Guestward, Ho!

Guestward, Ho! is an American sitcom which aired on the ABC network in the 1960-1961 television season. It was based on the 1956 comic memoir of the same title by New Mexico dude ranch operator Barbara "Babs" Hooton, written in cooperation with Auntie Mame author Patrick Dennis. The series altered the characters' family name from "Hooton" to "Hooten."

Guestward, Ho!
Flip Mark as Brook Hooten with Tonka (1961)
Developed byCy Howard
Written byBob Schiller
Bob Weiskopf
Ronald Alexander
Arthur Julian, based on Guestward Ho! (1956) by Patrick Dennis and Barbara Hooton
Directed byClaudio Guzmán, Desi Arnaz
StarringJoanne Dru
Mark Miller
J. Carrol Naish
Flip Mark
Theme music composerArthur Hamilton
Ending theme"Guestward Ho!"
Composer(s)Earle Hagen
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes38
Executive producer(s)Cy Howard
Producer(s)David Heilweil
Elliott Lewis
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Desilu Productions
DistributorDesilu Sales
Original networkABC
Picture formatBlack and white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 29, 1960 (1960-09-29) 
September 21, 1961 (1961-09-21)


Guestward, Ho! began as a CBS/Desilu Studios pilot episode for Vivian Vance, who had played Lucille Ball's neighbor, Ethel Mertz, on the hit comedy series I Love Lucy and The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show from 1951 to 1960.

Vance played Babs Hooten and veteran film actor Leif Erickson, later of NBC's The High Chaparral, was cast as her husband, Bill Hooten. On viewing the pilot, network executives felt that Vance had become so typecast in her Ethel Mertz role that she was unconvincing playing a leading character in a situation comedy. One executive was heard to say after screening the episode, "I kept waiting for Lucy to come in." As a result, CBS rejected the pilot, and Vance continued to play her supporting role on The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show until the series ended in 1960.

That same year, Guestward, Ho! was taken off the shelf and given two new leads, with movie actress Joanne Dru as Babs Hooten, a former model in the story line, and television actor Mark Miller as Bill Hooten. Flip Mark was cast as their son, Brook Hooten. This time, the show sold and premiered on the ABC Thursday evening schedule preceding The Donna Reed Show. It was primarily sponsored by Ralston-Purina, with 7 Up as an alternate sponsor.


The premise is a New York City family, the Hootens, tired of the urban lifestyle, relocate to operate a dude ranch in New Mexico. They bought the place unseen, and found it to need considerably more work than they had been led to believe. The Hootens befriend the American Indian "Hawkeye" whose "trading post" was the only source of supplies in the vicinity. Hawkeye, played by J. Carrol Naish, was a rather cynical Indian, who sold Indian-looking trinkets which had been mass-produced in Asia, and frequently read The Wall Street Journal, seemingly in search of a way to purchase the country and return it to its "rightful owners". Jeanette Nolan guest starred as Mrs. Winslow in the 1961 episode "Hawkeye's First Love".

Earle Hodgins appeared in at least three episodes as the 67-year-old ranch wrangler named "Lonesome". In the episode "Lonesome's Gal", ZaSu Pitts, formerly of The Gale Storm Show, played his romantic interest. Jody McCrea, whose Wichita Town, an NBC western series in which he starred with his father, Joel McCrea, ended in 1960, and he was cast as an Indian, "Danny Brave Eagle", in the 1961 episode entitled "The Wrestler".

The second episode, after the pilot, is entitled "You Can't Go Home Again", borrowing from Thomas Wolfe's novel, You Can't Go Home Again. The series finale is named "No Place Like Home".

The program ran opposite NBC's Outlaws, with Barton MacLane and Don Collier. Guestward, Ho! was replaced in the fall of 1961 by the relocation of ABC's The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

Guest stars


No.TitleOriginal air date
1"The Hootens Buy a Ranch"September 29, 1960 (1960-09-29)
2"You Can't Go Home Again"October 6, 1960 (1960-10-06)
3"The Lost Tribe"October 20, 1960 (1960-10-20)
4"Babs Meets Phyllis Brady"October 27, 1960 (1960-10-27)
5"Babs and the Cow"November 3, 1960 (1960-11-03)
6"The Hootens Fire Lonesome"November 10, 1960 (1960-11-10)
7"Babs' Mother"November 17, 1960 (1960-11-17)
8"The Thanksgiving Story"November 24, 1960 (1960-11-24)
9"Babs' Vanity"December 1, 1960 (1960-12-01)
10"Babs and the Lion"December 8, 1960 (1960-12-08)
11"The Matchmaker"December 15, 1960 (1960-12-15)
12"The Christmas Spirit"December 22, 1960 (1960-12-22)
13"The Model Mother"December 29, 1960 (1960-12-29)
14"Injun Bill"January 5, 1961 (1961-01-05)
15"The Social Director"January 12, 1961 (1961-01-12)
16"Frontier Week"January 19, 1961 (1961-01-19)
17"Too Many Cooks"January 26, 1961 (1961-01-26)
18"Dimples Goes Hollywood"February 2, 1961 (1961-02-02)
19"No Vacancy"February 9, 1961 (1961-02-09)
20"Manhattan Merry-Go-Round"February 16, 1961 (1961-02-16)
21"Bill, the Candidate"February 23, 1961 (1961-02-23)
22"Babs, the Guest"March 2, 1961 (1961-03-02)
23"Hawkeye's First Love"March 9, 1961 (1961-03-09)
24"Hawkeye, the Mother"March 16, 1961 (1961-03-16)
25"Hawkeye's Stadium"March 23, 1961 (1961-03-23)
26"The Honorary Indian"March 30, 1961 (1961-03-30)
27"The Hootens Build a Barbecue"April 6, 1961 (1961-04-06)
28"Hooten's Statue"April 13, 1961 (1961-04-13)
29"Two Guests From the Past"April 20, 1961 (1961-04-20)
30"Bill, the Fireman"April 27, 1961 (1961-04-27)
31"Babs, the Manager"May 4, 1961 (1961-05-04)
32"Lonesome's Gal"May 11, 1961 (1961-05-11)
33"The Wrestler"May 18, 1961 (1961-05-18)
34"The Hootens Versus Hawkeye"May 25, 1961 (1961-05-25)
35"The Hooten's Second Car"June 1, 1961 (1961-06-01)
36"The Wild West Show"June 8, 1961 (1961-06-08)
37"The Beatniks"June 15, 1961 (1961-06-15)
38"No Place Like Home"June 22, 1961 (1961-06-22)

See also


Brooks, Tim and Marsh, Earle, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present

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