1 9 5 7 – 1 9 5 9 (USA)
77 x 30 minute episodes
“I ride with the wind, my eyes on the sun, and my hand on my Restless Gun.”
Originally aired as a single play on the CBS anthology Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, the western series The Restless Gun aired on NBC from 1957 to 1959.
John Payne (best known as the Santa-believing attorney in Miracle on 34th Street) played the titular character, whose name was Vint Bonner (he was called ‘Britt Ponset’ in the pilot, which in turn was based on a short-lived radio series called The Six Shooter, which starred James Stewart).
World-weary and disillusioned, Bonner was a professional gunfighter (like Paladin in Have Gun Will Travel) in the post-Civil War southwest and carried a special kit that extended his colt’s effective range by attaching a barrel extension and a rifle stock to his handgun.
When Payne decided to take on the challenge of a TV series in 1957, he had appeared in eighty films, six of them Westerns. For 77 episodes of The Restless Gun, he served as not only the star but also executive producer, writer and narrator. He owned 50% of the show through his Window Glen Productions company.
The Restless Gun was so popular at the time that it had its own comic book and was part of Topps’ 1958 set of TV Western trading cards.