Saturday, February 27, 2016

What Might've Been: A Man Called Shenandoah (1965)

An amnesiac man, left for dead, searches the Old West for anything that would help him regain his memory. Such was the concept behind A Man Called Shenandoah, which ran for 1 season on ABC (1965-6). Robert Horton (ex-Wagon Train), who had previously sworn he'd not do another Western after leaving Wagon Train, took on Shenandoah in the belief that it would allow him more range as an actor. Not only that, but Horton also sang the show's theme song, and released his version of the classic folk song, "Oh Shenandoah", as a single that same year, recording for Columbia Records.

The series is currently part of Get TV's Saturday Showdown block, which allows extra running time to let each series (Shenandoah, Laredo, The Tall Man, Nichols, Whispering Smith, Hondo) run uncut, even with extra commercials. Hence, a half hour series airs for 40 minutes, and a hour-long show is stretched to 70 minutes. Cimmaron City has been added to the block, and will be reviewed at a later date.

No episodes are available in their entirety, but we do have a montage of clips from the series, playing over Horton's theme song.

Other than the amnesiac angle, this played like an average show of the period, a stranger roaming from town to town, often helping others in need or stumbling into trouble not of his own making.

Rating: B.


Samuel Wilson said...

Horton died on March 9, just while I was discovering how great (and obviously underappreciated) this show was.

hobbyfan said...

Just read about it online myself, Sam. Horton lived to be 91.

Hal Horn said...

I never cared much for this show, but the cancellation was kind of curious in 1966. A MAN CALLED SHENANDOAH ranked 37th in the Nielsens out of 119 shows for the season (blown away by ANDY GRIFFITH but ahead of ANDY WILLIAMS in its timeslot) and ABC was rather hit-starved (BATMAN and F TROOP were the network's only other new shows in the top 40). Add in Horton's proven appeal, and the cancellation seems odd. The show averaged a 30.6 share. (BRANDED was the only other top 40 show cancelled that year)

The entire series is currently streaming at Warner Archive Instant.

hobbyfan said...

And I think Get TV just put it on the bench, or will soon do so. Have to see about WBAI.