Cowboy Names: Back in the saddle again
In the L.A. Times the other day, an article talked about prime-time television’s “reinvigorated love of the western, where projects are sprouting like cactus in the desert…and viewers may see the biggest glut of westerns since the genre’s heyday of the ‘60s.”
It was that heyday that incited the stampede of names that hadn’t been heard in a century onto the boys’ popularity lists of the 1950s, sixties and seventies, some of which are still riding tall in the saddle.
I thought it might be fun to look back at those TV cowboy names, and trace the old black-and-white shows that re-introduced them –we can check later and see whether the series scheduled to be revived, like The Rifleman, will use the same names or resurrect/create others.
Here’s some history of what and who and when. Clearly the favorite nom de cowboy was Clay, chosen by at least five different scripters. It’s also kind of amazing to see the sheer number of westerns there were on the small screen mid-century. Was there room on the schedule for anything else?
Aeneas—Wichita Town, 1959
Barnabas—The Iron Horse, 1966
Bo—The Chisholms, 1979
Burgandy (!)—The Westerner, 1960
Chalk—The Outlaws, 1960
Clayt—The Monroes, 1966
Cooper—The Chisholms, 1979, Wagon Train, 1957
Emmett—The Virginian, 1962
Flint—Wagon Train, 1957
Gideon—The Chisholms 1979
Heck—The Outlaws, 1960
Hoby– Trackdown, 1957 (Robert Culp)
Jebediah—The Cowboys, 1974
Jesse—Cimarron City, 1958
Lane—Cimarron City, 1958
Micah—The Rifleman, 1958
Reno—The High Chaparral, 1967
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on December 8th, 2011 at 12:50 pm
I love Cheyenne on a guy! Especially because of Cheyenne Jackson, and also the latin singer Chayanne. Definitely cooler than on a girl. It would go nicely with a brother named Etienne.
Rowdy is still surfing just outside the top1000.
Temple is really interesting, not sure it could work these days.
on December 8th, 2011 at 3:42 pm
I’m surprised to see Shane isn’t on this list.
on December 8th, 2011 at 8:07 pm
Don’t forget all the Jameses…And the brothers Jason, Joshua, and Jeremy, which I’m sure contributed to all the Jasons/Joshuas in the late 70s and early 80s.
I loved “The Wild Wild West,” and have liked both the names Artemus(as) and Gordon since then. Ross Martin (whose real first name was Martin) was a genius and probably one of the most underrated actors of the 20th century.
As a ten year old, my babysitter’s name was Dale, after Dale Evans, and her brothers were Alan and Gary. They — Alan and Gary — had given her the name to contribute the cowboy tradition.
It’s funny, I grew up watching the Western kids’ shows — Sky King, Roy Rogers, Fury, My Friend Flicka — as well as Bonanza, Destry, Gunsmoke, etc and yet most cowboy names leave me cold. It really was the horses I liked!
on December 8th, 2011 at 10:33 pm
Don’t forget Gil and Pete also from Rawhide
on March 1st, 2012 at 7:40 pm
How about Ennis and Jack from “Brokeback Mountain?” I love that movie and while it’s not what most people would think of as a “cowboy movie,” it’s a pretty good movie and it involves cowboys.
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