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Have Gun, Will Travel

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Click on the image above to see a typical title sequence for the series.

Have Gun, Will Travel was a superb television show that ran on the CBS network from 1957 to 1963; each half-hour would follow the adventures of “the man called Paladin,” who lived in a suite of rooms in a hotel in San Francisco.

But, as the title of the series clearly indicates, Paladin was a gun for hire, and in the 225 episodes that comprise Have Gun, Will Travel, he traveled far and wide, ready to use his gun hand in the cause of justice.

As played by the roughly charismatic Richard Boone, Paladin was a gunslinger, a philosopher, a fatalist, a “knight without armor in a savage land” as the series’ title theme would have it, and nearly always emerged victorious — but not all the time.

With theme music by Bernard Herrmann, and directed by a host of top-flight talents, including Andrew McLaglen, Sam Peckinpah, Lamont Johnson, Ida Lupino, William Conrad and Boone himself, Have Gun, Will Travel was a series of distinction, intelligence, and action.

Have Gun, Will Travel could easily be updated for television, or as a theatrical feature film — might even turn into a franchise. All it needs is the right director, the right script, and the right star. Any takers?

About the Author

Wheeler Winston Dixon

Wheeler Winston Dixon, Ryan Professor of Film Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is an internationally recognized scholar and writer of film history, theory and criticism. He is the author of thirty books and more than 100 articles on film, and appears regularly in national media outlets discussing film and culture trends. Frame by Frame is a collection of his thoughts on a number of those topics. To contact Prof. Dixon for an interview, reach him at 402.472.6064 or wdixon1@unl.edu. Visit him at his website wheelerwinstondixon.com.

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