The Westerner 1960

If you like the westerns we’re currently discussing, you may have liked other western TV shows. So why don’t we discuss them here! Post about western conventions (non Bonanza), the shows, the actors and anything you want to discuss.

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The Westerner 1960

Post by Tracy » Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:21 pm

“The Westerner” was an American series that aired on NBC from September 30 to December 30, 1960. Created, written, and produced by Sam Peckinpah, who also directed some episodes, the series was a Four Star Television production.

The critically acclaimed series ran for 13 episodes, but it was cancelled because of low ratings. The time slot given to “The Westerner” pitted the intellectual show against “The Flintstones” and “Route 66”.

For those interested, here is a link to an episode of the series, most of which are on YouTube.

“The Westerner" starred Brian Keith as amiable, unexceptional cowhand/drifter Dave Blassingame,

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Dave Blassingame was a basically decent, ordinary man who was handy with a gun and his fists. A cowboy and drifter, he could sometimes behave amorally in his quest to get enough money together to buy his own ranch, but always did the right thing in the end, and remained true to himself.

Blasingame wandered the west with his faithful dog, Brown.

Brown was played by Spike, which was trained by Frank Weatherwax and was best known for playing the title role in Old Yeller. Brown figured prominently in a number of episodes, appeared in all of them, and was always seen following Blassingame in the end credits.

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John Dehner appeared in three of the thirteen episodes of “The Westerner” as rakish Burgundy Smith.

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The series was developed from a 1959 episode of "Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre" written and directed by Sam Peckinpah, titled "Trouble at Tres Cruces".

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One episode of this series, "Line Camp," was the basis for the feature film “Will Penny” (1967). The episode and the film were both written and directed by Tom Gries.

A pilot for a reboot of this series, starring Lee Marvin as Dave Blassingame and Keenan Wynn as Burgundy Smith, was later aired on "The Dick Powell Show" in 1963, and was titled "The Losers”.

Sam Peckinpah, the creator of the series, is noted as insisting that the actors clothing were convincingly aged and grungy. He felt that Blassingame would not be riding into town after crossing a hundred miles of desert in a neatly pressed outfit. The saloons he frequented would not be the generic Hollywood mock-ups of every other TV western; they would be real, so real that the people at home could smell the stale beer on the floorboards, the sour stench of tobacco juice in the spittoons.

After the series was canceled by the network executives, Sam Peckinpah and Brian Keith were both suggested to continue the show but with a softer approach for larger audiences - for kids. Both men responded with expletives and walked away.

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Re: The Westerner 1960

Post by Janet the Wicked » Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:35 pm

Very cool. :thumbup
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Re: The Westerner 1960

Post by dougsgirl » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:25 pm

Don't recall this at all, and sorry it didn't last. Funny but not really that it didn't fair as well as the Flintstones.

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Re: The Westerner 1960

Post by Karol » Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:29 am

I remember the series "The Westerner". It ran in the evening program, but only a few episodes.

Bian Keith was a great actor. I've watched him also in other movies.
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