Friends, thank you for taking the time to join us once again for the Retro Radio Memories podcast. This week we are going to be revisiting the classic Old Time Radio western series Have Gun – Will Travel – with an episode from 1959 entitled Death of a Young Gunfighter. This happens to be one of my favorite OTR western shows and a lot of that has to do with the superb writing for the series as well as the fantastic acting by John Dehner. His take on Paladin, the gun for hire with a strong moral compass, stands on equal footing with Have Gun – Will Travel‘s television star, Richard Boone. As I briefly touch upon in the podcast itself, Dehner was no stranger to many popular television series and films of the day – like Slaughterhouse-Five, The Rockford Files, Airplane II: The Sequel, and The Boys from Brazil to name just a few of his 256 acting credits.
The Have Gun – Will Travel radio show was created thanks to the popularity of the TV series – in fact it might be the ONLY radio adaptation of a television show. In both series, Paladin offers up his services and skills to those in the 1870’s that can afford his rather hefty fee – although in a refreshing take on such a mercenary – Paladin would quite often refund his pay or refuse to work with someone he felt was underhanded. Which actually ties into Death of a Young Gunfighter, where Paladin is hired to become involved in a long running blood feud taking place in New Mexico, finding out when he arrives that things aren’t clear cut in regards to who is the ‘bad guy’.
The early shows from the Have Gun – Will Travel radio series took existing scripts from the live action show, adapting them for radio plays. Of course the OTR show did start producing it’s own stories after the series took off and unlike the TV show, actually had the opportunity to present an end to the tale of Paladin, at some point we will have to share that episode too on the podcast. Oh, this particular episode also has a nice selection of vintage commercials – originally aired on March 15th, 1959.
So go get your favorite beverage and snacks – dim the lights if you are able and join Paladin as he is involved with the Death of a Young Gunfighter!
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The music on the podcast was provided by Peachy! You may contact him by e-mail at peachy@Retroist.com. And be sure to “like” him on his Facebook page before he takes his gun and travels yet again!