Wagon Train 1957-1965

If you like the westerns we’re currently discussing, you may have liked other western TV shows. So why don’t we discuss them here! Post about western conventions (non Bonanza), the shows, the actors and anything you want to discuss.

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Wagon Train 1957-1965

Post by Tracy » Mon Apr 30, 2018 3:42 pm

Wagon Train
Wagon Train is an American Western series featuring stories of the journeys of a
wagon train as it leaves post-Civil War Missouri on its way to California through the plains, deserts, and mountains.

The series ran on NBC 1957–62 and then on ABC 1962–65.

The first treks were led by gruff, but good-at-heart Major Seth Adams, backed up by
his competent frontier scout, Flint McCullough.

Wagon Train season 1.jpg
Wagon Train season 1.jpg (81.24 KiB) Viewed 1694 times



Ward Bond (1903-1961) stars as Major Seth Adams, from1957–61, seasons 1–4.
“Wagon Train” was Bond's final acting project.
Although it was not publicly disclosed at the time,
he was already in terrible health when the series began.

The conservative Bond approved scripts for 'Wagon Train.'
Associate producer Frederick Shore said, "We had to submit
every script in advance to get approved by both NBC and the
censors - including Ward Bond." Bond toned down the violence
and steered the show in a family-friendly direction.

Bond died of a heart attack during the fourth season.

No explanation was ever given on the show for Major Seth Adams' disappearance.

Robert Horton (1924-2016) stars as scout Flint McCullough from 1957–62, seasons 1–5.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Wagon Train Season 3.jpg
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Wagon Train Frank McGrath as Charlie Wooster.jpg
Wagon Train Frank McGrath as Charlie Wooster.jpg (35.36 KiB) Viewed 1694 times

Frank McGrath (1903-1967) stars as Charlie Wooster from 1957–65, seasons 1–8,
although his photograph isn't included on the DVD sets until season 3.


Wagon Train Terry Wilson as Bill Hawks.jpg
Wagon Train Terry Wilson as Bill Hawks.jpg (61.83 KiB) Viewed 1694 times

Terry Wilson (1923-1999) stars as Bill Hawks from 1957–65, seasons 1–8,
although his photograph isn't included on the DVD sets until season 3.
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Re: Wagon Train 1957-1965

Post by Tracy » Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:01 pm

Season Four must have been a confusing one for viewers due to
the sudden death of star Ward Bond and the addition of John McIntire as wagonmaster Christopher Hale.
Not only was Bond's absence never addressed on the show, the episodes of season four were shown
as a mishmash, with Bond the wagonmaster in one, then McIntere, then Bond again.

Wagon Train Season 4.jpg
Wagon Train Season 4.jpg (119.75 KiB) Viewed 1693 times



Wagon Train John McIntire as Christopher Hale.jpg
Wagon Train John McIntire as Christopher Hale.jpg (32.08 KiB) Viewed 1688 times

John McIntire (1907-1991) joined “Wagon Train” after the sudden death of Ward Bond.

McIntire starred as wagon master Christopher Hale from1961–65, seasons 4-8.


Wagon Train Scott (Denny) Miller as Duke Shannon.jpg
Wagon Train Scott (Denny) Miller as Duke Shannon.jpg (52.13 KiB) Viewed 1688 times

Scott Denny Miller (1934-2014) stars as Duke Shannon from 1961–64, seasons 5–7.

Wagon Train Season 5.jpg
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Wagon Train Season 6.jpg
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Wagon Train Michael Burns as Banaby West.jpg
Wagon Train Michael Burns as Banaby West.jpg (187.45 KiB) Viewed 1693 times

Michael Burns (1947-present) starred as Barnaby West from 1963–65, seasons 6–8.
Young Barnaby was found traveling west on his own, and Bill Hawks (along with Hale, Wooster, and Shannon) took the boy in.

Wagon Train season 7.png
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Wagon Train Robert Fuller as Cooper Smith.jpg
Wagon Train Robert Fuller as Cooper Smith.jpg (41.59 KiB) Viewed 1693 times

Robert Fuller (1933-present) starred as Cooper Smith from1963–65, seasons 7–8.

Wagon Train Season 8.jpg
Wagon Train Season 8.jpg (51.37 KiB) Viewed 1693 times




TRIVIA

“Wagon Train” was one of only a few series ever to switch to color and then revert to black and white.
These switches, along with a time slot move to Sunday evenings for the first time, were significant
contributors to the declining ratings that led to the series' cancellation in the spring of 1965.

“Wagon Train” was one of only a few series to expand from a one hour show to a 90 minute show.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Ward Bond (Major Seth Adams) Trivia:
Ward Bond (Major Seth Adams) and Robert Horton (Flint McCullough) did not get along on the set.
According to Horton, Bond spread rumors about his sexuality.

Bond played with John Wayne on the USC football team.

Bond appears in more films on the American Film Institute's
100 Greatest American Movies than any other actor.

At the end of the episode, "The Clara Beauchamp Story," Bond stands in a row of military
men on a pair of crutches. It was no prop. The actor had suffered an injury in a car accident.

The poor (but certainly tough) guy was also hit by a car on his way to
John Wayne's wedding, but he performed his best man duties on crutches.

John Wayne accidentally shot Ward Bond on a hunting trip.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Robert Horton (Flint McCullough) Trivia:

Robert Horton rode the same Chestnut Appaloosa in his TV series 'A Man called Shenandoah'.
He also wore the same gun belt in both TV series like John Wayne did in some of his movies.

Robert Horton recorded an album of pop songs on Columbia, "The Very Thought of You," in 1964.

Horton did all of his own riding and stunts on most of the Wagon Train (1957) and
A Man Called Shenandoah (1965) series, and he owned the Appaloosa horse he often rode in both series.

Horton was featured in 34 musical plays, and recorded the "Wagon Train" theme song (this handsome man can SING!):
Horton said that he never felt he fit into the appropriate Mormon household, for being the hotheaded child that he was.

Horton attended California Military Institute in Perris, where he played football.
After graduation from the military school, in 1943, at age 19, he was enlisted in the
Coast Guard, but was medically discharged because of kidney troubles.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Frank McGrath (Charlie Wooster) Trivia:

Frank McGrath (Wooster) was an American character actor and stunt man,
a former rodeo performer. He often appeared in westerns as comic relief and
achieved his greatest fame as the irascible trail cook Charlie Wooster on TV's Wagon Train (1957).
He was well known for having a fondness for liquor and for starting (but not finishing) brawls.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Terry Wilson (Bill Hawks) Trivia:

Actor and stuntman Terry Wilson was born on September 3, 1923 in Huntington Park, California.
A football star during his high school days, Wilson originally planned on becoming a veterinarian
and attended California Polytechnic School on a football scholarship.

Terry enlisted and served in the Marine Corps from 1943 to 1946. Following his tour of duty,
he was chosen by Warner Brothers from amongst a group of athletes to be trained for
the stunt profession with his initial specialties being fistfights and work with horses.
Among the notable actors that Terry doubled are John Wayne, Ward Bond, and Forrest Tucker.
Terry's career as both an actor and stuntman in Westerns spanned several decades.

Outside of his work in film and television, Wilson and his fellow stuntman friend
Frank McGrath (Wooster) were big hits together on the rodeo circuit (they also appeared at many prison rodeos).
Moreover, Terry in the wake of retiring from the film business went on to run a location ranch in
Simi Valley, California and was the vice president of a construction firm in Southern California.

Along with John Wayne, Frank McGrath and Ken Curtis, Wilson was a pall-bearer at Ward Bond's funeral in 1960.

When Bond died, it was Wilson who broke the news to Bond's best friend, John Wayne.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Scott Denny Miller (Duke Shannon) Trivia:
He became the first blond Tarzan in Tarzan, the Ape Man (1959), a low-budget quickie
that lifted most of its footage from earlier Johnny Weissmuller movies.

For years, he was the "Gorton Fisherman", appearing in numerous commercials in his yellow rain gear.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Robert Fuller (Cooper Smith) Trivia:

Robert quit school at 9th grade as he did not enjoy school and openly admits he did not do well there.

Robert, his mother, Betty, and his step-father were all accomplished dancers.

In 1953, while the Korean war was on, Robert at the age of 19 was drafted into the
United States Army where he served 2 years, 15 months of which was in Korea.

Fuller to play tennis with Doug McClure and Michael Landon.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Michael Burns (Barnaby West) Trivia:

He earned a Ph. D. from Yale University in 1977 and wrote an acclaimed
history book, "Dreyfus", about the Dreyfus Affair.
Between 1980-2002, Burns was a professor of history at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.

He now raises thoroughbred horses in Kentucky.
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Re: Wagon Train 1957-1965

Post by ansinico » Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:31 pm

Thank you, Tracy, for that mountain of interesting information. It must've taken a great deal of time and effort to compile. I must admit I was a firm fan of Wagon Train when it first rolled onto the small screen but in 1959 Bonanza took my affections. I never did see any of the later episodes with John McIntire & Robert Fuller.

I had read that John Wayne & Ward Bond were close friends, I also remember the rumours regarding Robert Horton.
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Re: Wagon Train 1957-1965

Post by Tracy » Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:23 pm

ansinico wrote:Thank you, Tracy, for that mountain of interesting information. It must've taken a great deal of time and effort to compile. I must admit I was a firm fan of Wagon Train when it first rolled onto the small screen but in 1959 Bonanza took my affections. I never did see any of the later episodes with John McIntire & Robert Fuller.

I had read that John Wayne & Ward Bond were close friends, I also remember the rumours regarding Robert Horton.
I was gifted the DVDs late last year, and I've been sort of binge watching them in order. I'm just about finished with season seven.

I'd never seen the show, with the exception of the Lorne Greene epiode (via Youtube), and I've fallen in love with the characters and stories.

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Re: Wagon Train 1957-1965

Post by Gillie » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:49 pm

I remember the name Wagon Train, but I can't for the life of me remember a single episode. Might have been something my parents liked...not sure.

I am struck by lack of women featured. I suppose that was true of a lot of the westerns of the day, including Bonanza, but this is the first time I've really noticed it.

Great info with great pics, Tracy! :thanks
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Re: Wagon Train 1957-1965

Post by Karol » Tue May 01, 2018 6:31 am

A great series with many very good actors. :yes

Thank you Tracy for the many beautiful pictures and informations. :applause1

I really enjoyed watching Robert Fuller in "Laramie" - German title "Am Fuß der blauen Berge". He has also recorded some songs in German and played a lead role in the movie "Mitsommernacht" in 1967.
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Re: Wagon Train 1957-1965

Post by ansinico » Tue May 01, 2018 4:16 pm

Tracy wrote:
ansinico wrote:Thank you, Tracy, for that mountain of interesting information. It must've taken a great deal of time and effort to compile. I must admit I was a firm fan of Wagon Train when it first rolled onto the small screen but in 1959 Bonanza took my affections. I never did see any of the later episodes with John McIntire & Robert Fuller.

I had read that John Wayne & Ward Bond were close friends, I also remember the rumours regarding Robert Horton.
I was gifted the DVDs late last year, and I've been sort of binge watching them in order. I'm just about finished with season seven.

I'd never seen the show, with the exception of the Lorne Greene epiode (via Youtube), and I've fallen in love with the characters and stories.
What a grand gift - binge-watching Tracy is exactly what I would do.
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Re: Wagon Train 1957-1965

Post by ellen » Wed May 02, 2018 1:43 pm

When Gene Roddenberry was trying to get Star Trek made, he pitched it to executives as "A Wagon Train to the Stars" - a show that was more about the journey and the people along the way than the destination. In fact, he toyed with naming his series "Wagon Train to the Stars".
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Re: Wagon Train 1957-1965

Post by Tracy » Thu May 03, 2018 3:46 pm

I'm watching season 8 -- the final season -- and it is so strange for the show to have reverted to back and white. The stories are still great, but the change back to black and white HAD to have contributed to it being canceled.

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