If you've read this blog for any length of time, then you know that one of my favorite television genres is the Western. I cut my teeth on the westerns of the late 60s and the re-runs of earlier Westerns. What all popular 50s and 60s westerns had in common is that they were all in the comic books as well--complete with photo covers. So here I'll go through my top ten westerns displaying the image of a comic cover for each.
# 10 - Wanted: Dead or Alive - I discovered re-runs of this one weekdays after school while an elementary student. It's where Steve McQueen got his start. He went on to find stardom in the Magnificent Seven playing a character patterned after bounty hunter Josh Randall, his TV part. Two comics were published in the Dell Four Color series and the TV series is available on DVD.
# 9 - Lone Ranger - One of my earliest memories is of watching the Lone Ranger. As a child I would set my alarm to watch it at 6:30 weekday mornings before school. On Sunday mornings I would watch the color episodes on another TV station. I also read the comics, watched the cartoons, and owned the action figures. An official anniversary DVD set of the first two seasons has recently been released. The Lone Ranger's history in comics pre-dates his television appearances.
# 8 - High Chaparral - Only one issue of this comic was ever published and is now worth about $70 in mint condition. I remember watching the TV series when it was new and I was a small child back in the late 60s. In the 70s I watched re-runs with my sister on weekday afternoons. We often pretended to be the characters when we played cowboys. As an adult I saw re-runs on the Hallmark Channel when they dedicated Saturday afternoons to old westerns. They called it Rough and Ready Saturdays. The show was ahead of its time featuring Native Americans and Hispanics in the regular cast. This show is unfortunately unavailable on DVD, but fans are petitioning for it.
# 7 - The Rifleman - Another show that I discovered in re-runs on weekdays after school. This was a personal favorite when I was a child. They packed a lot of action into 30 minutes. Only a handfull of public domain episodes are on DVD, but no official season sets as of yet.
# 6 - Cheyenne -An "A" variety Warner Brothers western. Great writing and great acting about a drifter raised by Native Americans. It was the first hour long TV western. This show is another of my earliest memories. I saw the re- runs as a teenager on Saturday afternoons. The first season is on DVD.
Part Two of my top ten coming soon.