January 19, 1958
In 1807, a scientifically-minded Scottish clergyman who delighted in hunting quail and grouse in the highlands invented and improved method of firing weapons. This discovery eventually led to the creation of the Colt revolver, which in turn provided the basis for an ABC-TV western series titled “Colt .45”.
Were it not
for that young clergyman, whose name was Alexander Forsyth, Wayde Preston might
still be working in an aircraft plant as an electronics technician. Or, more
likely, he would be a forest ranger in Grand Teton National Park.
Actually, Wayde Preston has worked at these jobs, He has also spent four and a half years in the Army and has, for spending money, shot coyotes with a shotgun while skimming ten ot fifteen feet above the plains in a light airplane. With a five dollar bounty being paid for each coyote, Preston was continually shuttling between prosperity and the poorhouse. It all depended on the adeptness of the coyotes.
Stars in Series
Preston is better known to TV viewers as a combination hunter-of-outlaws and
gun salesman. In the “Colt .45” series, of which he is the star, he plays
Christopher Colt, a gun salesman on a secret mission in western territory for
the Federal Government.
Wayde, who is 27 years old, has already led a full and sometimes tumultuous life, There were early signs that this was to be expected. For one thing, Wayde was born in a town with the unusual likely name of Steamboat Springs Colo. His father, whose name was John K. Strange, was a history and mathematics teacher, and his mother a talented musician.
When he was very young, Wayde’s parents moved to Laramie Wyo. There. Between hunting, fishing and mountain climbing expeditions, he managed to cram in a respectable amount of education. He graduated from Laramie High School and took a pre-dental course at the University of Wyoming, majoring in pharmacy. He also mastered the bass violin, played football and basketball and got his pilot’s license when he was 16, which proved to be his fr coyote hunting.
Wayde took part in school plays, both in high school and college but never seriously considered acting as a profession, although he admits he “sort of had it in the back of my mind.”
After serving in the Army, Wayde was discharged with the rank of first lieutenant. For some months he indulged in his favorite hobby – mountain climbing – while working as a park ranger.
Not one to sit idly on a mountain peak, Wayde journeyed to California and secured a job in the Douglas Aircraft guided missile plant. Vacation time came and Wayde decided to visit San Francisco. While flying there he shared a seat with a theatrical agent, the late Ned Marin. Marin thought Wayde had screen possibilities, and, some weeks later, he introduced him to actress Carol Omhart. Carol was to teach Wayde acting.
Sessions Bore Fruit
The teaching session were a smashing success and must have been very interesting. Wayde married Carol about a year after their first meeting.
Wayde was awarded a screen test by Warner Brothers. They liked the first result, arranged another, and before he could say “draw,” Wayde Preston found himself the star of a major TV series.
Studio executives seemed confident that they had a “sleeper” in the series and in Preston. “Sleeper” being a trade term for an entertainment product which takes off from a dead start and goes into the lead on the first turn.
However, if they do happen to “just another western,” Wayde can always cash in on one of his many other talents. Why, only last week rumors were flying that the coyote bounty is sure to shoot sky high next year.
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