My memories of television in the ‘early April years’ was punctuated by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry’s “Get Smart,” Finneas J. Whoopee cartoons, “The Monkees,” early “Doctor Who,” TV Westerns and the “Laugh In” for rubes, “HeeHaw.”
For a kid like me growing up far, far away from cowboys or anything remotely “Old West” or country, TV westerns and their ilk was exotica on Stetson steroids.
My people did not head west, they stayed put in New England and dug clams and boiled dinner. However, the presence of James Garner in these Western series was my forever positive ideal male imprint lightening bolt…I loved him! Who didn’t?
He was tall, funny, gorgeous and had mad skills in finding things, ergo The Scrounger role in “The Great Escape” film. What a guy!
He and another brunette hunk, Victor Mature, were my 7 year-old idea of a good time. And by ‘good time’ I mean I dreamt of sitting on their laps in their respective costumes (Mature was usually shirtless) and telling them all about my tough day in school.
I digress. Good news for those who loved Garner too as getTV is bringing back three classic western TV series: Nichols starring James Garner from 1971; Hondo starring Ralph Taeger from 1967 and A Man Called Shenandoah starring Robert Horton from 1965. That last one was a bit before my time. All three series have not been seen on TV since they were cancelled. Each will air as mini-marathons on separate Saturdays, beginning Sept. 12. .
What you need to know:
- getTV will Air Mini-Marathon of One Series Each Week Starting Sept. 12 at 12 PM ET
- Saturday, September 12 at 12 p.m. ET. The brand new block will debut with five episodes of the 1971 series NICHOLS, starring beloved leading man James Garner and a young Margot Kidder, in one of her first major roles.
- Additionally, five episodes of the wandering gunslinger series HONDO from 1967, starring Ralph Taeger and Michael Pate, airs on September 19; and 10 episodes of 1965’s A MAN CALLED SHENANDOAH, starring Robert Horton, on September 26; both starting at Noon ET.
- Following several weeks of mini-marathons, all of the newly added Western series will join the regular Saturday lineup on a weekly basis.
On September 12th, James Garner’s Nichols, airs, and is set in small-town Arizona in the early 1900s. Having left an 18-year career in the military, Garner as Nichols finds himself blackmailed into the role of town sheriff by the villainous Ketcham Family, who run the town. Nichols also featured Garner’s co-star Stuart Margolin and included such guest stars as Tom Skerritt, Scatman Crothers, Ralph Waite, Alice Ghostley, and Ricardo Montalban, and was well-known for being one of James Garner’s favorite television roles.
Then, on September 19, comes Hondo. Based on the 1953 John Wayne drama of the same name–which, in turn, was inspired by Louis L’Amour’s sixth novel–Taeger plays a former Confederate officer who lived with the Apaches. Famed movie villain Michael Pate also stars, reprising his big screen role as Apache Chief Vittoro, and the series features such guest stars as Ricky Nelson, Fernando Lamas, Annette Funicello and Noah Beery Jr.
September 26, brings Robert Horton in 10 episodes of the well-regarded half hour Western drama A MAN CALLED SHENANDOAH. Horton stars as a man who wakes up after being brutally attacked, with no memory of who he is or why anyone would want to harm him.
Searching for clues to his past life, the man dubbed “Shenandoah” travels through the desert, running afoul of lynch mobs, dodging false charges, facing off against violent criminals, and doling out Old West justice along the way. In addition to Horton, the series boasted a number of impressive guest stars, including Oscar® winners Cloris Leachman, Martin Landau, and George Kennedy, and nominees Bruce Dern, Sally Kellerman, Nina Foch, John Ireland, and Arthur O’Connell.
If you’re a Western fan be sure to check out our list of classic westerns.