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Colt .45 (TV series)

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Colt .45
Wayde Preston as Christopher Colt, 1959
Also known asThe Colt Cousins
Created byBased on the film by
Thomas W. Blackburn
Developed byRoy Huggins
StarringWayde Preston
Donald May
Kenneth MacDonald
Theme music composerMack David
Jerry Livingston
Opening themePerformed by Hal Hopper
ComposersPaul Sawtell
Bert Shefter
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes67
Executive producerWilliam T. Orr
ProducersRoy Huggins
Harry Tatelman
Cedric Francis
Mack David
Joseph Hoffman
Oren W. Haglund (production manager)
Gordon Bau (make-up)
EditorJames Moore
Running time30 minutes
Production companyWarner Bros. Television
Original networkABC
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original release18 October 1957 (1957-10-18) –
27 September 1960 (1960-09-27)
Preceded byColt .45
Related showsMaverick
Shotgun Slade

Colt .45 (also known as The Colt Cousins) is an American Western series, originally starring Wayde Preston, which aired on ABC between October 1957 and September 1960.[1]

The half-hour program is loosely based on the 1950 Warner Bros. film of the same name, starring Randolph Scott. Colt .45 was part of the William T. Orr-produced array of Westerns that Warner produced for ABC in the late 1950s and early 1960s.


Roy Huggins developed the series with Wayde Preston in the part of undercover government agent Christopher Colt, who takes the cover of a traveling Old West pistol salesman, hence the title of the series. Colt .45 also featured fictionalizations of actual historical characters, including Edwin Booth (brother of John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln), Sam Bass, Billy the Kid, Lew Wallace, Judge Roy Bean, Buffalo Bill Cody, Ned Buntline, and Calamity Jane.

Donald May as Sam Colt, Jr., in 1959
Donald May as Sam Colt, Jr., in 1959

During this period, Colt .45 was one of several ABC/WB Western productions, along with Cheyenne, Sugarfoot, Lawman, Maverick, and Bronco. Various series leads occasionally did crossover episodes on some of the other WB programs. One of the most imaginative was the "Hadley's Hunters" episode of Maverick, in which Bart Maverick (Jack Kelly) comes upon Christopher Colt's sales satchel, abandoned in a room and covered with dust, as the series had been cancelled the previous season.

In 1958, series star Wayde Preston left the series because he claimed he was made to do stunts that required a stunt man. Preston was also reportedly unhappy with the show's low budget, which caused other problems. Because of Preston's departure, producers were forced to air repeats of the series along with a few new episodes to complete the 1958–1959 season.[1]

In 1959, Donald May assumed the lead role as Sam Colt, Jr., the cousin of Christopher Colt.[2] After leaving the series, Warner Bros. prevented Preston from obtaining other acting jobs. He eventually returned briefly to the series, but was demoted to a co-starring role with May.[3] Due to the casting changes, the series was eventually marketed in the United Kingdom as The Colt Cousins.

Guest stars

Episode list

Season 1: 1957–58

No Ep Title Directed by: Written by: Air date
11"Judgment Day"
"The Peacemaker"
Douglas HeyesS : Roy Huggins;
T : Marion Hargrove
18 October 1957 (1957-10-18)
22"A Time to Die"Douglas HeyesLeo Gordon25 October 1957 (1957-10-25)
33"The Three Thousand Dollar Bullet"Franklin AdreonEric Freiwald,
Robert Schaefer
1 November 1957 (1957-11-01)
44"Gallows at Granite Gap"Franklin AdreonS : Joseph Chadwick;
T : William F. Leicester
8 November 1957 (1957-11-08)
55"Small Man"Edward BerndsFrederick Brady15 November 1957 (1957-11-15)
66"Final Payment"Franklin AdreonWells Root22 November 1957 (1957-11-22)
77"One Good Turn"Edward BerndsJohn McGreevey29 November 1957 (1957-11-29)
88"Last Chance"Edward BerndsS : Harold Shumate;
T : Gil Doud
6 December 1957 (1957-12-06)
99"Young Gun"Walter GraumanT : Daniel B. Ullman;
S/T : William Driskill,
Joel Rapp
13 December 1957 (1957-12-13)
1010"Rebellion"Walter GraumanS : Anthony Coldeway;
T : James Gunn
20 December 1957 (1957-12-20)
1111"The Gypsies"Alan Crosland Jr.S : Wesley Haynes;
T : Frederick Brady
27 December 1957 (1957-12-27)
1212"Sign in the Sand"Alan Crosland Jr.Frederick Brady3 January 1958 (1958-01-03)
1313"The Mirage"Montgomery PittmanMontgomery Pittman10 January 1958 (1958-01-10)
1414"Blood Money"Abner BibermanDavid Lang17 January 1958 (1958-01-17)
1515"Dead Reckoning"Abner BibermanJack Harvey24 January 1958 (1958-01-24)
1616"Decoy"Leslie H. MartinsonS : Albert Aley,
William MacLeod Raine;
T : James Edmiston
31 January 1958 (1958-01-31)
1717"Rare Specimen"Leslie H. MartinsonGene Levitt,
Eugene Manlove Rhodes
7 February 1958 (1958-02-07)
1818"Mantrap"TBAMontgomery Pittman14 February 1958 (1958-02-14)
1919"Ghost Town"Lee SholemS : Nelson Nye;
T : James Gunn
21 February 1958 (1958-02-21)
2020"The Golden Gun"Richard L. BareFrederick Brady28 February 1958 (1958-02-28)
2121"Circle of Fear"Leslie H. MartinsonS : Ben Markson;
T : Howard Browne
7 March 1958 (1958-03-07)
2222"Split Second"Leslie H. MartinsonS : Orville H. Hampton;
T : William F. Leicester
14 March 1958 (1958-03-14)
2323"Point of Honor"
"Woman on the Stagecoach"
William J. Hole Jr.Steve Fisher21 March 1958 (1958-03-21)
2424"The Deserters"Leslie H. MartinsonS : Norman Daniels;
T : Tony Barrett,
Frederick Brady
28 March 1958 (1958-03-28)
2525"The Manbuster"Oliver DrakeS : Richard Wormser;
T : Oliver Drake
4 April 1958 (1958-04-04)
2626"Long Odds"Franklin AdreonS : Joseph Hoffman;
T : David Lang
11 April 1958 (1958-04-11)

Season 2: 1959

No Ep Title Directed by: Written by: Air date
271"The Escape"Lee SholemT : Irwin Winehouse,
A. Sanford Wolfe
5 April 1959 (1959-04-05)
282"Dead Aim"Lee SholemS : Sid Harris;
T : Wells Root
12 April 1959 (1959-04-12)
293"The Magic Box"George WaggnerIrwin Winehouse,
A. Sanford Wolfe
19 April 1959 (1959-04-19)
304"The Confession"Harold DanielsDwight V. Babcock26 April 1959 (1959-04-26)
315"The Man Who Loved Lincoln"Arthur RipleyS : James Barnett,
Jack Emanuel;
T : Leonard Lee
3 May 1959 (1959-05-03)
326"The Sanctuary"Jodie CopelanS : Jack Emanuel;
T : Frank Gruber,
Dean Riesner
10 May 1959 (1959-05-10)
337"The Saga of Sam Bass"William J. Hole Jr.T : Irwin Winehouse,
A. Sanford Wolfe
17 May 1959 (1959-05-17)
348"Amnesty"William J. Hole Jr.S : James Barnett,
Jack Emanuel;
T : Irwin Winehouse,
A. Sanford Wolfe
24 May 1959 (1959-05-24)
359"The Pirate"Montgomery PittmanS : Day Keene;
T : Finlay McDermid
31 May 1959 (1959-05-31)
3610"Law West of the Pecos"Alan Crosland Jr.John Tucker Battle7 June 1959 (1959-06-07)
3711"Don't Tell Joe"TBAS : Peter Dixon;
T : Maurice Zimm
14 June 1959 (1959-06-14)
3812"Return to El Paso"Lee SholemT : Irwin Winehouse,
A. Sanford Wolfe
21 June 1959 (1959-06-21)
3913"Night of Decision"Leslie H. MartinsonIrwin Winehouse,
A. Sanford Wolfe
28 June 1959 (1959-06-28)

Season 3: 1959–60

No Ep Title Directed by: Written by: Air date
401"Queen of Dixie"Herbert L. StrockIrwin Winehouse,
A. Sanford Wolfe
4 October 1959 (1959-10-04)
412"The Reckoning"TBACarl Onspaugh11 October 1959 (1959-10-11)
423"The Devil's Godson"Herbert L. StrockS : James Barnett,
Jack Emanuel;
T : Malcolm Stuart Boylan
18 October 1959 (1959-10-18)
434"The Rival Gun"TBAS : Mack David;
T : Malcolm Stuart Boylan
25 October 1959 (1959-10-25)
445"The Hothead"Paul GuilfoyleS : Mack David;
T : Milton Raison,
Dean Riesner
1 November 1959 (1959-11-01)
456"A Legend of Buffalo Bill"Emory HorgerS : James Barnett,
Jack Emanuel;
T : William Driskill
8 November 1959 (1959-11-08)
467"Yellow Terror"Herbert L. StrockIrwin Winehouse,
A. Sanford Wolfe
15 November 1959 (1959-11-15)
478"Tar and Feathers"Emory HorgerIrwin Winehouse,
A. Sanford Wolfe
22 November 1959 (1959-11-22)
489"Alias Mr. Howard"Herbert L. StrockT : A. Sanford Wolfe6 December 1959 (1959-12-06)
4910"Calamity"Paul GuilfoyleDwight Newton13 December 1959 (1959-12-13)
5011"Under False Pretenses"TBAS : Elmer Kelton;
T : Dwight Newton
10 January 1960 (1960-01-10)
5112"Impasse"Paul LandresLee Loeb,
Rudy Makoul
31 January 1960 (1960-01-31)
5213"Arizona Anderson"George WaggnerMack David,
Lee Loeb
14 February 1960 (1960-02-14)
5314"The Cause"H. Bruce HumberstoneIrwin Winehouse,
A. Sanford Wolfe
28 February 1960 (1960-02-28)
5415"Phantom Trail"Lew LandersS : James Barnett,
Mack David;
T : Nat Tanchuck
13 March 1960 (1960-03-13)
5516"Breakthrough"TBAKenneth Gamet27 March 1960 (1960-03-27)
5617"Chain of Command"Lew LandersS : Roy Huggins;
T : Howard Browne,
Dean Riesner
5 April 1960 (1960-04-05)
5718"Alibi"Lew LandersS : Edmund Morris;
T : W. Hermanos
12 April 1960 (1960-04-12)
5819"Absent Without Leave"TBAS : Hugh Benson;
T : William F. Leicester
19 April 1960 (1960-04-19)
5920"Strange Encounter"Herbert L. StrockS : Irving Rubine;
T : W. Hermanos,
William F. Leicester
26 April 1960 (1960-04-26)
6021"Trial by Rope"Herbert L. StrockW. Hermanos,
William F. Leicester
3 May 1960 (1960-05-03)
6122"The Gandy Dancers"TBAT : David Lang,
Edmund Morris
10 May 1960 (1960-05-10)
6223"Martial Law"William J. Hole Jr.T : W. Hermanos,
Clair Huffaker
17 May 1960 (1960-05-17)
6324"Attack"William J. Hole Jr.T : W. Hermanos,
Dean Riesner
24 May 1960 (1960-05-24)
6425"Bounty List"Lee SholemT : W. Hermanos,
Finlay McDermid
31 May 1960 (1960-05-31)
6526"Appointment in Agoura"Lee SholemT : W. Hermanos,
Edmund Morris;
S/T : William F. Leicester
7 June 1960 (1960-06-07)
6627"Showdown at Goldtown"Lee SholemS : Kenneth Perkins;
T : W. Hermanos,
William F. Leicester
14 June 1960 (1960-06-14)
6728"The Trespasser"Lee SholemT : Clair Huffaker21 June 1960 (1960-06-21)

Reception and cancellation

Upon its debut in October 1957, Colt .45 was a respectable ratings draw for ABC. It helped ABC win its timeslot against NBC and CBS.[4]

By season two, however, behind the scenes problems caused a dip in viewership. After series star Wayde Preston left the series due his dissatisfaction with working conditions, producers were forced to repeat episodes to fill out the second season. There were also problems with the show's sponsorship which changed repeatedly. According to author Alvin H. Marill, the choice to cast Donald May in the lead role after Preston's departure was not explained in the storyline.[5] Wayde Preston eventually returned to the series but by then, ratings had dropped off and ABC canceled the series in 1960. The final episode aired on 27 September 1960.

Production notes

Theme song

The Colt .45 opening theme music was composed by Hal Hopper with lyrics by Douglas Heyes.


The TV show was adapted into a comic strip by Dan Spiegle, distributed by Dell Comics.[6]


  1. ^ a b Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (17 October 2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present (9 ed.). Ballantine Books. p. 273. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
  2. ^ Abbott, Doug; Jackson, Ronald (2009). 50 Years of the Television Western: A Pictorial History. AuthorHouse. p. 80. ISBN 978-1-434-35925-4.
  3. ^ Moore, Barbara A.; Bensman, Marvin R.; Van Dyke, Jim (2006). Prime-Time Television: A Concise History. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 146. ISBN 0-275-98142-8.
  4. ^ "Sunset Trailblazer in All-Out Race to Grab Adult Western Pull". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.: 2 28 October 1957. ISSN 0006-2510.
  5. ^ Marill, Alvin H. (2011). Television Westerns: Six Decades of Sagebrush Sheriffs, Scalawags, and Sidewinders. Scarecrow Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-810-88132-7.
  6. ^
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Colt .45 (TV series)
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