Saturday, August 18, 2007

"He wore a cane and derby hat"...most of the time

This was one of my favorite TV theme songs as a kid. Back in the old days (of TV, not America) western heroes all had a schtick and a song. They all had "legends". They all were the fastest gun. They all had big jaws. My favorite was BAT MASTERSON. Starring Gene Barry (maybe the only Jewish cowboy), he was a struttin' popinjay in a suit and would foil hardened outlaws by twirling a cane. Here's the theme. Notice when they say he wore a derby hat that in that shot he's not.

16 comments:

Toby said...

While on vacation, I got to see a handful of episodes from the Western channel. Strange how the networks can't think of dramas in terms of half hour presentations anymore. They might want to consider going back to that format with the short attention spans of audiences, and it would avoid the need for padding.....

I remember as a kid that it always bothered me that the pictures of the real Bat Masterson didn't look like Gene Barry!

fly on wall said...

Bat Masterson eventually left the West and became a sportswriter, believe or not.

Gene Barry eventually became Amos Burke, star of Burke's Law, a show which I watched as a kid for the murder mystery while my parents watched it for the double entendres.

John said...

I downloaded the theme off the soundamerica.com website about a decade ago, since it was one I remembered from my very, very early days, but hadn't heard in about 35 years. Unfortunately the one there had a CBS promo voice-over (but did include the closing notes that I believe Alexander Courage later ripped off for the end of the Star Trek theme).

Masterson did eventually end up as a sports reporter for the New York Telegraph, so I guess having Jack Klugman instead of Gene Barry in the title role would have been more appropriate.

Mike Barer said...

"Only Jewish Cowboy" What about Lorne Greene?

genuine vintage said...

or the first Jewish screen cowboy Bronco Billy Anderson.

And while he wasn't Jewish and didn't wear a derby, but a swell sombrero, one of my faves was O. Henry's Robin Hood of the Old West...the Cisco Kid.

blogward said...

Sol Starr, while we're on Jewish cowboys. I wonder if Amos Burke (who I used to watch with my Grandma and a huge bowl of sweets(candy)) was the prototype for Quincy.

Mark said...

I too loved "Bat Masterson" and many of the other cowboy shows of the day: "Sugarfoot", "Cheyenne", "Maverick" (and I got to work with Bret himself in later years, James Garner on "8 Simple Rules") and many others.

I also loved "Burke's Law" for the Rolls Royce that Gene Barry managed to climb into and out of several times an episode.

Ah... when TV was good!

Paul Duca said...

Blogward...it's felt that the real life model for Dr. Quincy was the L.A. head coroner, Thomas Naguchi (sp?), the so-called "Coroner of the Stars", because he was the one who handled the dead celebrities.


Interestingly enough, in the 1960's, the city coroner of Toronto was also well known for his controversy and crusading, as well as his lavish lifestyle (he married money), and from that Canadian TV created the series WOJECK, starring John Vernon (best known below the border as Dean Wormer in ANIMAL HOUSE).

blogward said...

That's great info Paul. I too remember Wojeck, though it's taken me thirty years to get John Vernon's name to stick.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Wasn't Michael Landon Jewish?

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

BTW, Ziv also produced The Cisco Kid.

Toby said...

The original version of 'Burke's Law' was shown in syndication in the afternoons in Connecticut when I was a kid. I used to love watching that series and trying to guess which one of the many stars was the killer.

I finally figuerd that for the most part, if a character appeared three times in the episode, they were the killer.

The best episode (to my mind) was "Who Killed Merlin the Great?" by Levinson & Link. About a magician sealed in a coffin at the bottom of a pool who was found shot to death when they opened it back up.

I won't give away whodunnit (you can find it at the Paley Centers), but apparently it was such a good script that it was used again in 'Blacke's Magic' as well as in the 1990s sequel of 'Burke's Law'. (Was it a sign of oncoming Alzheimer's that Amos Burke didn't remember the first case by then?)

Carla said...

Hey Kinky Friedman is a self proclaimed Jewish Cowboy....add that one to your list.

Seneca the Younger said...

I grew up on a cattle ranch, and our head wrangler had been on of Masterson's deputies, so I had a particular special place in my heart for the show.

Now, I'll say that the wrangler thought it was hilarious....

Michaelpow said...

Yeah, the real Bat Masterson became a sportswriter (of all things!) in New York City and literally died at his typewriter.

Michaelpow said...

And don't forget that Gene Barry also did "The Name of the Game," a series that featured a 1971 science fiction episode written by Philip Wylie and directed by 24-year-old Steven Spielberg.