Did You Know...
Richard Boone was a 7th generation nephew of trailblazer Daniel Boone?
RB was married three times and had one son, Peter (born 1953)?
RB received a songwriting credit for The Ballad of Paladin, the famous theme song from Have Gun--Will Travel? Singer/actor Johnny Western wrote the tune after appearing on a 1958 episode ("The Return of Doctor Thackeray") of HGWT. He sent a tape of the song to producer Sam Rolfe as a "thank you" for having him on the show. Rolfe played the tape for Boone, and both were so impressed that they convinced CBS to use the song as the show's end title theme. Rolfe changed one line slightly and Boone suggested a punchier rhythm. Western gladly gave them co-writing credit, and the widows of Boone and Rolfe received royalties from the song.
"William Boone," the original protagonist of Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict, was named after Richard Boone? (Roddenberry wrote several scripts for Have Gun--Will Travel.) Incidentally, RB also inspired the creators of the 1980's British series Boon. (No "e.") The title character was a Paladin-like problem solver on a motorcycle whose ad read "Anything legal considered."
The success of Have Gun--Will
Travel led to a series of bizarre lawsuits against
The plaintiff was one Victor DeCosta, a Rhode Island construction worker who performed at rodeos as a sideline. After relatives noticed that he was a dead ringer for Richard Boone, DeCosta suddenly alleged that he'd created the "Paladin" character, and CBS had never credited him or paid him for it. DeCosta sued the network and later Viacom (which syndicated HGWT). He won most of his suits, but they were usually overturned by appellate judges. After all, DeCosta was a virtual unknown whose local version of Paladin was little more than DeCosta in a costume, while the Paladin of national TV fame was a fleshed-out character. Thus, the appellate judges ruled, no one was likely to confuse the two versions. (Actually, DeCosta's claim was absurd from the start, since the creators of TV's Paladin had originally intended for him to be a New York private eye!) The only part of DeCosta's Paladin persona eligible for trademark protection were the "Have Gun--Will Travel" calling cards he claimed to have designed, and DeCosta didn't register them until 1977--14 years after HGWT ceased production. He was able to do so because CBS had never bothered to trademark its own cards...oops!
In 1991, at age 83, DeCosta was awarded $3.5 million and told reporters, "The money to me is secondary at my age. Most of all what I want is to knock [the show] off the air. I've been called an impostor and a phony long enough." His award was overturned in 1992, and DeCosta died shortly afterward. HGWT reruns continue to air.
A charter fishing trophy named in Richard Boone's memory is awarded annually in Hawaii? (Boone was an avid fisherman and had a charter boat called Goodbye Charlie.)
John Wayne gave Richard Boone a Rolls-Royce for six hours of work in The Alamo (1960)? RB had refused a salary for his two-scene role as General Sam Houston, asking only for the buckskin coat he wore in the film. (Postscript: David Rothel's Richard Boone--A Knight Without Armor in a Savage Land reveals that RB traded the Rolls in for a Maserati shortly after receiving it, and that Peter Boone now owns the coat.)
"Paladin" is #24 onTV Guide's list of "TV's 50 Greatest Characters Ever"?
"Paladin" was #358 and his calling card was #538 on TV Land's "2000 Best Things About Television" list?
The unseen, uncredited speaker heard eulogizing Richard Conte's character at the end of the original (1960) Ocean's Eleven was Richard Boone? (RB was a friend of the film's director, Lewis Milestone.) Listen carefully during the funeral scene--the voice is unmistakable.
A coat Richard Boone wore in several episodes of Have Gun--Will Travel was auctioned on eBay in early 2007? Crafted by the late western costumer "Nudie", the handmade leather jacket has a sheep's wool collar and was tailored short enough to allow Paladin easy access to his holster. The jacket was auctioned by the son of HGWT's property master (who received it as a gift from Richard Boone himself after the series ended). The winning bid was $6,260 (not including shipping).
...well, now you do!