I have been watching the Amazing TV Series starring Lloyd Bridges, THE LONER, all week! The 1965-66 TV Series was recently released to dvd by SHOUT FACTORY! Created and primarily written by Rod Serling, it is a Western like no others loaded with values! Rod wrote the pilot prior to THE TWILIGHT ZONE and Dozier remembered it and asked Serling to resurrect it, just after THE TWILIGHT ZONE finished up and CBS needed a Western for it's Saturday night line-up.
It is a GREENWAY PRODUCTION, with Bill Dozier Producing, just months before his BATMAN series would hit the air waves! Some of his actor friends also appear in this series, such as Anne Baxter and Lloyd Gough, to name a few. The theme song is a wonderful theme written by Jerry Goldsmith and the series is scored by Nelson Riddle (You can hear the beginnings of his BATMAN work) and Alexander Courage (STAR TREK).
Bridges is perfect in the title role of Colton. He deals with a variety of situations involving prejudice, immigration, violence, etc. There is even a wonderful comedy episode featuring Allan Sherman. Serling was an Amazing writer and that is why Bridges came back to a series. It is not a typical Western and towards the middle of the shooting, production was temporarily shut down. CBS asked Serling for Action and Violence and he wasn't about to change things mid-stream, but production resumed and they finished out the 26 episode season. Ratings were low due to it's 9:30 PM Saturday night time slot (Competing against HOLLYWOOD PALACE) and it never really found an audience. Some classic TV Gems during this period, snuck past. There were so many great Television shows in the 1960s, that it was easy to do. Creativity and originality are lacking in today's entertainment and Re-boots and remakes are killing those very things. It is refreshing to find a series like this, from the past, that had all of the creative makings of a classic and watch it for the first time.