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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: Have Gun, Will Travel "French Leave" (1960)

Back in the day, Have Gun Will, Will Travel started out on television and the radio show followed thereafter. This was unusual, as in most cases successful radio shows transitioned to television. History here:
And so it was that Have Gun, Will Travel premiered over Radio a year and a half after its Television rendition on November 23, 1958. Veteran Film, Radio and Television actor John Dehner was tapped to portray the mono-named Paladin. The great character actor Ben Wright was selected to portray 'Hey Boy' ('real name' Kim Chan) and as the series progressed Radio legend Virginia Gregg was tapped to portray Miss Wong, Hey Boy's ostensible lady friend.

John Dehner, the radio Paladin 
For the uninitiated, 'Paladin' (last name only) was a Renaissance Man: an adventurer, bon-vivant, gourmet, enologist, raconteur, gambler, and investment speculator--who also happened to be a very adept and deadly gun for hire. Based in San Francisco, Paladin occupied a suite of rooms at The Carlton Hotel. Most comfortable dressed as a dandy, Paladin's San Francisco 'valet' is Kim Chan, a Chinese immigrant who works primarily for The Carlton Hotel when not in the service of Paladin. Dubbed 'Hey Boy' since he began working in San Francisco, he appears to have at least two generations of roots in the San Francisco area.

While Paladin seemed to attract--and enjoy--an apparently limitless supply of female companions while staying at The Carlton, Hey Boy, by contrast, appears to have had only one steady female interest: Miss Wong, a well-educated, well-read friend of Hey Boy's family.

Paladin's daily routine, immediately after checking his financial investments, appears to have been poring over several newspaper subscriptions--for which he had a standing order--to check for possible new adventures. He has also apparently placed personal ads in numerous other newspapers of the day, advertising "Have Gun - Will Travel, Wire Paladin, San Francisco."

His adventures arrived by either wiring or posting his business card to potential interested parties or by answering responses to his personal services ads. Paladin's services don't come cheap: he customarily asked at least one thousand dollars for his services--plus expenses. But being the 'knight' he is at heart, he often took on causes at nominal or paltry charges on principle alone. Indeed, Paladin accepted $1.61 for one of his commissions.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for you note. I really liked the TV show mostly because of Richard Boone, but see or more accurately hear John Dehner as Paladin too