We’ve been watching some of the old fifties and sixties TV shows, and I find the era fascinating. Besides the fact that so many future great writers and actors were heavily represented in the first two decades of TV, the writing itself was often very impressive.
Our recent favorite is the first season of Have Gun – Will Travel. I remember watching it as a kid, but it may take being much closer to geezerhood (ooops, I mean “wisdom”) to appreciate some of the sophistication in the show.
First of all, the name of the show. It has a hyphen. It’s a business card. A professional gunfighter — with a business card!
Even that hyphen tells you something. A show with punctuation! Clearly, not the usual western.
And both the guy’s holster and business card have that horse head. Which has no fewer than THREE different referential worlds linked to it: the “cowboy” genre and all the things you expect from that; the “knight” genre (Paladin is a term for a knight,of course, and even the western theme song refers to him as “a knight without armor in a savage land…” — can you hear it?) So the reference there is to another world entirely — the King Arthur stuff and the morals and mystique of knights of yore (and yore itself, for that matter…)
But also, it’s a CHESS PIECE.
A chess piece suggests a thinker, Continue reading