"Death Valley Days" began as a radio program in 1930 and featured stories of the old West. I've looked for reruns of the popular TV series that appeared in the 50s and early 60s, but they never seem to be rebroadcast. Before he became Governor and then President, Ronald Reagan was host of the series and starred in eight episodes. The show is ranked as #3 of the longest running anthology series on TV.
The stories on "Death Valley Days" were all of a historical nature (a "true western adventure") and were sponsored by U.S. Borax (20 Mule Team Boraxo). [The borax mine in Nevada is now owned by Rio Tinto, and the Boraxo soap name is owned by Dial.
One program featured Ronald Reagan who played a Protestant minister who was asked by a widow to discipline her son. The minister hesitated, but finally agreed after the widow insisted that the 13-year old boy needed to be whipped for being very bad. After the boy had been beaten with the minister's belt, he cried and asked the minister "Who beats you when you're bad?" I've always remembered Reagan's slow and sorrowful answer, "When I'm bad, I beat myself."
I highly encourage readers to view an example "Death Valley Days" TV program by clicking on the sidebar, "Episode Webcasts". The half-hour free episode "Fifty Years a Mystery" gives a flavor of the many good TV programs we kids saw over 50 years ago.
In particular, look at the Boraxo commercials with Rosemary DeCamp and ask yourself if you would mind looking at this type of commercials again. Also note the number of commercial minutes in the program. You will ask yourself how our public airways became so fouled and with much, much longer commercials. You may want to point this out to the Federal Communications Commission which is supposed to protect the interests of American citizens--not the TV owners!
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