Sunday, July 27, 2008

The motorcycle in Television: Nichols.

Nichols on his "replacement horse"-his motorcycle.
"Nichols (also known as James Garner as Nichols) was a Western television series starring James Garner broadcast in the United States on NBC during the 1971-72 season.

Nichols was a rather unusual Western in several respects. Its setting, the fictional town of Nichols, Arizona, in 1914, was rather late for a Western. It also accounted for the main character, a sheriff, riding on a motorcycle and in an automobile rather than on the traditional horse. Nichols was also unusual in that unlike most Westerns, the hero, if that is truly what he was, did not carry a firearm and was generally opposed to the use of violence to solve problems, preferring other means.

Unfortunately, this program did not do well in the ratings, resulting in the decision by the program's producers to kill off the title character. The greedy, but pacifist Nichols was shot down, to be avenged by his identical twin brother Jim Nichols (also portrayed by Garner), who arrived in town and administered justice in a more stereotypical (and it was hoped, more popular) Western fashion. This solution would have made recasting and retitling the program unnecessary while allowing for considerable changes. However, the episode in which the first Nichols was murdered proved to be the final one; before it aired, NBC cancelled the series, rerunning the earlier episodes during the summer of 1972."

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