The television series "Rawhide," an immensely popular show that gave television producers their mold for westerns -- and tossed in a theme song that became a classic -- is available for the first time on home video.
"Rawhide" had many stars, including Eric Fleming as trail boss Gil Favor. There were also appearances by Hollywood biggies Barbara Stanwyck, Buddy Ebsen, James Coburn and Burgess Meredith during its 1959-1966 run on CBS.
However, the popular series is most remembered for its discovery of a handsome actor named Clint Eastwood, who played Favor's tough and trusted ramrod, Rowdy Yates.
The show's premiere, "Incident of the Tumbleweed Wagon" (it aired originally Jan. 9, 1959), is appropriately the first of the two episodes on the initial video. In this one, a marshal and his deputy, transporting prisoners, share camp with Favor and Yates. An attempted break fails, but leaves the marshal wounded, the deputy dead, and Favor and Yates forced to take matters into their own hands.
The second episode, "Incident With an Executioner," aired two weeks later with guest Dan Duryea as a professional killer.
The show has also been called the cattleman's answer to "Wagon Train," dealing with trail bosses who drove their herds on the uncharted Sedalia trial from North Texas to the railheads in the Midwest.
The "Rawhide" series can be purchased through Columbia House Video Library by calling 1-800-638-2922. Each volume contains two of the one-hour episodes, unedited.
The initial release is titled, "Rawhide: The Collectors Edition," sells for $4.95 plus shipping and handling. Additional volumes will be sent every four to six weeks for $19.95 each, unless the customer stops shipments.
On June 25, CBS/Fox is releasing a three-in-one collectors' set made up of the premiere episodes of "Rawhide," "Gunsmoke" and "The Wild, Wild West." John Wayne introduces the "Gunsmoke" volume, which stars James Arness. Robert Conrad stars in "The Wild, Wild West." The set lists for $39.98; individually, the episodes are $14.98.