About Christmas TV History

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Have Gun-Will Travel Christmas (1962)

If you have a copy of my book, you may be familiar with the heading Not Too Cool for Yule (pg. 25) which lists the coolest and hippest in Hollywood and American culture--and where they can be seen in a Christmas program. You may recall that I discussed: Steve McQueen, Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, Cary Grant, Natalie Wood, as well as Outsiders such as William Burroughs and several of Andy Warhol's associates from The Factory.

Another hipster--one that didn't make the first list--would be rocker/guitarist Duane Eddy. He plays a major role in a holiday episode of the TV series Have Gun-Will Travel from 1962 entitled "Be Not Forgetful of Strangers."

This sixth season episode of the Western series has Paladin arriving in a new town on Christmas Eve. The local saloon is filled with merry, drunken revelers and the hotel’s rooms are all filled. Though Paladin himself is without a room for the night, he helps an expectant couple find an empty storeroom so the wife may deliver her baby in peace. As the woman’s delivery becomes more difficult, Paladin desperately pleads with the crowd in the saloon for any kind of assistance or help on behalf of these needy strangers.

Duane Eddy plays the young cowboy/expectant father. This same story line has been repeated again and again in holiday episodes on television. But trust me, here the simple story is handled with just the right tone and attention to detail. If you are familiar with Have Gun-Will Travel, you already know that this series is far superior to your average TV Western. Check it out--as this episode is currently streaming on Netflix.

In case you aren't familiar with Duane Eddy, see below for one of his rockin' songs demonstrating his incredible, signature 'twangy' guitar style. Eddy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

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