21 July 2007 | blondiesguy2004
The TV debut of the legendary Republic Pictures
This unassuming, fairly routine series deserves credit in the TV history books for two reasons: it was the first to win an Emmy award for best syndicated series, and it was the very first show to come from the fabled studios of Republic Pictures, known for its low-budget but high-powered shoot-em-ups in the 30's and 40's.
Republic was one of the first Hollywood studios to make a leap into the small screen, which was still in its infancy. But the studios' tenure as producer of TV pulp fiction would be brief. After this show, they would later dabble with the other format that they were known for, the adventure serial, with "Commando Cody", as well as other series, but like this one, they didn't last longer than 39 episodes. Also, Republic was in its last stages as a studio; it would finish out its tenure in Hollywood as rental stages for several Revue Studio series such as "Soldiers of Fortune", the original "Dragnet", and "Kit Carson", before finally shutting its doors in 1959.
Anyway, "Stories of the Century" wasn't that bad of an oater, its calling card was tales based on authentic figures in Western history, mainly outlaws like Black Bart, Johnny Ringo, John Wesley Hardin, The Dalton Bros. and the like. The late Jim Davis, best known for his role as the Ewing patriarch in "Dallas", put in an amiable job in the lead role as Matt Clark, a fictional railroad detective who has to contend with said outlaws, played by veteran and soon-to-be veteran character actors.
Two amazing facts here: The incidents would take place in different time lines, some in the 1880's, some at the turn of the century, but Clark never ages. And also, Matt has the good luck to saddle himself with two lovely female detectives as sidekicks, Frankie Adams, played by Mary Castle, and her replacement, Margaret "Jonesy" Jones, by Kristine Miller. The Lone Ranger could only wish for lady companionship. You can only spend such time with Tonto for so long.
"Stories Of The Century" is a Studio City TV production from Republic Pictures Corp. 39 episodes were made during 1954, all 39 of which are in public domain and on DVD.