1959 – Rawhide premiered for the first time on CBS. The show starred Eric Fleming (Trail Boss Gil Favor) and Clint Eastwood (Rowdy Yates). It would end up running for 7 years producing 217 episodes in total. Set in the 1860s the television series followed the endless adventures of a group of men on a continuous cattle drive. The show’s story lines covered everything from parched plains to anthrax, ghostly riders to wolves, cattle raiding, bandits, murderers, morphine addiction, the fall-out from the civil war and prejudice against Mexicans.
Rawhide has become somewhat of a cultural reference. Its theme song was performed by the Blues Brothers in the movie of the same name. Eddie Murphy sang it in Shrek 2, and there have been countless others. My personal favorite was Billy Crystal’s paraphrased rendition in the 1991 movie ‘City Slickers’.
Rawhide is often credited with Clint Eastwood’s rise to fame. While it wasn’t his first acting role, it was the one that seemed to lead to him having such a successful movie career.
Here you can see a young Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates singing ‘Beyond the Sun’.