Have Gun - Will Travel (1957–1963)
While many television series are taken from radio shows, the radio show "Have Gun - Will Travel" with John Dehner as Paladin appeared after the television show.
In early episodes of the series, Paladin's trail clothes were a rich midnight blue. This nicely complimented Richard Boone's blue eyes but they registered as black on the black and white film of the day. There was a shirt redesign from a buttoned front to a V-neck, and the colors of both changed to black around that time. Whenever Paladin's clothes were referred to in dialogue, he was always called "the man in black", whether he dressed in blue or black.
Regarding the name "Paladin", it comes from early European "paladino", "palatine" referring to a knightly, heroic champion who fights for a noble cause. "Paladin" can also refer to a military leader, trusted and relied on by his King. Both the "knight" (a "warrior") and "military leader" speak to the character's (Paladin's) military background....
Which was, in turn, part of the series Story Line: Professional gunfighter Paladin was a West Point graduate who, after the Civil War, settled into San Francisco's Hotel Carlton where he awaited responses to his business card.
Paladin's name was never revealed in the television or radio series.
There were three Have Gun - Will Travel novels. In one of them, Paladin was called Clay Alexander. Source: "A Knight Without Armor, A Biography of Richard Boone" by David Rothel.
Paladin always carried a Derringer, a pocket gun concealed under his belt. "Derringer" is the misspelled last name of Henry Deringer, a nineteenth century maker of small pistols.
Paladin's horse in the final season was named Rafter. Richard Boone selected that name. Throughout the six-year run, the horses were called Curley, Frisco, Rudy, Mexico, and Rafter.
Paladin's suite at the Carlton Hotel is number 314.
On the DVD covers, the season number corresponds to the number of rounds of ammunition shown, one through six, the same as the six shooter Paladin carried. Had the series gone more than six seasons, this would have proved to be problematic as Paladin only carried a six shooter.
Of the two hundred twenty-five episodes, twenty-four were written by Star Trek (1966) Creator Gene Roddenberry. DeForest Kelley, a minor cowboy star is his own right, and Doctor McCoy ( Bones ) of Star Trek fame, appeared in one episode.
Parts of season one, episode eleven, "The Colonel and the Lady", was filmed on sets used for Gunsmoke (1955). The Long Branch Saloon was minimally redecorated to stand-in for a saloon Paladin visits in a Nevada mining town. Shots of people walking the streets of the town were also taken from Gunsmoke.
A man named Victor da Costa sued C.B.S.; he'd been using the name Paladin, and been giving out card with "Have gun, will Travel" on them long before this show even aired for the first time. He sought redress from the show makers for appropriating his character without his consent. After thirty years of legal battles, he was able to block the re-release of the show on TV. The final verdict came on April 28, 1991, and Da Costa won the case, but by then he was already dead, aged 83.