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William Tell, 1958


Does anybody have an idea about this: I purchased the UK version of this series, but the music is different than I remember as a kid in the US. The opening and closing in the current version is one voice singing to the tune of the William Tell overature, known to Yankees as the theme from the Lone Ranger! What I remember as a child was a chorus of male voices singing the tune that the long horn player starts the show with. Was this changed for US viewers because of the affliation with that other show? Or changed later, and for what reason?
Sorry, probably pretty obscure, but it's bugging me.

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All I can add as a 'Limey' William Tell enthusiast is that, the opening and ending music scoreson the DVD are exactly the same as when I watched it back in my (distant) childhood here in england, on good old black and white 405 lines VHF TV...

At the same time here we also had the Lone Ranger, which used the instrumental (classical?) abridged version of Rossini's W.T. Overture as its theme music.

I have recently watched all of the episodes on DVD with my young son and it was fun for me spotting guest appearances of later big film/tv stars. Also, the fights were more realistic than many of todays.

Reminiscing, I thought Landburger Gessler was one of the strongest characters and as a 10 year old I was in love with Hedda! I was particularly upset when she was shot in the shoulder by a crossbow bolt!

Lastly, had Willoughby Goddard as Gessler in his Leather Jerkin outfit been around today - what a Gay icon...!


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R=Thanks for the information, Christopher. Perhaps my memory is off.
I tried to get my 8-year-old daughter to watch the series with me, but she didn't seem very interested. Yes, Hedda, mmmm, a good reason to tune back in, but I think I watched it as a younger child, so I was interested mostly in the crossbows and the two-handed swordplay. Kind of liked the sheepskin vest, that's a little scary. Always a little leary around Austrians since then. Oh, interesting point about Gessler, he would have a following among the the current bunch of gender benders. Maybe they patterned the big guy from Dune after him, the movie version a younger Sting was in.
Did you watch other (than the Lone Ranger) westerns much, like Fury, or Flicka, or Sky King (airplane cowboy)? Seems we had a lot of live-action shows to choose from, as opposed to the cartoons and situation comedies I see my daughter watching, although that may just be what she prefers as a girl. I also remember something about some guys on wires and a car that flew like a Harrier jet, came on Sunday morning here.
Thanks for the reply,
Scot Hamilton

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You omitted the exquisite outdoor alpine scenery of 'William Tell' - actually it was Snowdonia, which is in North Wales. Think the main mountains were studio painted backdrops!

Didn't really watch too many other Westerns - which swamped British TV in those days - as I found them all 'samey'. (I was only converted back when I subsequently saw 'The Magnificent Seven' at the cinema.)

With Childrens TV, I don't specifically recall the series you mentioned but, do recollect a lot of home produced kids Dramas on both BBC and ITV.

The first kids cartoon series we tended to see here in the UK was Popeye which lasted 25 mins or so made up of 3 short strips. I remember some were possibly U.S. propaganda versions since, the hero was in the Navy fighting characitured Japanese... Later on of course, we got Hannah and Barbara's 'Huckleberry Hound' as well as - 'The Flintstones' - the latter which was shown in an adult slot at 7 pm!

p.s. some of my best friends are Austrians since, I ski there most winters...

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Hi Christopher,
Sorry about the Austrians comment, was kidding, I don't know any Austrians, but I did spend a very fuzzy night in Saltzburg at a Hofbrauhaus(?) in '72.
So you're a skier? I've been able to spend some time skiing in Colorado, where my brother lives. Hoping we'll get out there again this winter.
Seems we Yanks did get a different version of the William Tell title song, it was called "The Freedom Song," I found a copy of the lyrics on the internet, sorry if this in old news, I should have reread the previous messages.
Hope you make it back to Austia this winter, give my apologies to everyone there! ;)

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Austria, that is. And the name of the Sunday morning show (Harrier jet-type car) was 'Supercar', later there was a series by the same guys called 'Thunderbirds', I think. Also, maybe Mike Mercury...
'The Flintstones' started off the Friday(?) night shows around here at 7:30, thanks for reminding me of that. Those are fond memories.

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I understand that Willoughby Goddard is still living at 81 years of age. More power to him. He was a memorable villian in William Tell.

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I grew up in Michgan and also remember this theme as you do. A chorus of male voices singing as if they were in a tavern, hoisting a beer and ready to rally round Tell and fight for freedom.
The theme went something like "Marching behind william tell, we rebel, in a cause that is just".
Wish I knew the rest of the lyrics... it has been bothering me too.

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Hi,
It is called "The Freedom Song." I found the lyrics by poking around a bit under the William Tell moniker. I have a copy around here somewhere, I'll write you when I find it. Other people, Americans, have complained that they changed the title song for the dvd compilation, but british viewers have assured me that the different song is the one that accompanied their version.
Thanks for backing me up!
Scot from Kokomo, Indiana

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That would be great if I can get the lyrics.
I have searched for them and I found out the name of the song, but cannot find them anywhere.

The other show I watched with regularity around the same time was Sgt Preston.
No one seems to remember that one either.
Bill

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Don't worry - the Austrians (thesedays!) are great people. Mind you, hope to ski Stateside one day when time/money permits!
Digressing, 'Supercar' was the second British puppet production by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson whom subsequently went on to Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds, etc., etc. and, suggest check out other threads here and on the web for more info.

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Haven't came across them yet, but from memory -
Fighting with William Tell, we rebel, for a cause that is just.
Fighting with William Tell, (we can tell?), that our swords will not rust.
Fight, we will fight for the right...

Yes, I remember Sgt. Preston of the Yukon or of the Canadian Mounties. I liked that series too. It seemed to jump back and forth from summer to winter storylines. The impressive thing about the winter installments was that the Sgt. traded his horse in for a dog sled. I kind of figured that Dudley Doright, of Rockey and Bullwinkle fame, was a lampooning of Sgt Preston. Do you remember the Bob Clampet cartoon, Beanie and Cecil? It used a lot of word play, and had some fairly goofy sea-related scenes, Cecil was a seasick sea serpent.
Thanks,
Scot






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Nope, the name of Beanie and Cecil sounds framiliar, but not enough to pull from my memory. although I do remember Rocky and Bullwinkle having some pretty sophisticated word play that kept me smiling.

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Hi David, I have the complete set on DVD and will check the episode that you mentioned, but I think as it is a British product that it will have the Whitfield sung version of the theme song. I would very much like to have a copy of the Freedom Song. If you wouldn't mind emailing me at [email protected] perhaps we could work something out.
I'm sure I was watching reruns of the show when I saw it, but always tried not to miss an episode. For a show of that era, it seems very well done. Sorry I missed out on the Wm Tell crossbow - I had to fashion one out of part of a board game that had a standing roulette wheel to it. The bracket that held the wheel in place was roughly the shape of a crossbow. Mom claims I would run and change outfits for each different show that come on, don't know what I did for a sheepskin vest! We did have some active imaginations back then. And yes, time does pass quickly.
Thanks for the reminiscing,
Scot

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Particularly to David in England (where I myself am based) but, also to include other 'reminiscees' of Kids TV from the late 1950's onwards...

I also bought a toy crossbow which came out shortly after the William Tell Series started. It cost 3/11d (proper money!) and, had to save up my pocket money. It was made of Green painted metal in two parts linked with a butterfly nut and, fired full length rubber tipped arrows. I used to place an apple on the top corner of an armchair headrest and try and shoot it off...

I got into Zorro through a comic around at that time called 'Walt Disney Weekly'. I recollect the launch issues gave away a free cardboard mask and hat.
Did you have the Toy black plastic rapier style sword which had a space at the tip to insert a piece of chalk - so that you could write the 'Z' on any convenient surface...!?

Sorry to hear JJ passed away since as I said previously here, she was also my first TV love...

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Specifically for David from Christopher (also in England) but of course, happy to share these remeninsces with everyone here...

Yes, regarding the Crossbow - I always felt it wasn't as realistic as the short bolt versions in the TV Series. (I wonder what eventually happened to the original props?) I remember subsequently trying to make a more accurate version using just the bow element attached to a piece of wood along with some custom homemade bolts made out of short green gardening sticks fitted with triangular paper flights. Surprisingly, it worked although health & safety would have the vapours thesedays!

In my collection (still!) are the official two William Tell Annuals. You may or may not recollect they contained written stories from the TV series including a few illustrations plus, a couple of fully illustrated new stories. The artwork is excellent.

It's funny how you and I both had 'crushes' on JJ - I never felt the same way about Maid Marian in Richard Greene's Robin Hood series, which was also around at that time.

Like you I was disappointed when I finally got around to seeing Zorro.



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[deleted]

I never did find that printout, but I received a tape of three shows with the US theme. From what I can make out (one line is garbled):

Marching behind William Tell, we rebel, in a cause that is just.
Marching behind William Tell, we know well, that our swords will not rust.
Free, we shall fight to be free,
It's our right to be free,
And united we cry, "Conquer or die!"
Right, we shall fight for the right,
with the (tightest of might) or (something... divide?)
And united we cry, "Conquer or die!"
Marching behind William Tell, we rebel, in a cause that is just.
Marching behind William Tell, we know well, that our swords will not rust.
Fight, we shall fight for the right.
Now the battle's begun,
Till we have won!


Hope this helps,
Scot

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Sgt. Preston of the RCMP was a favorite of mine, especially his dog, Yukon King. I ran across one bargain bin VHS of the show about 20 years ago.

My brother and I were faithful fans of William Tell, Robin Hood, Sky King, Fury, My Friend Flicka, Tugboat Annie, and Long John Silver (arrrr!). As an impressionable little girl, I wanted to grow up to be just like Silver's darlin' Miss Purity or Tugboat Annie. Perhaps I did...

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Hi, I posted the lyrics on this board a few weeks ago, the first line was exactly as you remembered it.
Scot

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