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the Wagon Train Trivia
Wagon Train is an American Western series that ran on NBC 1957–62 and then on ABC 1962–65, although the network also aired daytime repeats, as Major Adams, Trailmaster, and Trailmaster (post-1961 episodes without original series lead Ward Bond), from January 1963 to September 1965. The show debuted at #15 in the Nielsen ratings, rose to #2 in the next three seasons, and peaked at 1 in the 1961–62 television season. After moving to ABC in the autumn of 1962, the ratings began to decline, and Wagon Train did not again make the Top 20 listing.
The series initially starred veteran movie supporting actor Ward Bond as the wagon master, later replaced upon his death by John McIntire, and Robert Horton as the scout, subsequently replaced by Robert Fuller a year after Horton had decided to leave the series.
The series was inspired by the 1950 film Wagon Master directed by John Ford and starring Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr., and Ward Bond, and harkens back to the early widescreen wagon train epic The Big Trail (1930) starring John Wayne and featuring Bond in his first major screen appearance playing a supporting role. Horton's buckskin outfit as the scout in the first season of the television series resembles Wayne's, who also played the wagon train's scout in the earlier film.When the original Ward Bond episodes were broadcast, weekday afternoons on ABC beginning in 1963, a new series title and theme would have to be used to separate the two airings and avoid viewer confusion because Wagon Train was still on the ABC evening schedule. Trailmaster was the name was given and a new theme song, the "Trailmaster Theme," was written and conducted by Stanley Wilson. The 50-minute episodes entered syndication under this title, eventually re verting to its original title. The 75-minute episodes were usually syndicated separately, sometimes shown on local stations as "movies".
On January 1, 2011, the Encore Western Channel began airing the series, starting with a marathon of episodes, then airing Monday–Friday after The Virginian.
Ward Bond as Major Seth Adams (1957–61, seasons 1–4). Bond died of a heart attack at age 57 on November 5, 1960, in the middle of the fourth season, and was replaced by John McIntire as wagon master. No explanation was ever given on the show.
Robert Horton as Flint McCullough (1957–62, seasons 1–5).
John McIntire as Christopher Hale (1961–65, seasons 4-8). McIntire had guest starred in a Season 3 episode in the role of Andrew Hale, probably a brother.
Robert Fuller as Cooper Smith (1963–65, seasons 7–8). Fuller and McIntire rotated top billing from week to week on the series.
Frank McGrath as Charlie Wooster (1957–65, seasons 1–8).
Terry Wilson as Bill Hawks (1957–65, seasons 1–8).
Michael Burns as Barnaby West (1960–65, seasons 6–8).
Denny Miller as Duke Shannon (1961–64, seasons 5–7).