"Back when the West was very young,
there lived a man named Masterson.
He wore a cane and derby hat.
They called him Bat, Bat Masterson."
With those lyrics, an episode of television's "Bat Masterson" starring Gene Barry would begin. Gene Barry passed away yesterday at the age of 90. Baby Boomers growing up with television will no doubt remember Gene, his Bat Masterson show and later as millionare police captain, Amos Burke in "Burke's Law".
Gene Barry was one of many actors that brought characters to life on television throughout the 1950's and '60's. Television was relatively new then. There were only 3 major networks to choose from but American audiences were captivated.
The shows that ran on TV then, seemed to be more memorable than what has been available recently. Many dramas back then were only a half hour long but yet they were able to tell a decent story within that time frame. Today we have dramas, sitcoms and, of course, "reality" shows. Very few of them seem like they will be remembered a week after they air let alone decades later. And, the actors appearing in these shows certainly don't seem like they will be fondly remembered like Gene Barry or Hugh O'Brian, Clint Walker, Rod Serling, Robert Conrad, Jack Lord, James Arness and many more.
Rest in peace, Mr. Gene Barry you are part of a vanishing breed.