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Wanted, Dead or Alive

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wanted:_Dead_or_Alive_(TV_series)

Wanted, Dead or Alive: Dead End

 

A rancher hires Randall to bring back a line rider charged with grand theft. The accused man’s father accompanies Randall on the trek to the remote shack where the thief is thought to be hiding. Steve Mcqueen ( Josh Randall ) is a Civil War veteran with a sawed-off rifle as a holstered weapon makes a living as a bounty hunter in the Wild West of the 1870’s. TV western series that launched Steve McQueen’s movie stardom holds up well even after 50 years. Guest stars among the best on TV at the time and the story lines are varied enough to keep your interest and different enough from competing series to stand out. McQueen’s character of Josh Randall is a Confederate veteran and bounty hunter with a soft heart. He often donates his earnings to the needy and helps his prisoners if they have been wrongly accused. Randall carries a shortened Winchester Model 1892 carbine, called the “Mare’s Leg,” in a holster patterned after “gunslinger” rigs then popular in movies and television. Randall had the ability to draw and fire this gun with blazing speed, as fast as, or in many cases much faster than, his adversaries with handguns that were much smaller. Two Mare’s Legs were used in the series, differing in the shape of the lever, round versus oval. For several episodes in 1960 Randall had a sidekick named Jason Nichols (Wright King) a former deputy sheriff turned bounty hunter. They worked very well together onscreen, sharing a brotherly chemistry audiences enjoyed. By the start of the third season, Nichols was no longer anywhere to be seen. The episode called, “The Partners”, where Nichols killed three men, much to the chagrin of Randall who felt the men could have been taken alive, has been speculated to be the episode that broke up the partnership, but was actually only the second episode where Wright King was shown and far from the last episode in which he appeared.

Randall pleads with a mother (Virginia Gregg) to obtain medical treatment for her son. (1959)

Wanted: Dead or Alive is an American Western television series starring Steve McQueen as the bounty hunter Josh Randall. It aired on CBS for three seasons from 1958-1961. The black-and-white program was a spin-off of a March 1958 episode of Trackdown, a 1957-1959 western series starring Robert Culp. Both series were produced by Four Star Television in association with CBS Television.

The series launched McQueen into becoming the first television star to cross over into comparable status on the big screen.

Synopsis

McQueen’s character of Josh Randall is a Confederate veteran and bounty hunter with a soft heart. He often donates his earnings to the needy and helps his prisoners if they have been wrongly accused. Randall carries a shortened Winchester Model 1892 carbine, called the “Mare’s Leg,” in a holster patterned after “gunslinger” rigs then popular in movies and television. Randall had the ability to draw and fire this gun with blazing speed, as fast as, or in many cases much faster than, his adversaries with handguns that were much smaller.

Mare’s Leg

“Three hard mother-grabbin’ years, but I learned my trade and it gave me discipline.” —McQueen, commenting about his experience on the series.

Production notesGuest stars included Jay NorthNoah Beery, Jr.Lon Chaney, Jr.,James BestJames CoburnJohn DehnerAlan Hale, Jr.DeForest KelleyMichael LandonWarren OatesLuana PattenSuzanne Storrs, and William Schallert.

The series was filmed in black and white at the Selznick Studiosand produced by Four Star Television. Writers included Samuel A. Peeples and Charles Beaumont.

The first season theme song was written and conducted by Bill Loose. It was replaced by a new theme titled “Wanted”. This theme was used until the end of the series and was written and conducted by Herschel Burke Gilbert.

Ratings

  • October 1958-April 1959: #16 – 28.0 (tied with Peter Gunn)
  • October 1959-April 1960: #9 – 28.7
  • October 1960-April 1961: Not in Top 30

Colorized version

In December 1987, Four Star International colorized Wanted: Dead or Alive making it the first vintage TV series to be completely colorized; the colorized version aired on at least 50 independent television stations.

1987 film

In 1987, New World Pictures adapted the series into a low-budget film of the same name; Rutger Hauer played modern-day bounty hunter Nick Randall, Josh’s grandson.

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