Monday, May 20, 2019

Branded (in color)





Though I almost never watched them, I always loved the theme songs of Westerns in the '60s - The Virginian, Maverick, Death Valley Days, the incomparable Have Gun Will Travel, and this one - a novel in itself, an epic tale acted out every week which was usually better than the episode itself. Chuck Connors stood there, face as craggy and inscrutable as an Easter Island statue, while his medals and stripes and everything that comprised his identity as a soldier and a man was literally ripped off his body. It was a savage ritual which carried an awful whiff of ceremony, of celebrating failure and betrayal, or at least holding it up as an example to scare the others into obedience and submission. The aggressiveness, the casual brutality of it stays with you - and oh, the injustice! "All but one man died, down at Bitter Creek/And they say he ran away." It comes out in the fullness of time that he was protecting an officer and only pretended to run, or something, but that doesn't matter now.  It's one of the best  TV openings ever, and watching it again after all these years did not disappoint. 







And a couple more for good measure. 


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