In the preceding posts, “You Might Be from the Country If . . . Parts III and IV,” I offered quizzes on the subject of Country-Western terms, grade-B TV and movie cowboys, old Country-Western songs, and John Wayne Western movies.
Now in this fifth post in the series I test your knowledge of some popular 1950s and 60s weekly TV Westerns not included in the quizzes above, which turned out to be a more daunting and time-consuming task than I had envisioned.
I had planned to include in this post samples of some commonly mispronounced and misused French words and phrases that grate on my ears, my nerves, and my soul! That segment will now appear in my next two posts along with some of my favorite French quotations that I picked up over my decades as a “French cowboy” teacher, translator, and interpreter.
The “Dusty Dozen”:
A Quiz on Popular 1950s and 60s TV Westerns
“Riverboat, ring your bell,
Fare thee well Annabel.
Luck is the lady that he loves the best.
Natchez to New Orleans,
Livin’ on jacks and queens,
________ is a legend of the West.”
—Theme song of one of the
most popular 1950s-60s TV Westerns
(See the answers section.)
Now here is a twelve-point quiz on some of the most popular 1950s and 60s TV Westerns. (Hint: Jot down your answers to each of the questions.)
- This popular series ran from 1957 to 1962 and featured not only the theme song (see above and in the answers section) but also three Western gamblers, cousins by the names of Bret, Bart, and later their English cousin Beau. Question: What is the name of the series and who played Bret, Bart, and Beau?
- This Western TV series, shown from 1957 to 1963, featured Richard Boone as an itinerant hired gun who quoted literary sources and spoke several languages. The opening of each episode featured a specially designed business card with the title on it. It also had a popular theme song which began with the name of the gunman. What was the name of the show and its gunslinger star?
- Shown from 1955 to 1963 this series featured a very tall and muscular cowboy whose first name was that of a Western Native-American tribe. According to an online source, “After the Civil war adventurer ___________ roamed the west looking for fights, women and bad guys to beat up. His job changed from episode to episode.” Name the title of the show, the Western hero portrayed in it, and the actor who played him.
- This series, which ran from 1955 to 1961, was loosely based on the life and adventures of a famous Western lawman who supposedly “cleaned up the country, the old wild west country, [and] made law and order prevail.” Known for his nappy dress, his flat-topped hat, and his long-barreled Buntline pistols, he was played by ruggedly handsome Hugh O’Brian (whom some of my country relatives used to think looked like me when I was forty years younger!). What was the name of the TV series and the famous lawman whose life it depicted?
- This series, featuring popular movie star Steve McQueen, ran from 1958 to 1961. According to the Internet, it is about “a Civil War veteran with a sawed-off rifle as a holstered weapon [who] makes a living as a bounty hunter in the Wild West of the 1870s.” McQueen was perhaps best known for his long and successful movie career in which he starred in such Western classics as The Magnificent Seven and other action movies like The Great Escape and Bullitt with that now-famous car chase scene. What was the name of this Western TV series and the bounty hunter portrayed in it?
- Set in a geographical/topographical location in California that provided its name, this Western series (1965-69) was somewhat different from the others of its day in that its lead character was a strong female played by veteran movie actress Barbara Stanwyck. In this capacity Stanwyck ruled and reigned over a family which included characters played by Lee Majors (later to gain fame as The Six-Million-Dollar Man and The Fall Guy and as the husband of famous and iconic model-actress Farrah Fawsett) and Linda Evans (who went on to garner further TV fame in a highly popular “1980 prime time soap opera” titled Dynasty.) What were the names of that Western series and its female head of household?
- In contrast to the matriarchal Western family in the preceding series, this series was definitely male-dominate with deep-voiced Canadian actor Lorne Greene playing Ben Cartwright, the head of the Cartwright clan, which consisted of three grown sons. (As someone has noted, it was interesting to see a fifty-year-old man who headed a family of three forty-year-old sons.) Sporting a name related to a huge fortune or good luck, in keeping with its Nevada location, this series “ran from September 12, 1959, to January 16, 1973. Lasting 14 seasons and 430 episodes, it ranks as the second longest running western series.” What was the name of this series, the names of three Cartwright “boys,” and the names of the three actors who portrayed them?
- This Western series originally ran from 1952-1961, prompting Wikipedia to note that it ran twenty years and was thus “the United States’ longest-running prime time, live-action drama with 635 episodes.” Set in and around Dodge City, Kansas, its principal characters were the resident U.S. marshal, his two sidekick deputies (played in different roles by two different actors for different periods), his “love interest” as the owner-manager of the most frequented saloon in town, and the gruff but loveable local medical doctor. Name the enormously popular series, the fictional marshal, his two sidekick-deputies, his long-suffering “girlfriend,” her dearly beloved saloon, and the dedicated medico—plus the names of the actors who played them.
- According to Wikipedia, the next American Western TV series “showed a fictionalized account of the life of real-life marshal/gambler/dandy ___ _________. The title character was played by Gene Barry and the half-hour black-and-white shows ran on NBC from 1958 to 1961.” In real life, the dapper character portrayed in this series went on to become (of all things) a New York newspaper sports writer while the actor who played him went on to appear in a TV show titled Burke’s Law. That later series ran on ABC from 1963 to 1965 and was revived on CBS in the 1990s. Can you name the title of the Western show and the actual character whose life it supposedly portrayed?
- According to Wikipedia, this Western series ran on NBC from 1957 to 1962 and then on ABC from 1962 to 1965, eight years in all. The series initially starred veteran movie supporting actor Ward Bond (a longtime friend of John Wayne’s who appeared in several of Wayne’s Western movies). After Bond’s death he was replaced by John McIntire. The scout in the show was played by Robert Horton who was later replaced by actor and horse rancher Robert Fuller. What was the name of the series?
- Again according to Wikipedia, this immensely popular Western starred James Drury and Doug McClure and famed character actor Lee J. Cobb. Loosely based on a 1902 novel by Owen Wister, it aired on NBC from 1962 to 1971 for a total of 249 episodes. The first TV Western show to run ninety minutes instead of the usual one hour or half-hour, it lasted nine seasons, making it the third-longest-running TV Western. What was it called and what were the names of the characters played by Drury, McClure, and Cobb?
- Finally, but definitely not least, according to Wikipedia this last classic Western “starring Eric Fleming and _____ _________ aired for eight seasons on the CBS network on Friday nights, from January 9, 1959 to September 3, 1965, before moving to Tuesday nights from September 14, 1965 until January 4, 1966, with a total of 217 black-and-white episodes. . . . . Spanning seven and a half years, [it] was the fifth-longest-running American television Western.” Its star, who played an irascible cowboy character named Rowdy Yates, went on to become a legendary Western movie actor who also made some memorable hard-nosed detective movies. Can you guess the name of the show, the curious name of the character played by Eric Fleming, and the now legendary name of the tough Western actor who played Rowdy Yates? Go ahead and try! “Make my day!”
Answers to “Dusty Dozen” Quiz
Following are the answers to the “Dusty Dozen” quiz on popular 1950s and 1960s Western TV shows:
- Answers: Maverick: James Garner as Bret, Jack Kelly as Bart, and Roger Moore as Beau. (To hear the show’s theme song on YouTube, click here.) (Incidentally, James Garner, the native Oklahoman who played the original and lead character named Bret Maverick on TV, later starred in a 1994 movie by the same title as the TV series playing Marshall Zane Cooper with Bret Maverick being played by Mel Gibson.)
- Answers: Have Gun-Will Travel. Paladin. (To hear the show’s theme song on YouTube, click here.)
- Answers: Cheyenne: Cheyenne Brodie, Clint Walker. (To hear his theme song on YouTube, click here.)
- Answers: The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp. (To hear his theme song on YouTube, click here.)
- Answers: Wanted: Dead or Alive: Josh Randall.
- Answers: The Big Valley: Victoria Barkley.
- Answers: Bonanza: Pernell Roberts as Adam, Dan Blocker as Hoss, and Michael Landon as Little Joe.
- Answers: Gunsmoke: U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon played by James Arness; Chester Goode played by Dennis Weaver and Festus Haggen played by Ken Curtis; Miss Kitty Russell played by Amanda Blake (the red-haired proprietress of the Longbranch Saloon); and loveable old “Doc” (Dr. Galen Adams) played by Milburn Stone.
- Answer: Bat Masterson.
- Answer: Wagon Train.
- Answers: The Virginian: The name of the Virginian played by James Drury was never revealed in the nine years of the show; the character played by Doug McClure was called simply Trampas; and the character played by Lee J. Cobb was Judge Garth.
- Answers: Rawhide: Gil Favor, Clint Eastwood. (To view a two-minute video with scenes from the show and its famous theme song, click here. To view a two-minute video clip featuring a likeness and the voice of Clint Eastwood as “the spirit of the West” in the popular computer-generated kids’ movie Rango, click here. It is the source of one of my favorite quotes: “No man can walk out on his own story.” That’s why I keep writing and blogging about my own story at age seventy-six when that story is nearing its end with as yet no decisive conclusion or discernible purpose.)
More Western Songs
“A time to be reaping
A time to be sowing
The green leaves of summer
Are calling me home.”
—The Brothers Four,
“The Green Leaves of Summer” from the 1960 movie
The Alamo with John Wayne
(To hear this song sung by the Brothers Four, click here.)
(To hear the complete 15-minute
soundtrack to The Alamo film, click here.)
My last post featured several quizzes about old Western TV shows and movies. It also had one quiz about 1950s and 60s Western songs. Here are five others that I have thought of since that time. These five do not include the one quoted above from the 1960 John Wayne movie titled The Alamo, which Mari and I first saw at the drive-in theater in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, before our marriage and while we were attending summer school at our alma mater of Ouachita Baptist College.
See if you can identify each of these five Western songs by inserting the missing words in their lyrics and providing their titles.
- “Give me land, lots of land,
Under starry skies above,
Don’t ___________ me in.”
- “The stars at night
Are big and bright,
Deep in the heart of __________.”
- “Across the alley from the Alamo,
Lived a pinto pony and a ________.”
- “Away, I’m bound away,
Across the wide _______________.”
- “Out in the West Texas town of ___ ____
I fell in love with a Mexican girl.”
Answers to Five Western Songs Quiz
Here are the answers to the five Western songs with blanks for the missing words as verified and quoted from Wikipedia.
- “Don’t fence me in” from the song of the same title. (To view a three-and-a-half-minute video of this song performed by Roy Rogers with Trigger dancing to the tune, click here.)
- “Deep in the Heart of Texas” from the song of the same title. (To view the lyrics to this song, click here.)
- “Navajo,” from the song “Across the Alley from the Alamo.” (To view the lyrics to this song, click here.)
- “Across the Wide Missouri” from the song “Oh, Shenandoah.” (To hear this song sung by The Kingston Trio, click here.)
- “El Paso” from the song of the same title. (To read about this song, click here. To listen to it sung by Marty Robbins on YouTube video, click here.)
Two More Addenda
By an amazing coincidence, while I was making up this post during the last week or so of December, my wife pointed out to me a “Southern Journal” entry on the same subject of old 1950s and 60s Western TV shows that appeared in the January 2015 issue of Southern Living magazine.
The entry was written by Rick Bragg who, according to Southern Living “is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and author of several best-selling books, including Ava’s Man and Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story.”
Titled “Cowboys Are Her Weakness” the entry describes the author’s mother and her abiding love for certain of the TV Westerns described in this post, especially The Virginian.
Also by coincidence, on December 30 the Tulsa World published a long article with several photos titled “Western Collection: ‘Gunsmoke’ fan shows off mountain of memorabilia.'” Written by Jimmie Tramel, World Scene Writer, the article is based on an interview with a Tulsan named Mike Summers whose huge collection of Western memorabilia, especially from the long-running Western TV series Gunsmoke, includes the pistol carried by actor James Arness as U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon, as well as his badge and the holster in which the Colt .45 was carried. The story of how Summers came into possession of these and many other valuable and irreplaceable items is quite interesting. To read the article, click here.
Except for the opening quote about cowboys, the musical YouTube videos, and the two entries in the addenda section, all information about the Western movies and TV shows and actors was taken from personal memory verified, corrected, and augmented by the respective entries in Wikipedia.
The photo of James Garner as Bret Maverick was taken from:
The photo of Richard Boone as Paladin was taken from:
The photo of Clint Walker as Cheyenne Brodie was taken from:
The photo of Hugh O’Brian as Wyatt Earp was taken from:
The photo of Steve McQueen as Josh Randall was taken from:
The photo of the cast of The Big Valley was taken from:
The photo of the Bonanza titleboard was taken from:
The photo of the Gunsmoke titleboard with James Arness was taken from:
The photo of Gene Barry as Bat Masterson was taken from:
The photo of Robert Horton and Ward Bond from Wagon Train was taken from:
The photo of the titleboard from The Virginian with James Drury was taken from:
The photo of Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates from Rawhide was taken from:
The lyrics for the song “The Green Leaves of Summer” were taken from: http://www.metrolyrics.com/the-green-leaves-of-summer-lyrics-the-brothers-four.html
The Wikipedia information about the song “The Green Leaves of Summer” was taken from:
The video of the Brothers Four singing “The Green Leaves of Summer” was taken from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BRqA3DSmpc
The soundtrack to the movie The Alamo was taken from:
The Wikipedia information about the song “Don’t Fence Me In” was taken from:
The YouTube of Roy Rogers singing the song “Don’t Fence Me in” was taken from:
The Wikipedia information on the song “Deep In the Heart of Texas” was taken from:
The Wikipedia information on the song “Across the Alley from the Alamo” was taken from:
The Wikipedia information on the song “Oh, Shenandoah” was taken from:
The YouTube video of the Kingston Trio singing “Oh, Shenandoah” was taken from:
The Wikipedia information on the song “El Paso” was taken from:
The YouTube video of Marty Robbins singing “El Paso” was taken from: