Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24 - Hopalong Cassidy

On June 24, 1949, “Hopalong Cassidy” began airing on NBC Television. It was the first network Western TV series, starring actor William Boyd, who had already played the clean-cut hero, Bill "Hopalong" Cassidy, in 66 highly popular films dating from 1935. The white-haired Boyd was clothed in black, including his hat, entirely against the western stereotype of the good guy in a white hat. His role was to battle crime, uphold justice and defend honest citizens with his quick-draw shooting, clear thinking, solid fists and his ethical character. Riding his white horse, Topper, he was accompanied by a comical, grizzled sidekick, Windy Halliday, who for a time was played by George “Gabby” Hayes. The early TV shows were actually re-edited versions of the theatrical films, the rights to which Boyd wisely owned. The series (and its vast merchandising) made Boyd wealthy. It was also a precursor to similar shows starring Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. Boyd was meticulous in presenting a positive role model for his legions of young viewers.

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