ABC Western saga Cheyenne, based on the 1947 movie starring Arthur Kennedy, saw the light of day in the fall of 1955, as part of Warner Brothers Presents, a three-series rotating program for the alphabet network.
As a weekly western, Cheyenne premiered September 25, 1956, with Clint Walker (real name: Norman Walker) as an 1860s frontier scout Cheyenne Bodie, a man of Indian descent who was schooled in both white and Cheyenne cultures.
Walker, whose size (6’5″, 235 pounds) prompted Cecil B. DeMille to hire him to play a pharoah’s bodyguard in The Ten Commandments, was the perfect choice for Cheyenne. “I think people like to see a big guy like me get beat up,” the star once said. In every episode, the huge cowboy actor was either horsewhipped, slugged, walloped, kicked, or mauled.” It was all in a day’s work . . . which lasted eight years and 107 episodes.
Off screen things were less smooth, Walker had numerous disagreements with the network over money, especially concerning his personal appearances. Things reached breaking point and Walker quit, not that it deterred the producers. They simply brought in Ty Hardin as new boy Bronco Lane. When Walker and the studio came to terms he returned to the series with Bronco spinning off into his own series.
USA / ABC – Warner / 107×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 20 September 1955 – 13 September 1963
Executive Producer: William T. Orr / Theme Music: William Lara / Producers: Roy Huggins, Arthur Silver
CLINT WALKER as Cheyenne Bodie
TY HARDIN as Bronco Layne
L. Q. JONES as Smitty