Colt’s Wyatt Earp Tribute Honoring the popular actor and TV series that helped put Colt’s Peacemaker back in the game.

Honoring the popular actor and TV series that helped put Colt’s Peacemaker back in the game.
Honoring the popular actor and TV series that helped put Colt’s Peacemaker back in the game.

“Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp, brave, courageous and bold. Long live his fame and long live his glory, and long may his story be told.”

With this chorus, the first of the adult Western television shows, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, starring Hugh O’Brian, debuted on September 6, 1955, on ABC—beating out CBS’s Gunsmoke by a scant four days!

The program, loosely based on actual incidents in Earp’s life but liberally laced with entertaining fiction, aired a full 266 episodes between its debut date and September 26, 1961.

O’Brian’s Wyatt Earp series is credited with not only starting the adult Western TV craze that lasted for well over a decade, but also with stimulating the reintroduction of the Colt Single Action Army (SAA) revolver to the general public. The six-gun had been out of production since 1940, due to lagging sales of this 1870s-designed revolver in the mid-20th century.

The revolver also became integral to a fast-growing shooting sport. With the plethora of TV Westerns that followed on the trail of this action-packed program, coupled with the renewed interest in the gunfighters of the Old West, more and more men and women were taking up the challenging sport of “slapping leather” against the clock, dubbed Fast Draw. (In a Fast Draw competition, shooters shoot with blanks or wax bullets, starting with their gun holstered and firing when the signal is given.) Since the sport celebrates Old West gunslinging traditions, shooters chose the classic Colt SAA revolver as the gun that would help them prove who really was the fastest gun alive. After all, the six-gun had been used by many of the frontier’s deadliest gunslingers, including the real Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and John Wesley Hardin.

Audiences never forgot Hugh O’Brian’s Wyatt Earp; he had made such a lasting impression as the legendary lawman that he reprised the character on several occasions, appearing as Earp as late as 1994 in Return to Tombstone. The made-for-TV drama featured colorized scenes from the Wyatt Earp series mixed with modern scenes shot in Tombstone.

As a special tribute to O’Brian and his portrayal of Wyatt Earp, Colt’s Manufacturing Co. is offering a limited edition pair of Colt SAA revolvers, just like the six-guns O’Brian carried in the TV series. Finished in Colt’s polished blue with a color case hardened frame and hammer, both guns—a 4¾-inch-barreled model and a “Buntline” SAA with a 12-inch barrel—are chambered in .45 Colt and feature pre-1896-style blackpowder frame and walnut stocks.

Further enhancing these Colts, each barrel is etched with “Hugh O’Brian-Wyatt Earp Tribute” and each arm’s backstrap is engraved with Hugh O’Brian’s signature. These Peacemakers will be accompanied by a replica frontier-era marshal’s badge, an inscribed metal plaque, a certificate (signed by O’Brian) identifying the set by serial numbers and an illustrated booklet on both Hugh O’Brian and Wyatt Earp’s careers.

The entire outfit will be housed in a handsome glass-topped and French-fitted walnut case, and will retail for $4,712. Orders of this unique and collectible set of Colts will only be taken until December 31, 2010. So if you’re a Wyatt Earp and a Hugh O’Brian fan, get your order in.

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