Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Westerns from the Early Days

 Post by Doris McCraw

writing as Angela Raines

In the month of July I've been looking at the old Westerns, the TV shows I watched or would have watched had the network been available in my area. It has been a fun journey. As I've watched some on YouTube or found the DVDs, it has been eye-opening. Although I love reading about the Western time period, the seed of that love comes from those early shows. I'll be looking at two shows in this post. "Annie Oakley" starring Gail Davis, and "The Cisco Kid" with Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo.

"Annie Oakley" was just the type of show that children would enjoy. It was not so complicated that children couldn't get the message, but there was enough fun that adults could enjoy it also. This was one of the few syndicated shows that had a female lead who, for the time, wasn't the damsel in distress or needing someone else to take care of things. When you realize this show was one of Gene Autry's 'Flying A' productions the show's stories make sense.

Producer Gene Autry and star Gail Davis
photo from Wikipedia

"The Cisco Kid" came to television syndication from the movies. The half-hour shows were shown in black and white but were actually filmed in color. When you watch this show, which ran for six seasons from 1950 until 1956, you will usually see them the way they were filmed, in color. Duncan Renaldo as Cisco and Leo Carrillo as Pancho had great onscreen chemistry and worked together in some of the Cisco Kid movies. Carrillo as Pancho did a fabulous job of butchering the English language. It was just the thing that young people enjoyed. Renado as Cisco was charming, smart, and the two always saved the day. 

Duncan Renaldo as Cisco and Leo Carrillo as Pancho
photo from WesternsontheWeb

The novel, "Josie's Dream" came from my love of independent women who could do what had to be done, who would follow a dream even if it wasn't what was always acceptable.

I am home, Josie thought, as she stepped out onto the road. To the west, looking like clouds on the horizon, the high mountain peaks gave her a sense of permanence, security. The plains around the town reminded her of the rolling hills of eastern Iowa, except these were dry and dusty, instead of green and moist. She felt lighter in the clear air, the sky a shade of blue that defied description.

Breathing deeply of the independence she felt, Josie reached down to pick up her cases. Looking around, Josie took in the small town. It was just as she had dreamed, the main street with its business buildings standing like sentinels to keep the town safe, help it grow. Houses, some with fences, some without, ringed the outer reaches of the area.

Since corresponding with Dr. Harriett Leonard, a past student of her medical school and dear friend, despite the difference in age, Josie had been dreaming of coming to Colorado. Dr. Leonard had offered to let her work at the Spa in Manitou Springs where Harriett was the proprietor, but Josie wanted to create a practice in a smaller town, where people really needed her.

Now here she was in Kiowa Wells, on the eastern plains of Colorado just a few miles from the railhead at Kit Carson. Her biggest obstacle now was finding a place to set up her medical practice.

Despite his reservations, her father gave her a medical bag, equipped with the basics. “Something to remind you of this commitment, your Hippocratic oath,” were his parting words.


Below are links to watch an episode of each show. Perhaps it will bring back memories or maybe give you some new ones. 

Annie Oakley - YouTube

The Cisco Kid - YouTube

Links to the other post in this series are below:

Post 1

Post 2

Until next time, enjoy those old shows.

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Telling Stories Where Love & History Meet


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