Walker, Texas Ranger

From Academic Kids

Walker, Texas Ranger was a television show that ran from April, 1993 to May, 2001 during primetime on CBS. The show emphasized values such as abstaining from the use of drugs and participation in community service; it was also once considered to be the most violent show on television. Martial arts are shown prominently as the primary tool of law enforcement (albeit falsely) and occasionally as a tool for Walker and company to reach out to the community. Although it remained popular throughout much of its run, it was also criticized by some who found it unrealistic, melodramatic, and sappy.

Contents

Overview

The show stars Chuck Norris as a Texas Ranger named Cordell Walker, who lives in modern Dallas, Texas. The Police Unit he works in is the Department of Public Safety. Ranger Walker shares values with the sheriffs from the Wild West, and was raised by a Native American named Ray Firewalker; Walker also fought in the Vietnam War as a part of the United States Marine Corps. He works with a partner, a former player for the Dallas Cowboys football team named James Trivette (played by Clarence Gilyard), who does things the more modern way. He works closely with the County Assistant District Attorney Alexandra "Alex" Cahill (played by Sheree J. Wilson), whom he shares a mutual attraction with. In the past, he worked with former Ranger C.D. Parker (played by the late Noble Willingham), now the owner of a small restaurant and bar.

"Walker, Texas Ranger" was known for formulaic plots characteristic of television shows in previous decades. Deus ex machina was used liberally and often in each episode, especially towards the climactic scenes when Ranger Walker and his posse would arrive wherever the culmination of the antagonist's plans took place just as their plans would be completed only to quickly thwart these plans. The following were notable events in the series:

  • Alex Cahill, Cordell Walker's girlfriend, was often kidnapped.
  • In one episode, a one-million dollar bounty was placed on Cordell Walker's head.
  • After Walker could not stop a middle-school boy from committing suicide, he single-handedly drove gang violence out of said boy's school and pressured the school's administration to make sweeping reforms, including a school uniform policy.
  • In one episode, Ranger Walker was murdered by weapon smugglers after being chased by them in a sting operation gone bad for an entire episode, only for it to be revealed that the whole episode was a dream.
  • Walker engages in undercover operations in various episodes. Walker always goes to get evidence to convict the actual leader of the antagonists so there is no chance for that their illegal activities could start up again elsewhere.
  • Walker had a crossover episode with the series Martial Law. In part 1 (on Martial Law), Walker goes to LA and teams up with Sammo Law (played by Sammo Hung) and his Major Crimes unit to take down a hate crime leader named Cliff Eagleton. In Part 2 (on Walker), after the Eagleton Crew frees their leader from custody after Walker brings him back to Texas, Sammo Law comes to Texas to assist the rangers in bringing Eagleton down.
  • Every major character of Walker has been put in the hospital, including Walker himself.
  • The climactic Walker storyline, containing 4 parts, involves Walker heading a taskforce to bring down an infamous criminal known as the Chairman, who has been aiding crime lords through various activities such as exposing and killing undercover federal agents and tracking down and killing witnesses in the witness protection program. The taskforce is composed of Walker, Trivette, Sydney, and Gage along with Vincent Rosetti, a New York cop (temporarily assigned as Trivette's partner), and Buzz Lee, a computer hacker.
  • Only two Walker antagonists, Victor La Rue and Caleb Hooks, would come back to get revenge on Walker in later episodes.
  • Occasionally when the antagonists learn that the law is on them, they try to leave town or close down their illegal operations for awhile before they are discovered.
  • Walker over numerous occasions has used the same line "Yeah I Know" when he agrees with someones point or suspicion.
  • In various episodes the plot centers around Hayes Cooper a legendary Texas Ranger from the Old West, who is also played by Chuck Norris in a duel role. The other major actors of Walker have also done duel roles as characters in these Hayes Cooper stories, although some of the actors were only able to appear in them just once.

Changes Over the Years

Over the years the show ran, many changes were made:

  • In early episodes, Ranger Walker drove a GMC truck, and in later episodes, he drove a Dodge Ram.
  • After much criticism for the amount of violence shown in the show over the years, the number of violent acts in each episode was reduced.
  • For the last two seasons, two young characters, Rangers Sydney Cook (played by Nia Peeples) and Francis Gage (played by Judson Mills), were added to the cast.
  • In the last season of the series, Cordell Walker weds Alex Cahill and the two of them have a daughter named Angela.

The Theme Song

At the beginning of every show, the theme song reveals the basic nature of the show. The song, titled "The Eyes of The Ranger" was written by songwriter Tirk Wilder and sung by Chuck Norris, though sung in one episode by guest star Lila McCann. The lyrics are as follows:

"In the Eyes of the Ranger, the unsuspecting stranger,
had better know the truth of wrong from right.
'Cause the eyes of the Ranger are upon you, any wrong you do he's gonna see.

When you're in Texas, look behind you, 'cause thats where the Ranger's gonna be."

Novels

In 1999, three "Walker Texas Ranger" books were written by James Reasoner and published by Berkley Publishing Group:

  1. Walker, Texas Ranger (1998, ISBN 0425168158)
  2. Hell's Half Acre (1999, ISBN 0425169723)
  3. Siege on the Belle (1999, ISBN 0425171124)

These novels are out of print.

"Walker, Texas Ranger" today

In 2004, NBC merged with Universal Studios, which was said to own the rights to Walker, Texas Ranger (in actuality, the episodes were owned by many different companies; Universal had the rights to air episodes, but did not have ownership). Nevertheless, Late Night with Conan O'Brien wasted no time incorporating the "Walker, Texas Ranger Lever" into the show, a lever which allows Conan O'Brien to play a clip from the show any time he wants. The clips are always nonsensical and hilarious.

Currently, Walker, Texas Ranger is shown in syndication and on the American cable TV channel USA Network, often around the time when syndicated episodes of JAG are aired. Walker, Texas Ranger is also shown in syndication on the Hallmark Channel as well, though sometimes edited for content.

External links

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