Monday, April 17, 2017

Classic (?) TV: Broken Arrow (1956)

The success of The Lone Ranger on radio & television proved that in the Old West, it was possible for the Native American to stand side-by-side with white men in peace. In the 50's, Hollywood tried to duplicate the formula, but with varying degrees of success.

Take, for example, Broken Arrow. Like the 1950 film it adapts, the series was based on Elliott Arnold's novel, Blood Brother, which told how government agent Tom Jeffords befriended Cochise. The fictionalized account resurfaced in series form six years after the movie, first as a pilot on CBS' 20th Century Fox Hour. A few months later, after CBS chose not to go to series with Broken Arrow, the studio turned to ABC. In all, 39 episodes were produced over two seasons (1956-8), and, today, the series airs Sunday mornings on Heroes & Icons (check listings).

Co-star Michael Ansara (Cochise) would later play Native American lawman Sam Buckhart on Law of the Plainsman, a 1-year wonder from Four Star that was spun off from The Rifleman.

Right now, let's take a look at a sample episode, "Return From The Shadows":

Around the same time, James Fennimore Cooper's novel had been adapted in the syndicated Hawkeye & the Last of the Mohicans (previously reviewed), but that lasted one season.

It happens that I'd seen the series finale, "The Transfer", yesterday, one of those rare cases where a series came to a natural conclusion. Would that this would be possible today, especially with network executives having itchier, quicker trigger fingers.

Rating: A.

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