Before I go one comment further I need to personally thank Gay Mathis, prominent on this site, for getting to the bottom of the "26 Men" Mystery.
To recap: as a young lad of 11 I remember being totally taken by the ABC TV show "26 Men" which was about the Arizona Territorial Rangers and how only 26 rangers cleaned up the entire territory ("Saddle up. . .saddle up" went the catchy theme song). The show mysteriously went off the air after only two seasons. Why? I seemed to remember there was a lawsuit, involving surviving members of the Arizona Rangers and they sued the producers of the show because they thought the portrayal was too sexual. At least that is my memory of it. I thought with my connections at the Arizona Republic (I have done a weekly feature—True West Moments—for the past three years) I would easily get to the bottom of the mystery.
I contacted my editor, the guy with the history column (Clay Thompson), two former staffers (including Gus Walker who worked at the Republic for almost three decades) and I even contacted our own Marshal Timble (the state's official historian) and in a moment of overkill, I asked our pit bull researcher, and editor, Meghan Saar to see if she could round up the answer to the mystery.
None of the above experts, and they are truly experts at what they do, could find anything on the subject. One of the problems is that the scanned records of the paper have a huge hole from about 1905 to 1991 (according to one of the above researchers). I was stunned. I seemed to be the only one who even remembered the episode and a few even hinted at dementia.
As a last ditch effort I posted the mystery on this blog to see if the B team could come through. I didn't expect much. Well, low and behold, Gay Mathis of little ol' Mayfield, Kentucky was able to dig deep and accomplish what the experts in Arizona could not. To whit:
Gay was even able to garner a couple other quotes from the story:
William Oliver Parmer made these remarks in an interview in the Tucson Daily Citizen-Jan 16, 1960 after the lawsuit was filed against the "26 Men" series.
Asked what he thought about the program, Parmer said: "My attorney told me not to discuss it with anyone."
Western TV programs in general aren't portraying the real West, according to Parmer.
"Mostly they are pure imagination stuff. At the rate they kill off men in those things, we'd have ended up with just women left in the territory."
This is very impressive. I asked Gay how she got the name:
regarding my name "Gay" is actually my middle name, and the name I was called growing up, etc..My first name is "Linda"..I have a identical twin sister named "Glinda Kay"..If anyone addresses me as "Linda" then, I know they do not know me very well.....:)
Just an avid researcher of personal family genealogy projects, American Civil War, Jesse James and Gang, other Outlaws..History has always been a passion of mine. It is a never ending story and still being made, as I write this, and have not done any research for pay, etc..It's because I want to..
Quote, below, sums it up for me, and why I love to research and try to help others..
"We die twice; The first time when our hearts cease to beat; The second time when our stories cease to be told."
And finally, thanks to Brian Burroughs, here is the classic "26 Men" theme song:
"26 Men Who Lived to Ride Again"