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A Tribute to
One of TV's
Finest Shows

The Man in Black
On September 14th, 1957, a new western debuted on the CBS television network. Richard Boone played the man called "Paladin" in Have Gun -- Will Travel. The catchy title survives today, in countless incarnations in advertising and other media -- or have you never heard the phrase "Have ______, Will Travel"? Well, now you know how it was popularized. The half-hour show aired Saturday, at 9:30 p.m., just before another western, Gunsmoke, and ran for six successful seasons. (It opened as the #4 rated show for the year, then followed up with three years ranked #3.) Its dramatic opening had Paladin aiming his gun and his words directly at the audience, and the series always featured a no-nonsense approach and intelligence rarely evident on the small screen. Until recently, HGWT had seldom been seen in syndication, apparently because it was filmed in black-and-white, and because it's "tainted" by violent content. The latter rationale seems especially ludicrous, considering the graphic mayhem depicted in today's programming. Paladin killed many men, true enough -- but his victims were always deserving -- and almost none of the violence in the show was gratuitous. The best epsiodes put today's television drama to shame.