Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, June 8, 2017


My favorite western character when I was very young was Hopalong Cassidy.  For me, William Boyd as Hoppy was the ultimate hero, a stellar figure who outshone Roy and Gene and the Lone Ranger.  I'm not too sure why.  Hoppy just clicked with me.  I'm talking television here.

But Hoppy was also on the radio, along with Andy Clyde (usually) as California Carlson.  Hopalong Cassidy had a slow start in radio.  A pilot episode was produced and aired in 1941, and then...nothing.  The show just sat for seven years; it took that long for the producers to realize that westerns were popular, I guess.  

Hopalong Cassidy began its syndicated run in 1948, continuing into 1950.  There appears to have been a bit of overlap between the syndicated show and the network show, which began on January 1, 1950 on the Mutual Radio Network.  At the end of September of that year, the show moved to CBS and aired there until December 27, 1952.

Boyd believed the future of the character lay in television.  In 1948, Boyd heavily mortgaged himself to buy the backlog of Hopalong Cassidy films and the rights to the character.  Her then brought his ideas to NBC and on June 24, 1950, Hopalong Cassidy became the first network western television series, leading the way to a plethora of juvenile television westerns, from The Range Rider and Annie Oakley to Roy and Gene and beyond.

"Hoppy and the School Marm" aired on July 16, 1950, but was actually recorded on February 1, 1949..  A school teacher breaks the windows of a new saloon and gambling hall.  When she later disappears, it's up to Hopalong to find her.  Joe Du Val plays California Carlson in this episode instead of Andy Clyde.

Sit back with a foaming glass of sarsaparilla (Boyd's Hoppy didn't drink alcohol, nor did he swear...and he used perfect English) and enjoy.

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