• Rebel, The – The Complete Series

    Released by: Timeless Media
    Released on: August 18th, 2015.
    Director: Various
    Cast: Nick Adams
    Year: 1959 - 1961
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    The Rebel ran on ABC from 1959 through 1961 and it starred Nick Adams as Johnny Yuma. A former Confederate soldier, Yuma wanders the southwest in a post-Civil War America writing wrongs and doing good whenever he can. He also keeps a journal of his exploits, material to be used in what he hopes will be a future writing career. This also served as a way for Yuma to work on finding himself and to deal with the past and the horrors of war that he had experienced. You get the sense early in the series that Yuma is a character in search of identity. The fact that he wears his uniform proudly after the war would indicate that he’s still backing the Confederacy, but he really is out to right wrongs more than he is to cause trouble (though he hardly shies away from it when it finds him).

    In the first episode we see Yuma return to his hometown for the first time since the war ended where he learns that his father, the town sheriff, was murdered by a gang of criminals. Yuma sets out to take care of this and in the process winds up taking ownership of a shotgun. This comes in handy throughout the series as he’s not only quick on the draw with his six-shooter but he’s handy with that double barrel as well. As the series progresses Yuma’s character does evolve a bit. Things don’t get all that deep and to a certain degree the stories will get repetitive and formulaic, but even when that happens things are pretty watchable.

    The list of episodes that make up the complete series of The Rebel are presented in the following order:

    Johnny Yuma / Judgment / Yellow Hair / Vicious Circle / Panic / The Scavengers / School Days / Dark Secret / Misfits / In Memoriam / The Vagrants / Gun City / The Death Of Gray / Angry Town / Gold Seeker / Glory / The Unwanted / The Crime / Noblesse Oblige / Land / He's Only A Boy / Take Dead Aim / The Rattler / You Steal My Eyes / Fair Game / Unsurrendered Sword / The Captive Of Tremblor / Blind Marriage / Absolution / A Grave For Johnny Yuma / In Memory Of A Son / Paint A House With Scarlet / Grant Of Land / Night On A Rainbow / Lady Of Quality / The Earl Of Durango /Johnny Yuma At Appomattox / The Bequest / The Champ / The Waiting / To See The Elephant / Deathwatch / Run, Killer, Run / The Hunted / The Legacy / Don Gringo / Explosion / Vindication / The Scalp Hunter / Berserk / The Hope Chest / The Liberators / The Guard / The Promise / Jerkwater / Paperback Hero / The Actress / The Threat / The Road To Jericho / The Last Drink / The Burying Of Sammy Hart / The Pit / Shriek Of Silence / Two Weeks / Miz Purdy / The Ballad Of Danny Brown / The Proxy / Decision At Sweetwater / Helping Hand / The Uncourageous / Mission Varina / The Calley Kid / Ben White / The Found / The Hostage / The Executioner

    Adams, who also contributed behind the camera by helping to create the show and with occasional writing duties, makes for a pretty good leading man here (even if we are never convinced he is a Southerner!) and he carries the series well. He’s tough but noble and he plays the part well handling both the dramatic side of the series and the action sequences quite ably. Part of the appeal of the series for some viewers, however, will be the interesting guest starts that show up. Appearing throughout the run are John Carradine, Royal Dano, Jamie Farr, Warren Oates, Robert Vaughn, Robert Blake, Victor Buono, Clu Gulager, L.Q. Jones, Claude Akins, James Best, Leonard Nimoy, Soupy Sales, Yvette Vickers and even Johnny Cash (who famously recorded the show’s theme song).

    The series is nicely shot and proves to be a good mix of action and drama with occasional dashes of humor, intrigue and even romance thrown into the mix. As such, it’s a good adventure series and that fact that our central character seems to be on as much of a soul searching mission as he is a quest for adventure helps to make this a bit different than similar western shows made around the same time (think The Rifleman or Have Gun Will Travel).

    Note that the music in this set does appear to be unaltered, so Cash’s theme song is included here.


    Video quality is a bit all over the place. While each episode is presented in its proper fullframe aspect ratio in glorious black and white, check out the caps below – you can see that some episodes are properly formatted for 4x3 screens while others have got bars on the side. This means you might have to adjust your viewing mode if watching this on a widescreen set to avoid seeing the picture stretched in annoying ways. That aside, there’s definitely an inconsistency here in terms of detail and softness as well, with some episodes looking razor sharp and others looking ropey and tape sourced. It’s all watchable enough if you don’t mind the quirks but don’t expect to be blown away here.

    The Dolby Digital Mono tracks for each episode, all in English, are serviceable enough but limited in range. Some minor hiss is present but for the most part the levels are balanced well enough and the dialogue is easy enough to follow. No alternate language options or subtitles here of any kind.

    All of the bonus features in the set are on disc six of season two. Things kick off with a featurettes called Looking Back At The Rebel with series Writer and Producer A.J. Fenady who speaks about his work in the entertainment industry and how he got involved with Hollywood around this time. He smokes a cigar the whole time but he’s got a pretty quick wit about him, he’s a kick to watch. He details how he wound up working on The Rebel, working with Nick Adams on the show, how they wrote the pilot for the series in three days, what made the show different from other western series visually and thematically and loads more. This thing runs almost an hour and ten minutes so it’s pretty in-depth and it’s a genuinely interesting reminiscence of the series and a career overview for Fenday.

    Nick Adams Remembered is a nineteen minute long interview with Allyson and Jeb Adams, Nick’s kids. They talk about how he was the son of a coal miner and how he grew up poor and how they wound up moving to New Jersey where they started a new life. From there we learn how Nick got into acting, some of his early roles, his ups and downs in the acting business and how even after a few defeats he kept at it, Allyson describing it as ‘do or die.’ They also talk about Adams’ writing career, how actors and actresses would exploit him for publicity and how he turned this around and made it work in his favor. They also discuss his work on The Rebel, their father’s work on the series and how it’s a big part of his legacy.

    The set also includes the twenty-eight minute long pilot for A.J. Fenady’s proposed companion series The Yank and a fun selection of vintage television commercials featuring Nick Adams, a gallery of production stills, menus and episode selection.

    The Final Word:

    The Rebel is a pretty entertaining series made all the more fun by the plethora of guest starts that appear throughout the run. The video quality isn’t always so hot here but there are a few decent extras for the series included in this set.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Andrew Monroe's Avatar
      Andrew Monroe -
      I've seen this set on the shelf a couple times and am tempted...don't think I ever caught this show. Check this out - someone posted this link at the CHFB - a well known Variety critic has an article here that points out some striking similarities between a particular episode of THE REBEL and the screenplay for THE HATEFUL EIGHT. Pretty interesting reading.