Gunsmoke was/is still the greatest for me. Still watch it every evening on the Western Channel. Great producers, costumes, stories, sets, actors (Doc never slipped character) and Arness as Matt-- what a tough Son Of A Gun.
Don't forget Death Valley Days and Sons of Will Sonnett (Brennan always great)
Glen Strange, who played Sam the bartender on GUNSMOKE, actually played the Frankenstein monster 3 times. 1st was House of Frankenstein in 1945, then Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein in1948, and in a haunted house skit on Colgate Comedy Hour with Lou Costello in the '50s. The guy was a singer, a musician, a talented actor--and the best 3rd villain in B Westerns. Incidentally, he stood 6'5" in his socks--an inch taller than James Arness. He was born in New Mexico when it was still a territory, but he grew up on a ranch in Brown County, Texas.
I got to talk to him one time when he & Amanda Blake were doing a personal-appearance tour. He was a really nice guy. He told me the best-paid actors in the B movies were the bad guys. The heroes were all under contract to the various studios on pretty-much fixed salaries, but the guys who played villains weren't under studio contract. They could work in 5 or 6 films in a week & get paid scale for every one of 'em. He said he averaged about $400 a week in the '40s, usually playing 3rd baddie behind Charles King. Most of the 'stars' were working for anywhere from $75 to $125 a week on contract.
"Only fiction" ?? Fiction is the best thing available to exercise your mind.
For me, 1. High Chaparal 2. Gunsmoke 3. Bonanza 4. Have Gun Will Travel, followed by a list of more great entertainment mentioned in other replies. I didn't notice, "The Rebel" (Johnny Yuma) or "Wanted Dead or Alive".
Absolute worst piece of cr** that should never have seen a writer, actor or screen time? "Border Town"
I don't even recall Border Town.Anyone here remember a lame 1960's series called Dirty Sally?If a show starts with an especially annoying theme song then look out Charley!
I was very fond of The Rebel and enjoyed the run of The Virginian as well.Ialso noticed that Stan had mentioned Temple Houston with Jeff Hunter quite some time back.Interesting that Houston died of a cerebral hemorrage at 45 and the same thing got Jeff Hunter at 43 in 1969!