Laredo (TV series)
|Theme music composer||Russell Garcia|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||56|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Universal Television|
NBCUniversal Television Distribution
|Original release||September 16, 1965– April 7, 1967|
|Related shows||The Virginian|
Laredo is an American Western television series that aired on NBC from 1965–67, starring Neville Brand, William Smith, Peter Brown, and Philip Carey as Texas Rangers. It is set on the Mexican border about Laredo in Webb County in south Texas. The program presented fifty-six episodes in color. It was produced by Universal Television. The series has a comedic element, but, like another NBC series that premiered in 1965, The Wackiest Ship in the Army, it was an hour in length, had no laugh track, and characters were not infrequently killed in it, thus going against three unofficial rules for sitcoms at the time.
The pilot episode of Laredo aired on NBC's The Virginian under the title, "We've Lost a Train" (April 21, 1965; Season 3, Episode 30). In 1969, the pilot was released theatrically under the title Backtrack. Three episodes from the first season of the series were edited into the 1968 feature film Three Guns for Texas.[self-published source?]
Laredo combines action and humor with the focus on three fictitious Texas Rangers. Reese Bennett, played by Neville Brand, is older than his two partners.[self-published source?] Brand was perhaps best known in his role as mobster Al Capone on the ABC/Desilu TV series, The Untouchables (starring Robert Stack). Chad Cooper is played by Peter Brown, the former co-star with John Russell of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Lawman. Joe Riley is portrayed by William Smith, best known for his villainous role of Falconetti on the ABC mini-series,Rich Man, Poor Man, and as one of Steve McGarrett's men in the final season of the original Hawaii Five-O. Reese was previously an officer of the Union Army during the American Civil War. Originally from New Orleans, Chad was in the Border Patrol during the war, and joined the Rangers to search for gunrunners who had ambushed fellow border patrolmen. Joe was a gunfighter who was at times on the wrong side of the law. He joined the Rangers to obtain protection from a sheriff. Chad and Joe tease Reese about his age: he was in his forties.
Peter Brown recalled that the producers of the show wanted the three stars to have the same relationship and camaraderie as did the stars of Gunga Din; having Brand, Brown and Smith watch the film three times.
The three Rangers are led by Captain Edward Parmalee, played by Philip Carey, later a soap opera star, who in Laredo is stern and disciplined. Robert Wolders joined the show in the second and final season as Erik Hunter. Claude Akins played Ranger Cotton Buckmeister in five episodes but never became a part of the cast.
- Neville Brand...Reese Bennett
- Peter Brown...Chad Cooper
- William Smith...Joe Riley
- Philip Carey...Captain Edward Parmalee
- Robert Wolders...Erik Hunter, rookie Ranger (26 episodes, 1966-1967)
- Claude Akins...Cotton Buckmeister (5 episodes, 1966-1967)
In "Meanwhile Back at the Reservation", Joe Riley comes across Grey Smoke, an Indian boy portrayed by then 14-year-old Kurt Russell, who has been working for an outlaw gang. Joe and Chad take Grey under their wing, and the boy proves helpful when gunslingers try to occupy Laredo.
"The Calico Kid" focuses on a character used eleven years earlier in the syndicated western series Buffalo Bill, Jr. In the Laredo version, the Kid is Sam Lowell, who has matured in to a respected citizen of the fictional town of Guarded Wells, Texas. Chad and Joe try to help Lowell continue the deception of his true identity. Meanwhile, a businessman plots to steal gold bullion from the bank while the citizenry is distracted.
In "The Golden Trail", Jeanette Nolan is cast as "Ma Burns", who investigates the progress of a gold shipment that Reese Bennett is supposedly transporting from St. Louis to Laredo. Jim Davis appears in this episode as a sheriff. Nolan also appeared as Martha Tuforth in "It's the End of the Road, Stanley" (1966), and as Vita Rose in "Like One of the Family" (1967).
Lane Bradford was cast five times in different roles: as 3-Finger Jake in "Rendezvous at Arillo" and as Amos Slaughter in "Which Way Did They Go?" (both 1965), as Ben Slick in "The Treasure of San Diablo" and as Charley Smith in "Road to San Remo" (both 1966), and as Lyle in "Walk Softly" (1967).
John Russell appeared as Robert in the episode "Enemies and Brothers" (1967), reuniting him with his Lawman former co-star Peter Brown.
- George Kennedy
- Eve Arden
- X Brands
- Chad & Jeremy
- Ahna Capri
- Ellen Corby
- Robert O. Cornthwaite
- Bruce Dern
- Richard Devon
- Mimsy Farmer
- Shug Fisher
- Byron Foulger
- Leo Gordon
- James Griffith
- Julie Harris
- Myron Healey
- Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr.
- I. Stanford Jolley
- DeForest Kelley
- Jack Kelly (two episodes)
- Fernando Lamas
- Jack Lord
- Marlyn Mason
- Mort Mills
- Shelley Morrison
- Stuart Nisbet
- Cliff Osmond
- Gregg Palmer
- William Phipps
- Mike Ragan (three episodes)
- Donnelly Rhodes
- Roy Roberts
- Diane Roter
- Kurt Russell
- Robert F. Simon
- Dub Taylor
- Lyle Talbot
- Lee Van Cleef
- Doodles Weaver
- Jack Weston
As of May 2016, Laredo is airing on the GetTV network.
- Brian W. Fairbanks (November 2005). I Saw That Movie, Too: Selected Film Reviews. Lulu.com. pp. 401–. ISBN 978-1-4116-3535-7.
- Terry Rowan. World War II Goes to the Movies & Television Guide Volume I A-K. Lulu.com. pp. 66–. ISBN 978-1-105-46489-8.
- p. 31 Brown, Peter & Sturt, Alesx The Fastest Gun in Hollywood 2013 Wild Horse Press
- Billy Hathorn, "Roy Bean, Temple Houston, Bill Longley, Ranald Mackenzie, Buffalo Bill, Jr., and the Texas Rangers: Depictions of West Texans in Series Television, 1955 to 1967", West Texas Historical Review, Vol. 89 (2013), pp. 115-116
- Lambert, David (2009-09-24). "Laredo - Timeless Release of The Complete Series as a 12-DVD Set this November". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 12 October 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2012.