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Destry (TV series)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Gavin Destry 1964.JPG
Gavin as Harrison Destry.
StarringJohn Gavin
Composer(s)Jerry Goldsmith (three episodes)
Cyril J. Mockridge (one episode)
Morton Stevens (one episode)
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Producer(s)Frank Telford
Running time48-50 minutes
Production company(s)Revue Studios
DistributorNBC Universal Television Distribution
Original networkABC
Picture formatBlack and white (1964)
Original releaseFebruary 14 –
May 8, 1964

Destry is a Western television series starring John Gavin that originally aired on the ABC television network from February 14, 1964 until May 8, 1964. Destry was based on the classic James Stewart Western, Destry Rides Again, and a subsequent remake, Destry, starring Audie Murphy.


In the original films the main character is Tom Destry, a Western lawman who is expert with a gun but still prefers to use non-violent means to settle problems with outlaws. In the television series John Gavin portrays Harrison Destry, son of Tom, who had been a lawman until he was framed for a crime and jailed. Destry therefore follows Harrison after his release from prison as he wanders the West in search of the people who framed him.

As in the earlier feature films, many comedic situations arise as Destry goes to great lengths to avoid violence whenever troubles confront him. Gavin, in describing his character, stated, "To Destry, a hero is a man who thinks slower than a coward. While his father died with his boots on, Destry believes it is better to live with his boots on."[1]


1964 Destry John Gavin.jpg

In October 1963, the Los Angeles Times reported that Destry would be rushed into production to use John Gavin.[2] The new series was assigned the broadcast timeslot of the recently cancelled 77 Sunset Strip.[3]

Some of the guest stars cast for Destry included Chris Alcaide, Med Flory, Ron Hayes, Roger Mobley, Stuart Randall, Barbara Stuart, and Olive Sturgess. Gavin in his role as the son of Tom Destry, was the fifth actor to play the character "Destry", following the film stars Tom Mix, James Stewart, Audie Murphy, and Joel McCrea. In a 1963 interview, Gavin described the character's personality and reflected on the role's importance within the context of his acting career:

When I came to Universal, they were making 40 pictures a year. I walked through the gate, was given a contract, and immediately the number of pictures dropped to eight or nine a year. I'm not complaining because I was given good roles... roles with scope and breadth. But I wish I could have been put in 40 or 50 roles before making my 'first' picture, do you know what I mean? Doing a series now is like putting the cart before the horse. I'm glad to be doing 'Destry' now though because of the experience. My gosh, I've shot more film in the last five weeks than I have in my entire life... It's a role I can play with a great deal of naivete. Destry is the sort of man who if he sees trouble will ride around it. He says the difference between a hero and a coward is that a coward can think faster.... Hopefully Destry is not always a fool or a clown. He's wandering the west for a few years and he's pretty wise, not brilliant or intelligent but he's been kicked in the head a few times and he knows what's going on.[4]


During the original broadcast of the series, the Los Angeles Times described Destry as "lacklustre...a routine, second-grade hoss opry", while The New York Times judged it to be the "pedestrian telling of an awkward adventure".[5][6] Television audiences apparently agreed with those assessments, for Destry never attracted a sizable audience and was cancelled after just 13 episodes. Gavin blamed that lack of success, at least in part, to the departure of the network executive who had commissioned the show.[7]

DVD release

On September 6, 2011, Timeless Media Group released Destry- The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1.[8]


  1. ^ "Gavin Rides THE 5TH DESTRY", Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file), February 8, 1964, p. C20.
  2. ^ "'Destry' Rushed", Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File), October 10, 1963, p. E12.
  3. ^ Adams, Val (January 1, 1964). "A.B.C.-TV TO DROP '77 SUNSET STRIP' / Also Discontinuing 3 Other Series Before April". The New York Times, p.41. Retrieved November 18, 2018. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  4. ^ Gavin's first series MacMinn, Aleene (1964). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File), March 15, 1964, p. E3.
  5. ^ Smith, Cecil (1964). "'Destry' Ride Less Than a Gallop", archives of the Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) February 15, 1964, p. B2.
  6. ^ Gould, Jack (1964). "TV Review: New Destry Rides Into U.S. Living Rooms", The New York Times (1923-Current file), February 15, 1964, p. 49.
  7. ^ Ballinger, Don (1965). "WHY? 36 more TV shows get the ax; Here are some of the reasons", Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file), September 18, 1965, p. A10.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-16. Retrieved 2011-08-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Additional reading

  • McNeil, Alex. Total Television. New York: Penguin Books, 1996. ISBN 0-14-024916-8
  • Brooks, Tim and Marsh, Earle. The Complete Directory To Primetime Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present. New York: Ballantine Books, 1999. ISBN 0-345-42923-0

External links

This page was last edited on 18 September 2019, at 09:22
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