Tuesday, February 7, 2012
On The Radar: Encore Westerns
If you're a fan of old TV westerns like I am you need to get Encore Westerns (part of the Starz package). Besides tons of classic western movies they have a great afternoon lineup featuring classic TV shows like Have Gun, Will Travel , Lawman, Wagon Train, Rawhide and one of my personal favorites... Laredo.
I loved Laredo when I was a kid. Channel 11 broadcast reruns every Saturday night after country music shows and before wrestling. It was a lighthearted western with a great cast featuring Neville Brand. In real life Neville was a WWII vet with a serious drinking problem (and possibly overblown service record) that eventually sunk the series. But on screen he was the gruff, cantankerous Texas Ranger with a heart of gold backed by sidekicks/co-stars Peter Brown and William Smith.
For you soap fans, you will notice Philip Carey (One Life To Live's Asa Buchanan) as Capt. Parmalee. Everytime I saw him on OLTL, all I could see was Capt. Parmalee....
Catch this while you can. Laredo only lasted 3 seasons in the mid 60's on NBC (due to Brand's alcohol problems), but it was 3 fantastic seasons. The popularity was so high that there was a theatrical release (a/k/a Drive-In Movie) titled "Three Guns For Texas" comprised of cutting several episodes together. Laredo will never knock Gunsmoke or The Wild Bunch off the pedestal, but it's definitely entertaining, family friendly and finding it on air is rare.
Do yourself a favor and set the DVR for Laredo, part of Encore Westerns afternoon lineup.