Monday, May 28, 2012

15 Greatest TV Characters of the 1960s: Paladin

Name: Paladin (technically a nickname, as explained in the episode "Genesis"; the character's real name is never revealed)

Portrayed by: Richard Boone

TV series: Have Gun--Will Travel (1957-63)

Occupation: A "knight without armor" according to the theme song; technically, a gunfighter for hire.

Lifestyle: When not working, he resides in high style in the Carlton Hotel in San Francisco. When on a job, it's often life on the dusty trail. Well-educated, a West Point graduate and former Army officer.

Family and Friends: Hey Boy, the hotel bellhop (replaced by Hey Girl for one season); Dr. Phyllis Thackeray (June Lockhart), who appears in two episodes and shares a mutual attraction with Paladin.

Trademarks: Business card advertising "Have gun--will travel;" chess knight emblem on his gun holster; dresses in all black when working; quotes famous literary works.

Classic quote: (On the knight used in chess)  "It's an attack piece, the most versatile on the board. It can move eight different ways, over barriers, and always unexpected."

Classic episodes: "The Return of Dr. Thackeray" (Paladin flirts some more with June Lockhart's character); "The Ballad of Oscar Wilde" (Paladin comes to the aid of the visiting playwright); "The Great Mojave Chase" (a camel comes in handy).


  1. Love it! Paladin is one of my all-time favorite fictional characters, period.

    1. The first time I saw an episode of Have Gun Will Travel,I told my mother that I thought Paladin was an unattractive character. I loved his debonair appearance, literary knowledge, and just plain common sense in handling every situation. It was very different than most westerners of that time, and slowly I fell in love with that man they called Paladin! 😆

  2. Richard Boone is impeccable as Paladin. It is interesting to see him dress in black when he is on assignment and then in white when he is off duty at the Carlton. He truly enjoyed literature and would quote works on occasion. He always sought to resolve problems in a nonviolent manner. I really enjoy "Have Gun Will Travel" and am delighted to see Paladin make your 15 great TV characters of the 1960s list. I am looking forward to seeing who makes the final spot! Great post, Rick! Happy Memorial Day to all!

  3. This was a favorite of my Mom when I was a child. Funny story, as a little girl from the South, not yet able to read, I couldn't understand why this man only had a half gun. How did that even work? Why would you even want to travel with only a half gun. Guess you had to be there. I was a quirky little kid. Paladin...most definitely a great show.

  4. Have not seen this since I was kid but I can remember watching on Sat.nights with my parents and then came GUNSMOKE. Truthfully, I always liked PALADIN better. Even as a kid I always thought there was something mysterious about him.

  5. PALADIN was my favorite western after I outgrew my crush on Clint Walker as Cheyenne. Channel 2 CBS westerns were always a tad more realistic than the others on early television.

    I loved Richard Boone, so of course that helped. He really was not a handsome man and yet he was. Go figure. I also liked that he looked so mysterious in black from head to toe.

  6. Man, I love this show! I still enjoy watching classic TV westerns today. My crush on the hot-headed Nick Barkley is still there; I'll always admire the patience of Lucas McCain. My grandparents used to talk about Palladin all the time when I really little, it was much later when I found out who he was! He was so smooth! The guy I would never cross, that's for sure. Super post... as always!

  7. I, too, vaguely remember watching HGWT as a kid. Then, four years ago, my wife and I watched the first two seasons on DVD. What an excellent series with Boone sensational in the lead. THE RIFLEMAN is also a fine series; I've enjoyed catching some of its repeats recently on AMC.

  8. Paladin's the man! Love this series, which I used to catch once in awhile on TV as a kid, but, like you, have recently got into on DVD. It truly is an excellent series and most of its success is down to Richard Boone, who is equally at home dandied up for the opera as he is shooting bad guys.

  9. caridaedavis@gmaul.cimJanuary 3, 2016 at 2:12 PM

    Loved it back then and still love it now!!!!!