late 1950s and early 1960s the TV airwaves were dominated by Western shows.  Each one had a theme song, I can still remember most of words of of the various songs even after these many years.  The "Jim Bowie" show was unique in that, besides a theme song ( "Jim Bowie, Jim Bowie, he was a bold and adventurous man!")  it also had a male chorus accompanying the title character's movements!

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captain midnight - i had the decoder ring

i had a fanner 50 but i don't recall whether it was merchandising of a show

i had a plastic superman belt.

i think my favorite western was colt 45

 

 

there was captain gallant of the foreign legion

rin tin tin

sugarfoot

and yes i brushed my teeth with ipana

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Just now, miltk said:

i had a fanner 50 but i don't recall whether it was merchandising of a show

I don't recall the Mattel Fanner 50 (of which I also owned back in the day) being commercially tied to any one particular Western TV series back then, milt. 

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Man! You cats are O-L-D!

I was in swaddling clothes when the programs you listed were broadcast. I caught some of them as reruns (Sky King was shown on Saturday mornings on L.A. TV during the 1960s).

I wasn't much of a Westerns fan. My Boob Tube tastes ran toward Horror and Science-Fiction TV shows. Like for instance:

 

One Step Beyond
To me, One Step Beyond had the eeriest TV theme ("Weird" composed by Harry Lubin) I've ever heard!

hmuit3puybp11.png

 

The Outer Limits

tumblr_moh0d23IgR1qedb29o1_500.gif&ehk=fxZPA4B5zhmxZW2Q+f3RhLoknVzL2IZFcTr1uk5kS24=&risl=&pid=ImgRaw&r=0     stop2.gif&ehk=hUgMT8PH4aFVmVpcFabKJ54T0L

 

Thriller

1DWa4q71ycqYGgTkkF1kGffwip0ZswIZNNNJqY=&risl=&pid=ImgRaw&r=0

 

The Twilight Zone

giphy.gif&ehk=8kXcx3dBD45JbIiPeFf0jJNAdn    R.921ca28c5b261a058ee37b1a159182ff?rik=v

  

Way Out
(hosted by Roald Dahl)

way-out2.jpg

7179765345194a53_0.jpg

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And btw...if anyone might now be wondering if I also exclaimed anything when that guy flying the Spitfire flew overhead the tennis courts, the answer would be, yes.

(...I mustered my very best cockney accent while pointing to the northeasterly skies and exclaimed, "The Messerschmitts flew THAT-A-WAY, guv'nah. Go GET 'em!")

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Just now, txfilmfan said:

I was a 60s kid, and by the time I can remember watching TV, westerns were already starting to fade from the airwaves.  But any time Lassie, Gentle Ben, or Flipper was on, everything came to a halt for half an hour.

i tried to watch the adult shows like mr lucky and peter gunn but i couldn't

there was a slew of westerns that must have been produced by the same company because they all had b/w woodcuts on their intros. maverick and sugarfoot were two

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Just now, miltk said:

i got a sudden urge to get the untouchables dvd

i havent seen it anywhere on current cable tv

 

"FLASH, Mr. and Mrs. America and all ships at sea, and that includes YOU here, milt!"

As you might know, MeTV was showing this series late on Sunday nights for a while.

(...but removed it from their schedule within the past couple of years as I recall)

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4 minutes ago, miltk said:

i got a sudden urge to get the untouchables dvd

i havent seen it anywhere on current cable tv

 

I purchased The Untouchables DVD boxset (all four seasons). I never watched the show when it was originally broadcast but thought I might like it and I did. Great opportunities for a lot of Hollywood actors no longer in hot demand (Joan Blondell, Ruth Roman, Steve Cochran, Charles McGraw, etc.) to shine once again, along with an actor on the rise like Lee Marvin, who was outstanding in a few episodes. There's a lot to go through (33 discs, if I recall correctly)

The Untouchables: The Complete Series — Gnah Studios

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9 minutes ago, miltk said:

i tried to watch the adult shows like mr lucky and peter gunn but i couldn't

there was a slew of westerns that must have been produced by the same company because they all had b/w woodcuts on their intros. maverick and sugarfoot were two

Those two were produced by WB Television, as these were:  Cheyenne, Bronco, Lawman, Colt .45

I believe all of those WB westerns aired on ABC.  They were all off the air by the time I was born.

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And re the 1950s television westerns...

Because I was always SO much more mature than my contemporaries back then (cough cough) I have to say that my favorite western back then was the more adult-oriented Maverick.

(...Garner was just too darn cool...and funny...not too many of the western leads back then played at being funny, ya know)

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2 minutes ago, txfilmfan said:

Those two were produced by WB Television, as these were:  Cheyenne, Bronco, Lawman, Colt .45

I believe all of those WB westerns aired on ABC.  They were all off the air by the time I was born.

Okay! WHO let the kid in here, HUH?!

 

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A few of the westerns I saw for the first time in syndication, Wagon Train (renamed as Trailmaster) and Maverick.

I loved Maverick, as it was less conventional than the other westerns, had a lot of sly humour and I discovered James Garner for the first time. Its theme song has remained permanently embedded in my brain ever since.

All sing along with me now . . .

Who was the tall dark stranger there,

Maverick is the name.

Riding a trail to who knows where,

Luck is his companion,

Gambling is his game.

 

Smooth as a handle on a gun,

Maverick is the name,

Wild as a wind in Oregon,

Blowing up a canyon,

Easier to tame.

 

Riverboat ring your bell,

Fare thee well Annabelle,

Luck is the lady that he loves the best,

Natchez and New Orleans,

Living on jacks and queens,

Maverick is a legend of the West,

Maverick is a legend of the West!

File:James Garner Jack Kelly Maverick 1959.JPG - Wikimedia Commons

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4 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Okay! WHO let the kid in here, HUH?!

 

Hey!  The demographers say I'm a baby boomer (just barely), but TBH, I think my cohort doesn't fit in with older boomers nor the Gen Xers that came on the scene a bit later.   I was watching Sesame Street (premiered the year I was in kindergarten) while my long-haired brother was pretending to be a hippie marching in protests.

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13 minutes ago, txfilmfan said:

Hey!  The demographers say I'm a baby boomer (just barely), but TBH, I don't think my cohort ever fit in with neither  older boomers nor the Gen Xers that came on the scene a bit later.   I was watching Sesame Street (premiered the year I was in kindergarten) while my long-haired brother was pretending to be a hippie marching in protests.

Yeah, well, I'll tell ya here "kid", I remember the year Sesame Street premiered in '69, I had already been workin' as an after-school supermarket boxboy  for a couple o' years.

(...and for PEANUTS I might add...and we LIKED it!)

;)

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 With mention of western television, RAMAR of the JUNGLE, Chuck Connors, MATTEL's Fanner 50s and Ivan Tors shows, no mention of:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     image.jpg                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

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6 hours ago, Dargo said:

"FLASH, Mr. and Mrs. America and all ships at sea, and that includes YOU here, milt!"

As you might know, MeTV was showing this series late on Sunday nights for a while.

(...but removed it from their schedule within the past couple of years as I recall)

never saw it on their schedule. wonder why they dropped it

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Just now, miltk said:

never saw it on their schedule. wonder why they dropped it

Good question here, milt. 

I'd guess it would either be because their rights to broadcast it had come to an end, or after rerunning the complete cycle of the series for a certain number of times, they felt it time to replace it with some other old TV series for a while.

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15 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Good question here, milt. 

I'd guess it would either be because their rights to broadcast it had come to an end, or after rerunning the complete cycle of the series for a certain number of times, they felt it time to replace it with some other old TV series for a while.

https://archive.org/details/PDTV0261/The+Untouchables+-+001+-+The+Empty+Chair+-+1959-10-15.mp4

 

not all i think but if i like the taste i might get the whole kaboodle

 

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