Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hopalong Cassidy On Western Wednesday...!

I know we've talked about Hoppy before, but I wanted to touch on some of his history again!

This man became the symbol for the genuine "good guy" to so many kids during his time spent on television and the movies that nearly everyone knew who he was. To this day many young folks still know who he was, but it's the folks that grew up in the 1950 era that were the most familiar with him.

Sep 12, 1972:
Hopalong Cassidy rides off into his last sunset

After nearly 40 years of riding across millions of American TV and movie screens, the cowboy actor William Boyd, best known for his role as Hopalong Cassidy, dies on this day in 1972 at the age of 77.

Boyd's greatest achievement was to be the first cowboy actor to make the transition from movies to television. Following World War II, Americans began to buy television sets in large numbers for the first time, and soon I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners were standard evening fare for millions of families. But despite their proven popularity in movie theaters, westerns were slow to come to the small screen. Many network TV producers scorned westerns as lowbrow "horse operas" unfit for their middle- and upper-class audiences.

Riding to the small screen's rescue came the movie cowboy, William Boyd. During the 1930s, Boyd made more than 50 cheap but successful "B-grade" westerns starring as Hopalong Cassidy. Together with his always loyal and outlandishly intelligent horse, Topper, Hopalong righted wrongs, saved school marms in distress, and single-handedly fought off hordes of marauding Indians. After the war, Boyd recognized an opportunity to take Hopalong and Topper into the new world of television, and he began to market his old "B" westerns to TV broadcasters in Los Angeles and New York City. A whole new generation of children thrilled to "Hoppy's" daring adventures, and they soon began to clamor for more.

Rethinking their initial disdain for the genre, producers at NBC contracted with Boyd in 1948 to produce a new series of half-hour westerns for television. By 1950, American children had made Hopalong Cassidy the seventh most popular TV show in America and were madly snapping up genuine "Hoppy" cowboy hats, chaps, and six-shooters, earning Boyd's venture more than $250 million. Soon other TV westerns followed Boyd's lead, becoming popular with both children and adults. In 1959, seven of the top-10 shows on national television were westerns like The Rifleman, Rawhide, and Maverick. The golden era of the TV western would finally come to an end in 1975 when the long-running Gunsmoke left the air, three years after Boyd rode off into his last sunset.

I'd say that he made quite an impression for someone who only made "B" movies, wouldn't you? Most of his films were well received by the public and made money...and that says a lot!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. I have to warn's already HOT!


Chickenmom said...

Oh, how I loved Hoppy & Topper. Wish I still had the plastic figures of him and his horse. I remember the hat was always falling off Hoppy's head. It sell on E-bay for $300.00 now! Childhood toys sure are expensive!

linda m said...

I loved Hoppy and Topper. I even had a Hopalong Cassidy lunch box. Wish I still had it. All those old westerns were great and I miss them. Still can watch The Rifleman on cable. Bad storms here today with a cool down int the 50's. Brrrrrr

Mamahen said...

I loved Hoppy and Topper also...speaking of childrens tv...does anyone remember Sky King or Fury? 66 Here this morning....How about some apple turn overs this feeling fruity lol :))

John said...

One of my favorites from back then. I had all of the stuff. Guns and holster, hat, lunch box, the works. thanks for the post.

Dizzy-Dick said...

I loved all the old 50's era cowboys. Sky King, Roy Rogers, and more. In fact, I still like to watch all the old black and white cowboy shows on the Western Channel.

JO said...

Those were the days of good clean shows. I loved them all and My favorite was Roy Rogers and his beautiful horse.

Not to hot here yet only supposed to be 92. It warm up again thru the week.

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
So many of the toys we had as youngsters are worth some big bucks now days. If only we had known, right?

Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Linda M...
Those lunch boxes are much in demand with collectors right now.

I'd settle for some rain!

Thanks for coming by this morning!

Hey Mamahen...
I remember Sky and all the old shows.

Apple turn overs sound great! Thanks for stopping by!

Hey John...
Sure were a lot of toys sponsored by Hoppy and his crew!

Thanks for the visit!

Hey Dizzy...
I knew that you liked the western channel. Lots of the great older shows on there!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Jo...
Another one of the favorites! I liked Pat Brady and the jeep "Nellybelle!"

Thanks, sweetie, for dropping by today!

Barney (The Old Fat Man) said...

Lash LaRue because I could make a whip like his from old rotten anchor line laying around.

Billy Bob said...

At the age of 13, I met Hopalong in Palisades, Idaho. He even had his western git up on.
I think I blogged bout it one time....maybe I'll do it again.

Judy said...

When we kids got hot chocolate for Saturday breakfast, each of us had a Hopalong Cassidy mug to have it in. When my youngest sister came along, Mom had to hit the flea markets and garage sales until she found one for her.

I'll have an iced coffee if that is alright with you.

Dizzy-Dick said...

My wife and I both have satellite radios and they play some of the old western radio shows. Remember when Robert Conrad was Marshal Dillon? Love those old radio shows.