In August, the Television Crossover Hall of Fame celebrates the TV Western, so the Addams Family theme is on hiatus for this month.
The TVXOHOF has had Bronco Layne in its sights for awhile, especially since he was involved in the first two most populated TV crossovers. [More on that later.]
But interest in Bronco’s membership ramped up with the passing of Ty Hardin on August 3, 2017. Even that date seemed like Destiny. But for one reason or another, he kept missing the cut in the following years. We’re not holding off any longer, however. (It was tempting to wait another year to mark the 5th anniversary of his passing. But the 4th anniversary works as a connection to The Numbers of ‘Lost’.)
And so, today the TVXOHOF welcomes its latest inductee…
When Clint Walker walked out on his ABC series ‘Cheyenne’ in 1958 during a contract dispute with Warner Bros., Hardin got his big break. Warner bought out Hardin's contract from Paramount Studios and installed him into ‘Cheyenne’ for the remainder of the season, as the country cousin "Bronco Layne".
Apparently, Bronco Layne is the one cowpoke in the WB stable who had the most episodes in which he was shirtless. I read through the IMDb episode summaries and somebody was keeping a tally of those episodes!
[Officially entitled ‘Cheyenne: Bronco’ or ‘The Cheyenne Show: Bronco.’ Only season 2 was called ‘Bronco’.]
Tom's Aunt Nancy begs him to defend his cousin---Abram Thomas, aka The Canary Kid, who's been charged with murder. Tom is reluctant, considering his past experiences with the Canary, until Aunt Nancy tells him that Canary's gang is holding a judge hostage and threatening to kill him if their leader isn't freed. Tom agrees to defend Canary, despite the judge's bias---and Canary's further shenanigans.
- Hadley's Hunters (1960)
A vainglorious sheriff gives Bart five days to track down a supposed stagecoach robber, Cherokee Dan Evans. Evans is innocent, and Bart has to figure out a way to avoid the bounty on his head if he fails.
- Angel (1961)
Riding through Leadville, where a ruthless group of thugs has been forcing out or killing anyone who stakes out rival mine claims, Tom comes across a deaf-mute girl who's father has just been murdered by them. The killers think she can't identify them, but Toothy Thompson, who knows sign language, can communicate with her and finds out she can. Toothy and Tom are both deputized by the local sheriff, and Bronco Layne also arrives in town to help out.
- Duel at Judas Basin (1961)
Cheyenne, Bronco Layne and Sugarfoot battle a trader suspected of selling guns to the Indians. Cheyenne and Sugarfoot work for Ian Stewart who buys an option for 10,000 acres but the trader wants to kill the sale due to its location.
Bronco Layne met plenty of historical figures, many of whom appeared in other TV shows. This creates degrees of separation to connect Bronco to those other series. Many of them were played by other actors in those other shows, especially Jesse James, Belle Starr, General Wallace, and even Edwin Booth. The difference in their physical appearances could be attributed to a change in perspective, as they were being seen by other characters than Bronco Layne.Among the historical characters he met:
- Belle Starr in “Shadow of Jesse James” (Jeanne Cooper)
- Jesse James in “Shadow of Jesse James” (James Coburn)
- Cole Younger in “Shadow of Jesse James” (Richard Coogan)
- Jim Younger in “Shadow of Jesse James” (James Westmoreland)
- Bob Younger in “Shadow of Jesse James” (Bill Tennant)
- John Wesley Hardin in “The Turning Point” (Scott Marlowe)
- Edwin Booth in “Prince of Darkness” (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.)
- Butch Cassidy in “The Equalizer” (Steve Brodie)
- Billy Doolin in “The Equalizer” (Sheldon Allman)
- General William Tecumseh Sherman (Frank Ferguson)
- General George Meade in “Burning Springs” (Morris Ankrum)
- Sitting Bull in “Payroll of the Dead” (Francis MacDonald)
- John Tunstall in “Death of an Outlaw” (Alan Caillou)
- Pat Garrett in “Death of an Outlaw” (Rhodes Reason)
- General Lew Wallace in “Death of an Outlaw” (Forrest Lewis)
- Billy the Kid in “Death of an Outlaw” (Stephen Joyce)
- Billy the Kid in “The Soft Answer” (Ray Stricklyn)
- Wild Bill Hickock in “Montana Passage” (Charles Cooper)
- Wild Bill Hickock in “One Evening in Abilene” (Jack Cassidy)