Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, October 1, 2015


From September 7, 1948, here's William Boyd as Hopalong Cassidy.

After a successful run in the movies, Hopalong Cassidy began a syndicated radio run in 1948, continuing to 1950 when it was picked up by the Mutual Radio Network.  It late September of that year the series moved to CBS radio, where it remained until its end on December 27, 1952.  All of the shows appearing on the Mutual Network were rebroadcasts of the syndicated series, as were the first thirteen episodes on CBS.  While the rebroadcasts were airing, new episodes were being recorded; 1951 started off with the new episodes, the first of which had been recorded nearly a year earlier.

Hopalong Cassidy was created by writer Clarence E. Mulford in 1904; the character went on to appear in many short storries and 28 novels.  Mulford's Hoppy was a rough, rather testy, quick-on-the-draw character, as opposed to the Hopalong of William Boyd's movies, who was a clean-cut gentleman with a sense of justice.  Sixty-six Cassidy movies were filmed from 1935 through 1948.  Boyd purchased the rights to the films, the books, and the character.  In 1949, Boyd began repackaging the films for broadcast as the first network western television show.  Around the same time, Boyd began production on a series of new half-hour Hopalong Cassidy programs, which weighed in at number 7 in the Neilson ratings for 1949.  The Hopalong Cassidy franchise, including many merchandising tie-ins, made Boyd a wealthy man who took his responsibilty to the nation's children seriously -- something somewhat surprising considering his very wild reputation as a young man.

On a personal note, I was enamored with Hoppy by the time I was five; something from which I never quite recovered.  My fascination stemmed from the television show; I had never listened to the radio show -- something I'm able to correct today.

"The Empty Saddle" was rebroadcast on the Mutual Network on March 19, 1950.  Veteran sidekick Andy Clyde provided the comic relief as California Carlson, Hoppy's grizzled sidekick in more than half of the Hopalong Cassidy movies.


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