‘Maverick’ Creator Roy Huggins Wanted to Create a Different Type of Western Sitcom

by Keeli Parkey
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Thanks to his work on previous television shows, Roy Huggins was given the opportunity by a network to create a new series during the 1950s. This new series turned out to be the beloved Western show “Maverick” starring James Garner.

And, it was different than many others that came before it thanks to its creator. Huggins talked about creating the show during an interview with The Television Academy Foundation in July 1998.

Prior to creating “Maverick,” Roy Huggins had worked on several other television series. Among these, according to IMDb.com, was another Western titled “Cheyenne.” This show aired from 1955 until 1963 and followed a hero named Cheyenne Bodie on his adventures.

The success of his work on “Cheyenne” led one network to reach out to Huggins about a new series. Turns out, his work on that Western really informed what Huggins wanted to do with his new series. According to the interview, he wanted to create a Western that was different than others that had been on television.

“ABC called me and said, ‘Roy, we want you to come up with another series. … I had already come up with the idea for ‘Maverick’ based on the cold feeling I had about ‘Cheyenne,'” Huggins recalled. “Because to me, it was just a routine Western, even though I tried to tell adult stories. But, I was still telling stories about a Western hero.”

‘Maverick’ Creator Did Not Want Main Character to Be a Hero

He did not want his main character to be a fearless hero. He wanted the main character to be something different than other heroes, including Cheyenne Bodie.

“I kept saying to my close friends that I wanted to do a series about a guy who was not a Western hero. If any pretty girl ran up to Cheyenne and said, ‘Oh, I need help.’ He would say, ‘What do you need?’ I wanted a guy who if a pretty woman ran up to him and said, ‘I need help.’ He would say, ‘The sheriff’s office is right over there.’ Or, if someone came in running into the saloon and said, ‘Hey, so-and-so … is out there looking for you.’ Now, Cheyenne would check his holster and walk out. …” Huggins described. “Maverick would go out the rear window. I said that’s the kind of Western I want to do.”

So, this is the message Huggins shared with ABC executives about the Western television show he wanted to make. The executives loved the idea. So, Huggins began developing a story and a pilot for what would become “Maverick.”

It was during that process that Huggins came up with the title “Maverick.” He said during the 1998 interview that he chose that title because the character “was a maverick.”

“The word ‘maverick’ existed and had meaning before I came up with the title for the show,” Huggins said. “A maverick was a non-conformist.”

As portrayed by James Garner on the famous television series, the character of “Maverick” was certainly that. The show aired from 1957 until 1962.

You can watch Roy Huggins talk about “Maverick” with The Television Academy Foundation below.

Outsider.com