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TV: B is for...

Branded

RIDDLE-ME-REE: IT’S made in the 1960s, it’s an American drama, it goes on for about 200 episodes… Why, it must be the Wild West again! Yup sirree. This time we’re in the company of US army captain Jason McCord (CHUCK CONNORS), unjustly booted out for cowardice and who proceeds to wander about for ages with nothing but a torn, dirty uniform and half a sword to show for years of selfless devotion to Uncle Sam. The bastards. Opening sequence was class: McCord stands in a fort while the drums roll having his buttons, stripes and epaulettes ripped off by a grim-faced general who then breaks our hero’s sword over his knee. Daft thing to do with a sharp blade. Then he’s thrown out on his ear, rapidly followed by the aforementioned sword-half and much muttering of “never darken our doors…” etc. Meanwhile, a solemn voice (not Waylon Jennings, but almost) sings: “All but one man died/There at Bitter Creek/And they say he ran away/Branded, marked with the coward’s chain/What do you do when you’re branded?/Well you fight for your name/Branded, scorned is the one who ran/What do you when you’re branded?/And you know you’re a man.” Trouble was, he didn’t actually run anywhere. He was knocked out by the Indians who thought he was dead, then spent some time being, er, a map-maker.

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