Judge Roy Bean (TV series)

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Judge Roy Bean
Genre Western
Written by Buckley Angell
Orville H. Hampton
Russell Hayden
Milton Raison
John Ward
Directed by Derwin Abrahams
Reg Browne
Nate Watt
Starring Edgar Buchanan
Jack Buetel
Jackie Loughery
Tris Coffin
Lash LaRue
X Brands
Glenn Strange
Composer(s) Harry Bluestone
Emil Cadkin
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 39
Executive producer(s) Peter Piech
Producer(s) Fred Franks
Russell Hayden
Editor(s) Thor L. Brooks
Reg Browne
Cinematography Jockey Arthur Feindel
John Mathew Nickolaus, Jr.
Lester White
Running time 24 mins.
Original channel Syndication
Audio format Monaural
Original run September 1, 1955 (1955-09-01) – August 1, 1956 (1956-08-01)

Judge Roy Bean is a syndicated American Western series starring Edgar Buchanan as the legendary Kentucky-born Judge Roy Bean, a justice of the peace known as "The Law West of the Pecos".


The 39-episode program shot in color, which aired new episodes in 1956, is set in Langtry in Val Verde County in southwest Texas, where Bean held court in his combination general store and saloon. The 2000 census population of Langtry was fewer than 150 persons, but the unincorporated community is the site of one of the twelve Texas State Tourist Bureau welcoming centers.

Jack Buetel, appears in the series as 41-year-old Jeff Taggart, Bean's right-hand man. Jackie Loughery portrays Letty Bean, the judge's 26-year-old niece, and Russell Hayden stars as Steve, a Texas Ranger. Bean was earlier the focus of the 1940 Walter Brennan western, The Westerner, and in 1972 the Paul Newman film, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean.[1]

Recurring cast members[edit]

Tristram Coffin portrayed different characters in six episodes of Judge Roy Bean, including the series premiere, "The Judge of Pecos Valley", in which a train robber is loose in the area, and Bean sets out to capture him. Coffin appears in the third segment, "The Horse Thief", in which a rancher is jailed for stealing a horse, and Bean must keep a mob from getting out of control. Other episodes featuring Coffin are "The Refugee", "Border Raiders", "The Cross Draw Kid", and "The Wedding of Old Sam" in his role of Sam Haskins.[2] Character actor X Brands appeared in various roles fifteen times on Judge Roy Bean.[3] Myron Healey appeared four times: as Reno in "Checkmate", as Winters in "The Eyes of Texas", as Hurley in "The Katcina Doll", and as Gorman in "The Travelers".[4]

Selected episodes[edit]

In "Sunburnt Gold", Bean pursues a gang that steals gold coins, melts them down and turns them into nuggets so that they cannot be identified. In "The Runaway", a boy flees home because he thinks his father is cowardly for not resisting a recalcitrant boss. In "Slightly Prodigal", a woman arrives in Langtry in search of her son, who has turned into an outlaw. In "Black Jack", the judge seeks to return an escaped train robber to prison. In "Judge Declares a Holiday", Bean confronts a con man who arranges horse races but flees with the bet money before the event can be held. In "Citizen Romeo", Bean learns about a plan to smuggle guns and ammunition to the Indians, and he encounters an organ grinder with a monkey as he tries to halt the smuggling.

Sammee Tong appeared in the title role of the episode "Ah Sid, Cowboy", with Glenn Strange, later the bartender Sam on Gunsmoke, as Fallon. Strange appeared a total of six times on Judge Roy Bean, including the roles of Sampson, a crooked rancher trying to located missing gold dust, in the episode "The Hidden Truth", Mason in "The Judge's Dilemma", Tom Holman in "Border Raiders", King Lonagan in "The Cross Draw Kid", and Nolan in "The Referee". Lash LaRue, the cowboy with the bullwhip, appeared seven times on Judge Roy Bean: as John Wesley Hardin in "Gunman's Bargain", as Storts in "The Katcina Doll", as Matt Logan in "Outlaw's Son", as Duke Castle in "The Reformer", as Todd Malone in "Bad Medicine", as Harbon in "The Defense Rests", an episode about an attempt to frame deputy Jeff Taggart's brother for bank robbery in Del Rio, and as Bass in "Lone Star Killer", the series finale. Mason Alan Dinehart played Clint Donoran in "Outlaw's Son".

Other episodes are entitled: "Letty Leaves Home", "Four Ladies from Laredo" (with Gloria Winters of Sky King), "Luck O' the Irish", "The Hypnotist", and "Terror Rides the Trail".

Production notes[edit]

Unlike most syndicated westerns of the 1950s, which were black-and-white, Judge Roy Bean was filmed in color by the Barrett Company in Pioneertown, California. The program was not extended for a second season. Seven years later, Buchanan became particularly known for his role as the laid-back Uncle Joe Carson on the CBS sitcom, Petticoat Junction with Bea Benaderet.

Series producer Russell Hayden thereafter released his second syndicated western, 26 Men starring Tristram Coffin.


  1. ^ Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, 4th ed., p. 441
  2. ^ "Tristram Coffin". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved February 19, 2009. 
  3. ^ "X Brands". IMDB. Retrieved February 19, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Myron Healey". IMDB. Retrieved February 19, 2009. 

External links[edit]