Press release: getTV expands its all-new “Saturday Showdown” weekend block of classic Western television series, introducing three more lost favorites to the lineup starting at High Noon on Saturday, October 3. The new additions, which were licensed from NBCUniversal, include Barry Sullivan and Clu Gulager in THE TALL MAN, airing each week at 12 p.m. ET, followed by Audie Murphy in WHISPERING SMITH at 12:40 p.m. ET; and Neville Brand, Peter Brown, William Smith, and Philip Carey in back-to-back episodes of LAREDO at 2 p.m. ET and 3:15 p.m. ET. The “Saturday Showdown” block, which originally premiered on Sept. 12, also features Robert Horton in A MAN CALLED SHENANDOAH at 1:20 p.m. ET; Ralph Taeger in HONDO at 4:30 p.m. ET; and James Garner and Margot Kidder in NICHOLS, at 5:45 p.m. ET.
The “Saturday Showdown” block opens each week with the 1960-1962 gunslinger epic THE TALL MAN at 12 p.m. ET, starring cult favorite Clu Gulager as the legendary outlaw Billy the Kid, and Barry Sullivan as Kid’s friend and mentor, Sheriff Pat Garrett. While Garrett is forever immortalized as the man who shot Billy the Kid, the fictionalized series attempts to paint a kinder image of the two adversaries, teaming them up as friends caught on opposite sides of the law and detailing their various adventures in and around the boomtown of Lincoln, New Mexico. Over the course of two seasons, the series enjoyed a variety of notable guest stars including future Oscar winners Martin Landau and George Kennedy, along with fan favorites Leonard Nimoy, James Coburn, Vic Morrow and Claude Akins, among others. Top directors of this exciting saga include Sydney Pollack (OUT OF AFRICA), Ted Post (MAGNUM FORCE), Richard Donner (SUPERMAN) and one of Quentin Tarantino’s favorite directors, William Witney (ZORRO’S FIGHTING LEGION).
WHISPERING SMITH is next at 12:40 p.m. ET, with Western icon and WWII hero Audie Murphy, one of the most decorated combat soldiers in U.S. history, in the titular role. Inspired by the 1948 Alan Ladd film of the same name, and based on official files from the Denver Police Department, the series stars Murphy as soft-spoken Police Detective Tom “Whispering” Smith. Smith—along with his partner, played by pop-star Guy Mitchell—protected the railroad from robberies, fraud and other criminal activities, using early methods of forensic science to capture lawbreakers. Notable guest stars include Oscar®-winning actor Robert Redford, as well as Richard Chamberlain, and GILLIGAN’S ISLAND Skipper Alan Hale, Jr. Scripts for the series include episodes written by Robert Block (PSYCHO), Borden Chase (RED RIVER) and Dick Nelson (ONE MORE TRAIN TO ROB). In 1961, the U.S. Senate Juvenile Delinquency subcommittee deemed the show “excessively violent” and “a libel on Denver.” Was it? Now, getTV viewers can judge for themselves with the return of WHISPERING SMITH.
And getTV presents back-to-back episodes of the rollicking 1965 color Western series LAREDO, beginning every Saturday at 2 p.m. ET. This popular action-comedy stars Neville Brand (THE UNTOUCHABLES), Peter Brown (LAWMAN), and William Smith (HAWAII FIVE-O) as Texas Rangers led by stern captain Philip Carey (ONE LIFE TO LIVE). Blending humor and action together, the Rangers find their way in and out of trouble as they scheme, harass, fight, ride, love, and shoot, under the bewildered gaze of Captain Parmalee. Running from 1965 to 1967, the series boasted many impressive guest stars including a young Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Jack Lord, Burgess Meredith, Bruce Dern, Martin Milner, Claude Akins, Sid Haig, George Kennedy, Julie Harris, John Carradine, Peter Graves, Seymour Cassel, DeForest Kelley, Jack Kelly, and Clint Howard. The show’s pilot episode was a spin-off from THE VIRGINIAN and was released in theatres as BACKTRACK in 1969.
"’Our ‘Saturday Showdown’ block is very popular with our viewers, and these three new additions are the perfect complement to our growing lineup of rare Western television series," said Jeff Meier, SVP of Programming at getTV. "We’re excited to dig into Hollywood’s archives and uncover movies and series that sometimes haven’t been seen on TV in decades - transporting our viewers back to a time when Westerns ruled the airwaves."
The “Saturday Showdown” lineup starting Oct. 3 is as follows (all times reflected are ET):
Noon - THE TALL MAN (1960-62)
12:40 p.m. - WHISPERING SMITH (1961)
1:20 p.m. - A MAN CALLED SHENANDOAH (1965-66)
2 & 3:15 p.m. - LAREDO (1965-67)
4:30 p.m. - HONDO (1967)
5:45 p.m. - NICHOLS (1971-72)