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Cheyenne: The Complete First Season
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Cheyenne: The Complete First Season (DVD)
No collection of classic TV Westerns is complete without Cheyenne, the trailblazing 1955 series that premiered within weeks of Gunsmoke. The strapping Clint Walker stars as Cheyenne Bodie, the iconic role that earned him his place in the Hall of Great Western Performers at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Cheyenne is a classic Western hero in the drifter tradition, accepting jobs ranging from frontier scout to trail boss. In this first season, he is accompanied at times by sidekick Smitty (L.Q. Jones). "It takes about a minute to know a man," one character remarks during the course of Cheyenne's first season. But we size up Cheyenne in an instant. He is a man of honor, straight shooting and plainspoken. In one episode, he declines an offered position of ranch foreman. "I don't like the job," he states, "and when I don't like a job, I turn it down." When a woman refers to Indians as "savages" in the first episode, Cheyenne enlightens her, "The Indians think we're the savages." Several episodes, including "Quicksand" and "The Last Train West," echo the John Ford masterpiece, Stagecoach, as Cheyenne finds himself amongst a diverse and disparate group of people who are thrown together by circumstance.
Cheyenne was part of a new breed of "adult Western." The episode "Johnny Bravo" (was this the inspiration for Greg's rock star nom de plume on The Brady Bunch?) deals with a rancher who disapproves of his daughter's affair with a Mexican. Keep a sharp lookout for actors who would later become Hollywood's most wanted. A pre-Maverick James Garner appears as different characters in three episodes. Dennis Hopper is hot-triggered gunfighter the Utah Kid, in "Quicksand." And that's the future Miss Hathaway, Nancy Kulp, as a sassy waitress in "Johnny Bravo." Cheyenne was originally broadcast as one of three rotating series under the banner, Warner Brothers Presents, but it quickly established itself as the runaway hit. Like the best Westerns, it is anything but quaint nostalgia. With its timeless setting, compelling stories, charismatic hero, and positive values, the sun will never set on Cheyenne. --Donald Liebenson
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Cheyenne was based on a movie of the same name starring Dennis Morgan in 1947.
First aired on September 20, 1955 until December 17, 1962 for a total of 7 seasons and 108 episodes.
The cast and crew are:
*Clint Walker (as Cheyenne Bodie)
*L.Q.Jones (as Smitty 1955-1956)
*Russ McCubbin - The Stuntman for Clint Walker
The First season consisted of 15 episodes and they are as follows:
01- Mountain Fortress - Aired 9/20/55
02- Julesburg - Aired 10/11/55
03- The Argonauts - Aired 11/1/55
04- Border Showdown - Aired 11/22/55
05- The Outlander - Aired 12/13/55
06- The Travelers - Aired 1/3/56
07- Decision - Aired 1/24/56
08- The Storm Riders - Aired 2/7/56
09- Rendezvous at Red Rock - Aired 2/21/56
10- West of the River - Aired 3/20/56
11- Quicksand - Aired 4/3/56
12- Fury at Rio Hondo - 4/17/56
13- Star in the Dust - 5/1/56
14- Johnny Bravo - Aired 5/15/56
15- The Last Train West - Aired 5/29/56
I hope all seasons to be released soon after this season. Thank you for reading my review.
"Cheyenne" remains my favorite of the old WB westerns, with Clint Walker a very unusual western star, given his immense size. One might wonder why any character would have dared to give him a hard time, but they did, and usually ended up worse for the wear. "Bronco" took over, off and on during Walker's lawsuit against WB. I enjoyed that one, too, as it had a lot of action. But Clint is the man, and I'm glad to see this series reaching DVD.
The first season does not feature the familiar theme song, which I believe does not appear until the second season. The first season theme song is pretty unmemorable, so be prepared for that. Also, you will find the first few shows of the series to be featuring character actor L.Q. Jones as "Smitty", Cheyenne Bodie's somewhat humorous sidekick. Jones is priceless in his own right and one of my favorite western character actors. However, this is Clint's gig, and the producers of the series soon found that out and the Smitty character is gone by the second season. So if you are a fan of the series or good TV westerns, this set is worth it, but in my opinion, the series got even better in the second season and beyond.
And just a note on "Maverick", which will likely be following soon on DVD. In my humble opinion, the opposite is true. My favorite season of "Maverick" is the first season, because I am more of a fan of action in a western than humor, and James Garner's first-season Bret Maverick is a more serious and kick-ass hero than in later seasons, where he loosens up a bit and the happy-go-lucky Maverick most people know and love gradually appears. Also, the vocal version (with words) of the great "Maverick" theme song does not appear in the first season. It's the same melody, but instrumental. In nearly all cases in nearly all of these great WB westerns, any vocal theme song appears only over the ending credits, not at the beginning. At least that is to the best of my recollection.
TV historians will tell you that this program was one of the first of the so-called "adult" westerns broadcast, it debuted just three nights after Gunsmoke.
Clint Walker was the epitome of a western hero,:6'6", rugged, broad-shouldered and a man of few words. The character of Cheyenne Bodie was a loner, a white man raised by the Cheyenne tribe. He roamed the old west, sometimes working as a lawman, wagonmaster,etc, always helping the weak.
Cheyenne, like many classic westerns, is from a bygone era when heroic characters were uncomplicated and always defeated evil in the end.
Lets hope WB contnues to release full seasons of its former stable of classic westerns like Bronco, Maverick, Lawman, Sugarfoot and The Dakotas. It would also be cool to see the release of WB detective shows like 77 Sunset Strip, Surfside Six, Hawaiian Eye and Bourbon Street Beat.
The first season of Cheyenne, in spite of being excellent, was not the best one. The episodes ran a bit shorter because Warner used the final minutes for a "behind-the-scenes", promoting the studio movies. And that pleasing song by William Lava and Stan Jones was absent. Unfortunately the first season had only 15 episodes. Nevertheless, this DVD box is a must for anybody who wants to get in touch with old television shows and learn how good and attractive they were. Let's enjoy the first season of Cheyenne, and hope that Warner Bros releases the second, the third and so on.
The episodes are NOT CUT. The first season of Cheyenne only ran approx 41 minutes each.The balance of the time was used as a promotion filler for Warner Bros.theatrical features.
The familiar theme tune was not introduced until the 2nd season.
Please do not let these inaccurate reviews disuade from buying this excellent series.