Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, August 20, 2019


Shotgun Slade took a slightly different twist from other television western series.  Beginning in 1959, Scott Brady took the title role not as a lawman, or vigilante, or bounty hunter, or a traveling cowboy who just happens to meet up with people in trouble, or a roving gambler.  Nope.  Shotgun Slade was an honest-to-goodness P.I. -- perhaps the first western private detective to hit the small screen in a series.  (Was he the first?  I really don't know.  If anyone clarify this, please let me know.)
Slade's weapon of choice is also a bit different:  a specially adapted shotgun with an upper barrel and a lower barrel.  The lower barrel fires normal 12 gauge shotgun shells, but the upper barrel fires .32 caliber rifle bullets; whether firing closeup or at a distance, Slade is able to shoot accurately using this weapon and fie! on carrying six-guns.  The music for the series was also a bit off-beat.  No Marty Robbins ballads, no folky guitars, no riffs on western standards; Shotgun Slade featured a cool jazz score.

The show was one of three televisions shows (the others were Tales of Wells Fargo and The Texan) created by one-time pulpster Frank Gruber.  In addition to his pulpwork, Gruber wrote a number of successful detective and western novels and, beginning in 1942, Gruber moved to Hollywood, eventually selling 65 movie scripts and hundreds of television scripts.

In the episode linked below, "The Charcoal Bullet" (from July 1, 1960), a drunken sketch artist is a witness to a bank robbery.  Can he draw sketches of the robbers before they get to him?

"The Charcoal Bullet" was scripted by the show's producer, Robert Dietrich, from a story by Dietrich and James Bloodworth, and was directed by Sidney Salkow.


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