Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Kids in the Fifties thrilled to the adventures of Wild Bill Hickok on both television and the radio.  Hickok was a real life gambler, gunman, and lawman whose life was super-sanitized for these shows.  Because of a cleft palate, Wild Bill was originally know as "Duck Bill."  He left his Illinois farm home at 15 after his father died.  (There is a strong possibility that he shot and killed his father.)  He grew a mustache to hide his cleft palate and began calling himself "Wild Bill."  He had a rather bloody, checkered life -- one source called him "a ruffian,..a drunken, swaggering fellow" -- but his legend grew, in part because he was the hero of the first western dime novel.

The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok began on the mutual Radio network in 1951 and starred Guy Madison in the title role and Andy Devine* as Wild Bill's pal, deputy, and comic relief Jingles.  A few months later, the two also began starring in a television show, an oddity by having the radio cast play the same roles on television.  The radio show lasted for 271 episodes, ending in 1956, while the television show continued until 1958 with a total of 113 shows.

Both shows were aimed for kids, although they could also be enjoyed by adults.

Every cowboy star had to have a horse.  Wild Bill had Buckshot and Jingles had Joker.

"A Little Lady in Distress" begins in the Santa Fe office while Wild Bill was away and Deputy Jingles held down the fort.  A little girl named Marybeth comes into the office looking for help.  She ran away from home and is afraid for her father.  When Wild Bill and Jingles investigate they come upon a duplicitous plot.

This episode first aired on May 27, 1953.  It was directed by Bud Pierce from a story by head scriptwriter Larry Hayes.  Charles Lyons was the announcer and Dick Aurandt was on the organ.  As always, the show was sponsored by Kellogg's.


* Of interest to me (and probably no one else) is that Andy Devine's wife of 43 years was Dorothy House.  No relation.

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