The popular classic TV Western series Wagon Train aired from 1957 to 1965. It’s a golden nugget in this golden age of television. The show stood out even during the height of popularity for Westerns in the 1950s and 1960s. The show covered a large territory in that this Western drama presented tales of a wagon train that went from post-Civil War St. Joseph, Missouri , all the way to California, which they would reach in the Spring. Many of the episodes were character studies, as people passed through and encountered each other on the trails, plains, and deserts. There was a regular cast (more or less) on the Wagon Train, but they met a wide spectrum of humanity, from the God-fearing folks to the lawless.
Here’s a little bit of trivia about the show:
The show starred Ward Bond, Robert Horton, John McIntire, Robert Fuller, Michael Burns, Frank McGrath, Terry Wilson, and Denny Scott Miller.
In the show’s first season, it was sponsored by the Edsel Division of the Ford Motor compnay.
The show was noted for its many guest stars, as the plots would dictate. Here’s just a short list: Anna Maria Alberghetti, Claude Akins, William Bendix, Charles Bickford, Roger Smith, Theodore Bikel, Ernest Borgnine, Lon Chaney, Jr., Beulah Bondi, Lou Costello, Johnny Crawford, Dan Blocker, Bette Davis, Angie Dickinson, Dan Duryea, Carolyn Jones, Nina Foch, Louis Fletcher, George Gobel, Dwayne Hickman, Dennis Hopper, Peter Lorre, Suzanne Pleshette, Lee Marvin, Audrey Meadows, Burgess Meredith, Ricardo Monalban, Leonard Nimoy, Ronald Reagan, Mickey Rooney, Ann Sheridan, Arnold Stang, Barbara Stanwyck, Dean Stockwell, John Wayne, Shelley Winters, Harry von Zell, Dick York, and Jane Wyman.
Over the years, there were several theme songs. Among the two most remembered is the one from the second season. “(Roll Along) Wagon Train” was written by Sammy Fain and Jack Brooks and sung by Johnny O’Neill.
The other remembered one was the instrumental “Wagons Ho!” that started in the third season. This was written and conducted by Jerome Moross.
Gene Roddenberry’s original idea for Star Trek was “Wagon Train in space.”
It was Ward Bond’s last role.The episodes that featured Ward Bond became part of a weekday daytime feature with the title “Major Adams –Trailmaster.” This aired from from 1963 to 1965.
Bette Davis as a guest star on Wagon Train.
Here’s a sample. This is Season 5, Episode 17, titled “The Malachi Hobart Story,” which first aired on January 24, 1962. Is Malachi Hobart (played by Franchot Tone) a preacher or a con man? Running time is 49:33.
For More Classic TV
The TV in our Rec Room has four classic TV selections (usually a series episode, a cartoon or short, and a vintage commercial). They are updated twice a week. Thank you for stopping by The Daily Doo-Wop.