DVD Review: Howdy Kids! A Saturday Afternoon Western Roundup



There was a rebirth of the Westerns when TV sets arrived in homes in the ’50s. Cowboys and Indians dominated the cathode ray tube either as old movies or brand new series. Whenever a character got a new TV on a series, they only seemed to be able to find Westerns on the dial. Even after many of the western series were canceled, they didn’t ride into the sunset. They were driven to the Saturday afternoon slot after the morning cartoons. Way too many times, my father would recount about all the amazing Western shows that aired when he was a kid. Normally he’d recount such nostalgic times while watching Bonanza and Gunsmoke. This meant he’s been denying me a chance to watch my kind of shows. The joy of that time has been captured on DVD thanks to Howdy Kids! A Saturday Afternoon Western Roundup. Three discs that will allow any comatose cowboys ride the sofa for hours.

Howdy Kids has 24 complete episodes culled from 14 different series. It’s a rather through mix of kid oriented westerns. Things start off properly with The Lone Ranger. This is the Clayton Moore version with Jay Silverheels helping out as Tonto. It’s very good for kids to have a clue about the masked man with the silver bullets. Soon they’ll be freaked out by the upcoming Johnny Depp version of The Lone Ranger that’s full of goofy mystical spirit stuff. The Range Rider is the normal premise of the Range Rider (Tarzan Goes to India‘s Jock Mahoney) fighting crime with the young Dick West (Dick Jones). The Rifleman isn’t a stranger to modern audiences. Currently the series airs on ME-TV. Lucas McCain (Boston Celtic’s Chuck Connors) and his son (Johnny Crawford) deal with messes on their New Mexico ranch. The Adventures Of Rick O’Shay is about Rick (Steve Keyes) doing his best to right wrongs. Fury is about a young boy and his stallion named Fury.

The Roy Rogers Show features America’s favorite singing cowboy and his wife Dale Evans. He’s also out to do good. Annie Oakley has little to do with the actual person. But Annie (Gail Davis) is a sharpshooter. The Adventures Of Kit Carson takes the legendary scout into the realm of do gooder. “The Adventures Of Champion” is another show about a kid and his amazing horse. “The Cisco Kid” gets a little Latin flavor. He’s out fighting for the little guy in a desperate wilderness. Then you can go up to the Great White North for Sergeant Preston Of The Yukon. He’s a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman with a faithful dog. Sky King takes the action to the air. Kirby Grant flies around looking for trouble. Red Ryder should excite anyone who wants a bb gun after watching A Christmas Story. This was the TV version of the radio show that was adapted from the comic strip. He doesn’t poke his eye out during the episode. Buffalo Bill Jr. has him as the law in a small Texas town. He doesn’t go on the road with his big show.

This sampling is perfect for older folks look for a touch of nostalgia and younger viewers curious about the Western craze. The key thing to remember is that none of these shows are historically accurate. These were meant purely for entertainment purposes. Kinda like a wild west version of Wikipedia. Howdy Kids! A Saturday Afternoon Western Roundup is a rootin’ tootin’ time machine in a boxset.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The black and white transfers vary by the shows. Everything looks fine. The audio is mono. The sound is fine enough to cover the gun shots and horse hooves.

There are no bonus features.

Howdy Kids! A Saturday Afternoon Western Roundup is the perfect Father’s Day gift for the dad that misses the glory days of TV cowboys. A great sampler for people wanting to indulge in wild west action that’s good guys and bad guys.

Shout! Factory presents Howdy Kids! A Saturday Afternoon Western Roundup>. Starring: Clayton Moore, Jay Silverheels, Chuck Connors and Kirby Grant. Boxset Contents: 24 episodes on 3 DVDs. Released: April 9, 2013. Available at Amazon.com.

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