Your Classic TV Source for all those Old Western TV Shows
While TV didn’t begin in the 1950s, practically no one had a set before then, there were few shows, and people looked to radio and newspapers for entertainment and news. In 1947 RCA mass produced a 7 inch TV and 170,000 of them sold. By 1949, 1 million sets had been sold.
As the Fifties progressed the post-war boom included both babies and TV. In 1950 there are about 10 million sets in the U.S.
The TV Western reigned supreme in the Fifties and Sixties. There were about 120 of them depending on what you consider a Western.
Like the post-war world in which they flourished, you could always tell the good guys from the bad. And none of the guns were fully automatic.
The earliest TV Westerns were mostly kiddy fare, typified by Roy Rogers. In the mid-Fifties Gunsmoke begin its 20 year run and was the first successful “adult” Western.As fast as you could say, “they went thataway, pardner” the airwaves were filled with Westerns. My personal favorite, Wagon Train debuts in 1957 along with Maverick and Have Gun Will Travel.
Studios quickly realized that the Western didn’t just appeal to men and accordingly cast hunky leads, who often appeared shirtless, to please the women. No longer did the hero kiss his horse and ride off into the sunset. Now he got to kiss the girl too!
But the world was changing. There was that nastiness in Viet Nam. Sometimes even good guys seemed to wear black hats. Or maybe there is such a notion as too much of a good thing. By the end of the Sixties, the TV Western had just about disappeared.
Sadly, attempts to resurrect the genre have failed. Magnificent Seven was a valiant effort but they moved it around into about a half dozen time slots so nobody could find it. Westerns are expensive to make and younger studio executives just don’t get it. They assume that we all want to watch sexy young actors and actresses who haven’t eaten yet this month, talk about nothing in their apartments.
C’mon pards, let’s grab our Peacemakers and call ’em out into the street!