Bill Longley is The Texan. A level headed “cowboy” always on the move. He never looked for trouble but it usually found him. Trouble may have found him but he was so fast with a gun that it never stuck around.
Season 1 Ep.02: The Man with the Solid Gold Star
Professional gambler Jake Romer wins big in a poker game, taking thousands of dollars in IOUs from Jim Caldwell, an ex-lawman, who had planned to buy cattle for his ranch in Texas. Convinced he’s been cheated, Caldwell and his men hold-up the Cattleman Association and take their money along with $100,000 belonging to other cattlemen that was stored in the safe. Although Bill Longley hates Romer and rode with Caldwell years ago, he agrees to join the posse to capture his old friend.
Rory Calhoun’s version of Bill Longley, “The Texan”, took great liberties with the truth about the bigoted real life Longley who killed his first man when he was 15 in 1866 and was eventually hung in 1878 at 27. A little closer to the truth was the “Bill Longley” episode of “Stories of the Century” (5/20/54) with Longley portrayed by Douglas Kennedy.
Longley, as conceived and played by Calhoun, was a fast gun, a loyal friend to the downtrodden and mortal enemy to lawbreakers in his Monday night half hour CBS series (9/29/58-9/12/60) primarily sponsored by Viceroy and Lever Brothers. (Reruns aired on ABC from 10/60-5/62, first in daytime, then on Saturday mornings.)
“The Texan” Rory Calhoun gets the drop on badman Bob Hopkins in the episode “Ruthless Woman” (’60).Rory not only starred as “The Texan” but produced the series with partner Vic Orsatti through their Rorvic Productions. In their 2/13/60 issue, Rory prophetically told TV GUIDE he and Orsatti got together on “The Texan” because they were “thick as thieves. We’re both thieves.” According to some sources, Calhoun never received his “just rewards” from the partnership. Laughing at the time, Calhoun continued, “I did several pictures for Vic (“Ride Out For Revenge”, “Domino Kid”, “Hired Gun”, “Apache Territory”). We decided to go into television in ‘58 with our own series. Not ‘The Texan’. We had a sea story. But Vic lived across the street from Desi Arnaz who had ‘The Texan’. They got together on that and we held our other one back. Desi’s deal was better.”
Episodes were budgeted at $40,000 and they filmed two per week on stage 11 at Desilu. Much of the location shooting was done at Pearl Flats in the Mojave Desert.
Cast and Crew:
Director: Felix E. Feist
Writer: Curtis Kenyon
Rory Calhoun, Regis Parton and Duncan Lamont
Production Company: Desilu Productions, Rorvic Productions
Audio/Visual: mono, black & white
Date Release: 1958
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Filed Under: The Texan