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Have Gun, Will Travel, Volume 5 - 6 hours [Download] #RA696
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Have Gun, Will Travel
In the 1950s, it was fairly common for a long-running radio series to be adapted for television -- but it was practically unheard of for a successful TV series to make its way to radio. But, on November 23, 1958, that's exactly what happened when the CBS Television series
"Have Gun, Will Travel"
came to CBS Radio.
Created by Herb Meadow and Sam Rolfe, "Have Gun, Will Travel" was first aired on CBS-TV September 14, 1957 and starred Richard Boone as Paladin, a cultured, educated, and sophisticated man with an eye for the ladies, a taste for gourmet food, wine, and cigars, and enough skill, nerve, and well-oiled artillery to make him a top-notch gunfighter. Headquartered at the fashionable Carlton Hotel in San Francisco, Paladin had earlier attended West Point and was also a former Army officer, but now chose to finance his luxurious lifestyle by being a combination go-between, negotiator, and hired gun - a white knight, as it were - for those who needed such assistance. Unlike the more scruffy gunmen of the wild west, Paladin relied on his brains as much as his nerve -- and made his reputation by use of a distinctive business card that featured the symbol of a white chess knight and read, simply, "Have Gun, Will Travel. Wire Paladin, San Francisco." When one hired Paladin to do a job, he did it...for a sizeable fee, of course. Questions of morality did come into play - Paladin was, after all, intending to be more of a protector of the helpless than a murdering hit man - so, throughout the series, most who eventually came to face to face with the barrel of his custom-made six shooter had already done quite a lot to deserve their fate. (He also had the good sense to conceal a derringer under his belt, as well as a few expensive cigars in his boot. Classy guy.)
On radio, Paladin was played by John Dehner, a talented character actor who had made his name in featured roles on similar radio series such as "Gunsmoke" and "Frontier Gentleman." (Dehner, whose portrayal of Paladin was a bit more arch, suave, and sleek than his TV counterpart, had in fact earlier turned down the leading role of Sheriff Matt Dillon in "Gunsmoke" for fear of being typecast in western roles.) Dehner was understandably concerned about becoming nothing more than a pale copy of Richard Boone, and so insisted on making the role uniquely his own; radio historian John Dunning describes Dehner's portrayal as "a streamlined version, perhaps slighter of build...but just as deadly." The same smooth and slightly menacing voice that had made him such an effective villain on such series as "Escape" and "The Adventures of Philip Marlowe," made him an equally effective Paladin -- someone you might enjoy an intellectual discussion with over a glass of decent sherry, but also someone you wouldn't want to disagree with too aggressively for too long.
There were, of course, many similarities between the TV and radio series, particularly since many (though not all) of the radio scripts were based on earlier television episodes. Both programs used the same musical themes and bridges and relied much more upon dialogue and atmosphere than rip-roaring action to attract audiences. (Paladin, who was well versed in the classics, was frequently given to quoting Shakespeare and recalling obscure bits of history when considering the best way to deal with his various assignments.) On radio, "Have Gun, Will Travel" also benefited from the presence of "Gunsmoke" and "Fort Laramie" producer/director Norman Macdonnell as well as writers Marian Clark and Les Crutchfield, sound effects men Tom Hanley and Ray Kemper, and a host of talented performers such as Sam Edwards, Jack Moyles, Larry Dobkin, and Harry Bartell. The stories were rich with detail, realistic, and typical of the more adult types of western that had evolved in the 1950s; less shoot 'em up, more introspection.
"Have Gun, Will Travel" was one of the last continuing radio dramas to leave the airwaves, ending a two-year CBS run on November 27, 1960. (The TV series lasted a bit longer - six years in total - and closed up shop on September 21, 1963.) While it lasted, however, "Have Gun, Will Travel" demonstrated that, even with television capturing the largest audiences and the most advertising dollars, radio could still effectively hold its own when given the opportunity to present quality programming. Heard today, even those who have never experienced quality radio drama firsthand can enjoy the programs simply as effective and engrossing pieces of well-produced audio entertainment.
This collection, the fifth volume in our ongoing series, offers another twelve episodes of "Have Gun, Will Travel", just as originally aired over CBS Radio in 1960. Here is the complete content of this six-hour collection:
#66 That Was No Lady
Sunday, February 21, 1960 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
#67 Dollhouse in Diamond Springs
Sunday, February 28, 1960 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
#68 Somebody Out There Hates Me
Sunday, March 6, 1960 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
#69 Montana Vendetta
Sunday, March 13, 1960 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
#70 Caesar's Wife
Sunday, March 20, 1960 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
#71 They Told Me You Were Dead
Sunday, March 27, 1960 - 25:00 - CBS/AFRTS rebroadcast
#72 Shanghai is a Verb
Sunday, April 3, 1960 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
#73 So True, Mr. Barnum
Sunday, April 10, 1960 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
#74 Prunella's Fella
Sunday, April 17, 1960 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
#75 Irish Luck
Sunday, April 24, 1960 - 25:00 - CBS/AFRTS rebroadcast
#76 Dressed to Kill
Sunday, May 1, 1960 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
#77 Pat Murphy
Sunday, May 8, 1960 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
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