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Pioneers of Television: Pioneers of Westerns

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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(Mar 01, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

Known everywhere as the quintessential American cultural identity, westerns filled small screens across the country night after night and were some of the most successful television shows in history. This episode also examines the popularity of Bonanza and the creation of the classic series Gunsmoke with James Arness one of the longest-running television series of all time.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: .
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    G
    General Audience
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: March 1, 2011
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004CRR9HO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,690 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen Russell on March 6, 2015
Verified Purchase
Covers Western genre from then to today: main focus: Big Valley, Rifleman, Maverick, & Wild Wild West, Gunsmoke
But on West didnt cover uniqueness of show though Western: gadgets, bad guys, his private train, guest stars,
Treated West like part of plain jane Western genre which it wasnt.
Show didnt cover impact when Color TV came out & effect on Westerns then.
Did mention High Chapperal.
& Daniel Boone & Davy Crockett.
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I watched this show on PBS and enjoyed every bit of it. I loved watching the westerns that dominated tv during my childhood. And this show discusses many of my all-time favorites: Gunsmoke, Wild Wild West, Big Valley, Daniel Boone,Maverick, etc. etc. Many of the great stars of these series are interviewed: Robert Conrad, James Arness, Linda Evans, Ed Ames,James Garner, etc. Many of those interviewed are sadly no longer with us including Fess Parker (in his last interview) Peter Graves and Robert Culp. Out of all the Pioneers of Televsion episodes I viewed, this was by far my favorite. I only wish that the show ran twice the length of time that it did. I discussed it with several of my friends from work who also grew up watching tv westerns during the same period that I did and they loved it as well. My only even vague criticism was that during a little trivia segment at the end of the show, it was listed that Clint Eastwood played Rowdy "Gaines" in Rawhide. Any serious tv western viewer knows that Clint played Rowdy Yates. But this is a trivial fault. If you loved tv westerns, you will greatly enjoy this show. As stated previously, I did.
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This was great for the amount of time spent. It left out alot of our favorites such as The Virginian. There was only an acknowledgement of Rawhide, touching on Wagon Train. To do justice to the classic TV westerns it needed to be longer and more in depth. It left us wanting more and feeling like we overpaid for what we got.
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I mainly purchased this - because I love "The Rifleman". The Amazon listing is a bit off - has Nothing to do with William Shatner (that I know of). Kelsey Grammer is the narrator. Running time is something over 50 minutes. It's not totally chronological. There is some about The Rifleman and short interview with Johnny Crawford. Several interviews with actors -- some of which are recently gone.
I wish they'd mention who is gone and when the interview was recorded -- but they didn't. After about the first 2/3rds it talks about race in the Westerns -- which does NOT interest me at all. At the end there are some still photos -- and some short trivia that I find interesting. By the way - the plastic DVD case -- is paper thin -- and couldn't be much cheaper. If the above were done differently -- I would have given this 5 stars. Scott M.
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