MAVERICK: A History of the Television Series
One tenant of sociable poker players was “Never trust a man who sandbags (checks and then raises) in a friendly game of cards.” The basic premise of Maverick, a professional gambler who wandered the west avoiding trouble and finding himself caught up in life-threatening adventures, was televised for five seasons over ABC-TV, and spawned a number of comic books, collectibles and sequels. ABC was poised to fire its Sunday ammunition against the competing Ed Sullivan and Steve Allen, with heavy bets to the tune of a million dollars placed by the Kaiser Industries Corp. and Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corp., its sponsors.
The chief asset of the show was its sense of humor. If an adult Western was to be truly adult, it could not take itself too seriously. Rather than kiss the woman and ride off into the sunset, Maverick could be expected to win a bet by kissing his horse and fleeing out of the county by riverboat. Along the way he cleaned up corruption and disruption of law and order in the unsettled old West.
The goal was not to compete with other fast-drawing hotshot television Westerns, but rather to differentiate from them. That was the Roy Huggins formula. He created and produced the series, ensuring a refreshing take in an era when television Westerns were a variation-on-a-theme. Huggins wanted to avoid the clichés that populated other television Westerns.
This book has been a decade in the making, having consulted every possible avenue including production files. (Yes, that means the episode guide includes the dates of production, filming locations, budgets, and more.) Fans of Maverick will find themselves wanting to re-watch the episodes once again with all the new behind-the-scenes trivia brought to light.