Monday, February 15, 2016

What Might've Been: Hondo (1967)

MGM sold at least two series to ABC in 1967. Off To See The Wizard led off the Friday lineup, and was followed by studio stablemate Hondo. Neither series survived the season.

Hondo was based on a John Wayne movie of the same name from about a decade earlier, and Wayne's production company co-produced the series with MGM and co-producer Andrew Fenady's company. Ralph Taeger (ex-Klondike) was cast in the lead role as Calvary scout Hondo Lane, played by Wayne in the movie. I should also point out that it wasn't the only Western with a military theme that season, either, on ABC, as the network was also home to 20th Century Fox's Custer (yep, another 1-season failure).

Currently, the series has resurfaced on Get TV as part of its Saturday afternoon block. Here's to hoping that it will spur enough interest among baby boomers to get a DVD release.

Gilmore Box provides the intro:

In the 80's, after a guest appearance on Father Murphy, Taeger retired from acting and started a firewood business before passing away last year.

Rating: B.


Hal Horn said...

Unlike CUSTER, which debuted at the bottom of the Nielsens and stayed there, HONDO had an appealing premise and a lot of potential.

HONDO also got off to a terrible start in the Nielsens, ranking 74th out of 81 programs in the initial survey with a 12.8 rating. ABC canceled it in early November after only nine shows had aired, however this proved to be premature IMO:

After the cancellation, the ratings started to rise. By mid-December, HONDO was up to a 14.6 rating and 25.1 share for the week ending Dec. 17th, and the show's highest Nielsen was for the Dec. 29th finale (16.0 rating, 27.3 share). Those numbers, and the show's top five "Q" among new shows, indicated positive word of mouth. A little more patience, and perhaps a time slot away from GOMER PYLE and STAR TREK, might have been beneficial. CBS had been very patient with MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE despite low ratings a season before, and ended up with a big hit.

Of course, years later, HONDO became very popular as a Saturday morning rerun on TNT, lasting ten years with the 17 episodes being rerun repeatedly. What might have been, indeed.

hobbyfan said...

Only because Hondo discovered a new audience, as it did on Get TV.