|Index||6 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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