For the third entry in this series about what I consider to be the best TV shows of the 1950s and 1960s, I want to mention a series that might not be as well known as the previous two I have discussed: Have Gun Will Travel. This western ran from 1957 to 1963 and starred Richard Boone as Paladin, the man with the gun for hire.
The name Paladin, which refers to medieval wandering knights was the working name of the main character, an educated man who charged for his services as a mercenary, except when he was defending or fighting for the poor or the week. I have been deeply interested in the legends and mythology of knights, and I suspect this is what triggered, if you forgive the pun, my fascination with this idea.
For me, the most important episode was in the first season: “The Teacher.” In this episode, Paladin was hired by a rancher to help remove a local schoolteacher who was teaching other than what the local people wanted to hear. Paladin ends up defending her and takes no offer of money, because he believed that she was doing the most important work in society.
While it was a western, filled with gunfights and fisticuffs, it was also an introduction for me to the idea of honor and standing up for those who are weaker. It also showed the importance of education for society, a value that I honor as of the highest importance.
Do any of you remember this show?