Bat Masterson

Bat Masterson

1958 - United States

Based on the real-life exploits of William Bartholomew Masterson, a Dodge City lawman who preferred to use his wits instead of his fists and his cane instead of his Colt, Gene Barry (born Eugene Klass) made his TV series debut in this popular Western during the genre's golden age in 1958. 

Bat Masterson was a lawman, scout and professional gambler who had an eye for the ladies and counted among his friends the legendary Wyatt Earp. The grateful citizens of Dodge City presented his trademark cane, derby and specially designed gun to him during his tenure as sheriff. The part of a flamboyant and debonair lawman was one that Barry would recreate successfully in Burke's Law, amd The Name of the Game. The series style was no doubt influenced by the offbeat humour that had gone down so well with US audiences in Maverick, which had debuted the year before and in 1989 Barry briefly reprised the role for a single episode of Paradise

William Conrad, who went on to star as burly private detective Frank Cannon, directed a number of episodes. 

TRIVIA: Though his book contains some errors as a result of his attempting to debunk the accuracy of the persona Gene Barry depicted in the television series, Robert K. DeArment's Bat Masterson: The Man & The Legend, 1979, University of Oklahoma Press does a good job of documenting his origins.

Published on November 29th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.

Read Next...

The Cisco Kid

The Cisco Kid was nominated in 1953 for an Emmy Award for children's programming. By 1955 it was the most popular filmed television series among American children.

Also tagged Western Series

Annie Oakley

Television's first Western heroine was played by Gail Davis and co-starred Brad Johnson as Deputy Sheriff Lofty Craig and Jimmy Hawkins, as Annie's brother, Tagg.

Also tagged Western Series

The Jack Jackson Show

Music, quick-fire comedy and soundbites that influenced a generation of DJs

Also released in 1958

Cannonball TV series

Fun, free-wheeling, undemanding early adventure series, Cannonball was a series of half-hour family dramas chronicling the adventures of two truckers who hauled freight on the highways of Canada and the U.S.A.

Also released in 1958


Cheyenne Bodie, a half-breed frontier scout travels the Wild West in the years following the Civil War.

Also tagged Western


Roger Moore in his TV series debut starred as Sir Walter Scott's 19th century hero Wilfred of Ivanhoe.

Also released in 1958


An innocent man is branded a coward in this classic US Western series

Also tagged Western Series

The Larkins

Classic sitcom about a family that is ruled over by their overbearing mother.

Also released in 1958

Educating Archie

As strange as it may seem now, Archie Andrews was a ventriloquists dummy that first hit the big time on Radio!

Also released in 1958