Drop the gun, Pardner....
Brad Baker | Atherton, Ca United States | 01/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1957, ABC Films proposed to shoot a Western TV series to compete with Warner Bros.' huge hit, "Maverick". The result was a rough-and-tumble outdoor saga called "26 Men". Filmed mainly on location in Arizona, "26 Men" aired on ABC TV between 1957 and 1959, and was based on stories of the Arizona Rangers. Many of the tales were linked to actual file cases, adding authenticity, as the Rangers brough various outlaws and killers to justice in the Arizona Territory around 1901. There are 26 lawmen, because, as Captain Ryning says, "That's all they're willing to pay for". PD(public domain) giant Alpha Video released this sparse DVD at the end of 2005. It's low-budget, but fascinating. One of the best Western series of the 50's, "26 Men" stars Tristam Coffin. The tall, silver-haired Coffin was usually cast as a crooked lawyer, shifty businessman, or a gang boss in B-pictures. He is most famous for his 1949 starring role in the classic Republic serial, "King of the Rocket Men". He played Jeff King. In "26 Men", Coffin plays Captain Ryning, leader of the Arizona Rangers. The stirring opening credits display a small army of officers blazing across the Arizona desert, but each episode centers on only Ryning and one other officer. Coffin is perfectly suited for the part of a tough Arizona Ranger captain. This DVD has the first four episodes broadcast in 1957. Episode Two features a young Our Gang star, and future Hollywood celebrity, Robert Blake. "26 Men" was filmed on location around Camelback Mountain, the Superstition Mountains, and at Cudia City. Cudia City was a 2-street Western set at 40th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix Arizona. It mysteriously burned to the ground in 1967. But it's founder, Mr. Cudia, lives on. Today, across the street, lie track-homes titled: Cudia Estates. Alpha Video's un-restored DVD is from the original 35mm. It has white-outs, cuts, spreckles, and splices. The mono track fades on several desert location shots. But that's OK. The material overcomes these shortcomings. You get four chapter stops, one for each episode. And there is a catalogue, and three trailers for a couple of independent features that nobody has ever seen. As a curiousity, Arizona fans can marvel at the pristine landscape of the Phoenix and Scottsdale area; 50 years before it was trampled by freeways and shopping-malls. "26 Men" is a fast-moving, outdoor adventure-ride down memory lane. And it may have the best theme song of any Western series, written by Russell Hayden. "This is the story of 26 men who rode the Arizona territory....26 men who lived to ride again, and fight for the right and the liberty of all". Corny huh? I just love it."
Good films about true history of how Arizona Rangers helped
Picky Shopper | 07/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All of the '26 Men' are very good quality for black & white. These are based on true stories of the '26 men'(the Arizona Rangers) dedicated to their duties & made it possible for the Arizona Territory in their days to become a state. It's history. Wish there were more of the 26 Men on DVD. The Capt. whom with his leadership along with his Rangers helped make a difference & took a stand against so many outlaws & put a stop to them. We have really enjoyed watching them more than once. One of my favorites is 'The Recruit', but they are all very good history."
Robert Hansen | San Lorenzo, California | 12/31/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I used to live in the town where the "26 Men" were originally stationed. Stories are lame typical 1950's but the quality is better than expected. I haven't seen the show in 50 years and these shows brought back memories."