Saturday, December 10, 2016

Classic TV: Trackdown (1957)

Viewers of certain generations will remember the late Robert Culp for I Spy (1965-8) or The Greatest American Hero, but before either one of those series, Culp first cut his teeth in Westerns.

Trackdown, spun off from Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre, ran for 2 seasons (1957-9) on CBS, and created a more realistic picture of the Texas Rangers of the Old West, in contrast to The Lone Ranger, which ended its run a year earlier.

Hoby Gilman (Culp) settles in as an interim sheriff in a small town, but not before traveling across the southwest in pursuit of outlaws, con artists, and thieves. Trackdown, in turn, spun off Wanted: Dead or Alive by introducing bounty hunter Josh Randall (Steve McQueen) in a 1st season episode. I wish I was able to have that particular one ready, as it was fresh in my memory, having aired earlier today on Me-TV. McQueen had appeared in an earlier episode as a set of twin brothers. Culp also wrote at least one episode himself.

Me-TV airs a full hour of Trackdown on Saturday mornings, added to the schedule back in October, as the network expanded its Saturday Western block to its current length (8 am-7 pm ET). As we previously documented, Zane Grey airs on Grit weekday mornings, so maybe they'll also take a crack at Trackdown (and vice versa, if Me-TV has an interest in Zane Grey) down the line.

Edit, 2/22/17: Had to change the video since "Law in Lampasas" was deleted by YouTube. Thanks to a tip from Mike Doran, this one may have some relevance with a certain President.

Rating: A.


Mike Doran said...

Somebody tracked down (sorry) a Trackdown episode from May of 1958, in which a traveling con artist comes to a small Texas town claiming that "the world is about to end - and only (he) can save it by building a wall!"

The con artist is named'Walter Trump' - really.
(Played by the very recognizable Lawrence Dobkin.)

Only a clip is available as of now, but the poster promises that the full episode will be available soon.

Just thought I'd mention it ...

hobbyfan said...

Someone else posted the full episode, Mike. It just so happens that I just put it up to replace "Law in Lampasas" since that one was deleted. Thanks for the tip.