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The return of Paladin
September 14, 2012 - Stephen Browne
"Have Gun Will Travel reads the card of a man. A knight without armor in a savage land. His fast gun for hire head's the calling wind. A soldier of fortune is the man called... Paladin.
Paladin, Paladin Where do you roam? Paladin, Paladin, Far, far from home."
He's coming back! And David Mamet is bringing him to TV. This is huge!
Have Gun - Will Travel, was a TV western which ran from 1957 to 1963, which means I barely remember it. But it made a heck of an impression on me because though I can't remember the plot line of a single episode, I remember Richard Boone's portrayal of the gun for hire known simply as "Paladin" vividly, and still remember the haunting melody of the theme song.
Paladin was no ordinary gunslinger. When not on the job he lived in an elegant hotel in San Francisco where he enjoyed theater, fine dining, brandy and cigars, and was always seen in a smoking jacket. (Anybody remember what those were?)
Paladin was known to be a West Point graduate, literate and cultured, and could rattle off lines from Shakespeare or a whole poem by John Donne when the occasion called for it.
Paladin's business card read, "Have Gun — Will Travel. Wire Paladin, San Francisco.”
Whenever someone engaged his services, he would don his all-black outfit, with a knight chess piece on his holster. Paladin could deal out sudden death for pay without hesitation, but lord help the employer who wasn't righteous because if Paladin found out he was a rotter, he'd switch sides.
"Have Gun - Will Travel" was ground breaking in its time. Young Gene Roddenberry was one of the shows writers, and Ida Lupino one of its directors, one of the few women directors at that time.
Now Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning playwright David Mamet is reported to be involved in a project to bring Paladin back to the small screen.
And that's all I know about it. But if you'll have a look at Mamet's movie "Red Belt" you'll know this has got to be good. IF, they can find someone with Richard Boone's screen presence, and that ain't going to be easy.
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