Death Valley - Located in southeastern
California, this arid patch of land was the inspiration for the
western anthology DEATH VALLEY DAYS/SYN/1952-75.
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Based on actual events, the series told tales of human interest
about the homesteaders and miners that crossed over this barren
landscape in search of a new life in the early days of the 19th cnetury. Death Valley, set aside as a
National monument, is 276 feet below sea level and stretches about
140 miles through California into Nevada.
The DEATH VALLEY DAYS TV program is based
on the radio program created by Ruth Woodman that debuted September 30, 1930 on the NBC Blue
Radio Network. Over the years, the hosts of the program have
included: (The Radio Years - 1930-1944) William Shelley,
George Rand, Tim Frawley, Harry Humphrey, and John "Jack" MacBryde;
(The TV Years - 1952-75) Stanley Andrews, Ronald Reagan, Robert
Taylor, Dale Robertson, and Merle Haggard. In syndication, Will
Rogers, Jr., Ray Milland, Rory Calhoun and John Payne were used to
host the previously aired programs.
Both Radio and TV series were sponsored by Boraxo Company, makers of "Twenty Mule Team Boraxo".
The series haunting opening "Bugle
Theme" was composed by Josef Bonime.
Stanley Andrews, the host of the TV series from 1952 through 1964,
was the last person to play the role of "The Old Ranger." Andrews
died June 23, 1969. in Los Angeles, California. Early in his career,
Andrews was the voice of Daddy Warbucks on "Little Orphan
Annie" radio program.
series remaining years, Hollywood celebrities hosted the program until it
ended in 1975 after 532 episodes. In syndication, the program's
episodes were given alternate titles and hosts: FRONTIER ADVENTURE
(Dale Robertson), THE PIONEERS (Will Rogers, Jr.), TRAILS WEST (Ray
Milland), WESTERN STAR THEATRE (Rory Calhoun) and CALL OF THE WEST
TRIVIA NOTE: Death Valley was the honeymoon site
of Gomez (John Astin) and Morticia (Carolyn Jones) from the bizarre
sitcom THE ADDAMS FAMILY/ABC/1964-66.
See also -
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