Colt .45 (TV series)

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Colt .45
Colt .45 Wayde Preston 1959.jpg
Wayde Preston as Christopher Colt, 1959
Also known as''The Colt Cousins''
Created byBased on the film by
Thomas W. Blackburn
Developed byRoy Huggins
StarringWayde Preston
Donald May
Kenneth MacDonald
Theme music composerMack David
Jerry Livingston
Opening themePerformed by Hal Hopper
Composer(s)Paul Sawtell
Bert Shefter
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes67
Executive producer(s)William T. Orr
Producer(s)Roy Huggins
Harry Tatelman
Cedric Francis
Mack David
Joseph Hoffman

Oren W. Haglund (production manager)

Gordon Bau (make-up)
Editor(s)James Moore
Running time24 mins
Original networkABC
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseOctober 18, 1957 (1957-10-18) – September 27, 1960 (1960-09-27)
Preceded byColt .45
Related showsMaverick
Shotgun Slade

Colt .45 (also known as The Colt Cousins) is an American Western series which aired on ABC between October 1957 and September 1960.[1]

The half-hour program is loosely based on the 1950 Warner Bros. film of the same name, starring Randolph Scott. Colt .45 was part of the William T. Orr-produced array of westerns which Warner produced for ABC in the late 1950s and early 1960s.


Roy Huggins developed the series with Wayde Preston in the part of undercover government agent Christopher Colt, who takes the cover of a traveling Old West pistol salesman, hence the title of the series. Colt .45 also featured fictionalizations of actual historical characters including Edwin Booth (brother of John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln), Sam Bass, Billy the Kid, Lew Wallace, Judge Roy Bean, Buffalo Bill Cody, Ned Buntline, and Calamity Jane.

During this period of time, Colt .45 was one of several ABC/WB western productions, along with Cheyenne, Sugarfoot, Lawman, Maverick and Bronco. Various series leads occasionally did crossover episodes on some of the other WB programs. One of the most imaginative was the "Hadley's Hunters" episode of Maverick, in which Bart Maverick (Jack Kelly) comes upon Christopher Colt's sales satchel, abandoned in a room and covered with dust since the series had been cancelled the previous season.

Cast change[edit]

In 1958, series star Wayde Preston left the series because he claimed he was made to do stunts that required a stunt man. Preston was also reportedly unhappy with the show's low budget which caused other problems. Because of Preston's departure, producers were forced to air repeats of the series along with a few new episodes to complete the 1958-1959 season.[1]

In 1959, Donald May assumed the lead role as Sam Colt, Jr., the cousin of Christopher Colt.[2] After leaving the series, Warner Bros. prevented Preston from obtaining other acting jobs. He eventually returned briefly to the series but was demoted to a co-starring role with May.[3]

Guest stars[edit]

Reception and cancellation[edit]

Upon its debut in October 1957, Colt .45 was a respectable ratings draw for ABC. It helped ABC win its timeslot against NBC and CBS.[4]

By season two, however, behind the scenes problems caused a dip in viewership. After series star Wayde Preston left the series due his dissatisfaction with working conditions, producers were forced to repeat episodes to fill out the second season. There were also problems with the show's sponsorship which changed repeatedly. According to author Alvin H. Marill, the choice to cast Donald May in the lead role after Preston's departure was not explained in the storyline.[5] Wayde Preston eventually returned to the series but by then, ratings had dropped off and ABC canceled the series in 1960. The final episode aired on September 27, 1960.

Production notes[edit]

Theme song[edit]

The Colt .45 opening theme music was composed by Hal Hopper with lyrics by Douglas Heyes.


The TV show was adapted into a comic strip by Dan Spiegle, distributed by Dell Comics. [6]


  1. ^ a b Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2007-10-17). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present (9 ed.). Ballantine Books. p. 273. ISBN 0-345-49773-2.
  2. ^ Abbott, Doug; Jackson, Ronald (2009). 50 Years of the Television Western: A Pictorial History. AuthorHouse. p. 80. ISBN 1-434-35925-5.
  3. ^ Moore, Barbara A.; Bensman, Marvin R.; Van Dyke, Jim (2006). Prime-Time Television: A Concise History. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 146. ISBN 0-275-98142-8.
  4. ^ "Sunset Trailblazer in All-Out Race to Grab Adult Western Pull". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.: 2 October 28, 1957. ISSN 0006-2510.
  5. ^ Marill, Alvin H. (2011). Television Westerns: Six Decades of Sagebrush Sheriffs, Scalawags, and Sidewinders. Scarecrow Press. p. 46. ISBN 0-810-88132-2.
  6. ^

External links[edit]