When John Payne decided to take on the challenge of a TV series in 1957, he had appeared in eighty films, six of them westerns. His show, The Restless Gun, was a western which premiered on September 23, 1957, on NBC and featured the actor as Vint Bonner, a Civil War veteran. Vint rode a horse he called Scar.
“The character is that of a sympathetic working cowhand, an itinerant who spends six months in one town, a year in another, and who is pretty well known as a dependable, nice guy,” said Payne. “He has a reputation for being fairly handy with a gun, but he’s no gunfighter, and he takes pains to play down this skill as much as possible.”
For 77 episodes, Payne served as not only star but also executive producer, writer, and narrator. He owned fifty percent of the program through his Window Glen Productions company.
The series was based on a radio series called The Six Gun that starred Jimmy Stewart (although the character was called Britt Ponset) and the series itself first appeared as an episode of The Schlitz Playhouse of Stars.
“I ride with the wind, my eyes on the sun and my hand on my restless gun…” – From the theme song.
USA – NBC – ABC – MCA – Revue – Window Glen/ 77×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 23 September 1957 – 14 September 1959 (NBC) and 12 October 1959 – 30 September 1960 on ABC
John Payne as Vint Bonner