Paladin
Created by Sam Rolfe and Herb Meadow

"A knight without armor in a savage land."
-from the theme song

Perhaps the only genre more popular than private eyes in television's early years was the western, so it's probably not all that surprising that someone soon came up with the idea of combining the two. In 1957, Have Gun-Will Travel made its debut on CBS, and soon became one of the most popular programs of the fifties. It ranked in the top five almost immediately and after that trailed only Gunsmoke and Wagon Train for the rest of its run. The theme song, co-written by star Richard Boone, even became a hit single.

On the surface, dapper, black-clad PALADIN was just a high-priced gun-for-hire, but in reality he was actually a sort of troubleshooter and private lawman-for-hire (a private eye, if you will), often sent out into the wilds to places where there was little, if any, law.

But his strong sense of ethics soon established for viewers that he was no mere assassin. A man of morals and conscience, he would at least try to settle a dispute without violence whenever possible. He occasionally would even turn on his clients, if he felt they were in the wrong.

Paladin was also a man of culture, West Point-educated (he served as an Union officer in the Civil War), literate, with a taste for fine food and clothing and the theatre. He dressed like a dandy and made his headquarters in the ritzy Hotel Carlton in San Francisco. His calling card featured a picture of the white knight in chess (a paladin is a knight renowned for his heroism and chivalry) and the inscription from which the show drew its title: "Have Gun, Will Travel...Wire San Francisco."

It was only when he was at work that he ditched the fancy duds, and clad completely in black, with his six gun stapped low on his thigh, he rode off in search of justice, or something like it, a "knight without armour in a savage land." Boone, as Paladin, brought a sense of dignity and weight to the role. Despite the western trappings, one of the more watchable of the early P.I. shows.

RADIO

Paladin's success translated to another medium: radio! Have Gun-Will Travel was an unusual series as it was one of the very few to originate on television before becoming a radio program. Many of the radio episodes were adaptations of television scripts.

John Dehner's radio Paladin was different than Richard Boone's. Dehner could seem even more the refined gentleman, but just as formidable in a tough situation. The radio show was also unusual because the last episode provided a plot line resolution to the series. Paladin went East to claim a large inheritance from a deceased aunt's estate.

UNDER OATH

  • "When I was a kid, I had a Paladin pistol and holster set, with two silver guns, black leatherette holster and belt, bullets, and a set of Have Gun-Will Travel business cards.
     Man, I wish I still had them!!"
    -- Joe Butler

TELEVISION

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  • HAVE GUN-WILL TRAVEL ...Buy the complete series on DVD
    (1957-63, CBS)
    30-minute episodes
    Created by Sam Rolfe and Herb Meadow
    Writers: Sam Rolfe, Herb Meadow, Albert Aley, Bruce Geller, Gene Rodenberry
    Directors: Sam Rolfe, William Conrad, Lewis Milestone
    Theme Song: "The Ballad of Paladin", written by Johnny Western, Richard Boone and Sam Rolfe
    Theme Song Perfformed by Johnny Western
    Starring Richard Boone as PALADIN
    Also starring
    Kam Tong as Hey Boy
    Lisa Lu as Hey Girl
    Guest stars:
    Pernell Roberts, William Conrad, James Mitchum, Jack Lord, Charles Bronson
  • Season 1....Buy Season 1 on DVD
  • "Three Bells To Perdido" (September 14, 1957) ....Buy this episode on video
  • "The Outlaw" (September 21, 1957) ....Buy this episode on video
  • "The Great Mojave Chase" (September 28, 1957)
  • "Winchester Quarantine" (October 5, 1957)
  • "A Matter of Ethics" (October 12, 1957)
  • "The Bride" (October 19, 1957)
  • "Strange Vendetta" (October 26, 1957)
  • "High Wire" (November 2, 1957)
  • "Show of Force" (November 9, 1957)
  • "The Long Night" (November 16, 1957)
  • "The Colonel and the Lady" (November 23, 1957)
  • "No Visitors" (November 30, 1957)
  • "The Englishman" (December 7, 1957)
  • "The Yuma Treasure" (December 14, 1957)
  • "The Hanging Cross" (December 21, 1957)
  • "Helen of Abajinian" (December 28, 1957)
  • "Ella West" (January 4, 1958)
  • " The Reasonable Man" (January 11, 1958)
  • "The High-Graders" (January , 1958)
  • "The Last Laugh" (January 25, 1958)
  • " The Bostonian" (February 2, 1958)
  • "The Singer" (February 8, 1958)
  • "Bitter Wine" (February 15, 1958)
  • "Girl from Piccadilly" (February 22, 1958)
  • "The O'Hare Story" (March 1, 1958)
  • "Birds of a Feather" (March 8, 1958)
  • "The Teacher" (March , 1958)
  • "Killer's Widow" (March 22, 1958)
  • "Gun Shy" (March 29, 1958)
  • "The Prizefight Story" (April 5, 1958)
  • "Hey Boy's Revenge" (April 12, 1958) ....Buy this episode on video
  • "The Five Books of Owen Deaver" (April 26, 1958)
  • "The Silver Queen" (May 3, 1958)
  • "Three Sons" (May 10, 1958)
  • "The Return of Dr. Thackeray" (May 17, 1958)
  • "Hours at North Fork" (May 24, 1958)
  • "Silver Convoy" (May 31, 1958)
  • "Deliver the Body" (June 7, 1958)
  • "The Statue of San Sebastian" (June 14, 1958)

  • Season 2....Buy Season 2 on DVD
  • "The Manhunter" (September 13, 19 58)
  • "In an Evil Time" (September 20, 1958)
  • "The Man Who Wouldn't Talk" (September 27, 19 58)
  • "The Hanging of Roy Carter" (October 4, 1958)
  • "Duel at Florence" (October 11, 1958)
  • "The Protege" (October 18, 1958)
  • "The Road to Wickenburg" (October 25, 1958)
  • "A Sense of Justice" (November 1, 1958)
  • "Young Gun" (November 8, 1958)
  • "The Lady" (November 15, 1958)
  • "A Snare for Murder" (November 22, 1958)
  • "The Ballad of Oscar Wilde" (December 29, 1958)
  • "The Solid Gold Patrol" (December 13, 1958)
  • "Something to Live For" (December 20, 1958)
  • "The Moor's Revenge" (December 27, 1958)
  • "The Wager" (January 3, 1959)
  • "The Taffeta Mayor" (January 10, 1959)
  • "Lady on the Stagecoach" (January 17, 1959)
  • "Treasure Trail" (January 24, 1959)
  • "Juliet" (January 31, 1959)
  • "Hunt the Man Down" (February 7, 1959)
  • "The Scorched Feather" (February 14, 1959)
  • "The Return of the Lady" (February 21, 1959)
  • "The Monster of Moon Ridge" (February 28, 1959)
  • "The Long Hunt" (March 7, 1959)
  • "Death of a Gunfighter" (March 14, 1959)
  • "Incident at Borrasca Bend" (March 21, 1959)
  • "Maggie O'Bannion" (April 4, 1959)
  • "The Chase" (April 11, 1959)
  • "Alaska" (April 18, 1959)
  • "The Man Who Lost" (April 25, 1959)
  • " The Return of Roy Carter" (May 2, 1959)
  • "The Sons of Aaron Murdock" (May 9, 1959)
  • "Commanche" (May 16, 1959)
  • "Homecoming" (May 23, 1959)
  • "The Fifth Man" (May 30, 1959)
  • "Heritage of Anger" (June 6, 1959)
  • "The Haunted Trees" (June 13, 1959)
  • "Gold and Brimstone" (June 20, 1959)

  • Season 3 ...Buy Season 3 on DVD
  • "First, Catch a Tiger" (September 12, 1959)
  • "Episode in Laredo" (September 19, 1959)
  • "Les Girls" (September 26, 1959)
  • "The Posse" (October 3, 1959)
  • "Shot by Request" (October 10, 1959)
  • "Pancho" (October 24, 1959)
  • "Fragile" (October 31, 1959)
  • "The Unforgiven" (November 7, 1959)
  • "The Black Hankerchief" (November 14, 1959)
  • "The Golden Toad" (November 21, 1959)
  • "Tiger" (November 28, 1959)
  • "Champaigne Safari" (December 5, 1959)
  • "Charley Red Dog" (December 12, 1959)
  • "The Naked Gun" (December 19, 1959)
  • "One Came Back" (December 26, 1959)
  • "The Prophet" (January 2, 1960)
  • "Day of the Badman" (January 9, 1960)
  • "The Pledge" (January 16, 1960)
  • "Jenny" (January 23, 1960)
  • "Return to Fort Benjamin" (January 30, 1960)
  • "Night the Town Died" (February 6, 1960)
  • "The Ledge" (February 13, 1960)
  • "The Lady on the Wall" (February 20, 1960)
  • "The Misguided Father" (February 27, 1960)
  • "The Hatchet Ma" (March 5, 1960)
  • "Fight at Adobe Wells" (March 12, 1960)
  • "The Gladiators" (March 9, 1960)
  • "Love of a Bad Woman" (March 26, 1960)
  • "An International Affair" (April 2, 1960)
  • "Lady with a Gun" (April 9, 1960)
  • "Never Help the Devil" (April 16, 1960)
  • "Ambush" (April 23, 1960)
  • "Black Sheep" (April 30, 1960)
  • "Full Circle" (May 14, 1960)
  • "The Twins" (May 21, 1960)
  • "The Campaign of Billy Banjo" (May 28, 1960)
  • "Ransom" (June 4, 1960)
  • "The Trial" (June 11, 1960)
  • "The Search" (June 18, 1960)

  • Season 4 ...Buy Season 4, Volume 1 on DVD ...Buy Season 4, Volume 2 on DVD
  • "The Fatalist" (September 10 , 1960)
  • "Love's Young Dream" (September 17 , 1960)
  • "A Head of Hair" (September 24, 1960)
  • "Out at the Old Ballpark" (October 1, 1960)
  • "Saturday Night" (October 8, 1960)
  • "The Calf" (October15 , 1960)
  • "The Tender Gun" (October 22, 1960)
  • "The Shooting of Jesse May" (October 29, 1960)
  • "The Poker Fiend" (November 12, 1960)
  • "Crowbait" (November19 , 1960)
  • "Marshal's Boy" (November 26, 1960)
  • "Foggbound" (December 3, 1960)
  • "The Legacy" (December 10, 1960)
  • "The Prisoner" (December 17, 1960)
  • "The Mountebank" (December 24, 1960)
  • "The Sanctuary" (December 31, 1960)
  • "A Quiet Night in Town, Part One" (January 7, 1961)
  • "A Quiet Night in Town, Part Two" (January 14, 1961)
  • "The Princess and the Gunfighter" (January 21, 1961)
  • "Shadow of a Man" (January 28, 1961)
  • "Long Way Home" (February 4, 1961)
  • "The Taxgatherer" (February 11, 1961)
  • "The Fatal Flaw" (February 25, 1961)
  • "Fandango" (March 4, 1961)
  • "The Last Judgement" (March 11, 1961)
  • "The Gold Bar" (March 18, 1961)
  • "Everyman " (March 25, 1961)
  • "The Siege" (April 1, 1961)
  • "The Long Weekend" (April 8, 1961)
  • "El Paso Stage" (April 15, 1961)
  • "Duke of Texas" (April 22, 1961)
  • "Broken Image" (April 29, 1961)
  • "My Brother's Keeper" (May 6, 1961)
  • "Bearbait" (May 13, 1961)
  • "The Cure" (May 20, 1961)
  • "The Road" (May 27, 1961)
  • "The Uneasy Grave" (June 3, 1961)
  • "Soledad Crossing" (June 10, 1961)

  • Season 5 ...Buy Season 5, Volume 1 on DVD ...Buy Season 5, Volume 2 on DVD
  • " The Vigil" (September 16 , 1961)
  • "The Education of Sarah Jane" (September 23 , 1961)
  • "The Revenger" (September 30, 1961)
  • "Odds for Big Red" (October 7, 1961)
  • "A Proof of Love" (October 14, 1961)
  • "The Gospel Singer" (October 21, 1961)
  • "The Race" (October 28, 1961)
  • "The Hanging of Aaron Gibbs" (November 4, 1961)
  • "The Piano" (November 11, 1961)
  • "Ben Jalisco" (November 18, 1961)
  • "The Brothers" (November 25, 1961)
  • "A Drop of Blood" (December 2, 1961)
  • "A Knight to Remember" (December 9, 1961)
  • "Blind Circle" (December 16, 1961)
  • "The Kid" (December 23, 1961)
  • "Squatter's Rights" (December 30, 1961)
  • "Lazarus" (January 6, 1962)
  • "Justice in Hell" (January 13, 1962)
  • "Mark of Cain" (January 20, 1962)
  • "The Exiles" (January 27, 1962)
  • "The Hunt" (February 3, 1962)
  • "Dream Girl" (February 10, 1962)
  • "One, Two, Three" (February 17, 1962)
  • "The Waiting Room" (February 24, 1962)
  • "The Trap" (March 3, 1962)
  • "Don't Shoot the Piano Player" (March 10, 1962)
  • "Alice" (March 17, 1962)
  • "The Man Who Struck Moonshine" (March 24, 1962)
  • "Silent Death, Secret Death" (March 31, 1962)
  • "Hobson's Choice" (April 7, 1962)
  • "Coming of the Tiger" (April 14, 1962)
  • "Darwin's Man" (April 21, 1962)
  • "Invasion" (April 28, 1962)
  • "Cream of the Jest" (May 5, 1962)
  • "Bandit" (May 12, 1962)
  • "Pandora's Box" (May 19, 1962)
  • "Jonah" (May 26, 1962)
  • "The Knight" (June 2, 1962)

  • Season 6 ...Buy Season 6, Volume 1 on DVD ...Buy Season 6, Volume 2 on DVD
  • "Genesis" (September 15, 1962) ....Buy this episode on video
  • "Taylor's Woman" (September 22, 1962)
  • "The Fifth Bullet" (September 29 , 1962)
  • "A Place For Abel Hix" (October 6, 1962)
  • "Beau Geste" (October 13, 1962)
  • "Bird of Time" (October 20, 1962)
  • "Memories of Monica" (October 27, 1962)
  • "The Predators" (November3 , 1962)
  • "Shootout at Hogtooth" (November 10, 1962)
  • "A Miracle for St. Francis" (November 17, 1962)
  • "Marshal of Sweetwater" (November 25, 1962)
  • "Man in an Hourglass" (December 1, 1962)
  • "Penelope" (December 8, 1962)
  • "Trial at Tablerock" (December 15, 1962)
  • "Be Not Forgetful of Strangers" (December 22, 1962)
  • "The Treasure" (December 29, 1962)
  • "Brotherhood" (January 5, 1963)
  • "Bob Wire" (January 12, 1963)
  • "The Debutante" (January 19, 1963)
  • "Unforgiving Minute" (January 26, 1963)
  • "American Primitive" (February 2, 1963)
  • "Burning Tree" (February 9, 1963)
  • "Cage at McNaab" (February 16, 1963)
  • "Caravan" (February 23, 1963)
  • "The Walking Years" (March 2, 1963)
  • "Sweet Lady of the Moon" (March 9, 1963)
  • "The Savages" (March 16, 1963)
  • "The Eve of St. Elmo" (March , 1963)
  • "Lady of the Fifth Moon" (March 30, 1963)
  • "Two Plus One" (April 6, 1963)
  • "The Black Bull" (April 13, 1963)
  • "Face of a Shadow" (April 20, 1963)"

RADIO

  • HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL
    (1958-60, CBS)
    106 episodes
    First Broadcast: November 23, 1958
    Last Broadcast: November 27, 1960
    Broadcast: Sundays at 6 PM
    Created by Herb Meadow and Sam Rolfe
    Writers: Herb Meadow, Sam Rolfe, Gene Roddenberry, and others
    Directors: Norman MacDonnell & Frank Paris
    Starring John Dehner as PALADIN
    with Ben Wright as Hey Boy
    and Virginia Gregg as Miss Wong (Hey Boy's girlfriend)
    Supporting Cast: Vic Perrin, Harry Bartell, Sam Edwards, Jeanette Nolan, Howard McNear, and Larry Dobkin.

NOVELIZATIONS

  • A Man Called Paladin (1963, by Frank G. Robertson)
    A novelization of what appear to be several different episodes of the show. The Salt Lake Tribune called it "a readable book," something the publisher seemed inordinately proud of, even quoting it in the paperback edition.

REFERENCE

  • Have Gun Will Travel Companion (2000, by Martin Grams and Les Rayburn)....Buy this book
    The definitive guide to the "Have Gun" series, both radio and television, the result of years of research and the co-operation of fans from all over, including our own Stewart Wright. The authors have extensively searched for material such as production call sheets, and many interviews with cast and crew. Most of the photos in this book have never before appeared in print. All 106 radio episodes and all 225 television episodes are documented, including cast and crew lists, plot lines, and pre-emptions and summer reruns.

Respectfully submitted by Stewart Wright and Kevin Burton Smith. And thanks to Mark Yaworski for helping me get the pieces straight.


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