Back in 1962, a new western premiered on NBC, called The Virginian. While it had plenty of competition in the genre, from show like Bonanza, The Rifleman and Gunsmoke, The Virginian was unique in that it ran for 90 minutes, and was shot in color for its duration (with the exception of the pilot episode – see below). It would stay in the lineup for nine years, and accumulate 249 episodes – making it the third longest-running western in television history. Today, May 25, 2010, the complete first season of the series is being released on DVD, featuring 10 discs in a special collector’s tin. If you would like to learn more, you can click on the preceding link.
The Virginian starred James Dury (who recently celebrated his 76th birthday) in the title role (the character’s name was never revealed in the series), along with Lee J. Cobb, Roberta Shore, Gary Clarke, and Doug McClure, who memorably played “Trampas.”
Here is a rare look at the pilot episode for the series:
Sadly, Doug McClure passed away in 1995, but the rest of the cast recently reunited in February of this year. Here is a clip from that reunion:
Were you a regular viewer of The Virginian? Share your memories of this long-running western with all of us, as we take a look back at this beloved series, here on Retroland.