Walker, Texas Ranger

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Walker: Texas Ranger
Grant Walker, Texas Ranger
Format Crime drama/Action/Mystery
Created by Christopher Canaan
Albert S. Ruddy
Leslie Greif
Paul Haggis
Starring Chuck Norris
Clarence Gilyard
Sheree J. Wilson
Noble Willingham
Nia Peeples
Judson Mills
Floyd Westerman
Jimmy Wlcek
Marco Sanchez
Theme music composer Tirk Wilder
(Seasons 1, 2-8)
Jerrold Immel (Season 2, last used on "Tiger's Eye")
Opening theme "Eyes of the Ranger"
Performed by Chuck Norris (Mid-Seasons 2-8)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 8 (1993-2001)
No. of episodes 203 (including TV movie).[1][2] (List of episodes)
Production
Camera setup Single-camera
Super 16mm
Running time 42‒46 minutes
Production company(s) Cannon Television
(1993)
Top Kick Productions
(1993-1998)
Norris Brothers Entertainment
(1998-2001)
The Ruddy Greif Company
(1993-2001)
CBS Productions (1993-2001)
Columbia Pictures Television (1993-1996)
Columbia TriStar Television (1996-2001)
Distributor Columbia TriStar Television (1997-2002)
Sony Pictures Television Distribution (2002-present)
CBS Television Distribution (DVD's and non-us, 2008-present)
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Audio format Dolby Surround 2.0

Walker, Texas Ranger is an American television action crime drama series created by Leslie Greif and Paul Haggis. It was inspired by the film Lone Wolf McQuade, with both this series and that film starring Chuck Norris as a member of the Texas Ranger Division.[3] The show aired on CBS in the spring of 1993, with the first season consisting of three pilot episodes. Eight full seasons followed with new episodes airing from September 25, 1993, to May 19, 2001, and reruns continuing on CBS until July 28, 2001.[4] It has been broadcast in over 100 countries and has since spawned a made-for-television movie entitled Trial By Fire. The movie ended on a cliffhanger, which, as of 2014, has not yet been resolved. DVD sets of all seasons have been released (with the three pilots packaged with the first regular season). At various times since 1997, reruns of the show have aired, in syndication, on the USA Network and Action in Canada. As of June 19, 2014, the series is shown on WGN America and TV Land.

The show was known for its moral values. For example, the characters refrained from the use of drugs, and they participated in community service. Martial arts were displayed prominently as the primary tool of law enforcement and occasionally as a tool for Walker and company to reach out to the community.[5][6] The show has since become one of the most popular action shows in television history and has gained a cult following for its camp appeal.

Background[edit]

The show was initially developed by executive producer Allison Moore and supervising producer J. Michael Straczynski when the series was still being produced by Cannon Television. While Straczynski had to depart to get his new series Babylon 5 on the air, executive producer David Moessinger remained to finish developing the series. The show is centered on Sergeant Cordell Walker (Norris), a Dallas-Fort Worth–based member of the Texas Rangers, a state-level bureau of investigation.[7] Walker was raised by his paternal uncle, a Native American named Ray Firewalker (Floyd Red Crow Westerman, pilot episode, Season 1; Apesanahkwat, Season 2). The surname being, possibly, a nod to the 1986 Norris film, Firewalker. Cordell, prior to joining the Rangers, served in the Marines' elite recon unit during the Vietnam War. Both Cordell and Uncle Ray share the values characteristic of Wild West sheriffs.[8]

His partner and best friend is James "Jimmy" Trivette (Clarence Gilyard), a former Dallas Cowboys player, "Go Long T", who takes a more modern approach.[9] Walker's young partner grew up in Baltimore and used football as his ticket to college education. He was dropped from the team after he tore up his shoulder in a major game, which led to his career in the Rangers (often making references to watching the "Lone Ranger" and how C.D. Parker mentored him as a Rookie Officer). Trivette also works inside the office using computers and cellular phones to collate information of the people who have been taken into custody. Walker also works closely (and shares a mutual attraction) with Alexandra "Alex" Cahill (Sheree J. Wilson), a Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney, who on occasion puts up a frown if Walker does not obtain results in time. He also gets advice on cases from C.D. Parker (Gailard Sartain, pilot season; Noble Willingham, Seasons 1-7), a veteran Ranger (later inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame) who worked with Walker (and is the only character on the show to address Walker by his first name Cordell) until retiring to operate a small restaurant and bar called "CD's Bar and Grill", a restaurant widely known in the series for its chili. In Season 7, two rookie Texas Rangers, Sydney Cooke (Nia Peeples), and Francis Gage (Judson Mills), are assigned under Walker and Trivette's command. "Most of the heroes in mystery dramas are veterans. They are brave, tough, independent, and good shots."[10]

Cast and characters[edit]

Name Portrayed by Occupation Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Cordell Walker Chuck Norris Texas Ranger
Seasons 1-8
James Trivette Clarence Gilyard Texas Ranger Seasons 1-8
Alexandra Cahill Sheree J. Wilson Assistant District Attorney Seasons 1-8
CD Parker Noble Willingham, Gailard Sartain former Texas Ranger, bar owner Seasons 1-7
Francis Gage Judson Mills Texas Ranger Seasons 7-8
Sydney Cooke Nia Peeples Texas Ranger Seasons 7-8
Raymond Firewalker Floyd Westerman, Apesanahkwat Walker's uncle Seasons 1-2
Trent Malloy Jimmy Wlcek karate instructor, private detective Season 6
Carlos Sandoval Marco Sanchez police detective Season 6

Main characters[edit]

  • Chuck Norris as Texas Ranger Sgt. Cordell Walker, a former Marine and a modern-day Ranger who believes in the Code of the Old West. He is a decorated Vietnam vet and a martial arts expert. He is the show's main protagonist. Appeared in all episodes.
  • Clarence Gilyard as Texas Ranger Sgt. James "Jimmy" Trivette, Walker's partner and best friend. Appeared in all but two episodes.
  • Sheree J. Wilson as Tarrant County Assistant D.A. Alexandra "Alex" Cahill, whom Walker dates for a while and ends up marrying. Appeared in all but five episodes.
  • Noble Willingham (Gailard Sartain pilot) as retired Texas Ranger Captain C.D. Parker, Walker's buddy and ex-partner who owns a bar-restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas. Appeared in 141 episodes.
  • Nia Peeples as Texas Ranger Sydney "Syd" Cooke, a rookie Ranger who joins Walker in Seasons 7-8. Appeared in 47 episodes.
  • Judson Mills as Texas Ranger Francis Gage, another rookie Ranger who joins Walker in Seasons 7-8. Appeared in 46 episodes.
  • Floyd Westerman (Apesanahkwat, Season 2) as Walker's paternal uncle Ray Firewalker (also known as Uncle Ray), who raised Cordell after his parents – John and Elizabeth Firewalker – were murdered. Ray disappeared at the end of Season 2. Appeared in 14 episodes.

Supporting characters[edit]

  • Marco Sanchez as Detective Carlos Sandoval, a detective for Dallas PD. Best friend of Trent Malloy. Often teamed up with Walker and Trivette in cases. Appeared in 16 episodes.
  • Jimmy Wlcek as Trent Malloy, son of a pastor and former martial arts student of Walker. Black belt in Karate and runs both his own Dojo and Protection Agency. Often teamed up with Walker and Trivette in cases. Appeared in 13 episodes.
  • Cynthia Dorn as M.E. Mary Williams, a medical examiner in most of the murder cases that occurred on the show.
  • Vanessa Paul as Josie Martin. Ran 'H.O.P.E.' center created by Alex after a near-death experience. One of Alex's bridesmaids at Alex and Walker's wedding. Did not play a major role in her appearances.
  • Frank Salsedo as White Eagle, the spiritual leader of the Cherokee reservation Walker grew up on. Debuted during Season 3.
  • Rod Taylor as Gordon Cahill, the once-estranged father of Alex. Also an Attorney.
  • Eloy Casados as Sheriff Sam Coyote, the sheriff of the Cherokee reservation and a very good friend of Walker.
  • James Drury as Texas Ranger Captain Tom Price. He only appeared during the pilot season.
  • Peter Onorati as Sergeant Vincent Rosetti, a New York Police Sergeant with a strong New York accent and a little arrogance.
  • Terry Kiser as Charlie Brooks, a clumsy and fast-talking informant for Walker and Trivette.
  • Robert Fuller as Ranger Wade Harper, a retired El Paso Texas Ranger who came on board to work for Walker and Trivette.

Reception[edit]

Nielsen ratings[edit]

The show was quite successful in the ratings throughout its run, ranking among the Top 30 programs from 1995 until 1999, and ranking in the Top 20 in both the 1995–1996 and 1998–1999 seasons.[citation needed]

  • 1993–1994: 11.7 rating, No. 41
  • 1994–1995: 11.2 rating, No. 41
  • 1995–1996: 12.3 rating, No. 18
  • 1996–1997: 11.0 rating, No. 24
  • 1997–1998: 14.4 million viewers, No. 21
  • 1998–1999: 14.4 million viewers, No. 15
  • 1999–2000: 12.2 million viewers, No. 34
  • 2000–2001: 10.3 million viewers, No. 62

Critical reception[edit]

In October 1993, Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly gave the series a C+.[11]

DVD releases[edit]

CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) has released all seasons on DVD in Region 1, the last set being released on March 9, 2010.[12] The Complete 1st Season contains the three pilot episodes and the first full season being labeled as just the first season. This has confused some fans, as the seasons are wrongly numbered. Seasons 1–6 have been released in regions 2-4.

DVD Name
Eps
Release dates
Region 1
Region 2
Region 4
The Complete 1st Season[13] 26 June 13, 2006 October 2, 2006 October 12, 2006
The Complete 2nd Season 24 January 23, 2007 March 8, 2007 April 12, 2007
The Complete 3rd Season 26 June 12, 2007 December 4, 2007 January 10, 2008
The Complete 4th Season 26 February 19. 2008 May 28, 2008 July 31, 2008
The Complete 5th Season 25 July 1, 2008 October 21, 2008 October 2, 2008
The Complete 6th Season 23 January 13, 2009 February 19, 2009 March 5, 2009
The Complete 7th Season 25 March 9, 2010 N/A March 3, 2011[14]
The Complete 8th and Final Season 24 June 14, 2005 N/A March 3, 2011[15]
Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire 1 N/A January 2, 2007 March 5, 2014[16]

Spin-offs and merchandise[edit]

Television movies[edit]

CBS broadcast the television movie Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire, produced by Paramount Network Television (now CBS Television Studios), on October 16, 2005. Chuck Norris, Sheree J. Wilson and Judson Mills reprised their roles, and Clarence Gilyard shot a cameo for the movie but was not featured due to the filming's conflict with a long-planned family vacation. To fill the void, Judson Mills, who was not in the original script, returned to reprise the role of Francis Gage. Nia Peeples, who played the role of Sydney Cooke for Seasons 7 and 8, was also not featured in Walker's return to prime-time television. The explanation given was that producers decided not to follow much of the original Walker Texas Ranger series, as to give the movie a fresh look. Even the show's original opening credits with the theme "Eyes of a Ranger" performed by Chuck Norris, was absent from the TV movie.

Although the return of Walker Texas Ranger did not garner the ratings CBS had hoped for, indications were that CBS was green-lighting future Walker Texas Ranger "movie of the week" projects. But as of spring 2006, both CBS and the Norris camp have been silent as to the future of the franchise, leaving many to wonder if it will return. Trial by Fire ended with Sheree J. Wilson's character the victim of a courthouse shooting, leaving many viewers to believe that there would be a follow-up movie.[17]

When they announced their fall 2006 prime-time schedule, CBS said that they would no longer be producing "Sunday Night Movie of the Week" projects, which severely impaired any hopes of Walker's return to television in the foreseeable future.[citation needed]

On May 15, 2007, CBS announced its fall line-up, but this did not include the return of the "Sunday Night Movie of the Week."

Sons of Thunder[edit]

Main article: Sons of Thunder

Most episodes were based on true stories. A short-lived series, Sons of Thunder, featured recurring character Carlos Sandoval, who resigns from his post with the Dallas police and teams up with childhood friend Trent Malloy (a protégé of Walker's), to start a private investigation firm.[18]

Novels[edit]

Three Walker, Texas Ranger books, written by James Reasoner, were published by Berkley Publishing Group in 1999. The books are now out of print.

  1. Walker, Texas Ranger (1998, ISBN 0-425-16815-8)
  2. Hell's Half Acre (1999, ISBN 0-425-16972-3)
  3. Siege on the Belle (1999, ISBN 0-425-17112-4)

Notable guest stars[edit]

Actor Character Episode title Year
Marshall R. Teague Orson Wade "One Riot, One Ranger" 1993
Harper Ridland "Payback" 1994
Randy Shrader "Codename: Dragonfly" 1996
Rudd Kilgore "Last of a Breed: Part 1"
"Last of a Breed: Part 2"
1997
Lieutenant Tracton "Fight or Die" 1999
Emile Lavocat/Mills "Moon" Lavocat "The Final Showdown" 2001
Luis Guzmán Gomez "Storm Warning" 1993
Judith Hoag Lainie Flanders "Family Matters" 1993
Brian Thompson Leo Cale
M.C. Gainey Tingley "She'll Do to Ride the River With" 1993
Craig "The Bachelor Party" 2000
Giovanni Ribisi Tony Kingston "Something in the Shadows: Part 1"
"Something in the Shadows: Part 2"
1994
Tom Virtue Peter Needham
Tobey Maguire Duane Parsons "The Prodigal Son" 1994
Carli Coleman Georgia Douglas "Silk Dreams" 1994
James Morrison Ned Travis "Mustangs" 1994
Danica McKellar Laurie Maston "Stolen Lullaby" 1994
Ray Wise Garrett Carlson
Doris Roberts Elaine Portugal "The Big Bingo Bamboozle" 1995
William Smith Silas Quint "Final Justice" 1995
Dirk Benedict Blair "Case Closed" 1995
Marshall Colt Lt. Lee Corbin (his last acting role) "Whitewater: Part 1" 1995
Alex Cord Larry Curtis "The Guardians" 1995
Carlos Machado Himself "Rodeo" 1996
Officer No. 1 "Sons of Thunder" 1997
Orderly "Forgotten People"
Rodgers "Fight or Die" 1999
Clifton Collins Jr. Fito "El Coyote: Part 1"
"El Coyote: Part 2"
1996
Robert Englund Lyle Eckert "Deadline" 1996
Burt Young Jack Belmont "Lucky" 1996
"Small Blessings" 1997
Rod Taylor Gordon Cahill "Redemption" 1996
"Texas vs. Cahill" 1997
"Wedding Bells: Part 1"
"Wedding Bells: Part 2"
2000
Terry Kiser Charlie Brooks "Mayday"
"Last Hope"
"Iceman"
1997
The Iceman "Iceman" 1997
Marco Sanchez Detective Carlos Sandoval "Sons of Thunder"-"Team Cherokee: Part 2" 1997-1999
James Wlcek Trent Malloy "Sons of Thunder"-"Team Cherokee: Part 2" 1997-1999
Mila Kunis Pepper "Last Hope" 1997
John Amos Pastor Roscoe Jones "Sons of Thunder" 1997
Haley Joel Osment Lucas Simms "Lucas: Part 1"
"Lucas: Part 2"
1997
Mackenzie Phillips Ellen Simms
Gwen Verdon Maisie Whitman "Forgotten People" 1997
"Mind Games" 1999
David Gallagher Chad Morgan "Brainchild" 1997
Paul Gleason Dr. Harold Payton
Randolph Mantooth James Lee Crown "Rainbow's End" 1997
Dan Lauria Salvatore Matacio "A Father's Image" 1997
Kyla Pratt Kyla Jarvis "The Neighborhood" 1997
"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Cody "The Crusader" Conway "The Crusader" 1998
Randy Tallman TBD
Paul Winfield Pastor Roscoe Jones "The Soul of Winter" 1998
Collin Raye Himself
Danny Trejo Joe Lopez "Circle of Life" 1998
Jose Rodriguez "Rise to the Occasion" 1999
Lila McCann Kelly Wyman "Eyes of a Ranger" 1998
Michael Peterson Himself
Tobin Bell Karl Storm "The Wedding: Part 1"
"The Wedding: Part 2"
1998
RuPaul Bob "Royal Heist" 1998
Dean Norris Powell "War Cry" 1998
Camilla Belle Cindy Morgan "Code of the West" 1998
Lee Majors Sheriff Bell "On the Border" 1998
Mitch Pileggi Paul Grady "Money Talks" 1998
Deion Sanders Himself "Rise to the Occasion" 1999
"Special Witness"
Gary Busey Donovan Riggs "Special Witness"
James Remar Keith Bolt "The Principal" 1999
Judy Herrera Rachel Falcon "Team Cherokee: Part 1"
"Team Cherokee: Part 2"
1999
Michael Greyeyes Brian Falcon "Team Cherokee: Part 1"
"Team Cherokee: Part 2"
1999
Robert Mirabal Tall Bear "Team Cherokee: Part 1"
"Team Cherokee: Part 2"
1999
John Schneider Jacob Crossland "Jacob's Ladder" 1999
Rex Linn Leland Stahl/Lester Stahl "Way of the Warrior" 1999
Randy Savage Whitelaw Lundren "Fight or Die" 1999
Frank Shamrock The Hammer
Lane Smith Reverend Thornton Powers "Power Angels" 1999
Scott Weinger Bradley Roberts "Full Recovery" 1999
Joe Penny Sonny Tantero "Suspicious Minds" 1999
Dwight Schultz Lloyd Allen "Safe House" 1999
Frank Stallone B.J. Ronson,
Frank Bishop
"Tall Cotton" 1999
"Saturday Night" 2001
Tammy Townsend Erika Carter "Justice Delayed" 2000
"The Final Showdown" 2001
David Keith Cliff Eagleton "The Day of Cleansing" 2000
Sammo Hung Sammo Law
Deron McBee Luke Warley "Black Dragons" 2000
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa Master Ko
Mako Edward Song
Byron Mann P.K. Song
Tzi Ma General Nimh "The General's Return" 2000
Christopher B. Duncan Defense Attorney Lime "The Bachelor Party" 2000
Joan Jett Dierdre Harris "Wedding Bells: Part 1" 2000
Mark Cuban Groomsmen "Wedding Bells: Part 1"
"Wedding Bells: Part 2"
2000
Tom Bosley Minister "Wedding Bells: Part 1"
"Wedding Bells: Part 2"
2000
Ernest Borgnine Eddie Ryan "The Avenging Angel" 2000
Michael Ironside The Chairman "Winds of Change"
"Lazarus"
"Turning Point"
"Retribution"
2000
T.J. Thyne Wallace 'The Wizard' Slausen
Dionne Warwick Dionne Berry "Faith" 2000
Barbara Mandrell Nicole Foley "Showdown at Casa Diablo: Part 1" 2000
Robert Fuller Ranger Wade Harper "Matter of Principle" 2000
"The Final Show/Down" 2001
Hulk Hogan Boomer Knight "Division Street" 2001
Francis Capra Ace
Ryan Bittle Harley "Reel Rangers" 2001
Laura Bailey Roberta "Saturday Night" 2001
Mercedes McNab Heather Preston "6 Hours" 2001
Josh Holloway Ben Wiley "Medieval Crimes" 2001
Sting Grangus "Unsafe Speed" 2001
Carlos Bernard Raoul 'Skull' Hidalgo "Without a Sound" 2001
Mitchel Musso Josh Whitley "Trial by Fire" 2005
Selena Gomez Julie

Companies[edit]

The series began with Cannon Television, but after the folding of Cannon, CBS assumed production responsibilities and is the ancillary rights holder for this series. Other companies as listed below have also been involved with the series production and/or distribution.

Production companies
Amadea Film Productions TBD
Cannon Television (1993)
Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) TBD
Columbia Pictures Television (1993-1996)
Columbia TriStar Television (1996-2001)
The Rudy Grief Company TBD
Topkick Productions (1993-1998)
Norris Brothers Entertainment (1998-2005)
CBS Productions (1995-2001)
CBS Entertainment Productions (1993-1995)
CBS Broadcast International TBD
Distributors
CBS Television Distribution (1993-2001), US, TV, original airing
Columbia TriStar Domestic Television (2001-2002)
FX TBD, Italy, TV
Italia 1 TBD, Italy, TV
Paramount Home Entertainment (2006-TBD), Germany, DVD
Paramount Home Entertainment (2008, US, DVD, Season 5
Sony Pictures Television (2002-TBD)
CBS Television Distribution (2008-present), DVDs and international
TF1 2004, France, TV
TV2 (2000-2006), Hungary, TV
UFA Film- und Fernseh GmbH 1993, Germany, all media

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Elder, Robert K (April 26, 2007). "Pop Cultural Timeline: Chuck Norris 'Facts'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  2. ^ Farhi, Paul (January 2, 2006). "Tough Love: Norris Fans Board the Chuck Wagon". Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-01-03. 
  3. ^ Berkow, Ira (May 12, 1993). "AT DINNER WITH: Chuck Norris; When That 97-Pound Weakling Grows Up". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-08. 
  4. ^ http://www.tvtango.com/listings/2001/07/28
  5. ^ Weinstein, Steve (March 17, 1996). "Chuck Norris Proves To Cbs He's A 'Competitive Guy'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  6. ^ Du Brow, Rick (May 14, 1994). "Walker Marks a Year of Fighting Injustice on CBS : Television: Despite controversy over TV violence, Chuck Norris' action series beat the competition in its time slot and helps the network ensure its top spot.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  7. ^ King, Susan (April 18, 1993). "At Home on a New Range : CHUCK NORRIS: KARATE CHAMP TURNED SERIES STAR?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  8. ^ Smith, Steven Cole (April 21, 1993). "Lone Wolf Rides Again". Chicago Tribune. (Original: Fort Worth Star-Telegram). Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  9. ^ Jicha, Tom (April 21, 1993). "Chuck Norris Plays Dirty In Tv Debut". Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Florida). Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  10. ^ Sumser, John. Morality and Social Order in Television Crime Drama. Jefferson, North Carolina, and London: McFarland & Company Inc., 1996. Print.
  11. ^ Tucker, Ken (22 October 1993). "TV Show Review: 'Walker, Texas Ranger' Review". Entertainment Weekly (193). Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  12. ^ http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Walker-Texas-Ranger-Season-7/13114
  13. ^ This season DVD set is made up of the episodes from the pilot season in addition to the episodes of the first regular season, which has also been referred to as Season 2
  14. ^ http://www.ezydvd.com.au/item.zml/817759
  15. ^ http://www.ezydvd.com.au/item.zml/817760
  16. ^ http://www.jbhifionline.com.au/dvd/dvd-genres/tv/walker-texas-ranger-trial-by-fire/698423
  17. ^ http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news/2005/08/22/chuck-norris-returns-to-cbs-for-walker-texas-ranger-trial-by-fire-a-new-television-movie-to-be-broadcast-oct-16-on-the-cbs-television-network-19073/20050822cbs03/
  18. ^ Johnson, Steve (March 5, 1999). "STANDING IN PLACE FROM CHUCK NORRIS, ANOTHER MARTIAL ARTS BEAT-'EM-UP". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 

External links[edit]