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 Cheyenne - The Complete First Season

Cheyenne (Television Favorites)


Show Type: Western

First Telecast: September 20, 1955

Last Telecast: September 13, 1963

Broadcast History:

September 1955 - September 1959, Tuesday 7:30-8:30 on ABC

September 1959 - December 1962, Monday 7:30-8:30 on ABC

April 1963 - September 1963, Friday 7:30-8:30 on ABC


Cheyenne Bodie..... Clint Walker

Smitty (1955-1956)..... L.Q. Jones


The behind-the-scenes story of this series was fully as interesting as what appeared on the screen. Probably no series in TV history has undergone so much production turmoil and absorbed and spun-off as many other series as did Cheyenne.

The on-screen story was simple enough. Cheyenne Bodie was a tall, strapping Western adventurer in the days following the Civil War - he was 6' 7", or 6' 5", or 6' 8", depending on the press release - and a mean hombre. He drifted from job to job, encountering plenty of villains, beautiful girls and gunfights. In one episode, he could be seen as the foreman on a ranch, in another as trail scout for a wagon train, in another as a recently deputized lawman. The show was lavishly produced, movie-style, by Warner Bros., but the attraction was obviously Clint Walker himself. He had a sidekick, Smitty, for the first season, but after that, he worked alone.

Cheyenne was first seen as one of three rotating elements of Warner Bros. Presents, the studio's first venture into TV, and quickly emerged as the most popular of the the three. Hour-long Westerns were difficult to produce on a once-a-week basis, however, so the program continued to alternate with other series, first Conflict (1956-1957) and then Sugarfoot (1957-1959). In fact, Clint Walker's Cheyenne was seldom seen on an every-week basis at any time during its original run.

In 1958, the brooding fighter of the screen walked out on Warner Bros., after they refused to release him from some of the more stringent requirements of his contract, which he had signed before Cheyenne became a hit. Among other things, Walker did not want to have to kick back 50 percent of all personal appearance fees to the studio, wanted higher payment for reruns, and wanted permission to make records for labels other than Warner's own. Stripped of its star, the studio nevertheless refused to give an inch and continued the series under the name Cheyenne, with an unknown actor named Ty Hardin in the leading role, which was now that of Bronco Layne. Walker meanwhile, was legally prevented from working anywhere.

In early 1959, Walker and the studio finally came to terms, and Walker returned to the series. Ty Hardin continued  in a series of his own called Bronco. Clint Walker was obviously not happy with the settlement, for although the pot had been sweetened somewhat he felt he had simply worn out the Cheyenne character and was becoming typecast. But the program was in the top 20, and Warner Bros. was not about to let him go. "I am like a caged animal," he complained to reporters.

For part of the 1959-1960 season, Cheyenne alternated with Shirley Temple's Storybook. Then for 1960-1961, Cheyenne became The Cheyenne Show, a rotating anthology in which Walker was seen on a majority of weeks, interspersed with episodes of Ty Hardin as Bronco and Will Hutchins as Sugarfoot. In 1961-1962, Sugarfoot was dropped and only Cheyenne and Bronco were seen. Finally, in the fall of 1962, for the last three months, the series consisted of episodes of Walker's Cheyenne alone. Reruns of Cheyenne episodes were also seen during the summer of 1963.

Cheyenne was based, rather loosely, on 1947 movie of the same name that starred Dennis Morgan.