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"Have Gun - Will Travel"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"Have Gun - Will Travel" More at IMDbPro »

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52 out of 56 people found the following review useful:

Paladin-- a modern-day knight...

Author: curly-17 from United States
6 June 2001

There was a lot of thought put into this TV series, which was not your typical Western. For one thing, his name: a Paladin was a lawful knight of Charlemagne's court. This accounts for the chess-piece knight on his calling card, and the lyrics of the theme song which refer to him as "a knight without armor in a savage land." His calling card said "Have Gun, Will Travel" and "Wire Paladin, San Francisco." (By the way, "Wire" was not his first name, it's a verb meaning "send a telegram.") Paladin, the only name he ever went by, was a true split-personality type. He was equally at home wearing expensive suits and living a rich playboy lifestyle in a San Francisco hotel, or donning his black working clothes, and avenging evil. Some of the clients he stood up for were not in the majority; for example, he once defended the Mennonites, which probably would make him seem to be a non-conformist. Paladin only cared about right and wrong. Even though he charged a fee for his services, he only took cases he believed in, and clients he wanted to help.

" 'Have Gun, Will Travel' reads the card of a man. A knight without armor in a savage land. His fast gun for hire heeds the calling wind. A soldier of Fortune is the man called Paladin. Paladin, Paladin, where do you roam? Paladin, Paladin, far, far from home."

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48 out of 50 people found the following review useful:

Proves what a great storytelling medium television can be

Author: KolchaktheNightstalker from Salt Lake City, Utah
21 May 2005

As the proud owner of both the first and second seasons of "Have Gun - Will Travel", I am continually impressed with the quality and complexities of this "forgotten" treasure. Created during an age of western storytelling that was inundated with cardboard, do-gooders that were so clean they squeaked when they walked, Paladin stands out as an effective genre bridge between the over idealistic cowboy typified in John Wayne and the anti-hero "The Man With No Name" Clint Eastwood. "Have Gun - Will Travel" is a series that remembers the key to great storytelling is a believable character being true to himself at all times. Paladin is a combination rogue who works within the system, Robin Hood, and a crusader for the downtrodden. Quick with both a gun and a sarcastic wit, this professional problem solver is as at home in a drawing room as he is around a campfire. While this may sound hokey if you are as cynical as I am, I can assure you it is not. Besides casting the perfect actor for the role, the late Richard Boone, the creators used a talented group of writers {including Gene "Wagontrain to the Stars" Roddenberry} who used every second of screen time to move you through story lines that were frequently only westerns in their setting. I particularly enjoy the fact that you are never given more than an occasional hint as to Paladin's back-story. While this may frustrate some viewers, I find the air of mystery that it lends to the character adds to his complexity. For anyone that truly enjoys well crafted escapism or simply wonders if new life can be brought to an already overworked concept, you could not find a finer example of the true artistic potential of cinema's "bastard" child than "Have Gun - Will Travel".

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45 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

Have Gun - Have Fun

Author: Brax0r from Michigan, U.S.A
1 July 2004

I recently bought season one of "Have Gun - Will Travel" on DVD. I'm only twenty years old, but I've always had an interest in the golden age of television and westerns. I've never seen this show before purchasing it... but I've heard my father talking about it before and it sparked an interest.

Unlike "Gunsmoke" and "Bonanza", "Have Gun - Will Travel" is a lot darker (for it's time, especially) and a lot more in-depth - story-wise and moral-wise -- but not too dark, mind you. It's tasteful and holds important morals. Richard Boone, who plays the jack-of-all- trades hero Paladin, does a terrific job playing the classy scholar gun-for-hire who often quotes Shakespeare. The show relies more on character interaction and story, as opposed to the cliché gun slingin' and horse riding (although they are included tastefully into the story lines).

Overall, this is an extremely fun show. If you like the '50s Disney "Zorro", starring Guy Williams, than you'll love this. Amazing for any Western and Drama fan, too.

4.5/5, quality entertainment, writing, production and acting.

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46 out of 50 people found the following review useful:

Nothing like it

Author: skoyles from Calgary AB Canada
17 September 2003

Intelligent, principled, competent, courageous, educated and suave. A bit ruthless perhaps, but a hero. Such was Palladin, who could quote Shakespeare as well as he used his perfectly balance Cavalry model 1873 Colt Single Action Revolver. This was the perfect counterpoint to Maverick's irony. For a school boy who also loved Shakespeare, Palladin became a justification. If a Western hero could be literate, then a literate boy was OK. Richard Boone was excellent, as we all know and yet... I wonder if John Dehner (who played Palladin on radio and who could not take the role on television because of contractual difficulties) had played the role, what would that have been like? Dehner vs Boone... speculation only but Dehner's greater sophistication against Boone's rugged masculinity. Both the radio and TV versions of Palladin were excellent. There has been little or nothing like it since.

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41 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

We Need Paladin Today

9/10
Author: animal_8_5 from Dundalk, Canada
21 May 2006

Richard Boone was brilliant as Paladin and the opening where he draws his gun to tension-building music was one of the best of any program made during the late-fifties. The half hour programs were always socially and politically poignant, with the hero always prevailing over injustice, discrimination and hate.

The craggy-faced Boone dresses in black, making him a possible icon for the motorcycle sub-culture of our society. A typical "anti-hero"....establishing his OWN justice and being an avenging angel, tormenting those who have been unjust. Seemingly of the opinion that less is more, Paladin never EVER used his gun unless absolutely necessary and somehow, in the process, scared all malefactors crap-less. We could use more of that humbleness today.

Shows like "Dog - Bounty Hunter" and "Orange County Chopper" once had the potential to be modern versions of Paladin, but are quite lost on me, due to today's propensity away from mental and moral stability and toward "quirkiness." Today producers feel more is best and less is nothing. This disease is epidemic in the entertainment productions of the early 21st century. Television was truly meant for great programs like Have Gun - Will Travel.

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41 out of 49 people found the following review useful:

Half Hour Dramas

Author: schappe1 from N Syracuse NY
20 February 2003

We are used to 40 years of hour-long dramas and half-hour comedies. We think those time limits were somehow decreed by God. But once upon a time, half hour dramas were common. I've got a large collection of Gunsmokes, (it was ½ hour for the first six years- the most popular year sit ever had), Have Gun Will Travels, as well as Naked City and Secret Agent, (Danger Man), both of which were ½ hour in their first seasons. So were many other shows, including man Westerns, like Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and the Rifleman. My experience is that these shows were uniformly strong and interesting and that they packed as much drama and action in 30 minutes as most shows do in 60. Occasionally, there's a plot that could have used some fleshing out and maybe an ending that seemed too pat, as if they lacked the time for something appropriately complex. One thing ½ hour dramas didn't do very well is allow for ensemble casts. They usually concentrate on single stars with supporting players mostly in the background and stock villains. There wasn't time for subtle shadings. The drama was as stark as a shoot-out.

Still, there are so many hour-90 minute and even two hour dramas I've seen over the years that were padded with irrelevant subplots, pointless red herrings and other nonsense that the spare, to the point storytelling of these early efforts has a strong appeal. Have Gun Will travel was probably the best of the half hour dramas because it was perfect for it. Other than Hey-Boy, (and Hey Girl), there was just one cast member- the Hero. He was a constant, allowing for all the character development to be about the villain, or perhaps whoever was threatened by him. Despite Paladin's efforts at avoiding violence, the show typically came down to the inevitable shoot-out, where he had even better luck than Matt Dillon, (he was wounded far fewer times). Into this form was injected a series of shot, pithy poetry reading by the Shakespearean trained Richard Boone. That, plus the complexity of the villains, made this show a cut above the many other westerns of it's time. Ironically, what the show did not do well was comedy. Boone's stoic visage registered disgust better than amusement and disgust isn't very funny.



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31 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

A thinking man's western

Author: Gus Bubaris (bubbagus@aol.com) from Port Washington, NY
26 July 1999

What a remarkable half hour of allegory and metaphor. Starting with the premise that our protagonist is a fellow who others don't like - he's a gunfighter. And that he charges a lot - $1,000 - and that he is cool - wears black and uses a business card - and he does good deeds for others.

And he doesn't like to use his gun to solve problems.

This vehicle is used over and over again to good effect. He solves interesting problems that span a large part of the country and a large array of people - blacks, chinese, mexicans, bums, crooks and good guys.

Writers include Roddenberry.

Good stuff, mostly.

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23 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

born too soon...

Author: PJ-73 from St. Louis, MO USA
22 September 1999

The plot and the character, Paladin (which is not actually the gunfighter's name; he takes the moniker after being challenged by a character named Smoke) were ahead of the times for 1957. Paladin is a multilingual gentleman of letters who sees no need for macho bravado, is a champion of human rights (regardless of race or nationality) and who proves that real men can be literate, eloquent, and even wear a satin robe.

Having viewed the Columbia House re-release of twenty-one episodes of "Have Gun", it amazes me how much Paladin is a renaissance man. Paladin laughs up his sleeve as his adversaries fumble in comic absurdity, trying to prove just how masculine they are. Psychology, not a pistol, often is the weapon of choice. Even so, after twenty-two minutes of clever strategy and elocution, the fist and the forty-four are often called upon to end the story, lest we run out of time.

No small surprise that "Have Gun" provided writer Gene Roddenberry with a creative garden to develop ideas for another series (deemed by the omniscient sages of networkdom to be "too cerebral"), "Star Trek".

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24 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Why Paladin was an appealing character

Author: tinadog from United States
9 April 2006

Besides the fact that Richard Boone was perfectly cast, his character was particularly appealing. We knew little of who he was, yet we trusted him to right wrongs and create justice in a world of corruption and bullies. He was seemingly all powerful, besides his physical strength and weapons of perfection, he possessed an extreme intelligence. Much like the Paladin, which is the horse of the chess board (a fact lost on most viewers), he was able to circumvent obstacles and achieve victory where it was seemingly beyond the reach of a mere mortal. There was no hint of bias or bigotry in his character (keep in mind that this was the period of Civil Rights activism); he evaluated each man instantly and treated immigrants with respect and dignity. All of this took place while America was celebrating the centennial of the Civil War and public knowledge of weapons and that time period was intense.

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26 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

A head of its time...

Author: jmworacle from United States
25 June 2005

While most westerns in the late 50's and early 60's were simple good guy wears the white hat and the bad guy wears the black hat and them injuns were all ruthless savages "Have Gun Will Travel" was well ahead of the times. You had several episodes featuring people of: "Color" in key roles. One of the finest examples of this was the episode: "Hey Boys Revenge".

When Paladin learned that Hey Boy was dismissed he was furious by the lack of concern from the hotel management. When Paladin told that "these people can easily be replaced" angered Paladin enough to threaten to take his business unless he was given his address so he could find out what had happened to his friend.

Each episode was a half hour of adventure and sometimes the tables would be turned. It is hard to make them like that any more. As for John Dehner playing the role on television, It would have been like James Caan playing Michael Corlioni in "The Godfather."

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