Trackdown (1957–1959)
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Every Man a Witness 

Sheriff Alvin Freemont and a mob take prisoner Char Lopez out of jail and threaten to lynch him unless he confesses. The horse bolts and Lopez is hanged. Hoby is sent in to investigate who was responsible.

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
... Hoby Gilman
... Sheriff Alvin Freemont
... George Mason (as Ed Platt)
... Stella Mason
... Hub Grimm (as Ken MacDonald)
Dick Ryan ... Tad Collins
Joan Lora ... Dolores Lopez
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Storyline

Sheriff Alvin Freemont and a mob take prisoner Char Lopez out of jail and threaten to lynch him unless he confesses. The horse bolts and Lopez is hanged. Hoby is sent in to investigate who was responsible.

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Genres:

Western

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Release Date:

26 December 1958 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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More Compelling Than It Should Have Been
16 November 2016 | by See all my reviews

The title, "Every Man a Witness," could almost refer to us, the audience.

A group of men, including the sheriff, lynch a man who refuses to tell them what he knows about a stable manager's murder, and that was just the teaser.

So what was the point of this episode? When Hobie comes to the town to investigate, no one denies he was there, and the sheriff takes responsibility for what happened. So, strike those clichés. As in a Columbo episode, we saw what happened, so the who is no mystery, and the why is kind of obvious halfway through. By rights, this should have been a boring episode, with the audience waiting impatiently for Hobie to catch up with us.

Amazingly, though, helped immensely by the deep-focus composition of director Laurence Dobkins' shots, with objects in the foreground and background (for example, the last shot of the teaser, featuring the sheriff's stunned face and the town's leading citizen next to him as Char is hanged, and the shot of Hobie framed in Char's doorway as his widow watches Hobie leave), and the way Hobie comes to the realization of what happened, the episode overcomes the constraints of how obvious the who and the why are, as well as its being a studio-bound production, to spin a compelling narrative.

This episode was a good demonstration of how you tell a story being as important as the story itself. I was genuinely surprised at how good this episode turned out to be.


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