The Richard Boone Show was nothing like Have Gun - Will Travel

By: H&I Staff     Posted: September 6, 2023, 3:16PM    Tags: Richard Boone, Have Gun - Will Travel

One of the hardest things in life is following up on success. Especially if you're winning publicly, expectations could be sky-high with how you next choose to spend your time. Richard Boone, though, was lucky. After the success of Have Gun - Will Travel, the popular televised Western he starred in from 1957-1963, Boone was able to lean into what he loved in a way that allowed him to be himself.

The then-new show in question became The Richard Boone Show, a production by repertory players presenting a new teleplay each week. Unlike most of the other shows on TV at the time (and even now), the way The Richard Boone Show was made allowed for actors to rotate the level of the role they performed. The lead one week might be part of the ensemble the next. In the third week, that same actor could just have a regular bit part. The show aimed to present each of its actors as the lead at least once per season.

"In short," said Boone, "the show stresses continuing actors as opposed to continuing characters."

While Have Gun - Will Travel's Paladin is perhaps Boone's role most beloved by fans, he was ready for a change by the time that series ended. Luckily, producers were happy to accommodate the star in approaching a series that would keep him on TV. Rather than try to recreate the magic of his time in the Wild West, NBC executives worked with Boone to create this new show that would have the benefit of his already-familiar face.

Unlike Have Gun - Will Travel, though, The Richard Boone Show only lasted one season. It was, however, a critical darling, garnering Boone both an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe win. Its 25 episodes aired between September 24, 1963, and March 31, 1964. The show further propelled the careers of Harry Morgan, Robert Blake, and Guy Stockwell. 

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