Wanted: Dead or Alive (TV Series, 1958–1961)


(Marvin W. Bronson) #1

I’ve never seen this television oater starring Steve McQueen, but my interest in it is definitely piqued. I noticed that the entire series is available dirt cheap on Amazon, and I’m close to pulling the trigger. Before I do, though, I wanted to hear some possible feedback. Anyone recommend this one to me?


(kit saginaw) #2

If you approach the series as its real star being Josh Randall’s sawed-off .44 Winchester, you’ll like the reality that McQueen creates for himself in most situations. That gun symbolizes ‘total non-conformist Western-character’ and ‘non-conformist bounty-hunter’, combined. -A bounty-hunter who cares that he’s actually tracking non-innocent criminals.

So in some of the episodes, he’s more of a crime-solving detective.

But he’s an absolute borderline-homicidal beast, when confronted. His sawed-off rifle is a fabulous weapon. And he’s fast with it.

McQueen’s acting is impeccable. He can make things like drinking hot-coffee seem like an adventure.

Sure, some episodes contain sappy sequences with eccentric-but-lovable characters, and romantic dalliances with goddess-quality, but ‘flawed’ women. The episodes’ 30-minute length weakens a percentage of the script-plotting, however. Solid editing rescues them somewhat. You’re plunged directly into a scene, then yanked out of it when the point of the scene has been made.

Check-out the first 19-seconds of the intro:

The first two chords of the theme completely sign-post; violent death has arrived… and the demonic visage of McQueen’s face signifies; I just killed somebody and now I’m going to kill you, and like doing it.

All-in-all, it’s a great series with some weaknesses. The sawed-off Winchester isn’t one of them.


(Marvin W. Bronson) #3

I ordered it the other day. Look forward to seeing it!


(Marvin W. Bronson) #4

Just got this in the mail! I’ll be watching a few episodes each day along with HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL.


(Yodlaf Peterson) #5

[quote=“Marvin W. Bronson, post:1, topic:3368”]oater[/quote]I don’t know why but that saying for westerns annoys me ;D


(Marvin W. Bronson) #6

At least you know what it means. I’ve been on so many forums where I use the term and then have to explain it. I can dig it. :wink:


(ENNIOO) #7

The saying makes me think of porridge oats :smiley: .


(Asa) #8

I don’t mind it as an alternative word if you were, for some reason, at risk of saying or writing “western” a bit too often in the same sentence, or paragraph. Break it up a bit: Western, Oater, Horsey Flick, Shootey Beauty*, et cetera. It’s a good word. That said, the phrase “Spaghetti Oater” doesn’t scan very well at all on the page, and even less so when you say it out loud. That pause you have to put between the vowels, the “spa-GEH-tee (pause) OH-ter”, it feels unnatural.

*I made up “Horsey Flick” and “Shootey Beauty”. But feel free to use those though Marv if you feel the Oater urge coming on. :slight_smile:


(Marvin W. Bronson) #9

Will do, bro! :wink:

Have to admit I really like the term. And yeah, I’m guilty of saying spaghetti oater quite often. Don’t know why I like the term so much, but I do.