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5 sharpshooting facts about Cheyenne

By: H&I Staff    Posted: August 28, 2020, 2:05PM

Image: The Everett Collection

Making history as the first hour-long Western television series, Cheyenne is without a doubt a prominent cornerstone with Western television history. Staring the 6',6 "Man-Mountain" himself, Clint Walker, the series won the hearts of audiences across the country in its initial premiere in 1955. 

But do you know everything about the groundbreaking Western? Here are some quick, sharpshooting facts.

1

Clint Walker was a real deputy sheriff

The star himself had real-life experience as a deputy sheriff prior to his role as Cheyenne and many other noted Western sheriff roles. Before his time in Hollywood, he took a job as deputy sheriff in Las Vegas doing security work for the Sand Hotel. It was there his friend Van Johnson suggested he pick up acting work.

Image: Everett Collection

2

It was the first Warner Brothers series

Cheyenne made history for Warner Bros. by not only being the first-ever hour-long Western series… but also being part of the first television series to ever be produced by the studio. Cheyenne aired as part of the "wheel program" Warner Bros. Presents, the reluctant movie giant's first foray into TV. The show would continue to recycle shots first seen in various Western films made by the studio. 

Image: Everett Collection

3

Cheyenne briefly had a sidekick

For only the first three episodes of the series, Cheyenne had a sidekick named "Smitty" who was played by L.Q. Jones. After the third episode, he was dropped and Cheyenne traveled solo for the rest of the series. 

Image Source: Everett Collection

4

The series used old footage from movies

In an effort to save money, Warner Bros. based a lot of the earlier episodes on previous moves they produced, so they could recycle the stock footage. The first episode of the series, "Mountain Fortress," was based on the 1950 Errol Flynn adventure Rocky Mountain. You can even see one of the movie's characters, "Plank," die in of the reused shots in the first episode.

Image Source: Everett Collection

5

Walker did NOT take his shirt off every episode

A myth that generally follows the show is that Cheyenne becomes bare-chested at some point in each episode. The truth is that he only takes his shirt off in 25 out of the 108 episodes of the series. Sorry, ladies.

Image: Everett Collection