Destry (TV series)

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John Gavin Destry 1964.JPG
Gavin as Destry.
StarringJohn Gavin
Composer(s)Jerry Goldsmith (three episodes)
Cyril J. Mockridge (one episode)
Morton Stevens (one episode)
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Producer(s)Frank Telford
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Revue Studios
DistributorNBC Universal Television Distribution
Original networkABC
Picture formatBlack and white (1964)
Original releaseFebruary 14 – May 8, 1964

Destry is a Western television series starring John Gavin that aired on the ABC television network from February 14, 1964 until May 8, 1964. Destry was based on the classic James Stewart Western, Destry Rides Again, and a subsequent remake, Destry, starring Audie Murphy.



In the original films, the main character was Tom Destry, a Western lawman who was a crack shot, but who preferred non-violent solutions to problems with outlaws.

In the television series, Gavin played Harrison Destry, son of Tom, who had himself been a lawman until he was framed for a crime and sent to prison.

The show followed Harrison Destry upon his release from prison as he wandered the West looking for the people that framed him.

Just like the feature films, many comedic situations arose because Destry went to great lengths to avoid violence even though he was always running into trouble.

In the words of star John Gavin, "To Destry, a hero is a man who thinks slower than a coward. While his father died with his boots on, Destry believes it is better to live with his boots on."[1]


In October 1963, it was announced the show would be rushed into production to use John Gavin.[2] It took the former 77 Sunset Strip timeslot.[3]

Gavin was the fifth actor to play Destry, after Tom Mix, James Stewart, Audie Murphy and Joel McCrea. Gavin:

When I came to Universal, they were making 40 pictures a year. I walked through the gate, was given a contract, and immediately the number of pictures dropped to eight or nine a year. I'm not complaining because I was given good roles... roles with scope and breadth. But I wish I could have been put in 40 or 50 roles before making my 'first' picture, do you know what I mean? Doing a series now is like putting the cart before the horse. I'm glad to be doing 'Destry' now though because of the experience. My gosh, I've shot more film in the last five weeks than I have in my entire life... It's a role I can play with a great deal of naivete. Destry is the sort of man who if he sees trouble will ride around it. He says the difference between a hero and a coward is that a coward can think faster... Hopefully Destry is not always a fool or a clown. He's wandering the west for a few years and he's pretty wise, not brilliant or intelligent but he's been kicked in the head a few times and he knows what's going on.[4]


The Los Angeles Times called the show "lackllustre... a routine, second-grade hoss opry."[5] The New York Times called it a "pedestrian telling of an awkward adventure".[6]

Destry never caught on with television audiences, especially since the popularity of the Western genre had begun to wane, and the series only lasted for thirteen episodes. Destry was canceled by March. Gavin blamed this was in part due to the fact the executive who had commissioned the show was no longer in his job by then.[7]

Guest Stars[edit]

Among the guest stars were Chris Alcaide, Med Flory, Ron Hayes, Roger Mobley, Stuart Randall, Barbara Stuart, and Olive Sturgess.

DVD release[edit]

On September 6, 2011, Timeless Media Group released Destry- The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1.[8]


  • McNeil, Alex. Total Television (1996). New York: Penguin Books ISBN 0-14-024916-8
  • Brooks, Tim and Marsh, Earle. "The Complete Directory To Primetime Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present' (1999). New York: Ballantine Books ISBN 0-345-42923-0


  1. ^ and Audio: Gavin Rides THE 5TH DESTRY Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file) [Chicago, Ill] 08 Feb 1964: c20.
  2. ^ 'Destry' Rushed Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 10 Oct 1963: E12.
  3. ^ A.B.C.-TV TO DROP '77 SUNSET STRIP': Also Discontinuing 3 Other Series Before April By VAL ADAMS. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 01 Jan 1964: 41.
  4. ^ Gavin's first series MacMinn, Aleene. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 15 Mar 1964: E3.
  5. ^ 'Destry' Ride Less Than a Gallop Smith, Cecil. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 15 Feb 1964: B2.
  6. ^ TV Review: New Destry Rides Into U.S. Living Rooms. BY JACK GOULD. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 15 Feb 1964: 49.
  7. ^ WHY? 36 more TV shows get the ax; Here are some of the reasons. Ballinger, Don. Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file) [Chicago, Ill] 18 Sep 1965: a10.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-16. Retrieved 2011-08-12.

External links[edit]