LARAMIE: A CLASSIC WESTERN REVIEW

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NBC "living color"

The year was 1959 when Revue Studios first brought Laramie to the screen on NBC. This was before the color television was introduced or the NBC peacock color logo “living color”. But by the third season, Laramie was in living color. In fact, it was the year of the NBC peacock which often was referred to as the Laramie peacock because the timing was perfect as to that first burst of color on both accounts.

On to Our Show

Now let’s get on to our show. Laramie was based around Laramie, Wyoming back in the 1800s when cowboys, cattle, and gun fights were commonly seen. Many land owners were gunned down by pirates who fully intended to take over their property by any means. Slim Sherman (John Smith) was a victim to these pirates as his own father lies dead after fighting for his small ranch he calls home. Slim and his younger brother Andy (Bobby Crawford) were left to run the ranch on their own. With money tight and the ranch barely supporting them, Slim opens a Relay station right there at his ranch for the stagecoach. The extra income would help him make ends meet. Slim excepted help from an old friend of the family called Jonesy (Hoagy Carmichael). Jonesy was very protective over Andy and with all the bad guys out there, Slim was grateful for him. One day Slim met a shady character by the name of Jess Harper (Robert Fuller) who was an ex-gunfighter searching for his old partner who had swindled him out of money. In the search, Jess had become a drifter. Slim and Jess were not immediate friends. Jonesy was even more protective over Andy thinking Jess was a threat to them. But after a brief encounter of disagreement Slim and Jess became best of friends and eventually partners. From time to time Jess’s past would come back to haunt him, his gun fighting days brought enemies to close for comfort. He often found himself over reacting just to protect himself and those around him. Slim thought Andy should be out of arms way and he knew he needed more learning than he could give him there. He sent Andy to boarding school in St. Louis. Jonesy went with Andy to keep him out of trouble. Jonesy leaves the show in Season one. Andy however will be back for a visit in Season two.

As Time Goes On

As Season three opens in living color it also brings on a couple more characters to the cast. Mike Williams (Dennis Holmes) comes to live with Slim and Jess at the ranch after Mike’s parents is killed fighting Indians. But if they don’t find Mike a suitable care giver and a housekeeper the authorities will not let the two men keep him. On their quest to find a housekeeper who is willing to also care for a young boy, they meet Daisy Cooper (Spring Byington) a widow who became ill briefly after a stagecoach stop. At that time another lady was seeking the job, but was not capable of doing the domestic chores expected of her. Miss Daisy promptly intervened. She was given the job. Another member of the cast was Sheriff Mort Corey (Stuart Randell) who in a pinch often made Slim, his deputy.

Laramie ran four seasons. In 1963 ratings drop off and NBC is forced to cancel the hour long western. But the performing actors were given incredible exposure from appearing on a western show of this caliber and before long you found them on other successful television series.

And Sunset Carson-Conversations with John Smith

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Comments 2 comments

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I love the TV westerns of the 1960's era.There was not time to see them all. They were running back to back. I do not recall this one, but thanks for the review.


Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 4 years ago from Potter County, Pa. Author

Thank you, dahoglund. I plan to write more reviews about the classic television shows. I hope you like them as well.

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