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Don 'Red' Barry
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When John Payne's movie career was slowing down he turned to television with this western series. He played Vint Bonner, legendary fast gun western hero who drifts from town to town. As I remember he was like Gregory Peck in The Gunfighter, a man who was getting tired of the business he was in. Unfortunately young toughs looking to make a reputation and people in distress in general wouldn't let him rest.
What I remember best was the early conversion kit he had. In his saddlebag he carried a barrel which could be screwed into the business end of his six shooter and a rifle stock which could be attached to the other end. When one was ambushed from a distance on the trail this became a handy tool to have around.
Of course toy manufacturers had one out for the life of the series. And I wanted one at the age of 10. But alas my parents never let me have one.
Payne was a thoroughgoing professional in every kind of film be it musical or dramatic. That was much in evidence in The Restless Gun. It ran on NBC opposite another western show with an actor looking to make the transition to television. That would be Rory Calhoun in The Texan. But I preferred Mr. Payne.
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