The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp

ABC (ended 1961)




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The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp

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The first of its kind...the original adult western. The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp was the first in a wave of new TV westerns aimed at adults (previous entries, such as The Cisco Kid and The Lone Ranger, were considered fodder for the after-school crowd). The show was then followed, in the same season, by Gunsmoke on CBS, Frontier on NBC and Wyatt's fellow ABC show Cheyenne. It was these four shows alone that started an incredible and unmatched phenomena that would see up to 28 new westerns premiering during the 1958 primetime TV season. But only a handful of them were able to dominate a few of the top 10 spots in the network ratings and Wyatt Earp was one of them. Wyatt Earp was inspired by the legendary events of the real life Frontier Marshal who lived from 1848 to 1929. The show followed Earp from his days as a Marshal in Ellsworth and then later Dodge City (this caused some confusion amongst viewers since Matt Dillion was the Marshal of Dodge City in Gunsmoke) and finally to the infamous Tombstone, Arizona. Along the way Wyatt would encounter such figures as John Wesley Hardin, the Thompson Brothers, Doc Holliday and Earp's brothers Virgil and Morgan. Bat Masterson would also appear before getting his own series (where he would be played a different actor). The show even featured the famous Buntline Special, a foot-long-barreled Colt .45 single-action revolver which many believe to be the kind of gun that the real Wyatt carried and was given to by Ned Buntline. The series would conclude in 1961, after six full seasons, with an epic five episode story that told of how Wyatt took on Old Man Clanton and the Ten Percent Gang in a final showdown at the O.K. Coral with the help of his brothers and Doc Holliday. The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp is not as well known today as most other classic westerns such as Gunsmoke and Bonanza simply because it didn't last as long and was not shot in color. But ask any baby boomer who grew up in front of the television during the '50s and they'll easily recall Wyatt Earp with fond memories. By today's standards, the series was rare in that Frederick Hazlitt Brennan, an author and playwright, didn't just write the first episode (based on the 1931 biography by Stuart N. Lake), he wrote the majority of the 226 episodes throughout the series' entire six season run. This Desilu production originally aired from 1955 to 1961 on ABC, Tuesdays at 8:30pm. Witness for yourself how well this superb series, starring Hugh O'Brian, still holds up by watching newly restored episodes on TV Land every weekend at 3pm. Recently Rerun Episodes: Feb 5 - Wyatt Earp Becomes a Marshall Feb 5 - Wyatt Earp Comes to Wichita Feb 6 - Dodge Gets a New Marshall Feb 6 - Wyatt Meets Doc Holliday Feb 12 - Time for All Good Men Feb 12 - Sweet Revenge Feb 13 - Wyatt Earp Rides Shotgun Feb 13 - One Feb 19 - Two Feb 19 - Three Feb 20 - Four Feb 20 - The Bounty Killer Feb 26 - The Mysterious Cowhand Feb 26 - King of the Frontier Feb 27 - Little Brother Feb 27 - Tombstone Mar 5 - Wells Fargo Calling Marshall Earp Mar 5 - A Murderer's Return Mar 6 - China Mary Mar 6 - Wyatt's Bitterest Enemy Upcoming Reruns Mar 12 - Old Slanders Never Die Mar 12 - Requiem for Old Man Clanton Mar 13 - Just Before the Battle Mar 13 - Gunfight at the O.K. Corral Currently no more episodes are scheduled. Theme Song I'll tell you a story a real true life story A tale of the Western frontier. The West, it was lawless, but one man was flawless and his is the story you'll hear. Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp, Brave courageous and bold. Long live his fame and long life his glory and long may his story be told. Well he cleaned up the country The old wild west country He made law and order prevail. And none can deny it The legend of Wyatt Forever will live on the trail. Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp, Brave courageous and bold. Long live his fame and long life his glory and long may his story be told. Lyrics by Harold Adamson Music by Harry Warren Performed by The Ken Darby Singers And Johnny Western




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