Sins of Omission

The Real McCoy

In the early 1950’s when my family got our first TV set—it had a whopping 12" screen with a green tint—we kids tuned in to The Tim McCoy Show, which aired early Saturday evenings on a local Los Angeles station, KTLA, Channel 5.  McCoy told stories about the Old West, gave lessons in Indian sign language, and interviewed old-timers who were in the mining camps and on the cattle ranges during the late 19th century.  I was enthralled.  Indian dancers made frequent appearances.  A regular guest was Iron Eyes Cody, who we all thought was an Indian chief.  Hollywood thought he was an Indian chief.  Iron Eyes himself thought he was an Indian chief.  He was actually a Sicilian from New Orleans who had passed himself off as an Indian chief for so long he came to believe his own fantasy.

Following McCoy’s tales and guests came a western, usually one starring Tim McCoy.  By then we had our cap guns out, ready to fire at the bad guys on the screen.  McCoy’s show was so successful that after two years it was lured to KNXT, Channel 2, the Los Angeles CBS affiliate.  KNXT continued McCoy’s Saturday show but added Tim McCoy’s Wild West, a weekday afternoon show featuring McCoy talking about the history of the Old West.  For me it couldn’t have been better.  That race of people called adults must have thought so too, because...

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