Destry (TV series)

Last updated
John Gavin Destry 1964.JPG
Gavin as Harrison Destry.
Based onthe character created by Max Brand
Starring John Gavin
Theme music composerRandy Sparks
Opening theme"Destry"
performed by The Ledbetters
ComposersJerry Goldsmith (three episodes)
Cyril J. Mockridge (one episode)
Morton Stevens (one episode)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
ProducerFrank Telford
Running time60 minutes
Production company Revue Studios
Distributor NBCUniversal Television Distribution
Original network ABC
Picture format Black and white
Original releaseFebruary 14 (1964-02-14) 
May 8, 1964 (1964-05-08)

Destry is a Western television series starring John Gavin that originally aired on ABC from February 14 until May 8, 1964. Destry was based on the classic James Stewart Western, Destry Rides Again , and a subsequent remake, Destry , starring Audie Murphy. This series was a midseason replacement for 77 Sunset Strip .



In the original films the main character is Tom Destry, a Western lawman who is expert with a gun but still prefers to use non-violent means to settle problems with outlaws. In the television series John Gavin portrays Harrison Destry, son of Tom, who had been a lawman until he was framed for a crime and jailed. Destry therefore follows Harrison after his release from prison as he wanders the West in search of the people who framed him.

As in the earlier feature films, many comedic situations arise as Destry goes to great lengths to avoid violence whenever troubles confront him. Gavin, in describing his character, stated, "To Destry, a hero is a man who thinks slower than a coward. While his father died with his boots on, Destry believes it is better to live with his boots on." [1]


No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1"The Solid Gold Girl"TBATBAFebruary 14, 1964 (1964-02-14)
2"Destry Had a Little Lamb"TBATBAFebruary 21, 1964 (1964-02-21)
3"Law and Order Day"TBATBAFebruary 28, 1964 (1964-02-28)
4"Stormy is a Lady"TBATBAMarch 6, 1964 (1964-03-06)
5"The Nicest Girl in Gomorrah"TBATBAMarch 13, 1964 (1964-03-13)
6"Big Deal at Little River"TBATBAMarch 20, 1964 (1964-03-20)
7"Go Away, Little Sheba"Gene NelsonTeleplay by: Gene L. Coon
Story by: Tom Seller
March 27, 1964 (1964-03-27)
8"Deputy for a Day"TBATBAApril 3, 1964 (1964-04-03)
9"Ride to Rio Verde"TBATBAApril 10, 1964 (1964-04-10)
10"Blood Brother-in-Law"TBATBAApril 17, 1964 (1964-04-17)
11"Red Brady's Kid"TBATBAApril 24, 1964 (1964-04-24)
12"The Infernal Triangle"TBATBAMay 1, 1964 (1964-05-01)
13"One Hundred Bibles"TBATBAMay 8, 1964 (1964-05-08)


1964 Destry John Gavin.jpg

In October 1963, the Los Angeles Times reported that Destry would be rushed into production to use John Gavin. [2] The new series was assigned the broadcast timeslot of the recently cancelled 77 Sunset Strip . [3]

Some of the guest stars cast for Destry included Chris Alcaide, Med Flory, Ron Hayes, Roger Mobley, Stuart Randall, Barbara Stuart, and Olive Sturgess. Gavin in his role as the son of Tom Destry, was the fifth actor to play the character "Destry", following the film stars Tom Mix, James Stewart, Audie Murphy, and Joel McCrea. In a 1963 interview, Gavin described the character's personality and reflected on the role's importance within the context of his acting career:

When I came to Universal, they were making 40 pictures a year. I walked through the gate, was given a contract, and immediately the number of pictures dropped to eight or nine a year. I'm not complaining because I was given good roles... roles with scope and breadth. But I wish I could have been put in 40 or 50 roles before making my 'first' picture, do you know what I mean? Doing a series now is like putting the cart before the horse. I'm glad to be doing 'Destry' now though because of the experience. My gosh, I've shot more film in the last five weeks than I have in my entire life... It's a role I can play with a great deal of naivete. Destry is the sort of man who if he sees trouble will ride around it. He says the difference between a hero and a coward is that a coward can think faster.... Hopefully Destry is not always a fool or a clown. He's wandering the west for a few years and he's pretty wise, not brilliant or intelligent but he's been kicked in the head a few times and he knows what's going on. [4]


During the original broadcast of the series, the Los Angeles Times described Destry as "lacklustre...a routine, second-grade hoss opry", while The New York Times judged it to be the "pedestrian telling of an awkward adventure". [5] [6] Television audiences apparently agreed with those assessments, for Destry never attracted a sizable audience and was cancelled after just 13 episodes. Gavin blamed that lack of success, at least in part, to the departure of the network executive who had commissioned the show. [7]

Home media

On September 6, 2011, Timeless Media Group released Destry- The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1. [8]

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  1. "Gavin Rides THE 5TH DESTRY". Chicago Tribune. February 8, 1964. p. C20.
  2. "'Destry' Rushed". Los Angeles Times. October 10, 1963. p. E12.
  3. Adams, Val (January 1, 1964). "A.B.C.-TV TO DROP '77 SUNSET STRIP' / Also Discontinuing 3 Other Series Before April". The New York Times, p.41. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  4. MacMinn, Aleene (March 15, 1964). "Gavin's first series". Los Angeles Times. p. E3.
  5. Smith, Cecil. "'Destry' Ride Less Than a Gallop". Los Angeles Times February 15, 1964, p. B2.
  6. Gould, Jack (February 15, 1964). "TV Review: New Destry Rides Into U.S. Living Rooms". The New York Times. p. 49.
  7. Ballinger, Don (September 18, 1965). "WHY? 36 more TV shows get the ax; Here are some of the reasons". Chicago Tribune . p. A10.CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-16. Retrieved 2011-08-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Additional reading