Stories of the Century

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Stories of the Century

Post  msistarted on Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:15 am

Stories of the Century is a Western television series that ran in syndication through Republic Pictures between January 23, 1954, and March 11, 1955.

* 1 Synopsis
* 2 Production notes
* 3 Historical episodes
* 4 Guest stars
* 5 DVD release
* 6 References
* 7 External links

[edit] Synopsis

Jim Davis portrayed the role of fictitious Southwestern Railroad detective Matt Clark. Davis also did narration for each episode.[1] Mary Castle co-starred in twenty-six episodes as Clark’s attractive assistant, Frankie Adams. Castle left the program and was replaced by Kristine Miller who appeared in fourteen episodes as Margaret Jones, or "Jonesy".
[edit] Production notes

In 1955, Stories of the Century became the first western to win an Emmy Award in the then category of "Western or Adventure Series".[2]

The series was the first television production of the defunct Republic Pictures, later CBS Paramount Television, which then used the named Hollywood Television Service. The thirty-nine episodes were filmed at the Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, California. The series also filmed some scenes at Vasquez Rocks. In later rebroadcasts, the program was entitled The Fast Guns. It was released in France in 1962.
[edit] Historical episodes

Clark and his female associates traveled the American West weekly seeking to capture the most notorious badmen. Clark's appearances seemed contrived, as when he appears just at the time young Robert Ford was assassinating Jesse James. The stories have limited educational value because each episode follows the basic facts of history. The budget for the series was quite modest.[3]

Though fictional, the black-and-white program uses newspaper accounts and some records of the American West to enforce historical accuracy. Various episodes focus on Clark and Adams or Jones seeking to capture notorious bad men, such as John Wesley Hardin, Billy the Kid, Sam Bass, the Dalton Brothers, the Younger Brothers, and Johnny Ringo, depicted as the outlaw Johnny Ringgold. Fess Parker, Myron Healey, and Robert Bray appeared as the Dalton brothers, Grat Dalton, Bob Dalton, and Emmett Dalton, respectively.

Other segments focus on Doc Holliday, Nate Champion, Cherokee Bill, Clay Allison, Black Jack Ketchum, Black Bart, Crazy Horse, the Wild Bunch of Wyoming, William Quantrill, Geronimo, Jesse James, Frank James, Billy the Kid, Belle Starr, and Cattle Kate Watson.
[edit] Guest stars

Notable guest stars included Marie Windsor as Belle Starr; the series premiere; Richard Jaeckel as Billy the Kid; Lee Van Cleef as Jesse James, Tyler MacDuff as Jesse James's assassin, Bob Ford, Henry Brandon as Nate Champion, the first casualty of the Johnson County Range War in Wyoming, and Richard Webb as John Wesley Hardin. Jean Parker appeared as Ella "Cattle Kate" Watson, and James Seay portrayed her companion, the storekeeper James "Jim" Averell.

Don Haggerty played the bandit Sam Bass; however, Haggerty was forty when he donned the role of Bass, but the real Bass was gunned down in Round Rock, Texas, at the age of twenty-seven. Denver Pyle played Bass henchman Bill Hayes. Brad Johnson appeared in a small part as a deputy on a train in the episode "Cherokee Bill" on February 1, 1955, while was also appearing as deputy sheriff Lofty Craig on Annie Oakley.[4]

Other guests: Chief Yowlachie as Geronimo; Richard Webb as John Wesley Hardin; Kim Spalding as Doc Holliday, the frontier dentist and gunfighter; Sheb Wooley, as Jim Younger; Rick Jason as Joaquin Murietta, and Anthony Caruso as California bandit Tiburcio Vasquez. Glenn Strange portrayed Sheriff Billy Rowland; John Dehner appeared as Sheriff Henry Plummer; Douglas Kennedy starred as gunfighter William P. Longley, Jack Elam portrayed the role of Black Jack Ketchum, and I. Stanford Jolley played Sheriff Bascome in the episode "Black Bart", with Arthur Space in the title role.

Gloria Winters appeared as Little Britches in the episode of the same name; James Best co-starred with Winters as Dave Ridley. Other guest stars on Stories of the Century included Jack Kelly who portrayed Clay Allison. John Smith as Sontag, and Paul Picerni as Rube Burrows.

Gregg Palmer, a prolific western actor mostly unknown by name, appeared in the penultimate episode as Joseph A. "Jack" Slade of Julesburg, Colorado, who killed and mutilated the horse thief, Jules Beni. In the final segment, John Archer appeared as L.H. Musgrove, who steals a herd of horses from a railroad stockyard. Matt Clark tracks the stolen herd, while Jonesy investigates a murder at the railroad telegraph office. The detectives soon suspect that both matters are related. In 1868, Musgrove was sprung from jail and lynched by a vigilante mob in Denver, Colorado.

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