Dad would have been 84 today. He died a couple of weeks shy of his 35th birthday, and the three of us still miss him. Back when I was ten going on eleven, I thought 35 was old. Now that I’m 59 going on 60, I realize how young he was.
One of my favorite memories of him: one late Saturday afternoon, he and the three of us were sitting on the back porch watching old Westerns, like Maverick, Sugarfoot, Wanted: Dead or Alive, and Have Gun, Will Travel. It must have been the beginning of the month, because Mom sent him downstairs with the rent check. At the commercial break, all four of us ran downstairs with the check, gave it to the landlord, got a receipt, and then ran back upstairs and arrived just in time to catch the rest of the show.
Westerns used to be a big part of the TV schedule. Some of our better-known actors, like Steve McQueen (Wanted: Dead or Alive), Clint Eastwood (Rawhide), Burt Reynolds (Gunsmoke), James Garner (Maverick), and Chuck Connors (The Rifleman) got their start in Westerns. Linda Evans (Dynasty) and Lee Majors (The Six Million Dollar Man) first came to our attention in The Big Valley, which also starred Miss Barbara Stanwyck, one of my favorite actresses (Double Indemnity, Ball of Fire, Christmas in Connecticut), often called the best actress never to win an Oscar. Westerns are a great part of television history, now all but forgotten.
In honor of Dad’s birthday, Part 7 (I think) of my recurring series, TV Themes: The Westerns.
- Ballad of Paladin (Have Gun, Will Travel) – composed by Bernard Herrmann
- Rawhide Theme – Written by Ned Washington (lyrics) and Dimitri Tiomkin (music), sung by Frankie Laine
- Maverick Theme – David Buttolph and Paul Francis Webster
- Bat Masterson Theme – Written by Havens Wray (David D. Rose), sung by Bill Lee
- Wanted: Dead or Alive Theme – Season 1 theme, written by William Loose
- The Rifleman Theme – Written by Herschel Burke Gilbert
- The Big Valley Theme – George Duning
- Sugarfoot Theme – Mack David and Jay Livingston
- Cisco Kid Intro – can’t find a composer…
- Zorro Theme – Norman Foster and George Bruns
And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for February 15, 2016. Happy birthday, Dad!