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Have Gun – Will Travel

Have Gun – Will Travel
Have Gun–Will Travel.jpg
Richard Boone as Paladin
Genre Western
Created by Sam Rolfe
Herb Meadow
Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen
Sam Peckinpah
Lamont Johnson
Ida Lupino
Richard Boone
William Conrad
others
Starring Richard Boone
Kam Tong
Narrated by Richard Boone
Opening theme composed by
Bernard Herrmann
Ending theme "The Ballad of Paladin" composed by
Johnny Western
Richard Boone
Sam Rolfe
performed by
Johnny Western
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 225 (list of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) Julian Claman
Sam Rolfe
Running time 25 mins.
Production company(s) CBS Productions
Filmaster Productions
Distributor CBS Films
(1963-1964)
Viacom Enterprises
Paramount Domestic Television
CBS Television Distribution
Release
Original network CBS
Picture format 4:3 black and white
Audio format Mono
Original release September 14, 1957 – April 20, 1963

Have Gun – Will Travel is an American Western television series that aired on CBS from 1957 through 1963. It was rated number three or number four in the Nielsen ratings every year of its first four seasons.[1] The show was one of the most successful shows in television history. It was one of the few television shows to spawn a successful radio version. The radio series debuted November 23, 1958.

Production

Have Gun – Will Travel was created by Sam Rolfe and Herb Meadow and produced by Frank Pierson, Don Ingalls, Robert Sparks, and Julian Claman. Of the 225 episodes of the television series, 24 were written by Gene Roddenberry. Other major contributors included Bruce Geller, Harry Julian Fink, Don Brinkley, and Irving Wallace. Andrew V. McLaglen directed 101 episodes,[2] and 19 were directed by series star Richard Boone.[citation needed]

Premise

This series follows the adventures of a man calling himself "Paladin" (played by Richard Boone on television and voiced by John Dehner on radio), taking his name from that of the foremost knight warriors in Charlemagne's court. He is a gentleman gunfighter who travels around the Old West working as a mercenary gunfighter for people who hire him to solve their problems.

Although Paladin charges steep fees to clients who can afford to hire him, typically $1000 per job, he provides his services for free to poor people who need his help. Like many Westerns, the television show was set during a nebulous period after the Civil War. The radio show explicitly states the year in the opening of every episode.[3]

The season 5 television episode, "A Drop of Blood", gives the specific date (converting from the Jewish calendar) of July 3, 1879.[4]

Title

The title was a variation ("snowclone") on a cliche used in personal advertisements in newspapers like The Times, indicating that the advertiser was ready for anything. It was used this way from the early twentieth century.[5]

A trope common in theatrical advertising was "Have tux, will travel", and CBS claimed this was the inspiration for the writer Herb Meadow. The television show popularized the phrase in the 1960s, and many variations were used as titles for other works, but was antedated by Have Space Suit—Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein.[6]

Characters

Paladin

Richard Boone in the episode "Genesis" (1962), before becoming the famed "knight without armor", Paladin

Paladin prefers to settle without violence the difficulties brought his way by clients when possible, but this almost never happens. When forced, he excels in fisticuffs. Under his real name, which is never revealed, he was a dueling champion of some renown. Paladin is a former Union cavalry officer, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and a veteran of the American Civil War.

His permanent place of residence is the Hotel Carlton in San Francisco, where he lives the life of a successful businessman and bon vivant, wearing elegant custom-made suits, consuming fine wine, playing the piano, and attending the opera and other cultural events. He is an expert chess player, poker player, and swordsman. He is skilled in Chinese martial arts and is seen in several episodes receiving instruction and training with a Kung Fu master in San Francisco. He is highly educated, able to quote classic literature, philosophy, and case law, and speaks several languages. He is also president of the San Francisco Stock Exchange Club.[7]

While at work on the frontier, Paladin changes into all-black Western-style clothing. His primary weapon is a custom-made, first-generation .45 caliber Colt Single Action Army Cavalry Model revolver[8] with an unusual rifled barrel, carried in a black leather holster (with a platinum chess knight symbol facing the rear), hanging from a black leather gunbelt. He also carries a lever action Marlin rifle strapped to his saddle, and a Remington derringer concealed under his belt.[citation needed]

This calling card was the identifying graphic of the Have Gun – Will Travel series.

Paladin gives out a business card imprinted with "Have Gun Will Travel" and a drawing of a knight chess piece. A closeup of this card is used as a title card between scenes in the program.

Other recurring characters

The one other major semiregular character in the show was the Chinese bellhop at the Carlton Hotel, known as Hey Boy (real name Kim Chan or Kim Chang): in the first season in the episode called "Hey Boy's Revenge", the character Hey Boy is sought by Paladin under the name Kim Chan which is written on a piece of paper and shown on screen. As the episode continues, Hey Boy is referred to (verbally) five times as Kim Chan and then on the sixth incident Paladin states Hey Boy's name as Kim Chang and thereafter he is referred to as Kim Chang every time. No explanation is given for the name change). Hey Boy was played by Kam Tong. According to author and historian Martin Grams, Jr., Hey Boy was featured in all but the fourth of the show's six seasons, with the character of Hey Girl, played by Lisa Lu, replacing Hey Boy for season four while Kam Tong worked on the Mr. Garlund television series.[2]

Notable guest stars

Richard Boone and Christine White in a 1958 episode

Guest stars included Jack Lord, Charles Bronson, Victor McLaglen, Vincent Price, James Coburn, Ben Johnson, George Kennedy, John Carradine, Angie Dickinson, Buddy Ebsen, Denver Pyle, June Lockhart, Harry Morgan, Jack Elam, Dan Blocker, Pernell Roberts, DeForest Kelley, Lon Chaney, Jr., Warren Oates, Martin Balsam, Sydney Pollack, William Conrad, Dyan Cannon, Robert Blake, Suzanne Pleshette, Strother Martin, Albert Salmi, Werner Klemperer and Odetta.

Opening sequence

Originally, each show opened with the same 45-second visual. Over a slow four-note-repeat backbeat score, a tight shot of Paladin's chess knight emblem centered in a black background is seen, before the view widens to show the emblem affixed to Paladin's holster, with Paladin in his trademark costume seen from waist level in profile. Then as he draws his revolver from the holster, the four-note-repeat backbeat fades to a light, almost harp-like strumming. He cocks the hammer, and then rotates the gun to point the barrel at the viewer for 10 seconds, often delivering a line of dialogue from the coming episode, after which the pistol is uncocked and holstered briskly. As the weapon is reholstered and the view tightens to show only the chess knight, again, the four-note-repeat backbeat returns.

As only the chess knight emblem in a black background is back, the name "RICHARD BOONE" appears across the screen for about 5 seconds. The name fades out and immediately the words "in HAVE GUN – WILL TRAVEL" fade in, again for about 5 seconds. Boone's name and the show's title is accompanied by a four-note "stinger" that overshadows the four-note-repeat. The "stinger" is roughly the same as that heard when Paladin's business card is flashed on screen (in almost every episode). The words fade away after those 5 seconds leaving only the chess knight emblem against the black background, and the four-note-repeat fades out. This opening then fades out and the show fades in on its opening scene.

In a later version of the opening sequence, there is a long-range shot, with Paladin in a full-body profile silhouette, and he fast-draws the revolver, dropping into a slight crouch as he turns, pointing at the camera. After the dubbed-over line, he straightens as he shoves the firearm into his holster. This silhouette visual remained for the run of the series. In later episodes, the teaser line was dropped; as seen in many of the episodes of the final two seasons' opening titles, when Paladin crouches and points his gun at the camera, first "RICHARD BOONE", and then "HAVE GUN – WILL TRAVEL" would appear as before, and Boone would reholster his gun as the words faded out. (Due to the networks not always airing episodes in the order they were filmed, the omission of the voice-over dialogue was inconsistent for some of the episodes, as seen in the opening titles. Season 6 did have the most opening titles without the voice-over dialogue, especially as the season progressed, again as seen when the episodes opened.)

Filming locations

Unlike many westerns, entire episodes were filmed outdoors and away from the Old West street set on Irving Street just below Melrose Avenue, the home of Filmaster television production company. Filmaster was located across the street from, later becoming part of, Paramount Studios' backlot. The area is now enclosed in the independent Kingsley Productions studio lot encompassing a city block. Beginning in season four, filming locations were often given in the closing credits. Locations included Bishop and Lone Pine, California; an area now known as Paladin Estates between Bend and Sisters, Oregon; and the Abbott Ranch near Prineville, Oregon.

Music

The program's opening was a four-note motif composed and conducted by Bernard Herrmann.[citation needed]

For the opening theme, Herrmann reused a short sequence he had previously composed for the 1951 movie On Dangerous Ground, starring Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino. The "Have Gun – Will Travel" theme (and fragments of incidental music also used in the television series) are featured in a chase scene across snowy fields; at the 35:25 mark of the film, the actual "Have Gun – Will Travel" opening theme is played in recognizable form, although the scoring is slightly different than that heard in the better-known television version.

The show's closing song, "The Ballad of Paladin", was written by Johnny Western, Richard Boone, and program creator Sam Rolfe, and was performed by Western. In the first season the closing song was a reprise of the opening theme. In syndication, the first (premise) episode concludes with the Johnny Western ballad. The rest of the run of the first-season episodes play a reprise of the opening theme.

In the second season the song was the only closing music. In the third season a new lyric was added to the five line "The Ballad of Paladin" making it six lines long. In 1962–1963, the final season, the song's lyrics were cut to four lines, the original fourth and added sixth being dropped. This occurred because the production credits for writer, producer and director were pulled from the closing credits to appear over the opening sequences. However, in the episode "Sweet Lady in the Moon" (1963), the ballad was played complete over the closing credits.

Johnny Western has sung a fully recorded version, opening with the refrain and including a second verse never heard on the television series.[9]

Broadcast history and ratings

September 1957 – April 1963: Saturdays at 9:30 p.m.

  • October 1957 – April 1958: #4 – 33.7
  • October 1958 – April 1959: #3 – 34.3
  • October 1959 – April 1960: #3 – 34.7
  • October 1960 – April 1961: #3 – 30.9
  • October 1961 – April 1962: #29 – 22.2
  • October 1962 – April 1963: #29 – 20.8

Awards

The television show was nominated for three Emmy Awards. These were for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Continuing Character) in a Dramatic Series, for Richard Boone (1959); Best Western Series (1959); and Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Series (Lead or Support), for Richard Boone (1960).[10]

In 1957, Gene Roddenberry received the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Script for the episode "Helen of Abajinian".[11]

Writers

Many of the writers who worked on Have Gun – Will Travel went on to gain fame elsewhere. Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek, Bruce Geller created Mission: Impossible, Samuel A. Peeples created The Tall Man, Custer, and Lancer, and Harold Jack Bloom created Boone's later series Hec Ramsey and the 1970s medical-adventure series Emergency! Harry Julian Fink is one of the writers who created Dirty Harry (the opening title and theme scene of the 1973 Dirty Harry sequel Magnum Force features s Paladin-like sequence of a handgun being slowly cocked and then finally pointed toward the camera, with a potent line of dialogue). Sam Peckinpah wrote one episode, "The Singer," which aired in 1958. Other notable writers who contributed an episode include Gene L. Coon, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, Laurence Heath, and Fred Freiberger. Both Star Trek and Mission: Impossible were produced by Desilu Productions and later Paramount Television, which also now owns the rights to Have Gun – Will Travel through its successor company, CBS Television Distribution.[12]

Franchise in other media

Radio show

The Have Gun – Will Travel radio show broadcast 106 episodes on the CBS Radio Network between November 23, 1958, and November 27, 1960. It was one of the last radio dramas featuring continuing characters and the only significant American radio adaptation of a television series. John Dehner (a regular on the radio series version of Gunsmoke) played Paladin, and Ben Wright usually (but not always) played Hey Boy. Virginia Gregg played Miss Wong, Hey Boy's girlfriend, before the television series featured the character of Hey Girl. Unlike the small-screen version, in this medium there was usually a tag scene at the Carlton at both the beginning and the end of the episode. Initially, the episodes were adaptations of the television program as broadcast earlier the same week, but eventually original stories were produced, including a finale ("Goodbye, Paladin") in which Paladin leaves San Francisco, apparently forever, to claim an inheritance back east. The radio version was written by producer/writer Roy Winsor.[13]

Books

Dell Comics' Have Gun – Will Travel.

There were three novels based on the television show, all with the title of the show. The first was a hardback written for children, published by Whitman in 1959 in a series of novelizations of television shows. It was written by Barlow Meyers and illustrated by Nichols S. Firfires. The second was a 1960 paperback original, written for adults by Noel Lomis. The last book, A Man Called Paladin, written by Frank C. Robertson and published in 1963 by Collier-Macmillan in hardback and paperback, is based on the television episode "Genesis" by Frank Rolfe.

This novel is the only source wherein a name is given to the Paladin character, Clay Alexander, but fans of the series do not consider this name canonical. Dell Comics published a number of comic books with original stories based on the television series. In 2001, a trade paperback book titled The Have Gun – Will Travel Companion was published, documenting the history of the radio and television series. The 500-page book was authored by Martin Grams, Jr. and Les Rayburn.[citation needed]

Film

In 1997, it was announced that a movie version of the television series would be made. John Travolta was named as a possible star in the Warner Bros. production, which was scripted by Larry Ferguson and to be directed by The Fugitive director Andrew Davis. However, the film was never made.[14]

In 2006, it was announced that a Have Gun – Will Travel movie starring rapper Eminem is in production. However, the film currently[when?] does not hold an official confirmed release date. Paramount Pictures extended an 18-month option on the television series and planned to transform the character of Paladin into a modern-day bounty hunter. Eminem was expected to work on the soundtrack.[15]

Television reboot

In August 2012, it was announced in several venues that David Mamet was developing a reboot of the television series for CBS.[16][17]

In other television series

In the television series Maverick, season 2, episode 16, "Gun Shy", Marshal Mort Dooley, the marshal of Elwood, Kansas, comments that a lot of strange people have been passing through his town lately, specifically referring to "that gunslinger who handed out business cards." This could be no one other than Paladin, and obviously was a gentle dig at another TV Western.[citation needed]

Home video and DVD

All of the episodes were released on VHS by Columbia House. CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) has released all six seasons of Have Gun – Will Travel on DVD in Region 1. Season 6, Volumes 1 & 2 were first released on May 7, 2013.[18]

On May 10, 2016, CBS DVD was to release Have Gun, Will Travel — The Complete series on DVD in Region 1.[19]

In the second-season DVD, two episodes are mislabeled. On disk three, the episode titled "Treasure Trail" is actually "Hunt the Man Down", and on disk four, "Hunt the Man Down" is "Treasure Trail"; the "Wire Paladin" in each case refers to the other episode.[citation needed]

DVD name Ep # Release date
Season 1 39 May 11, 2004
Season 2 39 May 10, 2005
Season 3 39 January 3, 2006
Season 4- Volume 1 19 March 2, 2010
Season 4- Volume 2 19 July 6, 2010
Season 5- Volume 1 19 November 30, 2010
Season 5- Volume 2 19 February 22, 2011
Season 6- Volume 1 16 May 7, 2013
Season 6- Volume 2 16 May 7, 2013
Complete Series 225 May 10, 2016

Cultural influences

  • Boon was a hit British Drama series and was heavily influenced by Have Gun – Will Travel. The series followed the adventures an ex-fireman who was invalided out of the service and became a 'modern-day hero'. Of Have Gun – Will Travel's influence, co-creator Jim Hill said: "Boon had been derived from an American TV series from the 1950s that Bill Stair and I both watched and liked. It was called Have Gun – Will Travel — a troubleshooting cowboy answered distress calls. He was called Paladin and was played by the actor Richard Boone. We dropped the E and we had BOON — a modern-day trouble shooter on a motorbike instead of a steed." Boon ran from 1986 to 1992, with a special one-off episode in 1995.
  • Have Space Suit—Will Travel (1958) is a "space opera" novel by Robert A. Heinlein. The narrator is called to space to do the typical hero's job of defending humanity and saving the earth.
  • Have 'Twangy' Guitar Will Travel (1958) is an album by guitarist Duane Eddy.
  • Have Guitar Will Travel (1960) is an album by guitarist and vocalist Bo Diddley.
  • Have Guitar, Will Travel (2009) is an album by guitarist Joe Perry. The accompanying tour also used the name.
  • "Have Love, Will Travel" is a song written and recorded in 1959 by Richard Berry.
  • In a scene in Stand By Me, the main characters sing the show's closing theme song as a way of evoking that film's era (it is set in late 1959); songwriter Johnny Western successfully sued the producers for not securing his permission beforehand. This scene is spoofed in the "Stand by Me" segment of the Family Guy episode "Three Kings".
  • The Tom and Jerry cartoon Tall in the Trap (1962, directed by Gene Deitch) was a parody of Have Gun – Will Travel.
  • A feature of Frank Zappa's 1970 tour's performances was the "Paladin Routine", a brief improvised comedy sketch based on the Have Gun – Will Travel characters, culminating in a vocalization of the music from the series' opening-credit sequence. One such performance is documented on the bootleg album Freaks & Motherfu*#@%! (later released as part of Beat the Boots).
  • In the third season, episode 3 of Downton Abbey, aired January 6, 2013, in what appears to be an anachronism, the character Lady Cora tells her husband, "I'm American: have gun, will travel."
  • "Have Time, Will Travel", an episode of The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald.
  • Got Dust, Will Travel, a mission from Saints Row 2
  • Have Mask, Will Travel, the title of the second part of the Mask/Ace Ventura crossover and the final episode of the latter's second season.
  • In the 1972–74 series Hec Ramsey, set in New Prospect, Oklahoma in 1901, Boone is an older former gunfighter turned early forensic criminologist. At one point Ramsey denies that, in his younger days as a gunfighter, he worked under the name Paladin. The origin of this myth is Boone's remark in an interview, "Hec Ramsey is Paladin—only fatter." Naturally, he merely meant the characters had certain similarities: Ramsey, for his part, was practically buffoonish, imparting a measure of humor to Hec Ramsey missing from the sterner, more erudite Paladin.
  • In the two-part 1991 TV mini-series The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw, a poker game is played by the rules of "the late Mr. Paladin" in the Carlton Hotel where Paladin usually stayed.
  • In the 1985 Star Trek novel Ishmael by Barbara Hambly, in which the Enterprise travels back in time, Spock plays chess against Paladin during a visit to San Francisco.
  • In the 2013 fan created series Star Trek Continues episode "Pilgrim of Eternity", Visual Effects Artist Doug Drexler played the part of Paladin in a Holodeck creation. Drexler cited the special specifications of Paladin's revolver to an impressed Captain Kirk.
  • As a homage to Boone's character, in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, the Paladin features an archetype named "Holy Gun", whose abilities are succinctly described as "Have Gun".

Legal battle

In 1974, a rodeo performer named Victor De Costa won a federal court judgment against CBS for trademark infringement, successfully arguing that he had created the Paladin character and the ideas used in the show, and that CBS had used them without permission. For example, at his rodeo appearances he always dressed in black, he called himself the "Paladin", he handed out hundreds of business cards with a chess piece logo and the phrase "Have gun will travel", and he carried a concealed derringer. A year later, an appellate court overturned the lower court ruling on the basis that the plaintiff had failed to prove that there had been likelihood of confusion in the minds of the public—a necessary requirement for a suit over trademark infringement. However, De Costa kept pursuing his legal options, and in 1991—more than 30 years after his first lawsuit was originally filed—he was awarded more than US$3 million. De Costa died at the age of 83 before he could receive the award.[20]

In 1991, on the basis of De Costa's established claims, a Rhode Island federal judge blocked the redistribution of the Paladin show by Viacom.[21]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Richard Boone".
  2. ^ a b Peter Orlick, The Museum of Broadcast Communications (Encyclopedia of Television) – Have Gun, Will Travel; accessed May 20, 2018.
  3. ^ Dunning, John. Tune In Yesterday: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, 1925-1976 (New York: Prentice Hall), 1976; ISBN 978-0139326165
  4. ^ A Drop of Blood
  5. ^ Eric Partridge, Paul Beale, A dictionary of catch phrases: British and American, from the sixteenth century to the present day, retrieved May 20, 2018
  6. ^ J. Daniel Gifford (2000), Robert A. Heinlein: a reader's companion, p. 98
  7. ^ Gould, Berni; Pascal, Milton; & Kolb, Ken. Have Gun - Will Travel, Episode 1/21, "The Bostonian", first aired February 1, 1958; retrieved November 6, 2017.
  8. ^ TV Acres — Weapons at a Glance, tvacres.com; accessed May 20, 2018.
  9. ^ [www.youtube.com]
  10. ^ "Have Gun – Will Travel".
  11. ^ Reginald, Robert (1979). Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature Volume II. Detroit: Gale. ISBN 978-0-8103-1051-3.
  12. ^ [www.hgwt.com]. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  13. ^ Dunning, John (1998), On The Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, New York: Oxford University Press, p. 311, ISBN 0-19-507678-8
  14. ^ Michael Fleming (1997-05-15). "Krane Takes Bull by Horns". Variety. Retrieved 2007-12-31.
  15. ^ "Eminem to star in Have Gun – Will Travel film remake". CBC News. 2006-06-14. Archived from the original on 2007-06-14. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  16. ^ Rose, Lacey (2012-08-21). "CBS, David Mamet Developing 'Have Gun – Will Travel' Reboot". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
  17. ^ Tucker, Ken (2012-08-22). "David Mamet's 'Have Gun, Will Travel' reboot: Why it's a great idea". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
  18. ^ "Have Gun Will Travel DVD news: Announcement for The 6th and Final Year, Volume 1 and The 6th and Final Year, Volume 2". TVShowsOnDVD.com. 25 May 2007. Archived from the original on 16 May 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  19. ^ Richard Boone Stars in 'The Complete Series' 35-DVD Set Archived 24 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine., tvshowsondvd.com; accessed May 20, 2018.
  20. ^ "Have Gun, Will Travel". Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  21. ^ Kleid, Beth (October 7, 1991). "Television". Los Angeles Times.

Bibliography

External links