How Richard Boone fought ''ennui'' on ''Have Gun — Will Travel''

The actor went to great lengths to battle boredom.

As Paladin on Have Gun — Will Travel, Richard Boone was a gunslinger for hire. But of all the fearsome foes this gentleman investigator faced, the most menacing may have been lethargy. 

By the time Have Gun premiered in 1957, Boone was already a veteran of dozens of feature films. Boone was also an established Broadway star and developed a reputation for being one of the most "serious" and "methodical" actors of the Great White Way. He also appeared in countless television productions, most of which were anthology theater shows, like NBC Matinee Theater and Actors Studio.

All of that show biz history meant that Boone was used to a ton of variety in his career. So, how did he slow down to become the same character in all 225 episodes of Have Gun — Will Travel?

"In time, general ennui is bound to set in," said Boone.

In 1960, he spoke to The San Francisco Examiner to explain the many diversions that kept him on his toes during his time as Paladin.

He'd just starred once more on Broadway as Abe Lincoln in "The Rivals," a welcome departure from his regular 9-to-5.

"I hadn't worked on Broadway in nine years and I had built up a lot of fears about what I could do," said Boone, "but the five-month run dissipated them. Now I'm hungry for more."

Boone further kept himself interested by directing episodes of Have Gun — Will Travel.

"Andy McLaglen, you know, is our base director, our anchor man. He has done 75 of the 117 shows but he can't do them all. We have used Ida Lupino and Buzz Kulick. They are great but we can't always get them.

"Directing this type of show requires some degree of subtlety in imagination and we needed a stopgap we could depend on. Well, they looked around and since I was chained to the mast, as it were, I became their stopgap."

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5 Comments

MikefromJersey 1 month ago
Director Andrew McLaglen was 6 foot seven and the son of Victor, Oscar winner for "The informer"
and sidekick to John Wayne in many movies.
When the British occupied Baghdad in WW1, Victor was a major and was appointed the military
governor. He was also British army boxing champion, in real life he would have massacred
John Wayne in the big fight at the end of "The Quiet Man".
Richard 1 month ago
As a young boy, I used to watch Paladin with my dad and brother on Saturday nights. The show used to confuse me so much because I couldn't figure out if Paladin was a "good guy or a bad guy" ?
MrsPhilHarris Richard 1 month ago
It’s nice that you got to watch with your dad and brother.
MikefromJersey Richard 1 month ago
There is a background "origin" episode that explains how Paladin became the man in black.
It was filmed in 1962, after Boone's comments above, the 1st episode of the 6th season, “Genesis”.
Runeshaper 1 month ago
Richard Boone was a cool dude. It's GREAT that he got to direct as well.
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