Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Random TV Title: The Men From Shiloh

Well, with Stewart Granger being Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month and all, it seemed like a good opportunity to highlight THE MEN FROM SHILOH, a series I've never seen, but would really like to.

THE MEN FROM SHILOH was really just an extension of THE VIRGINIAN, a weekly 90-minute western series that debuted on NBC in the fall of 1962. By the time it kicked off its ninth season in 1970, it was felt that a change of pace was in order, so movie star Granger was brought in to headline opposite actors James Drury (as the Virginian) and Doug McClure, who had been with THE VIRGINIAN since the beginning.

Even bigger was the show's new look and sound. Obviously inspired by the wave of gritty, filthy Italian westerns in movie theaters and drive-ins all over the U.S., THE MEN FROM SHILOH dirtied up the photography and costumes, gave its leading men facial hair, and offered viewers a brand new theme. Instead of THE VIRGINIAN's majestic Percy Faith theme, each MEN FROM SHILOH kicked off with opening music composed by the great Ennio Morricone, who had scored Sergio Leone's "spaghetti westerns," among many others.

The result may or may not have been popular with TV viewers, though the fact that SHILOH lasted just one season may lean in the latter direction. As far as I know, THE MEN FROM SHILOH is the only TV western of the era to pattern itself after the stylish, operatic, more violent westerns coming out of Europe.

1 comment:

Hal said...

THE MEN FROM SHILOH ranked 18th for the season in the 1970-71 Nielsen ratings. THE VIRGINIAN had missed the top 20 in 1969-70 and had been 17th in 1968-69. Strangely enough, the series was cancelled despite the high ranking.