Trackdown 1957-1959

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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Trackdown 1957-1959

Post by Tracy » Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:55 pm

“Trackdown” is an American Western television series that aired on CBS between 1957 and 1959.

The series was produced by Dick Powell's Four Star Television and filmed at the Desilu-Culver Studio, and was a spin-off of Powell's anthology series, “Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater”.

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The series, set in the 1870s, after the American Civil War, stars Robert Culp as Texas Ranger Hoby Gilman.

Robert Culp.jpg
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In early episodes, the stories focused on Gilman going to different Texas towns in pursuit of wanted fugitives. At midseason, the series became set in the town of Porter, Texas. Gilman is the sheriff in Porter.

His friends in the town include Henrietta Porter, the widow of the town’s founder, and portrayed by Ellen Corby. Henrietta owns The Porter Enterprise newspaper.

Ellen Corby.jpg
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Since settling in Porter, TX, Gilman’s duties as a Texas Ranger occasionally took him out of town, where he used his fast gun to "track down" and apprehend wanted criminals throughout the Lone Star State.

In the second season, Peter Leeds joined the cast as Tenner Smith, the owner of the local saloon and a former gambler and gunslinger with a mysterious past.

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Norman Leavitt was seen in 26 episodes as Gilman's deputy Ralph.

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Norman Leavitt.png (203.9 KiB) Viewed 113 times

Actor James Griffith appeared in twelve episodes as town barber Aaron Adams.

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The series narrator was character actor Ed Prentiss, who not only acted in many radio and TV shows, but during the 1940s was the voice of Captain Midnight on radio.

narrator Ed Prentiss.jpg
narrator Ed Prentiss.jpg (36.06 KiB) Viewed 113 times


"Trackdown" carried the endorsement of both the State of Texas and the Texas Rangers, an accolade no other television series has received. Some episodes were inspired by the files of the Rangers.

Steve McQueen's Josh Randall (“Wanted Dead or Alive”) was introduced in an episode of “Trackdown” titled “The Bounty Hunter” (1958) The character was later spun off into its own series.

The ending credits claim the stories are true and based on the cases and files of the Texas Rangers. Following the end credits, this statement appears: "The story is true. Names, firms and locales have been changed to protect relatives and descendants who may be living."

55 actors guest starred in at least two episodes of “Trackdown”, including Ray Teal and Michael Landon.
Here's a screencap of Michael on "Trackdown".

Michael Landon.jpg
Michael Landon.jpg (32.09 KiB) Viewed 112 times

The Texas Prison Rodeo was an annual event held for prisoners in the Texas penal system. You may remember it from the movie “Urban Cowboy”. Robert Culp made appearances at the Texas Prison Rodeo, and the fictional Ranger was warmly greeted. Convicts named Culp the honorary president of the "Crime Doesn't Pay Club." As told in the book Convict Cowboys: The Untold History of the Texas Prison Rodeo, prisoner Bill Weems, the actual president of the club, presented the actor with an award scroll. In addition, a group of cons wrote and sang Culp a song called "Trackdown Ballad."

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Re: Trackdown 1957-1959

Post by dougsgirl » Thu Nov 14, 2019 4:10 pm

A lot of familiar faces. I think Robert Culp was cute when he was young.

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Re: Trackdown 1957-1959

Post by daisy60 » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:01 am

I still watch Michael on Trackdown. I know he's on Pueblo Kid, which seems to be harder to find now. I think he was also in Law In Lampasas. :very happy

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