Bernard Herrmann was long associated with CBS, and wrote the network a library of cues. One of the pleasures of watching CBS shows from the '50s and '60s is recognizing these. In "The Protégé", Sprague expires to a cue reminiscent of Herrmann's music for "Journey to the Center of the Earth". See more »
Of the 225 episodes of "Have Gun Will Travel," this one is my all- time favorite. My father, who was a Golden Gloves champion and a World War Two hero, always tried to teach me to solve my problems, conflicts and potential confrontations with patience, with wit, with diplomacy, restraint, reason and logic; and almost all of the films we viewed together illustrate the idea that there must be a better way, a peaceful way, for people to get along with each other. Paladin carries a gun he is an expert in the skilled use of, yet he always hopes he won't have to use it, that cooler heads will somehow prevail; and he always regrets having to use violence. In 2016, we are faced now, on a global scale, with the sort of shocking savagery, the brutality that migrating settlers faced trying to live in a community in which the gunman, sometimes in the form of a lawman, was the only force that could protect human life from other armed human life. In "The Protégé," Paladin first asks his budding protégé exactly what his objective is in terms of learning how to draw a gun from a holster swiftly, aim it quickly and kill. The sophisticated viewer might easily leap ahead and assume that violence, which formed the basis for almost every episode, would eventually form the most essential quality of this one, too. What makes "The Protégé" superior resides in (a) the quality of the tale (b) the quality of the writing and finally (c) the quality of the acting. Viewers forget very quickly that it is Peter Breck, in one of his first on-screen jobs as an actor, portraying Kurt Sprague, who comes to Paladin sick and tired of being bullied. That archetypal fear haunts many of us today in the world of sudden, senseless terrorism and wars seemingly without purpose. Richard Boone also reveals a multi-faced character, part philosopher, part very reluctant warrior, and part father figure. This episode imparts the reverberating power of an Aesop's fable as well as the lesson that the human tendency to make a fist indicates as H.G. Wells said, that that person has just run out of ideas.
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