Have Gun Will Travel - The Complete First Season
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Running about 25 minutes each, these 39 episodes are consistently good and economically plotted, since Have Gun boasted stellar talent on both sides of the camera. Each episode began with the memorable theme by legendary film composer Bernard Herrmann, and most of the first season was directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, who worked regularly on Gunsmoke, Rawhide, and Perry Mason before graduating to a prolific big-screen career. Regular writers included Gene Roddenberry (who created Star Trek six years later), and budding maverick Sam Peckinpah co-wrote episode #22, "The Singer." In addition to series regular Kam Tong as Paladin's Chinese-American manservant Hey Boy (a "Coolie" stereotype, but Tong handles it with dignity, especially in "Hey Boy's Revenge"), Have Gun offered a who's-who of 1950s and '60s guest stars, from genre stalwarts like Victor McLaglen (Andrew's father), John Carradine, Strother Martin, and R.G. Armstrong, to promising newcomers like Angie Dickinson, Warren Oates, and Charles Bronson (the last starring in "The Outlaw," one of the season's finest episodes). Each episode is accompanied by background information and guest-star profiles, and while picture quality is quite good overall, the audio quality suffers from a low-level mix with noticeable hiss from aged source materials. Fortunately, this won't prevent anyone from enjoying a first-rate TV series that thrived for another five seasons, until cancellation in 1963. --Jeff Shannon
- All 39 episodes from the 1957-1958 season
- Behind-the-Scenes episodic information
Top Customer Reviews
CBS broadcast an incredible thirty-nine episodes that first season, each episode lasting 23 to 25 minutes. Most episodes begin with the spiffily dressed Paladin (we're never given a last name) scouring the thick stacks newspapers brought to him by the ever helpful Hey Boy (Kam Tong), bellboy at Paladin's residence, the Carlton Hotel in San Francisco. Eventually Paladin reads of a missing child in Colorado, or a rash of robberies occurring in Montana. Paladin slips his business card - a chess knight with the legend Have Gun, Will Travel, Wire Paladin, San Francisco - into an envelope and mails it to the injured party.
Slowly enough as we wend our way through the first year we learn something of Paladin. He has a passion for justice and a taste for the good things. His going rate is $1000, although he will take on a pro bono job if the cause is just. In town he dresses to the nines and in sundry other ways consumes conspicuously. When traveling with a gun he dresses in black. Somewhere along the line he picked up a military education, quotes Shakespeare and Pliny, savors a first-edition of Dryden. His taste in and knowledge of fine wines is commented upon in a couple of episodes....
I don't know if any of this matters, but going through fifteen hours of HGWT over a week or so it's kind of fun to have an aha moment or two. Paladin is an enigma, and Boone, a little more credible as the gunslinger than the city dandy, was an inspired choice to play him. Boone has a commanding presence and, believe me when I tell you buckaroos, was pretty darn quick on the draw.Read more ›
While a cultured man, he was just as comfortable in the deadly knight errant persona, the man in black. Boone excelled at making you believe both sides could exist within one man. While he was a hired gun, he often spent more time talking to people making them listen to reason.
A loved all these Westerns. Have enjoyed the reruns on TVLand, Starz Westerns, and the Hallmark Channel. But so many of the old Westerns don't hold up well. I was surprised how well Rawhide and Have Gun, Will Travel hold their quality. So these are a super addition to any video maven's collection. Sadly, I don't think Boone ever got the true recognition his talent deserved, but those of us who appreciated him can now watch his talent shine.
The quality of the VHS tapes was crystalline, which is probably why the DVDs have been reviewed favorably in the technical sense. Much of the filming for "HGWT" was done on location in what seems to be pristine wilderness areas, and this clarity of viewing - the extra effort to get the locations done by the production staff and the effort required by the actors involved - is beautiful to watch as well. Most episodes start out in the SF hotel and then lead Paladin far afield on his missions.+
It is true that the Gene Roddenberry episodes are very special. Even in the 90s, when a script - and the way that the actors presented it - awed me, it was almost certainly a Roddenberry episode. Truly, eye opening. You understand why "Star Trek" has been around forever.
Like many children of the 50s, Westerns were the 'meat and potatoes' of my TV experience, and while I liked the shows like "Maverick" and "HGWT" at that age, but to be able to view them as an adult is amazing. I would also recommend the same for the half hour "Gunsmoke" episodes. Clearly, these series went far beyond the standard shoot 'em ups and good guys versus bad guys plotting of production line Westerns.Read more ›
The extras consist almost entirely of mini-bios for the secondary characters. I would have appreciated more.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Captions are in Spanish, no English closed captions. Closed captions description is misleading. If this is important to you, don't buy.Published 2 months ago by Tool Time
Very socially sophisticated scripts. Paladin, Richard Boone, often solves the problem with cleverness rather than with his gun. He never uses more force than necessary. Read morePublished 4 months ago by alan pogue
A thinking man's western. A couple of so-so episodes, but most are written with smart, sharp dialog, and most of the time Paladin tries to solve the problem without violence. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Dannan Tavona
I happily purchased all six seasons of the "Have Gun - Will Travel" series after they stopped showing them on the Encore Westerns channel. Read morePublished 4 months ago by James Evans