A Brief History
On June 24, 1949, NBC premiered the first Western themed TV show, an adaptation of a character created by Clarence E. Mulford in 1904, Hopalong Cassidy.
The character, played by William Boyd on television, was a tough cowboy who had a funny walk due to an old injury from being shot in the leg. Prior to the TV show, Boyd appeared in 66 films between 1935 and 1948 as Cassidy.
The TV show started out showing edited versions of the films before transitioning to fresh material. Airing until 1952, Hopalong Cassidy broke major TV ground and set the stage for numerous successful television Westerns during the 1950s and 1960s, including long running favorites Gunsmoke and Bonanza.
Boyd, born in Ohio in 1895, was through with acting by 1954, and died at the age of 77 in 1972. He had been married five times and was granted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame.
Question for students (and subscribers): What is your favorite TV Western? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Mulford, Clarence. Clarence E. Mulford Complete Western Hopalong Cassidy series. APD Publishing, 2015.
Nevins, Francis. Hopalong Cassidy: On the Page, On the Screen. CreateSpace, 2016.
The featured image in this article, a film poster for 1935 Hopalong Cassidy film The Eagle’s Brood, is in the public domain in the United States because it was published in the United States between 1928 and 1977, inclusive, without a copyright notice. For further explanation, see Commons:Hirtle chart as well as a detailed definition of “publication” for public art.
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.