Such an active child that he earned the nickname "Typhoon" - quickly shorted to "Ty" - Hardin was born in New York City but raised in Texas. After military service during the Korean War, he took classes at Texas A&M, where he appeared in a few local amateur-theater…more
Warner Bros. brought Ty Hardin into the "Cheyenne" TV show to put pressure on the show's star, Clint Walker, who'd become involved in a contract dispute. After this dispute had been settled, Walker came back to the show but by then, Warner Bros. had acquired sufficient faith in 28-year-old Hardin to entrust him with his own TV western, "Bronco," which aired 68 episodes from 1958 to 1962. Hardin's character displayed similarities to the one played by Walker -- the laconic loner, handsome and well-built, who undergoes various adventures while traveling through the American West -- and as in the case of Walker, though to a lesser degree, excuses were found to get Hardin to take off his shirt. At these moments a divergence between the two actors became apparent. Whereas Walker's chest was so thickly-thatched with black fur that his nipples were barely visible, Hardin's chest had a boyish smoothness unmarred by a single hair. (Perhaps a razor helped achieve this effect.) Another difference soon became evident as well. Whereas Walker's "Cheyenne" had such a restrained, almost monkish quality that it became difficult to imagine him having any kind of sex, Hardin's "Bronco" had an undeniably sensual quality. One could easily picture him visiting a frontier brothel and giving complete satisfaction, several times during the course of the night, to one of the brothel's "working girls." While this gave "Bronco" a dimension that "Cheyenne" lacked, the former character could never match the latter's iconic quality. For example, though "Cheyenne" was once stripped of his shirt and tied to a tree branch in preparation for a horsewhipping, not a single lash ever struck his exposed back. Marring the skin of that perfect torso would have been something close to sacrilege! On the other hand, in an episode titled "The Last Resort" which aired on November 17, 1959, "Bronco" found himself stripped to the waist, tied to a T-shaped whipping post in the middle of a frontier town, and sentenced to 40 lashes for "attempting to steal another man's woman." After only seven or eight lashes, however, Hardin is set free, but by then his back has been cut and bloodied enough to disqualify him from iconic status. (Though it occurred on a TV show, this whipping ranked 26th in the book: "Lash! The Hundred Great Scenes of Men Being Whipped in the Movies.") The success of "Bronco" led to a film career for Hardin which briefly flourished in the mid-1960s. After this he began appearing in low-budget films made in Europe, most of which were of little interest. In many cases, however, these movies found opportunities to display Hardin's bare chest which still retained its smooth, almost boyish look, even when its owner had aged into his 40s.moreless
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