Joel McCrea as Ranger Jayce Pearson had the lead role in the radio version of the subject series. It was, to my knowledge, the last of the radio westerns to transition to television. For the role of Jayce Pearson, Screen Gems chose Willard Parker. Parker, born in Manhattan, was a star on the Broadway Theater. From there he did Grade B action films, mostly of them set in the Old West. Tall, lean, and handsome, Willard Parker fit the cowboy mold very well. His big breakthrough in the movies came in the 1953 musical Kiss Me Kate.
In that film, Parker played Tex Callaway, the cowboy that wanted to marry Kathryn Grayson. Willard did very well. I don’t if that prompted Screen Gems to get him for the Tales of Texas Rangers. One difference from radio was the addition of a partner named Clay Morgan. For this character, the SG chose Harry Lauter. Lauter was one of the most recognized faces in both movies and television. His appearances are too many list. Tales of Texas Rangers was Harry Lauter’s only starring role.
The show opened and closed with about 20 Rangers marching through Haydentown, New Mexico. Movie actor Russell Hayden set up this “town” and it became the location for many western movies. The Texas Rangers marched to the tune of The Eyes of Texas are Upon You with different words. The twist to this western was unique; some episodes were in Post Civil War Texas and others were Cops and Robbers set in the fifties. It showed the methods of crime detection appropriate to each period . There were 52 programs first on CBS on Saturday mornning and then on ABC in prime time. Of the 52 programs, 39 are available from various dealers. SONY Corporation owns the rights to the series. With some interest, they could release the remaining 13. I would appreciate some help.
These are the titles of the 13 fims that SONY holds:
Bandits of El Dorado
Last Days of Boot Hill
Buckaroo from Powder River