CBS (ended 1990)




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Paradise was a television Western in a time when television wasn't interested in Westerns (unless in a mini-series format). The fact the series lasted three years is a testament to the show and to the acting. The series began as St. Louis musical review singer Lucy Cord Carroll passed away, sending her four children, ranging in age from 5 to 13, to live with their uncle, grizzled gunfighter Ethan Allan Cord (veteran television actor Lee Horsley), in Paradise, California. Despite having some trepidation about assuming the role of guardian, Ethan rented a farmhouse from Paradise Bank owner Amelia Lawson and converted it into a makeshift ranch house in which his new family could reside. He tried to raise the children to the best of his ability as a peaceful rancher, but was frequently hired for his gunfighting skills, either to track someone down or to simply protect Paradise from criminals -- or both. During these times, the children were "looked in on" from time to time by Amelia or Ethan's friend, John Taylor. But, much of the ranch chores and supervision inevitably rested on the shoulders of the oldest of the Carroll children, 13-year-old Claire (Jenny Beck). With Ethan gone, she and her brothers -- 11-year-old Joseph (Matthew Newmark), nine-year-old Ben (Brian Lando), and five-year-old George (Michael Patrick Carter) -- had plenty of chores assigned to them. John Taylor (Dale Berti), a Native American who was Ethan's best friend, had an uncanny knack of being around just as he was needed, either at the ranch, or with Ethan when a gunfight was imminent. Amelia (Sigrid Thornton) turned into Ethan's love interest in the show. Other characters seen in and around town were Scotty the bartender, Tiny the blacksmith, the hotel's Mr. Dodd, and shopkeepers Mr. Lee and Mr. Axelrod. Paradise was on the air for two seasons, but returned for a third season under the title, Guns of Paradise. The re-tooled version kept most of the same concepts of the original, while eliminating the frequency of some minor characters. In Guns of Paradise, Ethan bacame the town marshal, and was building a home for the children and Amelia, now his fiance. Paradise ran on CBS Thursdays 9-10 p.m. from October 1988 to March 1989 (between 48 Hours and Knots Landing) and Saturdays 8-9 p.m. from April 1989 to September 1990 (prior to Tour of Duty). Guns of Paradise, also on CBS was on Fridays 8-9 p.m. from January 1991 to June 1991. Photo: (front, l-r) Brian Lando and Michael Patrick Carter; (back, l-r) Lee Horsley, Jenny Beck, Matthew Newmark and Sigrid Thornton.moreless