Friday, April 18, 2014

What Might've Been: The Loner (1965)

Back in the 60's, Westerns were still plentiful in primetime, but not every Western that came along was a surefire hit.

Consider, for example, The Loner, or more specifically, the creative pedigree involved.

The Loner sprang from the pen of no less than Rod Serling (ex-The Twilight Zone), and told the story of William Colton (Lloyd Bridges), a Civil War veteran who went from town to town, getting involved in various disputes. In other words, this was no different than any number of half-hour Westerns of the period.

The last part of the equation was producer William Dozier. The Loner was the only series he sold to CBS, everything else went to ABC, starting with Batman just 4 months later. Dozier was relatively new at the time, trying to make his mark. Oh, and let us not forget the kickin' theme song, composed by Jerry Goldsmith.

So why did The Loner fail? Go back to what I said at the beginning. There were still a lot of Westerns out there, and Loner didn't stand out from the crowd like Serling & Dozier had hoped. Serling would try out another series outside of the sci-fi genre with The New People for ABC and the team of Aaron Spelling & Danny Thomas in 1969, an experimental 45 minute series that also failed. On the other hand, going back to the more familiar millieu of sci-fi and horror/fantasy with Night Gallery at NBC provided Serling with his last hit series. As we all know, Dozier wasn't so lucky, as after Batman was cancelled in 1968, Dozier, aside from a well known PSA in 1971, wasn't heard from again.

Gilmore Box provides the open. The narrative was deleted for some odd reason from this print.




In watching other versions of the clip, I'm unsure of who the narrator was, but he certainly sounded like NFL Films narrator John Facenda. Go figure.

No rating.

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