We never knew Paladin's real name on 'Have Gun Will Travel'. He had been a dissolute gambler who had wasted his life, including an education at West Point.
He found his purpose in life during a confrontation with a dying gunman named Smoke, who was protecting the rights of some farmers against a brutish cattle baron.
Like Saul on the road to Tarses, the gambler saw the light and found his true calling: upon the death of Smoke, he took up the cause of those farmers and anyone else who needed his help. For those who just needed to hire his services (i.e. his skill with a gun), he was a mercenary with a fee high enough to reflect how good he was. But the pursuit of Justice would trump the wishes of his clients whenever there was a conflict between the two.
Like the song described him, Paladin was a knight without armor in a savage land.
And now Eminem, the rapper and star of "8 Mile", wants to remake 'Have Gun Will Travel' as a theatrical release.
But it's not to be a faithful remake. It won't be set in the late 1800s; it will the present day. It won't be taking place in the Old West, but in Detroit's inner city instead. And instead of being a soldier of fortune, something of a ronin with morals and ethics, Eminem's version would be a bounty hunter... not exactly the most honorable of professions.
And can you picture Eminem as a man of erudition and learning, one who loves the finer points of culture?
Yeah. Same here.
So it goes - from West Point to what's the point?
Why did they even bother to buy the rights to the property i? From what I understand, you can't copyright a title, so if that's all they wanted, they could have just taken it, right? (Maybe I'm wrong - it won't be the first or last time.)
But stripping it of everything tha tmade the show unique - didn't Frank Spotnitz's experience with Carl Kolchak teach them anything?
I think the real impetus for this project was the success of "Four Brothers". (Was it a success?) It was the inner city update of "The Sons Of Katie Elder", another Western.
If this proves successful, you can expect other Westerns to get the inner city treatment. (I think "McCabe & Mrs. Miller" and "High Plains Drifter" would probably work in that form.)
But taking a TV Western and converting it to the inner city of today, one could take it to ridiculous extremes.
'F Troop' as a comic version of "Fort Apache: The Bronx".
This update of 'Have Gun Will Travel' will be nightmare enough, thanks.