Stoney Burke is a rodeo rider who wants to win the Golden Buckle, the award to the world's champion saddle bronco rider. He didn't win it, but he encountered a considerable amount of ...
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Stoney Burke is a rodeo rider who wants to win the Golden Buckle, the award to the world's champion saddle bronco rider. He didn't win it, but he encountered a considerable amount of violence along the way.Written by
J.E. McKillop <email@example.com>
On October 1,1962 the short-lived series "Stoney Burke" premiered on ABC
Six years before the role of Steve McGarrett made him a household name on "Hawaii Five-O",actor Jack Lord starred in this critically acclaimed short-lived series about the life of a modern day rodeo rider who competes for the Golden Buckle,the award given to the world champion saddle bronc rider titled "Stoney Burke" that was produced by the multi-talented writer,producer,director Leslie Stevens under his production company Daystar Productions(United Artists Television)that produced an astounding 32 episodes(all in classic black and white) that was on ABC-TV from October 1,1962 until the final episode on May 20,1963. The series aired on the network's Monday night schedule where it ran opposite "The Lucy Show",and "Saints and Sinners" which by the way didn't improve things in the Nielsens,but "Stoney Burke" was the show that replaced "Surfside Six" after more than 2 seasons. This series was especially good but with Leslie Stevens at the helm this was technically about as good as television got in the early-1960's. The quality of this series lies in it's production values,thanks to producer-writer-director Leslie Stevens who made this one of the more intelligent "modern" westerns ever committed to television. This series launched the careers of Warren Oates(Ves Painter),and Bruce Dern(E.J. Stocker)who would go on to bigger and better things in their careers because of this series. Out of the 32 episodes that this series produced,"Stoney Burke" brought along interesting guest directors(like Tom Gries and Gerard Oswald)made contributions to some of the episodes along with superb writing that was essential to the stories presented along with the best acting cast ever assembled. But what made this show stand out was it's beautiful stunning black and white photography coming from up and coming photography directors who would go on to become big time Hollywood heavyweights...from Conrad Hall to Ted McCord,Joesph MacDonald,and Haskell Wexler. Jack Lord gives a stunning performance as the title character,but Warren Oates steals the show as his shifty but resourceful best friend Ves Painter. While Lord and Oates make a great team,Bruce Dern also gives a memorable performance as Stoney's trusty sidekick E.J. Stocker....all given by three superb actors in the roles of their careers.
What also made this show stand out were some of the guest stars that made the show a noir classic...top notch actors ranging from Ina Balin to Robert Duvall, James Coburn, Scott Marlowe, Sally Kellerman, to Charles Bronson, Burgress Meredith, James Mason, Jack Elam, Dub Taylor, Michael Pollard, Diane Baker, to Dyan Cannon just to name a few. After 32 episodes the show was canceled due to low ratings with the final episode of the series that aired on May 20,1963. After the success of "Stoney Burke",Leslie Stevens created the following year an anthology science fiction series that would become one of ABC's biggest hits of the early-1960's "The Outer Limits"...the phenomenal success of that series lasted two seasons before it was gone by mid-1965. After the success of "The Outer Limits",Stevens tried his hand an another TV-series and it wasn't as successful and by 1966 Daystar Productions went out of business. From then on,Stevens was a hired gun at Universal where he produced and directed several shows,among them was "The Name Of The Game"
If ABC had given "Stoney Burke" a chance it would have been around much longer which would have blossomed into a full run series....imagine if "Stoney Burke" stayed around to make the transition to color during it's second season which never happened.....Imagine if ABC have given Leslie Stevens the chance to produce "The Fugitive" rather than independent producer Quinn Martin or better yet imagine if Leslie Stevens was given the chance to helm "Star trek" at NBC instead of Gene Roddenberry...but that never happened. During the early-1960's Stevens did two of television's greatest most original noirs...the modern day western "Stoney Burke",and the science fiction anthology "The Outer Limits"...who knows what the outcome would have been since Stevens put a touch that could have been even better,much less given it a longer stay.
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