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Wagon Train is an American Western series that ran on NBC from 1957–62 and then on ABC from 1962–65. Wagon Train debuted at #15 in the Nielsen ratings, then rose to #2 in the next three seasons, and peaked at #1 in the 1961–62 television season. After Wagon Train moved to ABC in the autumn of 1962, the ratings began to decline, and Wagon Train never again made the Top 20 listing.
The series was inspired by the 1950 film Wagon Master directed by John Ford and starring Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr. and Ward Bond, and harkens back to the early widescreen wagon train epic The Big Trail.
The show Wagon Train chronicles the adventures of a wagon train as it makes its way from Missouri to California. The show produced 284 episodes: the first aired on September 18, 1957, and the final segment was broadcast on May 2, 1965
Some of the actors appearing on Wagon Train included;
Ward Bond as wagon master Major Seth Adams seasons 1–4
Robert Horton as scout Flint McCullough seasons 1–5
John McIntire as wagon master Christopher Hale seasons 4–8
Robert Fuller as scout Cooper Smith seasons 7–8
Denny Scott Miller as Duke Shannon seasons 5–7
Michael Burns as Barnaby West seasons 4–8
Frank McGrath as Charlie Wooster as the cook, seasons 1–8
Terry Wilson as Bill Hawks seasons 1-8
The series aired for most of its run in black-and-white, except for five color episodes and then the entire seventh season, 1963–64 on ABC with 75-minute color episodes. The series returned to its original 50-minute black-and-white format for its eighth season, damaging the ratings and ending the show.
Like western television series of the 1950s and 1960s, the show is set a few years after the American Civil War. In many of the episodes Indians often turned up in Wagon Train, causing the wagons to form a circle.
When the original Ward Bond episodes were broadcast weekday afternoons on ABC beginning in 1963, a new series title and theme would have to be used to separate the two airings and avoid viewer confusion because Wagon Train was still on the ABC evening schedule. Trailmaster was the name given and a new theme song, the "Trailmaster Theme," was written and conducted by Stanley Wilson
If you are a fan and remember watching Wagon Train before it was a re-run than you may have tuned into the Red Skelton Show. Re-live those days by attending Brian Hoffman's Remembering Red - A Tribute to Red Skelton. Click on the Show Schedule link above to check show times and days along with making your reservations to see the show. "Goodnight now and may God bless"
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