Cheyenne (1955 TV series): Wikis

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Cheyenne
Cheyenne Title Screen.JPG
Title screen
Also known as Warner Brothers Presents ... Cheyenne
and
Cheyene: Bronco
and
The Cheyenne Show: Bronco[1][2]
Genre Western
Developed by Roy Huggins
Starring Clint Walker
Theme music composer William Lava
Stanley D. Jones[3]
Country of origin  United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
including the first season on WBP
No. of episodes 108
Production
Executive producer(s) William T. Orr
Producer(s) Roy Huggins
Arthur W. Silver
Sidney Biddel
Burt Dunne
William L. Stuart
Location(s) California California
Running time 60 mins.
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Picture format 1.33:1 Monochrome
Audio format Monaural
First shown in Sundays
later, Mondays
Original run 20 September 1955 –
30 April 1963
Chronology
Preceded by Warner Brothers Presents
Followed by The Dakotas
Related shows Bronco
Maverick
Sugarfoot

Cheyenne is a western television series of 108 black-and-white episodes broadcast on ABC from 1955 to 1963. The show was the first hour-long western, and in fact the first hour-long dramatic series of any kind, with regular characters, to last more than one season. It was also the first series to be made by a major Hollywood film studio which did not derive from its established film properties,[4] and the first of a long chain of Warner Brothers original series produced by William T. Orr.

The series' strength was its charismatic star and TV western icon, Clint Walker, who dominated the screen with his powerful physique. Off the set, Walker battled the studio over his contract, making Cheyenne one of the more tempestuous productions in the history of television.

Contents

Series history

The series began as a part of Warner Brothers Presents, a program that alternated three different series in rotation. In its first year, Cheyenne traded broadcast weeks with Casablanca and King's Row. Thereafter, Cheyenne was overhauled by new producer Roy Huggins and left the umbrella of WBP. The show starred Clint Walker, a native of Illinois, as Cheyenne Bodie, a physically large cowboy wandering the American West. The first episode about robbers pretending to be "Good Samaritans", is entitled "Mountain Fortress" and features James Garner as a guest star. The episode reveals that Bodie's parents were massacred by Cheyenne Indians, who then reared him. Bodie maintained a positive and understanding attitude toward the Native Americans.

Cheyenne ran from 1955 to 1963, except for a hiatus when Walker went on strike for higher pay (1958-1959). The interim saw the introduction of a virtual Bodie-clone called Bronco Layne, played by Ty Hardin, a native of Texas. Hardin was featured as the quasi main character during Bodie's absence. When Warners renegotiated Walker's contract and the actor returned to the show in 1959, Bronco was spunoff as a show in its own right and became independently successful.

The two series alternated in the same time slot from 1958 to 1962, with Bronco as the junior partner (only a snippet of his theme song was heard in the opening credits, as a kind of aural footnote to Cheyenne's). Occasionally both Cheyenne and Bronco appeared together in the same episode, both deadly serious as they worked together.

At the conclusion of the sixth season, a special episode was aired. Called "A Man Named Ragan", it was a pilot for a program called The Dakotas that would replace Cheyenne in the middle of the next season. However, because Cheyenne Bodie never appeared in "Ragan", the two programs are only tenuously linked.[2]

Walker reprised the Cheyenne Bodie character in 1991 for the TV-movie The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw and also played Cheyenne in an episode of Kung Fu: The Legend Continues in 1995.

Production

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Filming

For the 1957–58 season, ABC offered to purchase a full season of thirty-nine episodes of Cheyenne. Warner Brothers declined, however, since each hour-long episode took six working days for principal photography alone. The studio couldn't supply a new episode each week. Because Walker appeared in virtually every scene, it was also impossible to shoot more than one episode at a time.[5] Maverick, another Warner Bros. series on ABC, solved exactly the same problem by giving star James Garner's character a brother (Jack Kelly) with whom to rotate from week to week in order to keep up with production demands, a gimmick the producers only wanted to use for one series.

Plot

Cheyenne Bodie, a former frontier scout, is the heroic loner who drifts without any particular motivation or purpose through the post-Civil War West, taking temporary jobs on ranches, wagon trains, or cattle drives. Sometimes he works for the U.S. government, as a civilian Cavalry scout, a special investigator for the Indian Office, or a federal marshal. Other times he finds himself deputized by local lawmen. He often meddles in the affairs of others, settling conflicts with his fists and guns rather than with his wits, mediation, conciliation, or persuasion. Producers changed Bodie's circumstances at will in order to insert him into any dramatic conflict. Several Cheyenne episodes were remakes of earlier Warner Brothers movies like To Have and Have Not (1944) Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), Along the Great Divide (1951), and Springfield Rifle (1952) with Cheyenne Bodie simply inserted into the original plot.

Characters and cast

L. Q. Jones (Smitty) and Clint Walker (Cheyenne)

Clint Walker as main character Cheyenne Bodie is the only series regular. L. Q. Jones appears as Cheyenne's sidekick Smitty in three first-season episodes. Thereafter, no recurring characters make appearances as Cheynne's circumstances change with every episode, and he relocates as his drifter tastes and lifestyle dictate. Diane Brewster appears as Mary in the 1956 episode "The Travelers", a young woman trying to keep her father from being wrongfully hanged. She then appears as Samantha Crawford, the swindler with a fake southern accent, in an episode called "Dark Rider" before the character migrates to Maverick to become the Maverick brothers' most celebrated nemesis. James Garner, who would play Bret Maverick appears as Lt. Forsythe in the series' first episode, "Mountain Fortress," (1955)

Guest stars

Guest stars on Cheyenne included:

  • Chris Alcaide appeared as Deputy Hack in "Star in the Dust" (1956) and as Harry Thomas in "The Quick and the Deadly" (1962).
  • Dan Blocker appeared as Pete in "Land Beyond the Law" (1957) and as Deputy Sam in "Noose at Noon" (1958)
  • Ellen Burstyn (billed as Ellen McCrae) appeared as Emmy Mae in "Day's Pay" (1961)
  • Mary Castle as Alice Wilson in "Test of Courage" (1957)
  • Peggie Castle appeared as the devious southern belle Mary "Mississippi" Brown in the episode "Fury at Rio Hondo", set in Mexico (April 17, 1956), and as Amy Gordon in "The Spanish Grant" (1957)
  • Russ Conway appeared as Marshal Stort in the 1958 episode "Ghost of Cimarron".
  • Ronnie Dapo, a child actor, appeared as Roy Barrington in the 1963 episode "One Way Ticket".
  • Francis De Sales guest starred twice in 1957, as Lieutenant Quentin in "Land Beyond the Law" and as a sheriff in "The Brand".
  • Angie Dickinson appeared as Jeannie Trude in "War Party" (1957)
  • Dean Fredericks appeared three times, including as Yellow Knife in the episode "Quicksand" (1956) and as Little Chief in "The Broken Pledge" (1957)
  • James Garner, later to play Bret Maverick on "Maverick" and Jim Rockford on "The Rockford Files," appeared as Lt. Forsythe in "Mountain Fortress" (1955), the first episode of the series, as Lt. Rogers in "Decision" (1956), episode eight and also appeared as Rev. Bret Mailer in "The Last Train West" (1956), which was episode fifteen of season one.He also appeared as Peake in "War Party" (1957) in season two.
  • Jock Gaynor (later of NBC's Outlaws) as Johnny McIntire in "Incident at Dawson Flats" (1961)
  • Tod Griffin as Sheriff Frank Day in "The Empty Gun" (1958) and as Rafe Donovan in "The Greater Glory" (1961)
  • Ron Hayes (later of The Everglades) as Durango in "Town of Fear" (1957)
  • Kelo Henderson made his screen debut as Doc Pardes in "The Brand" (1957).
  • Dennis Hopper appeared as an arrogant young gunfighter, the Utah Kid, in the episode "Quicksand"; in the story line, he gave Cheyenne Bodie no choice but to kill him in a gunfight.
  • Brad Johnson appeared as Sheriff Dan Blaisdell in the 1960 episode "Home Is the Brave".
  • I. Stanford Jolley appeared seven times, the last having been as Ezra in "The Quick and the Deadly" (1962).
  • Harry Lauter appeared three times, the last having been as Walt Taylor in "The Vanishing Breed" (1962).
  • Frank McGrath, cast a year later on Wagon Train, made a brief appearance in the same episode as a ranch foreman, John Pike, who is killed by the Comanches. (1956)
  • Robert Karnes (a regular on NBC's crime drama The Lawless Years) as Matt Walsh in "Man Alone" (1962)
  • Michael Landon appeared as White Hawk, a young man whose history was similar to Cheyenne's in that he was raised by the Comanche after his parents were killed by them in "The White Warrior".
  • Dayton Lummis appeared as Frank Collins in "The Young Fugitives" (1961). Richard Evans played his son, Gilby Collins, a burgeoning outlaw. Anne Whitfield portrayed Nita, Gilby's new-found girlfriend, who convinces him to turn himself in to authorities.
  • Scott Marlowe as Mickey Free in "Apache Blood" (1960)
  • Patrick McVey appeared three times as law enforcement officers between 1957 and 1961.
  • Tyler McVey appeared as Henry Toland in the 1960 episode "Gold, Glory, and Custer".
  • Joyce Meadows as Madaline De Vier in the episode "Cross Purpose" (1961)
  • Roger Mobley (earlier of NBC's Fury and later on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color) as Billy in "Sweet Sam" and as Gabe Morse in "The Idol" (both 1962)
  • Gregg Palmer appeared as Dillard in the 1961 episode "The Frightened Town".
  • John M. Pickard guest starred as Ben Cask in "Dark Decision" (1962).
  • Gilman Rankin appeared as Ringo in "The Mutton Punchers" (1957) and as Price in "Trouble Street" (1961).
  • Robert F. Simon appeared as Chad Wilcox in the episode "Born Bad" and as Hub Lassiter in the segment "Prisoner of Moon Mesa".
  • Rod Taylor as Clancy and Edward Andrews as Duncan in "The Argonauts" (November 1, 1955). Gold dust miners are the best of friends until they strike it rich, only to have Indians attack and cast their dust to the wind.
  • Ray Teal, later the sheriff on Bonanza, appeared in "Julesburg" (October 11, 1955) as a ruthless cattle baron. Cheyenne comes to the lawless town to aid honest settlers.
  • Dawn Wells appeared as Sarah Claypool in "Lone Patrol" (1961)

Media information

Broadcast history

ABC televised the show from 1955 to 1962: September 1955-September 1959 Tuesday 7:30-8:30 P.M.; September 1959-December 1962, Monday 7:30-8:30 P.M.; April 1963-September 1963, Friday 7:30-8:30 P.M. In its last season, Cheyenne still drew good ratings that forced the cancellation of the new comedy/drama It's a Man's World on NBC, co-starring Glenn Corbett, Michael Burns, Ted Bessell, and Randy Boone.

Merchandise

Dell Comics produced a comic book based on the series. After 3 issues in their Four Color Comics series, it got its own title for issues #4-25 from (1957-1962). All issues had photo covers. Milton Bradley published a Cheyenne board game for children based on the series. Golden Books published an illustrated storybook for very young children while Whitman Publishing printed a novel called The Lost Gold of Lion Park for older children.

Reception

Ratings

Cheyenne was a principal reason for ABC's ratings ascent during the mid-1950s. ABC had fewer national affiliates than CBS and NBC, but in markets with affiliates of all three networks, Cheyenne immediately entered the top ten; by 1957, it had become the number one program in those markets. Cheyenne finished the 1957-58 season as the second highest-rated series on ABC.

Awards

Cheyenne was a co-winner of the 1957 Golden Globe Award for Television Achievement.[6]

External links

References

  1. ^ CTVA entry for Bronco
  2. ^ a b CTVA entry for Cheyenne
  3. ^ ClassicThemes.com, Season 1 featured the Warner Brothers Presents opening theme and a closing theme by Jerry Livingston and Mack David. However, once the show came out of the WBP "umbrella", the Lava/Jones theme, "Bodie", was exclusively employed.
  4. ^ Trivia about Cheyenne at IMDB
  5. ^ Anderson, Christopher. "Cheyenne". Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved May 1 2008.
  6. ^ Cheyenne at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Cheyenne is now shown twice every Wednesday on the Encore channels


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