Season Three of 'Downton Abbey' premiered last night on 'Masterpiece Theater (Classic)'. Viewers in the UK and elsewhere - including those habitues of bit torrents - saw it last year. Not that it matters in terms of the Toobworld timeline - no matter when it was telecast, it's still 1920 in their lives.
To me that meant that all she needed were the bare essentials and it didn't matter where the family ended up - so long as they were together.
But it was the turn of phrase that caught my attention. "Have Gun, Will Travel" was the title of a popular TV Western in the 1950's starring Richard Boone. And a quick search (meaning NOT exhaustive!) of the Internet did not lead to any previous usage from which the series might have borrowed it.
I figured there would be 'Downton Abbey' fanatics out there who might have taken umbrage that this period piece had been sullied by such a reference. So it was off to Google once again, where I found plenty of mentions of that line. Many noted that it was an anachronism from the Future, and worse yet, a reference to a TV shown no less! (Hello? What is 'Downton Abbey' then?)
I suppose it never occurred to them 'Downton Abbey' and 'Have Gun Will Travel' existed in the same TV dimension. Because that way, it's perfectly acceptable that Lady Cora should say such a thing.
Lady Cora's mother, Martha Levenson, mentioned that she had homes in New York and Newport, but I don't know if Paladin ever traveled that far east. However, the family began in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Isidore Levenson made his fortune as a dry goods merchant. If he shipped his goods west, perhaps he hired the services of Paladin to protect his shipments en route to San Francisco.
If the mercenary agreed to make the trip from Cincinnati to San Francisco, it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that Cora and her brother Harry got the chance to meet Paladin when they were children. And that's when she could have seen the business card.
Paladin, like his contemporaries the Brothers Maverick, was a legend of the West. Surely there had to be at least one writer, one "dime novelist", willing to pay him for the chance to publish his stories. I have three such candidates in mind - Nimrod Bligh, Ernest Pratt, and Tobias Wentworth Finch. But Finch and Bligh were rather unsavory characters so I don't think Paladin would have had any truck with them. So even though Mr. Pratt would have been more focused on his own creation (Nicodemus Legend, whom Pratt sometimes portrayed in the real world), he still might have added Paladin into the narrative.
Young Cora Levenson might have been a prim, young lady in the American version of the Victorian Era, properly trained a finishing school like Brackenridge, but she had a well-hidden rebellious streak which we have seen rise to the fore on occasion in 'Downton Abbey'. It could be that as a young girl she kept a well-worn, dime store novel about Paladin under her mattress.
And emblazoned on the cover of that book?
"HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL"
- 'Downton Abbey'
- 'Have Gun, Will Travel'
- 'Hec Ramsey'
- "Around The World In Eighty Days"
- 'Bret Maverick'