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The 39 half-hour episodes of the television western "Frontier Doctor"
were originally broadcast during the 1956-57 television season. There
are ten episodes on this DVD set. The series was an attempt to mix the
medical show and western genres; and to capitalize on the popularity of
legendary "B" Western movie star Rex Allen, known as "The Arizona
Cowboy". There had been a series of Rex Allen comic and coloring books
along with toy guns and other western merchandise.
Like Gene Autry, Allen was a singing cowboy (he made the last of the singing westerns in 1954) who had gotten a little old for the cowboy hero roles but is fine in the title role of this series. The stories are about the adventures of Bill Baxter, straight shooting doctor in the Arizona Territory in the 1880's. The series was later broadcast in syndication under the names "The Man of the West" and "Unarmed".
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
I suppose being the last of the silver screen' singing cowboys is a
nice if somewhat dubious distinction. As Gene Autry and Roy Rogers had
left or were leaving Republic Pictures, Herbert J. Yates signed country
singer Rex Allen as a new singing cowboy and he was a straight arrow in
the tradition of the gentleman mentioned above. When he came on board
however Republic was a sinking ship and it barely stayed afloat after
John Wayne terminated his long term contract.
Rex made his last film in 1954 and even with no more big screen exposure he still had a recording career which lasted several more years. He moved to the small screen in 1958 with Frontier Doctor which lasted two seasons. Rex was your old fashioned country doctor and while occasionally he had to resort to gunplay, he carried his doctor's bag and drove in a horse and buggy instead of a saddled horse.
Sadly Frontier Doctor did not last longer, but it had and still has its fans who preferred seeing a more positive aspect to the west instead of violence and killing. The concept was revived somewhat in the Nineties with Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.
Then again Jane Seymour had assets Rex Allen couldn't match.
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