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I remember this series fondly but even as a kid wondered why Gene Barry did not sport the moustache that Masterson wore almost all of his adult life and did (if I remember correctly) as portrayed in at least one episode of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. As an adult I have read almost everything written about Masterson, seen as many motion pictures as possible, and find the gambler, sportsman, writer and sometime lawman fascinating. Masterson did carry a walking stick, wore a bowler in at least one famous photograph, was a townsman and loyal friend, was involved in boxing and by all accounts was a cheerful and well-liked man - a lot like Gene Barry. Was this TV series always historically accurate? Not in the slightest! But it did capture something of the real man, a certain insouciance and worldliness lacking in the run-of-the-mill TV cowboy or lawman. 'Tis rather too bad that they never had an episode set later when Masterson was an apparently happily married man and sports writer for a New York newspaper. And yes, I frequently carry a walking stick today and fondly recall "Back when the West was very young/There lived a man named Masterson/ He wore a cane and derby hat/ They called him Bat, Bat Masterson...."
I had to respond to that post. This WAS cool, unlike almost all the the
westerns on television, and this child badly wanted (and received) a bat
like Bat Masterson or his birthday. Gene Barry had the cool sure arrogance
in this character that America was later to see in Burke's Law and the Name
of the Game. In a different area of the country, this character would have
been a great robber baron or 15 years ago,a great merger and takeover
This was fun - and Barry was a sort of James Bond (Roger Moore variety) in the Old West.
and Derby Hat. They called him Bat." I always wondered how you could
"wear" a cane? Oh well.
Boy, could that guy USE that cane, though. Hoooooey! He could trip you or bonk you on the head faster'n you could order up some prize-fight tickets.
This was really an odd Western. I came across on old episode preserved on a DVD with several other old Western t.v. show episodes. A woman shows up in a scene and Barry gives her a google-eyed double take. Campy acting. But, much better than Wyatt Earp (Earp had been one of the real-life Bat Masterson's buddies), starring Hugh O'Brien, which tried to take itself seriously - but didn't succeed.
Still, this was a fun show. I enjoyed it, even though I was but a tyke when it aired. It introduced me to Gene Barry, who would later star in "The Name of the Game" with Tony Franciosa and Robert Stack.
I enjoyed Barry's cameo in the newly released "War of the Worlds" (Spielberg version).
Of all the so-called adult westerns that hit the tube in the mid to
late 50's, "Bat Masterson" was one of the best. Gene Barry played his
historical character with just the right amount of seriousness and
lightness to make what could have been a cardboard creation viable.
"Adult westerns" back in those days when the TV west was young meant
more talk and less action with stories that supposedly dealt with
mature subject matter where characters were not just all good or all
bad. In the "Bat Masterson" series, usually there would be a fair
amount of action with Bat whipping the meanies with his cane and using
his gun only when absolutely necessary.
Another improvement in the TV western wrought by the "Bat Masterson" series was a weekly change of scenery (in reality, all the shows were shot on the same Hollywood lot), not just in Dodge City, Tombstone, or Abilene. "Incident in Leadville" is a good example. Leadville, now a Colorado tourist mecca, was then a silver mining town with its share of claim jumpers and bushwhackers.
Bat rides into Leadville to clear his name. It seems that the lady who runs the local printing press, Jo Hart (Kathleen Crowley), has slandered Bat by lumping him together with notorious outlaws such as King Fisher, a cameo by the fine character actor, Jack Lambert. The local city boss, gambler Roy Evans, portrayed by future "Get Smart" chief, Edward Platt, also has an ax to grind with Jo Hart but wants to put her out of commission permanently. Evans decides to terminate Bat in the process, a notion not to the liking of the man with the cane and derby hat.
All the shows were similar in format. Fans could be assured of being entertained for thirty minutes. The "Bat Masterson" theme song was an added treat, with catchy lyrics and a hummable tune.
Good news for fans of Gene Barry and his TV series Bat Masterson
(1958-1961)! This show just started airing on the Encore Western
Channeel. A marathon of the first 23 Bat Masterson episodes aired this
weekend, and the show starts a regular run tomorrow, January 8, 2007,
airing on the Encore Western Channel from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.,
Central Standard Time, each day. I believe it also airs @ 6:00 p.m. CSA
I remember this show from when I was a child and I found it still fun to watch. Although Bat as portrayed by Gene Barry may be called a dandy, so what? You'll forget all about that the first time he clubs a villain with his cane - and it happens frequently! He's also a crack shot.
And perhaps my favorite part of the show? Almost every episode sports a nice looking gal from 1950s television. Check out Allison Hayes in 7 episodes and Audrey Dalton in 3 episodes; and I just saw Fay Spain in an episode. If you like old television with a great leading actor and some nice eye-candy to go along with it, you'll love Bat Masterson!
This was a very cool series and the Western Channel (STARZ) is running the Bat Masterson marathon today 1/6/07. Yesterday they were running the Rifleman marathon with Chuck Conners. They will be airing these episodes daily at 4pm starting tomorrow. Bat Masterson series was short sweet and to the point entertainment. Gene Barry was obviously having fun in this series I know he played a character similar later on, only he changed his horse for a limousine. Each story was self contained. With really bad guys and of course the wimpy henchmen that would give up the information that Bat needed to get the bad guy. I spotted Ross Martin from the original Wild Wild West(Artemus) in one of the shows and as these other shows roll through I am sure a few other character actors will show up. If you get a chance between whatever football games are running take a peek this is entertainment not deep psycho-babble ;)
This was a fun series that wasn't supposed to be taken seriously. Gene Barry was perfect as the suave Masterson, who apparently made a living playing cards at nearly tavern west of the Mississippi River. It was a preview for his role in "Burke's Law" five years later. Like with all westerns of that era, there is a lot of drinking, fighting, kissing and killing. The bad guys wore black hats and the women were (almost every time)gorgeous -- even if they seem to be wearing 10 pounds of clothes. Watchas well for some guest character actors who later went on to modest successes (like James Best, Louise Fletcher, Ross Martin).It's worth a half hour of your time.
Bat Masterson was born in Illinois in 1855. His real name was William
Barclay Masterson. His brother Ed was two years older. Eventually they
would have two more brothers and two sisters. The family eventually
moved to Kansas, where they built a farm in Sedgwick County. Bat and Ed
were close and often went hunting and fishing together. He didn't think
much of book learning and would sneak out of the schoolhouse whenever
He got his first job at seventeen. He and Ed graded railroad bed for the Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe railroad. Shortly afterward, he became a buffalo hunter supplying meat to the railroad crews. His headquarters was a small community called Adobe Walls, Texas. He was there when Indians led by Comanche war chief Quanah Parker, attacked the town on June 27, 1874.
Bat and friend Billy Dixon were just getting ready to leave when the
He dabbled in politics over the next few years and became closer friends with Roosevelt. He and promoter Tex Rickard even sat down with him one day to discuss military strategy for the upcoming fighting in World War I. Roosevelt became ill from a fever contracted in a South American jungle and died on January 6, 1919. Bat was quite broken up over the death of his friend.
Bat spent his last years writing his columns and visiting gyms. He was always very active in the fighting business. On October 25, 1921, he went to work as usual. But right in the middle of typing his article, he died of a sudden heart attack. His wife died in 1932.
Please go to: http://hometown.aol.com/gibson0817/bat.htm and read his "Real Life" It is even better than the series.
One of the things about this show that lingers in my mind besides the
nattily dressed Gene Barry was the fact that this show eschewed any
kind of supporting cast. No sidekicks, no permanent love interests,
what you got was Gene Barry as Bat Masterson taming the west in his own
The real Bat was quite the dude himself, maybe not as noble a character as Barry played him. That cane was as effective as the Irish Shillelagh and he used it more to disarm opponents than kill them. He wasn't always the gentleman, Masterson did make a living as a scout and a buffalo hunter and I doubt he was so stylish on the trail.
Barry was a literate and bright western hero, he would have to be because the real Bat Masterson eventually made a living as a newspaper reporter for a quaint metropolitan newspaper. If he didn't always battle for truth, justice, and the American way, he always reported it in a dignified manner.
The real Bat Masterson made his living in the last century, died, and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. I think he would have liked the way Gene Barry played him.
A sucker for 60's westerns, I wrapped a belt around the piano bench, set it in front of the TV and "rode" it with my western heroes; Roy, Yancy (with his collection of hide-out derringers), Lone Ranger (the original radio Lone Ranger, Brace Beemer, lived just up the road from me)Cisco Kid and Pancho, Wild Bill Hickock and Jingles, El Fago Baca, Mavericks (Bret, Bart and cousin Beau from England)I watched them all and this was one. I assume Bat's cane had a sword in it, most do, and I definitely recall one episode where he warned the town of an impending Indian raid by firing his "cane rifle" at the church tower bell - he was too injured to ride down in time. My question is, does anyone know what happened to this prop? Were there several? A Sword cane, a rifle cane? Modern westerns make at least 3 copies of any significant prop, i.e., Quigley's rifle. One for photos, one for dropping in the dirt, one for star to keep as memento. There were 4 James Bond Aston-Martins(Sean Connery didn't get any of them). Anyway, I was just curious about the cane and if it was functioning, or they just faked it for the film.
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