I never got into TV westerns very much but this one was different. It was on for 6 seasons from 1957 – 1963 that featured very different leading man type…Richard Boone.
24 episodes were written by Gene Roddenberry before he tackled Star Trek. The writing and the stories set this show apart from Bonanza and many other westerns from this time period. That is not a knock on the other westerns but this one was unique.
A rich sophisticated gunslinger (that goes by the name Paladin)…with morals…. lives in a 1880s hotel in San Francisco. Anyone in trouble can hire him at his normal fee of 1000 dollars (if the cause is good….he sometimes doesn’t charge)… He is a problem solver and only kills if he has to. Paladin never reveals his real name but during each episode, he will flash his business card to a prospective client and then Paladin changes from socialite clothing to an all-black outfit. He is a man’s man who is a fast draw and quotes Shakespeare, Homer, Oscar Wilde and many more… Not your average western gunslinger…
Guest stars included Charles Bronson, Jack Lord, Buddy Ebsen, Harry Morgan, Dan Blocker, DeForest Kelley, Ken Curtis, Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine and many more.
I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did because they did not dumb it down like so many shows did then and especially now.
If you decide to give this series a try…watch the 1st episode of the 6th season (Genesis) first… because it explains where Paladin got his name…but still never gives his real name.
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