Q & A: Gunslinger; Tony the Pony

I get a lot of e-mails from people asking me about television shows, made-for-TV movies or miniseries they remember from years or decades past. I try to answer each question as best I can. Every now and then I like to dig through my inbox and pull out a few choice e-mails to answer here at Television Obscurities for everyone to read. Keep reading for today’s questions and answers.

I’m trying to remember a western series from the 60’s that was on very briefly. For some reason, I keep thinking the theme song was really cool. Was the name “Gunslinger”? Help!
Buff

Gunslinger aired on CBS from February to September 1961 on Thursdays at 9:00PM. It replaced The Witness. The show was set a few years after the end of the Civil War and starred Tony Young as Cord, an officer in the United States Cavalry who works undercover out of Fort Scott in New Mexico. Preston Foster played Captain Zachary Wingate, Fort Scott’s commanding officer. Midge Ware co-starred as Miss Amby, who ran a supply store at Fort Scott.

The set for Fort Scott cost an impressive $100,000 and covered several acres. The theme song, composed by Dimitri Tiomkin, was sung by Frankie Laine. Gunslinger was produced by historian Charles Marquis Warren. Only 12 episodes were produced and aired.

In 1979 a kids show aired on our NBC station, which was located in Memphis, TN. The show was Tony the Pony, it was live action, but the pony was someone in a costume. I am thinking that show could have been produced in Memphis from the NBC channel 5 station. I don’t know. I have looked all over the internet for information on that show and there seems to be none. The show only lasted a few episode in early spring of 1979. I know that it existed, I remember watching it.
Charles

As far as I can tell, Tony the Pony was first syndicated in 1977. I don’t know who produced the series or any of the actors and actresses who appeared in it. In fact, I don’t know much about Tony the Pony at all. As with all syndicated fare, the show aired on different local stations across the country at different times. It aired Mondays on KFMB (a CBS affiliate) in Los Angeles at 3PM, starting in July 1979, and Saturdays at 6:30PM in Chicago on WBBM (another CBS affiliate) beginning in August 1979. It first aired in New York City on WCBS (what would you know, yet another CBS affiliate) in 1979, shown at 7:30PM on Thursdays. Later, in 1986, it aired Sunday mornings in New York City.

Does the fact that in each city Tony the Pony aired on a CBS affiliate mean anything? I doubt it. Charles remembers watching it on an NBC affiliate in Memphis. I don’t know how many episodes of Tony the Pony were produced. Its possible only a handful of episodes were filmed and then recycled constantly. Here’s a brief description of the series from The Chicago Tribune: “The adventures of Jon and his magical horse as they take viewers through a dark cave to meet the Despicable Witch; the Galloping Ghost; Rupert, a robot run amok; Utter Chaos; and Common Sense.” Sounds interesting.


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