Sunday, December 24, 2006

BRANDED for Christmas

Finishing up some last minute holiday shopping, I came across a box set of the Western TV series BRANDED, and it has been filling the house with holiday cheer every since. Well, as much cheer as you can get from a series about a calvary officer (Chuck Connor as "Jason McCord") who, in the memorable opening credit sequense, is blamed for a massacre and branded a coward. Though (as the lengthy theme song explains), McCord's cowardice was never proven, the title sequense features an especially angry looking officer ripping off McCord's stripes, plucking the buttons off his uniform and finally snapping McCord's sword in half.

So after all that, what's the show about? Well, as the theme song says, "What do you do when you're branded, and you know you're a man?"

In McCord's case, it means you meander around the country side with your broken sword (I dunno, that would have been the first thing I would have tossed) helping folks... folks who inevitably discover you're the infamous Jason McCord. There is some especially tortured reasoning behind McCord's reluctance to speak out on his own behalf (something about refusing to impugn the crazy General who led McCord's unit into the massacre because it would give some craven Senators an excuse to attack the Indians and cause all out war -- okay, whatevah!), so McCord basically takes an enormous amount of abuse week after week after week.

Chuck Connors, whose greatest fame came when he starred in the epic film TERROR SQUAD (story by yours truly, check the IMDB for details if you have the guts!), is pretty good as McCord, and there are a wealth of guest stars, but for a half hour show it can get pretty draggy, and there are only so many times it's "fun" to watch the hero humiliated in front of a crowd/town/church/stable/brigade/sheriff and multiple little kids.

But still, one of the great title sequenses of all time. I'm off to watch season two!


Blogger -Keller said...

Oh, did I love this show when it was on. But, it might have just been the title sequence that got me. I remember as a kid playing "Branded;" running around the neighborhood with our toy swords and pretending to break them over our knees.

Good times!

11:33 AM  

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