Stoney Burke is a rodeo rider who wants to win the Golden Buckle, the award to the world's champion saddle bronco rider. He didn't win it but he encountered a considerable amount of ...
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Stoney Burke is a rodeo rider who wants to win the Golden Buckle, the award to the world's champion saddle bronco rider. He didn't win it but he encountered a considerable amount of violence along the way. Written by
J.E. McKillop <email@example.com>
Theoretically I have little interest in a show about a stoic, pure, gentlemanly rodeo cowboy, but this show was beautifully done in all departments. Ambitious executive producer Leslie Stevens really showed greatness in his first TV series.
Jack Lord never gave a better, more heart-felt performance than as Stoney Burke, but Warren Oates almost stole the show as his shifty but lovable best friend Ves Painter. Jack Lord played Stoney as quietly noble, while Warren Oates played Ves as the opposite of quietly noble. They made a great team. Bruce Dern was also memorable as another of Stoney's friends. Three superb actors.
Dominic Frontiere's rousing theme music was impossible not to respond to.
Conrad Hall's black and white photography was stunningly beautiful, turning "Stoney Burke" into a moody noir rodeo drama.
Leslie Stevens created another superb series the next year with "The Outer Limits". Sadly, Stevens shows weren't business successes, and his production company Daystar went out of business. From then on, Stevens was a hired gun (mostly at Universal), and his work was never again as striking.
I wish ABC had given "The Fugitive" to Leslie Stevens to produce, rather than to his fellow independent producer Quinn Martin. Stevens was much more creatively ambitious than Martin, if not as astute a business man. Leslie Stevens did two of televisions' greatest, most original noirs: "Stoney Burke" and "The Outer Limits". Stevens would have been a perfect fit for "The Fugitive". Conrad Hall's black and white photography was made for "The Fugitive" as was the great directing of Gerd Oswald and Byron Haskin on "The Outer Limits". Stevens' touch could have made a fine series even better, although you have to wonder who he would have cast in the lead.
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