1 9 5 1 – 1 9 5 8 (USA)
113 x 30 minute episodes
“James Butler Hickok, mister” our hero would announce to all and sundry before his fat sidekick, Jingles, would elaborate, “That’s Wild Bill Hickok, mister! The bravest, strongest, fightingest U.S. Marshal in the whole West!”
The real Hickok was a folk hero of the American Old West. His skills as a gunfighter and scout, along with his reputation as a lawman, provided the basis for his fame.
Hickok worked at different times as a stagecoach driver, Pony Express rider and Union Army scout (scouting for General Custer at one stage). He also took up the post of Marshal of Abilene, Kansas – all of which he combined with a passion for gambling, which would eventually cost him his life at the age of 39 years.
The hand that Hickok was holding when he was shot in the back of the head – a pair of black aces and a pair of black eights – became known as Dead Man’s Hand and appears variously in popular culture even to this day.
Playing the title role here was Hollywood matinee idol Guy Madison. His sidekick, Jingles, was played by American character actor Andy Devine.
Madison and Devine also portrayed their roles on the radio at the same time and during the 1950s, several episodes of the show were spliced together and released as feature movies.
In the 1950s the number of Western series on US television seemed to multiply on a weekly basis. This series ran for eight seasons from 1951 to 1958, starting in syndication, but running on CBS from 1955 to 1958, and, at the same time, on ABC from 1957 to 1958.
Buckshot was the name of Wild Bill’s horse, while Jingles’ suffering steed was called Joker.
Marshal Wild Bill Hickok
Deputy Marshal Jingles P. Jones