Peter Breck as Clay Culhane and Anna Lisa as Nora Travers, 1959
|Created by||Hal Hudson
|Written by||Antony Ellis
Frederick Louis Fox
John Tucker Battle
|Directed by||Frank Baur
William F. Claxton
William D. Faralla
Francis D. Lyon
David Lowell Rich
J. Pat O'Malley
|Theme music composer||Jerry Goldsmith
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1 1/2|
|No. of episodes||44|
|Executive producer(s)||Hal Hudson|
|Running time||24 mins.|
|Original run||January 10, 1959– May 6, 1960|
Black Saddle is an American Western television series starring Peter Breck that aired 44 episodes on ABC from January 10, 1959 to May 6, 1960. The half-hour program was produced by Dick Powell's Four Star Television, and the original pilot was an episode of CBS's Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater, with Chris Alcaide portraying the principal character, Clay Culhane.
For syndicated reruns, Black Saddle was combined with three other Western series from the same company, Law of the Plainsman starring Michael Ansara, Johnny Ringo starring Don Durant and Mark Goddard, and the critically acclaimed creation of Sam Peckinpah, The Westerner with Brian Keith, under the umbrella title, The Westerners, with new hosting sequences by Keenan Wynn.
Peter Breck's character, Clay Culhane, is a gunfighter who becomes a lawyer after his brothers were killed in a shootout. Breck starred along with Russell Johnson and Anna-Lisa in the roles of Marshal Gib Scott and Nora Travers, respectively. Other recurring roles were filled by character actors J. Pat O'Malley in eight episodes as Judge Caleb Marsh and Walter Burke in five segments as Tim Potter.
In the episode "Client Neal Adams" (May 9, 1959), James Drury, more than three years before the premiere of his The Virginian on NBC, guest stars as Neal Adams, an old friend of Culhane's who has robbed a bank of $8,000. Shot in the back by a pursuing bounty hunter, played by Charles Aidman, Adams asks Culhane for help. Adams claims that the bounty hunter is the brother of a man whom Adams had earlier killed in self-defense. From the start, Marshal Scott doubts Adams' story and questions Culhane's judgment in the matter.
In "Client Peter Warren" (October 30, 1959), John Lupton, a year after the close of his Broken Arrow western series, plays a man accused by townspeople of starting a fire that caused the death of his estranged wife's wealthy and respected aunt. The motive is inheritance of joint property from the aunt's pending estate. Culhane agrees to defend Warren but instead finds evidence that Warren had been present at the scene of the fire. Ed Nelson portrays Lee Coogan, a hot-headed man and a former suitor of Mrs. Warren, played by Aneta Corsaut. Coogan is also determined to show Warren's guilt.
In "Apache Trail" (November 20, 1959), Culhane and Nora go to an Indian outpost to collect a debt owed to her. There they encounter Sam King (DeForest Kelley), accused of defrauding tribesmen. King is beaten with a whip, survives the ordeal, only to be shot to death.
Other Black Saddle guest stars were Chris Alcaide, John Anderson, Parley Baer, Raymond Bailey, Paul Birch (in the role of U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant in the episode "Mr. Simpson"), Lane Bradford, Paul Burke, Dennis Cross, John Dehner, Frank Dekova, Buddy Ebsen, Hampton Fancher, James Franciscus, Jack Ging, Dabbs Greer, Clu Gulager, Robert Harland, Stacy Harris, Brett King, Robert Knapp, John Marley, Patrick McVey, Vic Perrin, Stafford Repp, Bing Russell, Richard Rust, Robert F. Simon, and Quintin Sondergaard.
Black Saddle aired at 10:30 p.m. on Fridays after another Four Star Production, The Detectives starring Robert Taylor. Its competition on CBS was the interview program Person to Person created by Edward R. Murrow. NBC aired the 45-minute Gillette Cavalcade of Sports in the same time slot.
Black Saddle was filmed at the Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth, California. Several years later, Peter Breck later went on to star as Nick Barkley in another, more successful Four Star series, The Big Valley.
- "Black Saddle: "Client Neal Adams", May 9, 1959". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
- "Black Saddle: "Client Peter Warren", October 30, 1959". imdb.com. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
- "Apache Trail, November 20, 1959". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
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