|Index||9 reviews in total|
Marry me, marry me, way out in laramie. That was the first line in the song. Slim Sherman, with his white blonde hair, slow easy smile, and gentle ways.was wonderful, but it was Jess Harper who had my little five year old heart. Deep voice, wickedly mischievious eyes, and hey, he just looked great in a cowboy hat.The show was for families. Something you dont see much of anymore Spring Byington,as the somewhat flustered Aunt Daisy, was an anchor. A kind of ditzy but loving MOM figure. For me it rated right up there with the Rifleman, Bonanza, Wagon Train, Gunsmoke and The Virginian. They always had a message of love, loyalty,morals, human values and pride. Laramie was exciting.It had heart. It was serious, funny, a bit violent very much like real life is now, or then, or a hundred years ago. I miss Laramie I would love to see it amoung the western rerun line-up. making the rounds of nostalgia television.I feel it would fare just fine on todays T.V.It would'nt hurt to let our kids learn some of the charicture building examples,shows like Laramie can teach.
When it first premiered in 1959, Laramie seemed to be shaping up as something a bit different in what had become (quite quickly) the monotonous world of TV westerns, which had more or less degenerated into endless shows about either a loner or a couple of buddies riding the west. Here was an attempt to do something far more intriguing: a focus on two brothers, young Slim (John Smith), the nearest thing that the show had to a conventional lead, and confused kid brother (Robert Crawford, Jr., whose brother Johnny played Chuck Connors' son on the long-run Rifleman series). Their relationship was believable and complex and not quite like anything else on a western at that time, leading to many unexpected and intriguing plots. Also impressive were the two other main characters - Robert Fuller as a rather unpleasant loner who wandered in to the area and was accepted, with qualifications, as part of the group, though the brothers couldn't quite understand his melancholy personality, and Hoagy Charmichael, that wonderful musical star from the big band era, as a strangely cynical and always ironic Greek chorus-like commentator on the action. The show didn't quite take off, had only mediocre ratings, and NBC had to decide to either cancel it or 'reimagine' it. If they had done the latter, this might be recalled as one of those great one-season classics that was too 'different' to survive. Instead, NBC decided to keep it on the air but remove everything that made the show special. So gone were both the little brother and Hoagy; Slim, the conventional lead, was relatively unchanged, and Robert Fuller's "anger" was "toned down" to the point that it didn't really add up to anything any more. The show, now in color, was one more ordinary series about two cool guys riding the west together. If there was anything at all different about it now, that was the addition of Spring Byington as a sweet old lady who cared for them, like the aunt who oversees Batman and Robin in the mansion, though this only brought a 'December Bride' sentimentality to the series. Wouldn't you know it - the moment that the show became more conventional, it picked up in the ratings quite considerably and ran for three more mostly mediocre years.
Before Laramie became infamously known as the location of Matthew
Shepard's murder it was best known as the title of a western set there
in old west Wyoming. The premise was young Slim Sherman as played by
John Smith and his younger brother Andy (Robert Crawford, Jr.) trying
to hang on to the family ranch after their father had been murdered by
a cattle baron trying to grab the land.
It was a tough go for the Sherman Brothers and the family cook Jonesy who was played by Hoagy Carmichael. But in that pilot episode a lone Shane like gunfighter Jess Harper showed up. The Shermans took him in and he became a family member with roots at the ranch. After that only fools messed with the Shermans especially if they knew that they had Robert Fuller to mess with as Jess Harper.
Laramie was one of many towns founded as a rail depot of the Union Pacific. But into the hinterlands of Wyoming still one of our most rural states you got some place on horseback or by stage. And the Shermans had a franchise way station at their ranch which I'm sure supplemented their income during a lean year for cattle. It allowed for a whole range of stories combining the stagecoach way station with the ranch.
Laramie had a respectable run of four years. Carmichael and Crawford dropped out and housekeeper Spring Byington and orphan Dennis Holmes joined the Sherman ranch. Bob Fuller went on to a good career, a stint on Wagon Train after Laramie was canceled and later a long run on the Jack Webb produced Emergency.
John Smith had done a few films before Laramie and got a second lead in the John Wayne film Circus World. He dropped out of sight after that and some thirty years later I read in an obituary that he had died of cirrhosis of the liver. There's probably one awfully tragic story there.
But I prefer to remember John Smith as Slim Sherman zealously guarding home and hearth with Jess Harper to back him up. Maybe we'll get to see Laramie again some day.
too bad we cannot get the old real good series that used to be. we have stations that claim to be western channels but none of the series are ever on. why? this was one of the greats like WAGON TRAIN. Better than gunsmoke. if you ever get a chance watch it.
Out of all the great TV Westerns that were all over the place during
the late-1950's and early-1960's,"Laramie" turned out to be one of the
very best of the Revue Studios produced Westerns,the same production
company behind "Wagon Train". When "Laramie" first premiered in 1959,
the series had potential but was shaping up to be something a bit
different from the monotonous world of TV Westerns that were popping up
during that period. In that same year, 28 different Western-based
prime-time shows premiered on all three major television networks with
the exception of "Bonanza" which was the first prime-time adult Western
that was produced and filmed in color. The other Westerns that
premiered that same year were produced and filmed in classic black and
white ranging from "Riverboat", "The Rebel","The Alaskans","Wichita
Town","The Law of the Plainsman",along with "Johnny Ringo","Shotgun
Slade","The Deputy starring Henry Fonda",and "The Man From Blackhawk"
just to name a few. Most of these Westerns that premiered in 1959 had
more or less degenerated into endless shows about either a loner or a
couple of buddies shooting it out with bad guys and riding off into the
West. Most of these shows lasted a mere two or more seasons with the
exception of "Bonanza" which lasted an astounding 14-seasons on the air
"Laramie" when it premiered in 1959 attempted to do something far more intriguing: the series focus on two brothers in the Wyoming territory in the mid-1800's that consisted of young Slim (John Smith)who was the lead,and his confused kid brother(Robert Crawford,Jr. whose younger brother Johnny Crawford played Chuck Connors son Mark on "The Rifleman"). Their relationship was unheard of and not quite like anything else on a Western series at that time with lead to many unexpected and intriguing plots throughout the series entire run. Also that made this show stand out was the two other main characters one of them was Jess Harper(Robert Fuller)who was the unpleasant loner that wanders in the area and was accepted,with qualifications,as part of the group even though the brothers couldn't quite understand his personality whom they first thought of him as a notorious gunslinger at first,but came to accept him as part of the family. Also added in was the secondhand assistant(Hoagy Carmichael)who was part of the operations. During its first season the show didn't quite take off,but only had mediocre ratings as NBC had the decision to either canceled it or "reimagine" it. If they have done this the other way, the overall status of "Laramie" would have not survived due to competition from the other networks. Instead, NBC kept it on the air but made major changes that included everything that made this show special. By the show's third season,the overall changes were done and this time around the series would be produced and filmed in color. Gone were Robert Crawford,Jr. and Hoagy Carmichael but kept John Smith and Robert Fuller as the two leads. Added to the cast were Spring Byington and Dennis Holmes. Byington's character was portrayed as the sweet old lady who cared for them and Holmes was added in as the young orphan permitted to live with them on the Sherman Ranch.
"Laramie" premiered on NBC's prime-time schedule on September 15, 1959 and lasted four seasons on the network until the final episode on May 21, 1963. Out of the 124 episodes that this series produced, a total of 64 episodes of the series were in black and white from September 15, 1959 until June 13, 1961. A total of 60 episodes were produced and filmed in color for its final two seasons from September 26, 1961 until May 21, 1963. "Laramie" was Robert Fuller's first foray into series television and this was the series that made him a major star. Out of all the cast members that were associated with this series, only two actors Robert Fuller and John Smith were the only two cast members that stayed on throughout its entire run. Robert Crawford was in Season 1 and midway through Season 3(as a guest star). Spring Byington and Dennis Holmes were with the series through Seasons 3 and 4 only. Hoagy Carmichael appeared in Season 1 of the series while actors Stuart Randall and Eddy Waller(who was the stagecoach driver in 19 episodes)appeared during Seasons 1 thru 3 only. The guest star roster who appeared on "Laramie" consisted of some Hollywood heavyweights and newcomers ranging from Brian Keith, Dan Duryea, Adam West, Everett Sloane, Anita Sands, Warren Stevens, Thomas Mitchell, Arthur Hunnicutt, to Harry Dean Stanton, R.G. Armstrong, L.Q Jones, Morgan Woodward, to Claude Akins(who appeared four times in various episodes), Julie London, Vera Miles, Ernest Borgnine, John Anderson, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, Denny Miller, Rod Cameron(who appeared six times in various episodes),Ron Harper, Jan Merlin, John Lupton, Gregory Walcott, Edgar Buchanan, Dennis Patrick, Lee Van Cleef, Russell Johnson, Gary Clarke, Harry Lauter, George Macready, Alex Cord, Joanne Linville, Lloyd Nolan, Ellen Burstyn, Parley Baer, Ray Danton, Carolyn Jones, Richard Devon, to future Star Trek DeForest Kelley, Lottie Harris, Ed Nelson, to also another future Star Trek Leonard Nimoy, and future Hogan's Heroes Ivan Dixon,and future Green Acres Eddie Albert not to mention future Dallas star Jim Davis and future Dukes of Hazzard Denver Pyle not to mention future Tarzan Jock Mahoney along with future teen heartthrob Tommy Sands.
After the success of "Laramie" actor Robert Fuller went on to star in "Wagon Train",but his biggest success was yet to come in 1972 when he starred opposite Julie London, Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe in one of the most successful television dramas of the 1970's "Emergency!" that was produced by Jack Webb.
Out of all the many TV Westerns that there are to choose from in the
1950s and early-1960s, I personally rate Laramie as the absolute best
of the very best.
Very masculine, very rugged and very-very entertaining, Laramie was definitely a real action-packed TV show that easily ranks, in my books, as the ultimate epitome of the "near-perfect" cowboy-fantasy saga.
Featuring plenty of guest stars and an excellent cast of regulars, headlined by Robert Fuller, as Jess Harper, and John Smith, as Slim Sherman - Laramie proudly showcased these 2 strapping and husky, young dudes who literally lived and breathed the true "Code of the West", a set of values which existed, just as they existed, in absolute accordance with the belief in loyalty, morality, and personal pride.
Set (during the 1870s) on the very edge of a vast and spectacular frontier within the Wyoming Territory, Laramie was a serious and often good-natured show. It never skimped on the violence when it came to depicting the many hardships that were encountered by those pioneers who faithfully strove to tame the wildness of the great, old west.
Filmed in b&w (with each episode running approx. 50 minutes), Laramie is definitely a show that I highly recommend to anyone who really appreciates a superb TV Western that stands tall above all the rest.
We Agree With You About LARAMIE & Jess Harper. In my youth I didn't
take notice of John Smith until he came to Laramie. My family wasn't
the kind to go out to movies, so catching up on some of those oldies is
fabulous................................. You really can't compare them
as one better than another. I think seeing Bob more discussed and
talked about on his group has us pretty much in mode of admiring his
work more because we have not all seen more of the stuff out there done
by John Smith. There is one western on the western channel that runs
quite often. I have it on DVD, but every time it's on, I have to sit
and watch it (especially the saloon fight scene-Mary knows the one).
Like Bob, John was very talented and could play good guy or bad guy
equally well. And in many of the "draw" scenes, he was very proficient
with the gun, as well. When he and Bob draw together, they are almost
timed equally. If that was done by direction or by their natural
talents, I can't say, but seeing John drawing on his own, he was very
comfortable in doing a fast gun role. It's hard to believe that Slim
was that fast with a gun, not being raised to be a gun fighter, to be a
rancher. But back then, it was probably an asset to know you could hold
Looking back at both in other movies or TV shows, it seems that John was more able to be a different person for each role. Bob put a lot of Jess in so many of the characters he played. Even as a doctor, he had a few rough edges (apparently from his boyhood) and could stand up to a fight. Yes, he did play each character differently, but I always saw a little Jess in him, even those movies before there was a Jess. I think it's just Bob putting Bob into every role, really, and like he says, he's really Jess :)
Both of our heroes were equally talented and did things somewhat differently, but both portrayed the characters they were playing to the hilt, both equally believable in their roles.
I wish back then the censors weren't so radical. Okay, they're too loose now, but a little more use of their talents, there could have been some really hot scenes! You could see it in the scenes where they were limited to showing much fire. Could you imagine Laramie today? I wonder if we would appreciate it as much? It might have been those censors that helped keep it a quality show, maybe a bit too tame, but always pointing toward a good lesson learned.
I was attracted to the superficial aspects of Laramie as a child. I was just going into my teens and I guess I was at that stage where girls go through liking "the bad boy" and Jess sure fit my bill. He was a good, bad boy. If you have to fall for a bad boy, it's great that he has some redeeming characteristics, Jess had that. I think I pretty much identified with Andy at the time. Admired Jess and felt Slim as more like a big brother. And yes, Slim was so very handsome. I'm sure I noticed back then, but my eyes were only for Jess at the time.
Yeah, I have to say, trying to make a comparison of both of their abilities, they played their roles in their own particular ways, neither one better than the other, just different.
Okay, I babbled long enough. I think I need a Laramie fix.
OK, from the very first episode I was I love with Robert Fuller and the series. I spent my youth (omg) watching every western ever made for TV. I find now that I still watch Laramie reruns on GRIT and STARZEncore . To my amazement I find the same people show up as "villains or have small roles" anywhere from one to five times a season. This I never noticed before, probably because I didn't care then. Other than Laramie I now watch John Wayne westerns. Oh well, there really isn't much on TV anymore anyway. My granddaughter got the IMDb icon for my iPad so I could look information for myself. It really is very helpful and I like it. She got tired of having to look up everything for me and I couldn't read her phone anyway.
I can remember quite clearly the opening of "Laramie" where the characters Slim and Jesse are seem galloping across the plains of Wyoming. Even all these years later the scene, backed by the inspiring music, makes me feel happy. Slim and Jesse operate a stagecoach depot on the route between Denver and Laramie. I did like the characters of Jonesy and Andy as well. Jonesy added some comic relief to the brutality of the old west. I think Slim and Jesse had perfect chemistry as partners. I did enjoy the episodes that featured them both rather than the ones where they rode alone as solos. I try to watch "Laramie" every day when I get home from work.
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