Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Westerns, Television
Tate is a unique western in many respects, although it aired as a summer replacement for only one season. One of the only westerns ever produced on video tape, not film, Tate stars David McLean (well known as The Marlboro ... more »
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Wonderful, Overlooked TV Western Gets To DVD
Terence Allen | Atlanta, GA USA | 01/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Timeless Media Group has done Western lovers a huge favor by releasing episodes from some classic television Westerns that have been largely forgotten. They released collections for Cimmarron City (starring George Montgomery), The Tall Man (Barry Sullivan), Laredo (Neville Brand, Peter Brown, William Smith, Phillip Carey), Riverboat (Darren McGavin and Burt Reynolds), and the fantastic Restless Gun (John Payne).
But the other collection they have released would be even easier to overlook. A 13 episode series aired as a summer replacement with a possibilty to be a midseason replacement. Shot on tape instead of film. The star was famous as the Marlboro Man on TV commercials (and would eventually die of lung cancer). A gunfighter hero with only one arm. The series, called Tate, never caught on. And all we have to remember it by are these 13 episodes.
But what a great Western Tate was, and it is great to be able to enjoy the series almost fifty years later. David McLean played Tate, who fought with the Confederacy during the Civil War and lost the use of his left arm at Vicksburg. After the war, he covered the arm is black leather, put it in a sling, and went to work as a gunfighter for hire/bounty hunter. With only a Kansas City PO Box for an address, Tate rode all over the West, hoping to make enough money to afford surgery that a St Louis doctor said might help his arm.
McLean's Tate was very much like the typical genre-issue gunfighter, but in some ways he was very atypical. Like most, he was fast on the draw, hired out to good guys only, was nice to kids and women, and figured out a way to win every time. But unlike other gunfighters of the time, he could be crusty, harsh, and at times unpleasant - kind of precursor to the Man With No Name and other 60's-70s era gunfighters.
Tate would have made a great 60's Western. Too bad it never had the chance, but at least we have this collection to remember it."
Markku Ojanen | Lempäälä Finland | 01/25/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Tate lasted only 13 shows, but they are good ones. Stories are even better than in most of the western series. David McLean is a rugged actor who fits well into his role. I am sure many weaker series lasted much longer. I remind that my star system is a bit stricter than those of many others. I reserve five stars to a few select films and series."
"Tate" Is Top-Notch!
Van T. Roberts | Columbus, Mississippi, USA | 05/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Tate" qualifies as one of the most off-beat western television dramas. This black & white oater with David McLean who gained fame as the Malboro man in cigarette commercials and also died from lung cancer. Think of the character that Sam Elliot played in "Thank You For Smoking," and you'll understand the comparison. "Tate" is a really neat show. The rugged, lonesome protagonist is a Civil War survivor, except his left arm hangs uselessly, blasted by an explosion in the war, and he wears his crippled limb in black leather sheathe with strap around his neck. David MacLean reminded me of Cliff Robertson. I don't know if Sergio Leone ever watched the show, probably didn't, but the hero dresses like a spaghetti western hero in a couple of episodes, sometimes even wearing a serape to conceal his lame limb. Naturally, he is super-fast on the draw.
Each episode opens with Tate displaying his celerity with his six-shooter. "Tate" belongs in the same league as "The Prisoner." Tate himself is a gunslinger and doesn't cry about his choice of profession or behave in a politically correct fashion. He has his own sense of uncompromising values, and he sticks with those values. He isn't an indiscriminate killer. You've got to be right and have some legal stance before he'll accept your money, but once he accepts the money, he doesn't back down. He has no sidekick and carried a sawed-off shotgun as back-up. He doesn't call his horse by a nickname. The shows are half-hour in length and there is nothing gratuitous in them. They are concise, tight, and they do some pretty alarming things. The one that I just took a break from opens with a jealous man killing a saloon girl with a double-barreled shotgun. There is ZERO humor in the show. It's all about business. There are no recurring characters, except Tate. Tate is grim, stoic, to the point, and doesn't solicit sympathy. One of the first shows in the series opens with an angry gunman going after Tate to kill him. Tate kills him before the second break in the narrative. The unknown actor who gets gunned down stone dead is none other than Robert Redford. Later, Redford shows up in another episode as an entirely different character who protects his ranch wife from Comanche Indians, principally the chief of the redskins, played by Leonard Nimoy of "Star Trek."
Harry Julian Fink who wrote and created "Dirty Harry," had a hand in the many rewrites of "Ice Station Zebra," penned John Wayne's "Big Jake" and "Cahill, U.S. Marshall," created the show and served as the script consultant. In one episode, James Coburn plays a prisoner destined to hang for killing an entire family after the daughter of the family refused to marry him. Robert Culp plays a be-spectacled bounty hunter in another scene. Tate doesn't get a lot of sympathy. Warren Oates makes the mistake of talking when he should be shooting and Tate takes him out. Other than his limp arm, Tate shares no secrets, but he does point out that he has a mailing address, general delivery, Kansas City. There is a strain of Biblical quoting running through the show like a thread and usually the biggest Bible quoters are the biggest dastards. Meantime, Martin Landau plays a sheep herder in one episode and he gives a brilliant performance as a reformed Civil War raider that Tate is taking in for his war crimes. Some of the dialogue crackles. Once, when Culp's bounty killers gets the drop on Tate, he warns Tate that he can take him either as "pig or pork." For the record, Tate only gets kissed once in the entire 13 episodes by Julia Adams in the episode "The Mary Hardin Story." Indeed, there is a lot of violence, too. The visual quality is 9 out of 10, with only some audio hum on "The Mary Hardin Story" episode. "Tate" emerges as a memorable, but short-lived western. Watch it!
Desperately Seeking a New Gimmick
Only-A-Child | 03/09/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD contains all 13 episodes (all in B&W) of the western series "Tate" which ran as a summer replacement show on NBC in 1960. There was no pilot episode. The episode titles and their original air-dates are listed below. The ratings were not good enough to justify producing more episodes and bringing the series back in January 1961.
In a knock-off of the "wire Paladin" concept from "Have Gun Will Travel", the title character could be reached though a Kansas City post office box. Two rather weak gimmicks were used to distinguish it from other westerns; only the character's last name was used and he had only one useful arm. His other arm was badly injured in the Civil War and is sheathed in black leather and supported by a sling. Another even less satisfactory gimmick was the substitution of video tape for film, most likely the first western or action show to opt for this new media, good-bye contrast ratio but who could really tell on those 19 inch screens.
Tate was a gunfighter played by David McLean (who was seen in commercials as Marlboro and became an anti-smoking advocate before dying of lung cancer). Robert Redford made guest appearances in the "Comanche Scouts" and "The Bounty Hunter episodes, playing different characters.
The Mary Hardin Story: 29 June 1960, Voices of the Town: 6 July 1960, A Lethal Pride: 20 July 1960, Tigrero: 3 August 1960, Comanche Scalps: 10 August 1960, Before Sunup: 17 August 1960,The Reckoning: 24 August 1960, The Gunfighters: 31 August 1960, Quiet After the Storm: 7 September 1960, The Return of Jessica Jackson: 14 September 1960.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child."