Tales of the Texas Rangers

Tales of the Texas Rangers is a 20th century Western old-time radio and television police procedural drama which originally aired on NBC Radio from 1950 to 1952 and later on CBS Television from 1955 to 1958. Film star Joel McCrea voiced the radio version as the fictitious Texas Ranger Jace Pearson, who uses the latest scientific techniques to identify criminals. His faithful horse, Charcoal (or "Charky"), helps Pearson to track down the culprits. The radio shows, some of which are available on the Internet, are reenactments of actual Texas Ranger cases.

Tales of the Texas Rangers
Willard Parker (left) and Harry Lauter in 1957.
Written byEric Freiwald
Robert Schaefer
Directed byStacy Keach, Sr.
Lew Landers
Irving J. Moore
George Blair
Earl Bellamy
Robert G. Walker
StarringWillard Parker
Harry Lauter
Opening theme"These are Tales of Texas Rangers"
Composer(s)Redd Harper
Country of origin United States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes52
Executive producer(s)Stacy Keach, Sr.
Harry Briskin
Producer(s)Stacy Keach, Sr.
Colbert Clark
Running time30 mins. (approx)
Original networkCBS
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseAugust 27, 1955 
December 26, 1958

The television version was produced and also directed for several episodes by Stacy Keach, Sr. It was sponsored for part of its run by Wheaties cereal. Captain Manuel T. "Lone Wolf" Gonzaullas, who was said to have killed thirty-one men during his 30-year career as a Texas Ranger, was the consultant for the television series, as he had been for the earlier radio series. The television version was filmed by Screen Gems.[1]

On radio, Joel McCrea's Pearson often worked by request with a local sheriff's office or police department. But in the television version, Willard Parker assumed the role of Jace Pearson and had a regular partner, Ranger Clay Morgan, who had been an occasional character on the radio show. Morgan was portrayed in the television version by Harry Lauter. William Boyett appeared five times on the television series, including the role of Wade Crowell in the 1955 premiere episode, "Ransom Flight."[1]

During the opening and closing credits of the television series, the actors march toward the camera as an off-screen men's chorus sings the theme song, "These Are Tales of Texas Rangers", to the tune of "The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You" and "I've Been Working on the Railroad". The radio series used contemporary cases and modern detective methods to solve crimes; it was a procedural drama, in many ways Jack Webb's Dragnet with a western flavor. The television version had some episodes set in the 1950s, comparable in some ways to Rod Cameron's syndicated series, State Trooper. Other episodes were set in the 19th century in a traditional western genre. In each case, Parker and Lauter were involved with chases and shoot-outs. The weaponry varied greatly between the modern and older stories.[1]

Irving J. Moore, later with Gunsmoke, began his career as a director on two episodes of Tales of the Texas Rangers.[2] Besides Keach and Moore, the other directors included Lew Landers, George Blair, and Earl Bellamy.[3]

Guest stars (TV series)

  • Chris Alcaide, as Clint Hollister in "Uranium Pete", as Slade in "Hail to the Rangers" (both 1955), and as Ben Thomas in "Trail Herd" (1957)
  • Stanley Andrews, four episodes, mainly as Marshal MacDonald
  • Morris Ankrum, as Colonel Cole Bryson in "Trail Herd" (1957)
  • Gregg Barton, as George Webster in "Horseman of the Sierras" (1956) and as Quiqley in "Double Reward" (1957)
  • Ray Boyle, in "Streamlined Rustlers" (1957)
  • Lane Bradford, as Asa Brockway in "Blazing Across the Pecos" and as Big Jack in "The Rough Tough West" (both 1955)
  • X Brands, as Johnnie Tyce in "Whirlwind Raiders" (1957)
  • Paul Brinegar, as the lead guest star in "The Hobo" (1956)
  • Harry Cheshire, as Joe Chaney in "Desert Fury" (1958)
  • Andy Clyde in "Hardrock's Dilemma" and "Double Reward" (both 1957)
  • Michael Dante, as Alfred in "Edge of Danger" (1958)
  • Anthony Eisley, as Jack Carr in "Kickback" (1958)
  • Dick Elliott, as prospector Pete Cooper in "Uranium Pete" (1955) and as Sheriff Tiny Morris in "Both Barrels Blazine" (1957)
  • Frank Ferguson, as Dembrow in "Deadfall" (1958)
  • Leo Gordon, as Joe Brock in "Desert Fury" (1958)
  • Ron Hagerthy, as Jim Hartley in "The Devil's Deputy" (1956)
  • Don C. Harvey, as Milo Paxin in "Return of the Rough Riders" (1955)
  • Harry Harvey, Jr., as Jeff Thorpe in "Traitor's Gold" (1958)
  • Ed Hinton, as Matt Carter in "Blazing Across the Pecos" and as Walker in "The Rough, Tough West" (both 1955)
  • I. Stanford Jolley, as Sheriff Clinton in "West of Sonora"; the sheriff fights a former outlaw for custody of a little girl.
  • Jimmy Lydon, as Lt. Jared Evans in "Warpath" (1958)
  • Ewing Mitchell, as Tom Weldon in "Whirlwind Raiders" (1957)
  • Dennis Moore, as Jim Webb in "Panhandle" (1956)
  • Burt Mustin, as Ned Watkins in "Home in San Antone" (1955)
  • Gregg Palmer, as Pete Hackett in "Panhandle" (1956)
  • Eddie Parker, three times and as stuntman
  • John M. Pickard, as Frank Warren in "Ransom Flight", the series premiere
  • Paul Picerni, as Philip Conzog in "Gypsy Boy" (1957)
  • Denver Pyle, as Noah Reed in "Texas Flyer" (1958)
  • Rhodes Reason, as Sheriff Tom Keever in "Uranium Pete" and as Dave in "Hail to the Rangers" (both 1955)
  • Olan Soule, as Bill Peters in "Steel Trap" (1958)
  • Marjorie Stapp, as Stacey Walker in "Ambush" (1958, series finale)
  • Dub Taylor, as Jack Geyer in "The Fifth Plague" (1958)
  • Pierre Watkin, as Ross Oliver in "Jace and Clay" (1958)
  • Grant Withers, as Ramrod Johnson in "Cattle Drive" (1958)[1][3]

Radio episode log

Number Title Airdate Notes
AUDJust A Number04-13-50  :27:40
1Title Unknown07-08-50  :29:40
2The White Elephant07-15-50  :29:40
3Apache Peak07-22-50  :29:40
4The Trigger Man07-29-50  :29:40
5Quick Silver08-05-50  :29:30
6The Broken Spur08-12-50  :29:10
7Fool's Gold08-19-50  :29:40
8The Open Range08-26-50  :29:40
9Play For Keeps09-02-50  :29:50
10Dead Or Alive09-09-50  :29:30
11Candy Man09-16-50  :29:40
12Open And Shut09-23-50  :29:20This is the broadcast of 11-11-51 of the same title.
13Clean Up09-30-50  :29:40
14Living Death10-08-50  :29:40Show moves to Sundays at this point
15Dead Give-Away10-15-50  :29:40
16Title Unknown10-22-50  :30:00
17Soft Touch10-29-50  :29:50
18The White Suit11-05-50  :30:00
19Blood Relative11-12-50  :30:00
20Hanging By A Thread11-26-50  :30:00show of 11-19 Pre-Empted for Hedda Hopper Program
21Room 11412-03-50  :30:00
22The Lucky Dollar12-10-50  :30:00
23The Cactus Pear12-17-50  :30:00
24Christmas Present12-24-50  :30:00Christmas Program
25The Devil's Share12-31-50  :30:00
26Deadhead Freight01-07-51  :30:00
27Death In The Cards01-14-51  :30:00
28Blood Harvest01-21-51  :30:00
29Title Unknown01-28-51  :30:00
30Logger's Larceny02-04-51  :30:00
31The Hatchet02-11-51  :30:00
32Sweet Revenge02-18-51  :30:00
33The Trap02-25-51  :30:00
34Blind Justice03-11-51  :30:00Show of 3/4 Pre-empted for "Theatre Guild's" HAMLET
35Death By Adoption03-18-51  :30:00
36Breakdown03-25-51  :30:00
37Pressure04-01-51  :30:00
38Bad Blood04-08-51  :30:00
39Conspiracy04-15-51  :30:00
40Canned Death04-22-51  :30:00
41Title Unknown04-29-51  :30:00
42No Living Witnesses05-06-51  :30:00
43Paid In Full05-13-51  :30:00
44Squaredance05-20-51  :30:00
45Joy Ride05-27-51  :30:00
46Death Shaft09-30-51  :30:00
47The Wheelchair Killer10-07-51  :30:00
48Play For Keeps10-14-51  :30:00
49Fugitive Trail10-21-51  :30:00
50The White Elephant10-28-51  :30:00
51Helping Hand11-04-51  :30:00
52Open And Shut11-11-51  :30:00
53Wild Crop11-18-51  :30:00
54The Blow Off11-25-51  :30:00
55The Dead Give-Away12-02-51  :30:00
56Death Plant12-09-51  :30:00
57Pick-Up12-16-51  :30:00
58Christmas Payoff12-23-51  :30:00Christmas Program
59Killer's Crop12-30-51  :30:00
60Birds Of A Feather01-06-52  :30:00
61Clip Job01-13-52  :30:00
62Blood Trail01-20-52  :30:00
63Night Chase01-27-52  :30:00
64The Rub Out02-03-52  :30:00
65Hitchhiker02-10-52  :30:00
66Cold Blood02-17-52  :27:20
67Bright Boy02-24-52  :30:00
68The Ice Man03-02-52  :30:00
69Dream Farm03-09-52  :30:00
70Prelude To Felony03-16-52  :30:00
71Nighthawk03-30-52  :30:00Program of 3-23 Preempted
72Troop Train04-06-52  :30:00
73Uncertain Death04-13-52  :30:00
74Illusion04-20-52  :30:00
75Address Unknown04-27-52  :30:00
76Little Sister05-04-52  :30:00
77Unleashed Fury05-11-52  :30:00
78Smart Kill05-18-52  :30:00
79Jailbird05-25-52  :30:00
80Sell-Out06-01-52  :30:00
81Illegal Entry06-08-52  :30:00
82Travesty06-15-52  :30:00
83Knockout06-22-52  :30:00
84Ex-Con06-29-52  :30:00
85The Boomerang07-06-52  :30:00
86Finger Man07-13-52  :30:00
87Round Trip07-20-52  :30:00
88Stick-Up07-27-52  :30:00
89Double Edge08-03-52  :30:00
90Last Stop08-10-52  :30:00
91Cover-Up08-17-52  :30:00
92Three Victims08-24-52  :30:00
93Misplaced Person08-31-52  :30:00
94Alibi09-07-52  :30:00
95Drive-In09-14-52  :30:00

Comic book adaptations

The series was adapted into a comic book distributed by Dell Comics and drawn by Dan Spiegle.[4] It also inspired Willy Vandersteen's Suske en Wiske album De Texasrakkers.[5]


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