Have Gun Will Travel reads the card of a man.
A knight without armor in a savage land.
His fast gun for hire heed’s the calling wind.
A soldier of fortune is the man called Paladin.
Paladin, Paladin Where do you roam?
Paladin, Paladin, Far, far from home.
He travels on to wherever he must;
A chess knight of silver is his badge of trust.
There are campfire legends that the plainsmen spin
Of the man with the gun,
of the man called Pa-l-l-l-l-a-din
Ah, for a return to actual theme songs for TV shows. I mean, really, what more do you need to know going into this show than what’s contained in that song?
Well, for those who are unfamiliar with Have Gun Will Travel, I’ll give you just a bit more. The character of Paladin was played by Richard Boone in a role that became iconic for the actor. It premiered on Sept. 14, 1957, and lasted until April 20, 1963, airing an impressive total of 225 episodes during that period. This was, of course, a time when, much as police and forensics procedural do now, westerns ruled the airwaves, and consistently ranked either 3rd or 4th in the ratings race, usually behind only Gunsmoke and Wagon Train.
It’s also one of the few shows that, as opposed to the usual direction of things, where a show that had first become popular on the radio spawned a television show when that medium became prevalent, had a radio show developed from it for that audience.
As far as how Paladin became the traveling gunslinger, well to find that out, all you need do is watch the pilot episode, which I’ve posted below.