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"The main feature will follow the intermission"

By Black Country Bugle User  |  Posted: May 17, 2007

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In the early days of television many hours of viewing were dominated by imported programmes from the US, and one at least of the two that Alan Keeling has singled out for a mention this week became a firm favourite with the British audience:

"If TV bosses wanted a hit show on their hands it was important they attracted as many young viewers as possible, and who better than legions of school children. It was thumbs-up all round if kids arrived at school on a Monday morning and began singing the theme song to one of their favourite programmes, and Rawhide fell into that category. The song, Recorded by Frankie Lane, became a hit in the charts. 'Keep rolling, rolling, rolling'; how could anyone forget. The show itself was shown by ATV in our neck of the woods, a Western adventure set during the struggles and hardships of the 1860s when drovers spent weeks on end driving enormous herds of cattle along the cattle drive from San Antonio, Texas, to Sedalia, Missouri. The stories that accompanied the drovers' journey were sprinkled with up and coming stars including Bill Travers, Leslie Neilson, Tom Conway, and Elizabeth Montgomery, etc.

  The hour long monochrome shows were produced by CBS and had quite a run in the US from 1959 until 1966 with a staggering 144 episodes. It was screened in this country from 1960 onwards. The four main characters were played by Eric Fleming as Gil Favor, the lean, well-mannered boss man who although often close to romance never found the girl of his dreams; Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates, who was always rushing to the aid of any damsel in distress; Sheb Wooley as trail scout Pete Nolan; and the unforgettable Paul Brinegar as the bearded Wishbone who was always cooking the campsite food, but not very well. Before the end credits of every programme Gil Favor would utter those immortal words, "Head 'em up, move 'em out!"

  Warner Brothers' television series Hawaiian Eye was another one of their more successful monochrome shows. They were hour long programmes that ran in the US from 1959 until 1963 and spanned 134 episodes, with all the location filming shot in Honolulu. Anthony Eisley, Robert Conrad and Grant Williams played owner-operative detectives Tracy Steele, Tom Lopaka and Gregg Mackenzie respectively, all being members of the Hawaiian Eye detective organisation.

  Their respective co-stars were Connie Stevens as the Village Hotel singer Cricket Blade, Tony Donahue as the hotel's social director Philip Barton, and the not to be forgotten character Kim the taxi driver played by oriental actor Poncie Ponce. Hawaiian Eye was the forerunner to the later and probably more recognisable Hawaii 5-0, and was first screened by various ITV stations in 1960."

  There will be more golden oldies from Alan Keeling's bag of memorable TV programmes in next week's Bugle. But for now we leave you with the familiar sight of the intermission board that came up on the screen at the cinema in the days when there was always a short 'B' film shown before the main feature.

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