Have Gun Will Travel Cast – Richard Boone
Have Gun, Will Travel ran from 1957-1963 on TV and was a top-rated western series, boasting 225 half-hour episodes starring Richard Boone as Paladin, an experienced gunslinger who preferred using his brain over his Colt 45 rifle.
He scanned newspapers for any sign of trouble in the Wild West, marketing his services with the signature phrase, “Have Gun–Will Travel”. He became known as an arbitrator of frontier justice, a voice of reason, and a provider of moral perspective.
Created by Sam Rolfe & Herb Meadow
The first time I watched Have Gun Will Travel, I was instantly entranced by its opening credits: A man wearing a black coat carrying a derringer and bearing a business card reading “Have Gun, Will Travel. Wire San Francisco”. That man was Paladin, an on-call gunfighter known to ride to mining camps or cattle towns west of Mississippi to use fast guns against outlaw gangs or to rescue hostages who needed his services.
Sam Rolfe and Herb Meadow, two innovative ex-radio writers whom CBS informed about its desire for an original cowboy show, came up with Paladin as their central character: an upstanding New Yorker who would peruse classified ads each morning in search of those in need and then offer his services, leaving behind his call card: “Have Gun, Will Travel.”
Have Gun, Will Travel was perfectly tailored to its time and place in history. The plots weren’t simplistic, while the characters had depth. Have Gun, Will Travel offered an alternative to the cheaply produced westerns that plagued television during that period. Although highly rated at its creation time, its story remained an acquired taste despite its success as an audience favorite.
Have Gun, Will Travel was an extremely successful TV series for six seasons despite tension between producer Fred Coe and star Richard Boone, even with their conflicted relationship. Boone exercised considerable creative control, showcasing talented actors and directors – ranking in the top four shows four out of six years! Several writers went on to greater fame – Gene Roddenberry (of Star Trek fame) wrote more episodes than anyone else during its run!
Starring Richard Boone
Richard Boone was one of the greatest actors ever to grace a small screen, most famous for starring on the iconic television western Have Gun, Will Travel as a Paladin from San Francisco who traveled westward to help those without defense of their own. Dressed all in black with his concealed derringer on hand, Paladin represented true modern gentlemanship – making this series one of the top four for its first three seasons and inspiring a radio version!
Have Gun; Will Travel was unlike many Westerns shot on a backlot in that it used multiple locations for filming, which helped keep its action fresh and exciting for viewers. Additionally, Have Gun, Will Travel employed multiple directors – including Andrew McLaglen, who directed 116 episodes – with his style favoring classical looks with theatrical indoor wide shots.
Boone did more than direct Have Gun, Will Travel; he also wrote extensively for it. Many episodes he wrote for Have Gun were polished by Gene Roddenberry (later to create Star Trek). Other writers such as Sam Peckinpah, Ida Lupino, and Harold Jack Bloom helped shape its stories.
Have Gun, Will Travel was an immensely successful TV Western for CBS and set the tone for many similar series that still air today. Furthermore, Have Gun, Will Travel inspired young viewers and was one of few shows with its radio spin-off series – in this case, Gun in Radio. Furthermore, its success helped launch both its creators and star and notable TV writers such as Herb Meadow and Sam Rolfe’s careers.
Adapted from a novel by Richard Boone
Have Gun; Will Travel was one of the earliest television Westerns to present a hero who preferred dialogue over violence, making Richard Boone an icon. Boone played an elegant, sophisticated protagonist who often quoted from Shakespeare – earning him many female fans.
As an actor, Boone excelled at playing Paladin. His West Point education and distinguished service in the Union Army made him stand out among television Western heroes; he often referred to himself as a knight without armor in a harsh land. Like Conrad’s Marlowe, he relied more on intelligence to solve issues than weapons for solutions.
The show featured an impressive cast and acting talent; its writers often had more literary styles than other television westerns. Gene Roddenberry later went on to co-create Star Trek from these scripts!
Have Gun, Will Travel first gained popularity during its inaugural run in 1961 but began to falter and had low ratings in its second season, only to rebound with solid ratings in its third and become one of the ten most-watched shows of all time (though eventually overtaken by Gunsmoke and Wagon Train). It continued on air for another eight seasons until ultimately being replaced by the Gunsmoke and Wagon Train series.
After Have Gun – Will Travel had concluded, Boone continued his television work, including directing multiple episodes and serving as executive producer on several shows such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Dr. Kildare as an occasional guest star.
Produced by Sam Rolfe & Herb Meadow
Have Gun; Will Travel featured Richard Boone as Paladin, an unsuave but brutal mercenary who always appeared ready for action. The series ran from 1957-1963 on CBS television and later radio broadcast. Additionally, during its run, there was a radio version. Sam Peckinpah and Gene Roddenberry appeared, among many others; fans loved its high-brow scripts and character development as much as its high-brow name, which became a catchphrase across bumper stickers, graffiti art, posters boards, etc!
Have Gun Will Travel was an oasis in an age when Westerns were plentiful, offering dark yet sophisticated plotlines with profound moral undercurrents, not to mention featuring numerous talented writers, including Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry himself! Additionally, this show provided young actors and actresses a platform to launch professional production careers.
Have Gun Will Travel was distinct in comparison with Gunsmoke and Bonanza as it featured darker and deeper storytelling and moral issues, with superb acting from its stellar cast and cutting-edge direction from director Mark Halperin, pushing western genre television shows further and setting a higher bar than ever before.
Andrew McLaglen was an enormous star in his own right; standing 6 feet 7 inches and weighing nearly 300 pounds, he brought a classical aesthetic to the series with wide indoor shots that favored theatrical scenes while saving visual flourishes for open-range locations. McLaglen directed 116 episodes for Meadow and Rolfe, other directors such as Lewis Milestone and Elliot Silverstein, and several others such as Elliot Silverstein himself!
Aired on CBS
Have Gun Will Travel was one of the last genuinely noteworthy TV westerns produced before Aaron Spelling of Charlie’s Angels fame brought his series of forgettable TV westerns onto the airwaves and was notable in writing, acting, directing, and production quality at that time. Richard Boone stood out among younger actors of his day by being an excellent older performer who held his own in this sophisticated western.
1957-1963, Richard Boone played Paladin on this top-rated American sitcom Sam Rolfe and Herb Meadow created. Prefers peaceful solutions when possible but can use his Colt 45 when necessary.
Have Gun Will Travel was unlike many Westerns of its time in that it maintained an upper-brow aesthetic without resorting to cheap special effects that were so common at the time. Additionally, its writers were highly accomplished – including future Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, who wrote episodes for this series, and Bruce Geller, Harry Julian Fink, and Ida Lupino, among many others.
Andrew McLaglen was responsible for most of the Have Gun Will Travel episodes he directed – an impressive total of 101! A former Gunsmoke veteran, he brought a classic aesthetic to Have Gun Will Travel through theatrical wide shots for indoor scenes and direct visuals for outdoor action scenes.
David Mamet will write and direct a reboot of The Unit that has been long in development, following his longstanding contract as writer/director with CBS. Mamet signed on as writer/director. David Mamet wrote the pilot episode for CBS before signing as a director if full-season orders come through. Mamet has served as executive producer on multiple other successful CBS shows like the military drama The Unit.