Tuesday, March 7, 2017

26 Men

Watched a pretty bad half-hour TV western from the '50s called 26 Men, about the Arizona Rangers, established in 1901 before Arizona was a state. Kind of amazing that Barry Goldwater was born there in 1909 when the rangers disbanded, because the place was still wild west. My grandparents lived contemporaneously with those people. There's nothing in the show to indicate that it was set in the 20th century. It's like pretty much every other western but even more dull.

It was based on real cases of the Arizona Rangers, kind of a western Dragnet, which was too bad because law enforcement wasn't very interesting back then. Two of the episodes I saw had lynch mobs. The rangers' characters were never developed. They were just doing their jobs and their personalities were irrelevant.

A western set in the 20th century could have Communists, anarchists, trade unionists; Jui-Jitsu was becoming popular especially with Suffragettes.

Everyone on the show had a Colt revolver and a Winchester rifle, like in pretty much every other western. They could have freshened it up with Mausers, Lugers, machine guns.

Clint Eastwood with a Mauser in Joe Kidd, set in New Mexico

Years ago, there was a TV western called Nichols set in Arizona in 1914. James Garner played a sheriff who rode a motorcycle.

The show could have had car chases. They could have had a really bad airplane.

It could have been more like the Soviet movies such as White Sun of the Desert, inspired by American westerns but set in the USSR in the 1920s.

26 Men was produced for syndication, never shown on any network. I read that surviving members of the Arizona Rangers introduced some episodes but I didn't see any.

Had a terrible theme song and it used the same stock music as Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Arizona is just a big horrible desert. No offense to the people of Arizona, but I don't know why anyone would go there now. Back then, before air conditioning, it was just awful.

The show is public domain and available on YouTube and more than one Roku channel.

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