All of the prior methods I have either deliberately tried or have happened to me. I am always looking for them. If I have to travel interstate, I prefer to drive than to fly. Its cheaper to fly and save fuel and accommodation, but there are no 2nd hand shops in the sky. Its not that I stop at all of them all the time. I do stagger the visits a bit. Yes, my adult children complain bitterly and prefer to make their own way from point A to point B and just meet me there. Dawn fortunately is used to it and has her own methods of making sure the stops are short and not too many.
Most people have never seen a 16" Disc and they aren't exactly common. A standard LP is 12" and usually comes in a shiny cardboard sleeve covered in pretty graphics to make it stand out. Radio Transcriptions which can also come in 10" & 12" were never meant to be available retail, they were just a means of transporting radio shows to the radio stations and came in mostly plain heavy duty brown paper sleeves similar to 78s, only a heavier grade paper. As you can see from the above picture, the titles are usually typewritten on the Production House label.
The Western Trail discs came into my hands as a result of a trade of items I no longer needed. The trader, knowing I have certain items he wants, goes looking for what I want in order to make the trade happen. He visits a couple of times a year bringing what he has found and we trade.
I had never heard an episode of 'The Western Trail'. It is a western series designed for adults as well as younger folk. It was Produced by Artransa and commenced broadcast 1st February 1954. It was directed by Walter Pym who was also probably a narrator throughout the series, as that was a role he was good at. Ron Ingleby was the scriptwriter. He was scriptwriter for many series, including one of my favourites, ' I Hate Crime' which birthed the Larry Kent pulps. Some of the cast identified in a Picture supplied in this article, included Charles (Bud) Tingwell, Harp McGuire and Richard Meikle. It was 52 x 30 minute self contained episodes. Self-contained meaning the complete story was told in the episode rather than continuing in a following episode like a serial. Each episode was on 2 discs so that it could be played on two turntables rather than having to be turned over mid story. Part one on one side of the disc and part two on the 2nd disc. So the first disc held Part one of episode one and also part one of episode two on the other side. The 2nd disc held part 2 of episode one and part two on the other side. The draw back of this system is when 60+ years later, you only find one surviving disc and half of two stories :) Fortunately I have both parts of episode one and two across 2 discs of The Western Trail episodes 1 & 2. Jamie Kelly has one of the discs and half of the two stories and so I am able to supply him with the other half. He in turn is able to supply me the other half of two episodes of Dragnet as I ended up with part two of episodes 37 and 38 in the same trade. It pays to work together.
I have logged the 52 episode titles:
The Western Trail ep01 THE MYSTERIOUS STRANGER
The Western Trail ep02 GERONIMO THE APACHE
The Western Trail ep03 KIT CARSON - MOUNTAIN MAN
The Western Trail ep04 HARRY LOGAN - LAST OF THE BADMEN
The Western Trail ep05 PRAIRIE JUSTICE
The Western Trail ep06 WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE
The Western Trail ep07 GUNS VERSUS GOLDEN GLORY
The Western Trail ep08 DOC THE TWO GUN DENTIST
The Western Trail ep09 THE TEXAS TIGER
The Western Trail ep10 MANHUNT
The Western Trail ep11 BELLE STARR - QUEEN OF THE BANDITS
The Western Trail ep12 DRY WATER
The Western Trail ep13 HIT THE TRAIL RANGER
The Western Trail ep14 THE EMPEROR OF THE BADLANDS
The Western Trail ep15 THE SHADOW
The Western Trail ep16 THE BISCUIT TRAIN
The Western Trail ep17 COCHISE GREAT APACHE TRAIL
The Western Trail ep18 A SODBUSTERS SHOWDOWN
The Western Trail ep19 DIME-STORE COWBOY
The Western Trail ep20 UNLOAD THE DRUGS
The Western Trail ep21 THE LONG DRIVE
The Western Trail ep22 DRY DEATH
The Western Trail ep23 THE WOLF WAR
The Western Trail ep24 REPUBLIC OF TEXAS
The Western Trail ep25 THE GAMBLER AND HIS GUN
The Western Trail ep26 THE LAWMAN
The Western Trail ep27 MAN WITH A HUNGER
The Western Trail ep28 BOOM TOWN
The Western Trail ep29 THE GUNSLINGERS
The Western Trail ep30 ALIAS BILLY THE KID
The Western Trail ep31 THE CHANGING OF THE WEST
The Western Trail ep32 THE LOOSE JAWED GUNMAN
The Western Trail ep33 DEADWOOD DICK
The Western Trail ep34 THE DARING DESPERADO
The Western Trail ep35 THE DONNER TREK TO DEATH
The Western Trail ep36 THE DALTON BROTHERS
The Western Trail ep37 THE LEGAL COWARD
The Western Trail ep38 GIRL FROM THE EAST
The Western Trail ep39 CALIFORNIA OR DEATH
The Western Trail ep40 GUNS UNDER THE MOON
The Western Trail ep41 THE GHOST FROM JESSE JAMES
The Western Trail ep42 DEAD MAN'S LAW
The Western Trail ep43 BLOOD BROTHERS
The Western Trail ep44 SILENT GUNS
The Western Trail ep45 WIRED FOR TROUBLE
The Western Trail ep46 KILLER COLT
The Western Trail ep47 MAKE A TRADE MISTER
The Western Trail ep48 GOLD FEVER
The Western Trail ep49 TRAIL TOWN
The Western Trail ep50 CHEROKE BILL
The Western Trail ep51 DEATH IN THE DESERT
The Western Trail ep52 THE MULE HEADED OUTLAW
The full log which includes episode descriptions where known, is in the logs section of this site.
As a kid I grew up in the age of television and every 2nd show was a western. I like westerns, my heroes were people like John Wayne and James Stewart. It was only natural that when I started listening to old radio shows, I gravitated to westerns. The U.S. radio series 'The Six Shooter' starring James Stewart, is probably my favourite, followed by Gunsmoke. Yes, in Australia we also had a western series called 'Six Shooter' but it was a totally different series and different characters. The Australian Gunsmoke was taken from U.S. scripts and so it had the same characters. I also enjoyed Have Gun Will Travel and Tales of the Texas Rangers on television and so it was very easy to listen to the radio versions of those shows. The HGWT theme song from the television series is missing from the radio series so you have to sing it yourself. Fortunately it is ingrained in my mind still.
Based on only listening to two episodes, I don't think The Western Trail will replace The Six Shooter or Have Gun Will Travel and Gunsmoke in my affections, but I did enjoy hearing an Australian version of an American Western. At this stage I do not know if we sold the series to the U.S. I would like to hear more.
Thanks again to Mr Reg James for permission to include an episode of The Western Trail here on this blog. Thanks also to Maryanne at NFSA for listening to about 8 episodes in order to get me the titles missing from the log. Its a tough job but somebody had to do it.
The theme music is 'Highland Lament' which is taken from a music library disc.