Friday, July 5, 2013

Classic TV: Death Valley Days (1952)

Death Valley Days was a syndicated Western anthology series that was in production for 18 seasons (1952-70), but continued in syndication a few more years after production ended. In all, there were five hosts for the series during its run:

*Stanley Andrews, billed as "The Old Ranger".
*Ronald Reagan, who left to begin a far more successful political career.
*Robert Taylor (ex-The Detectives).
*Dale Robertson (ex-Iron Horse).
*Country singer Merle Haggard took over when the producers wanted to continue the series after production had ended, and repackaged selected episodes with new intros by Haggard.

I barely remember seeing episodes from the Taylor & Robertson runs. What I do recall is that it aired in my area usually on Sunday afternoons, but I think the station that had the rights in my area dropped the show before the Haggard run began. However, Platinum Entertainment included a couple of early episodes with the Old Ranger in a 2-disc DVD anthology package that also included Wagon Train, The Rifleman, Bat Masterson, Sugarfoot, & Stories of the Century, among others. The plots have been replicated on other Western shows many times over, including this one, "Dear Teacher", which was uploaded by Borax Laundry:

Rating: B+.

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