Riders of the Range
1951 Eagle comic Jeff Arnold and the Riders of the Range Annual
Radio's first attempt at a serious horse opera beyond Big Bill Campbell. Described as a 'musical drama of the West', this weekly serial 'drew upon the highly coloured background of the Wild West of the Twenties, from material assembled by Charles Chilton from documents and diaries of contemporary Americans to present an authentic picture in song and story of the best of all real-life settings for pioneer work and adventure'. The original cast was Cal McCord (a rancher), Carole Carr (Mary, his daughter), Paul Carpenter (Jeff Arnold), Charles Irwin (Luke, an old cowhand), Bob Mallin (Bob, a singing cowhand), with music by the Four Ramblers and the Sons of the Saddle, led by Jack Fallon, guitarist Freddie Phillips ... 'Arf! Arf!' ... 'Oh, yes - and the dog Rustler!'
The first series told of the opening up of the Chisholm Trail, and was broadcast from January to April 1949. The second series was written around the building of the Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad (October 1949) and the third featured Billy the Kid, played by Alan Keith (April 1950). The fourth series, set in Tombstone, dropped Cal McCord and brought in Macdonald Parke as rancher J.C. Macdonald. Carole Carr became his niece, Mary. The fifth series started in April 1952 and was written around Jesse James, while the sixth series, June 1953, described the building of the Union Pacific Railway. The boys of the 6T6 outfit rode into the final sunset in September 1953.
A collage of various sound clips from the Signature Tune
brought together in an attempt to reproduce an approximation to the original.
(The voice heard singing along to part of it is actually Charles Chilton himself)
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