Rawhide's Paul Brinegar said Wishbone was the best job he ever had

It's safe to say that Wishbone helped cook up a hit with Rawhide.

CBS Television Distribution

Paul Brinegar was the cook to Rowdy Yates and the rest of his cattle chasing crew in the hit-series Rawhide (1959). When his character, Wishbone, wasn't whipping up food, he was whipping Rowdy Yates into shape.

Wishbone was responsible for preparing meals for the Rawhide crew during their cattle drives across the West. His character's gruff, no-nonsense attitude made him a highly respected character, not to mention his beard, which fans fell in love with. 

According to a 1962 interview with The Roanoke Times, Brinegar defended Westerns, especially Rawhide, to no end. He said there was more relaxation and more interesting entertainment coming from Westerns compared to the run-of-the-mill sitcom or detective series. 

"Westerns aren't in the formula of the old quickie gun show," Brinegar said. "The good ones, the ones that stick around awhile, have good ratings, make a real effort at authenticity as well as entertainment."

Rawhide was one of those Westerns that stuck around awhile, eight seasons to be exact. The series quickly became a major hit, not only in America, but in Italy, Japan and a few other countries as well.

The series represented life in the West for many Americans, and many fans thought a young Clint Eastwood wasn't too bad to look at either.

Brinegar added that Rawhide and all other "new" Western series of the '60s had to compromise, not only in story but in believability too.

In another 1963 interview with Orlando Evening Star, Brinegar said Wishbone was the best job he's ever had. According to the interview, he landed his role as Wishbone after a movie role in Cattle Empire (1958) which was directed by Rawhide creator, Charles Marquis Warren. 

Not only did he have love for his character, he had love for the many moments and memories he created on-set with the cast and crew.

"One of our best filmed stampedes was a real stampede," Brinegar said of Rawhide. "The chuck wagons were knocked over and it took a whole day to round up the heard."

"Westerns are the only original U.S. art form," Brinegar continued. "Outdoorsiness is a big part of the appeal of a story. I had ridden before, but never had driven a team. So, for the first few episodes I held reins but a hidden man actually controlled the team."

It's safe to say that Wishbone helped cook up a hit with Rawhide. 

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4 Comments

Spaceseed 15 days ago
Paul was in the music video Cathys Clown with Reba. Anyone recognize the other card players at the table?
Runeshaper 30 days ago
Paul Brinegar was EXCELLENT as Wishbone! It was nice to read how much he enjoyed his job, and working with the cast and crew (-:
KawiVulc 1 month ago
Wishbone, Festus & Wooster. None better.
McGillahooala 1 month ago
Nice story. I like hearing about the behind the scenes thoughts and actions of the actors in these classic series. I saw Paul Brinegar recently in a horror flick on Svengoolie. He was almost unrecognizable.
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