Chuck Norris Canceled The Show
Would it come as a surprise if we told you that Chuck Norris ended up canceling Walker, Texas Ranger with his own bare hands? Norris wanted to go out on a high, and he did, going out with a 10million+ viewership!
Did They? Didn’t They?
Over the years, there has been much speculation surrounding the nature of the relationship between Chuck Norris and Sheree J. Wilson, who were on-screen love interests on Walker, Texas Ranger. They had already worked together on the 1994 thriller Hell bound, so they were delighted to be reunited. “We had already worked together for three months,” Wilson said. “So we worked well together and it was seamless.” However, both Norris and Wilson have been quick to deny any rumors, despite remaining friends to this very day.
Chuck’s Prayers Were Answered
In season five, Norris asked CBS if they could produce an episode that reflected his strong Christian values. He told the network that if the episode wasn’t the highest rated one of the season, then he’d never bug them again. It was about a young girl who ends up getting killed when caught in the middle of a gang warfare. Amazingly, the episode “The Neighborhood” became the highest rated episode of the year. You could even call it a miracle.
C.D.’s Bar & Grill Is Real
Many don’t realize this, but C.D.’s Bar & Grill is actually based on a real bar that hosted real-life Texas Rangers. It was actually Fort Worth’s White Elephant Saloon that the show’s producers used as inspiration for their own fictional bar. This saloon was the stomping ground of 19th-century legends such as Luke Short. There’s also a chance that heroes like Doc Holliday and Wyatt Sharp also made their presence felt in the bar, seeing that they had ties with Short.
Developed By Hollywood Royalty
You might not believe this, but one of the early developers of the show was the mastermind behind classic shows such as Sense 8, and Marvel comics Thor and Spider-Man. The writer in question is J. Michael Straczynski, who also penned the script for the MCU’s blockbuster Thor. Acting as the supervising producer of the show before leaving to work on Babylon 5, we wonder how much better Walker, First Ranger would have been with Straczynski at the helm.
Bush Almost Made A Cameo
Although Walker, Texas Ranger had an array of fascinating cameos, there is one that could have been the most memorable – former President George W. Bush himself. At the time, Bush wasn’t the President yet and was the Governor of Texas at the time. The producers were so positive that they would get Bush involved that he was even written into one of the episodes. However, he ended up declining, becoming President, and the writers had to go back to the drawing board.
Chuck Wanted Family Values
Many years since Walker, Texas Ranger came to an end, Chuck Norris has been vocal about the direction that the show went in. Although he was pleased with the early scripts, he didn’t like some of CBS’s creative decisions moving forward. For example, they wanted his on-screen relationship with Sheree J. Wilson’s character to be “risqué.” However, he was apprehensive and wanted the show to reflect his beliefs. He also wanted the show to be family friendly, so CBS kept it that way.
Trivette Hit Rock Bottom
There were only three actors who were mainstays throughout the entirety of Walker, Texas Ranger‘s run. Two were Chuck Norris and Sheree J. Wilson, and the third was actor Clarence Gilyard. Although he played the popular character, Jimmy Trivette, Gilyard recently admitted that he went through a dark time during the show’s run. “I hit bottom…I was pretty much sex, [substances] and rock and roll, ya know what I mean?” he said. However, Gilyard went to Church and turned his life around.
The Good, The Bad & The Hunk of Junk
Many Westerns of old have a way of concealing the villain from plain sight. As the story goes on, the bad guy reveals themselves through their actions. However, Walker, Texas Ranger was a show that let you know exactly who was good and who was bad from the get-go. This was primarily achieved through which vehicle the character was driving. Most villains on the show drove Fords, while the protagonists drove Chevrolets.
Not only did Walker, Texas Ranger attract stars such as Chuck Norris, it also acted as something of a conveyor belt for the next generation of Hollywood talent. Some of the performers to come out of the show who have gone on to do greater things include the likes of Mila Kunis, Tobey Maguire, and Giovanni Ribisi, to name a few. One supporting actor that went on to have his own show was Bryan Cranston, who played Walter White in the hit show Breaking Bad.
Lone Wolf’s Influence
One thing that most of Chuck Norris’s projects have in common is that he is kicking butt in some sort of way. This is certainly apparent in Walker, Texas Ranger. Not only that, but it is also clear that the show took heavy inspiration from previous works that Norris was involved with – most notably, Lone Wolf McQuade. The 1983 movie also stars Norris as a Texas Ranger and sees him wrecking shop for some sort of righteous cause.
Norris Taught Mila a Thing or Two
Walker, Texas Ranger didn’t just give a number of star actors the push they needed to make it in Hollywood. Chuck Norris personally taught them a variety of tips and skills to make it in the industry. For example, Mila Kunis, who was just 10-years-old when she appeared on the show, was taught by Norris how to throw a punch. She revealed this in an interview with Conan O’Brien, who is also a huge fan of the show.
Why Did Noble Willingham Leave?
Ever wondered why Noble Willingham was not on the show in the final season? Well, it turns out that there is a very simple explanation for this. One word: politics. No, not internal politics in the show, but Willingham actually wanted to trade in his acting career for one in government politics. Specifically, he chose to run for the northeast Texas Congress but ended up losing out to Democratic candidate Max Sandlin in the process.
Prison Inmate Ruined an Episode
It wasn’t just the start of the series that the cast and crew of Walker, Texas Ranger had numerous struggles with. In a later season, one particular episode was filmed within a real state prison. However, contingency plans had to be made after a prisoner actually broke out a few days before shooting was scheduled to take place. In the end, Norris and the team had a fake prison set built and the scene ended up looking pretty good anyway.
Co-Creator Hated The Show
One of the show’s co-creators was none other than Paul Haggis, director of the Oscar-winning Crash. However, what many casual fans don’t realize is that Haggis wholeheartedly regrets having anything to do with the show in the first place. Haggis was only able to tolerate two weeks of filming before he packed his bags and left the set. You could say that it was his hatred for Walker, Texas Ranger that ultimately led him to Oscar glory.
Nearly Canceled Before It Started
There was a time when Walker, Texas Ranger didn’t even air. In fact, it was close to being canceled just ten days before its original air date of April 21, 1993. This is because something completely out of the blue happened: the show’s production company, Cannon Television, declared itself bankrupt. Nevertheless, the pilot aired and after receiving much acclaim from both critics and fans alike, CBS bought the rights for the show and the rest was history.
There has been a long list of supporting actors who have graced the set of Walker, Texas Ranger. However, there is one specific group of actors from the show who all have one thing in common – they were all in Lethal Weapon. It seems like the casting team had a lot of love for the 80s movie, especially because they ended up casting 16 actors from it. These included Ed O’Ross, Tom Atkins, and most notably, Gary Busey who played the villain of the movie – Jack Joshua.
Viewers could spot the bad guys from a mile off
In classic Westerns, conventional wisdom dictates that bad guys wear black while good guys dress in lighter colors. Well, Walker, Texas Ranger had its own take on this trope. Instead of dressing differently, heroes and villains could be differentiated by their cars. Predominantly, bad guys drove Fords while good guys drove a Chevrolet, whose parent company General Motors endorsed the show.
The series has its roots in another of Norris’s works
Although ostensibly the brainchild of creators Paul Haggis – whose 2004 film Crash would later win the Oscar for Best Picture – and Leslie Greif, Walker, Texas Ranger wasn’t entirely original. In fact, the series was actually based on Norris’s 1983 film Lone Wolf McQuade. Like Walker, the movie focused on a Texas Ranger and featured plenty of scenes of Norris kicking ass.
Texas Through and Through
It might come as a shock for some, but Texas isn’t actually the most popular filming location. Take a show like Dallas, for example, which was filmed primarily in California. However, when it came to Walker, Texas Ranger, Chuck Norris was determined that the show was filmed in the place that it was set in – the Lone Star State. This meant that the show was the first to air on primetime that was shot in its entirety in Texas.
That Is Not Texas
Despite the praise that the show received for its glorious portrayal of Texan life, there was those who had their gripes with the show for not getting everything about the state completely accurate. One of the most glaring errors about the show’s Texan references was the fact that the law enforcement agency’s headquarters was set in the Texan city of Dallas. However, it turns out that, in reality, the actual headquarters is located in the neighboring city of Austin.
Chuck Norris and the character Cordell Walker are both part Native American.
Chuck Norris was born Carlos Ray Norris in Ryan, Oklahoma in 1940 to an Irish mother and a Cherokee father. “There were taunts by kids about being a half-breed,” he told The New York Times in 1993. Walker shares a similar origin story, with a far more tragic ending. His parents were violently murdered in front of him when he was a child, a tale he recounts to an abused teenager in the pilot episode.
Only One Texan Actor
Although the show was entirely shot in Texas, the casting team of Walker, Texas Ranger only managed to cast one actor in the main cast who was actually from the Lone Star State – Noble Willingham. Heck, even Chuck Norris was from Oklahoma, but Willingham provided an authenticity to the role of C.D. Parker, the former working partner of Cordell Walker who retires and becomes the owner of his own bar, the iconic – C.D.’s Bar and Grill.
Conan Loves Walker
It wasn’t just the general public that fell love with Walker, Texas Ranger. One of the most vocal fans of the show is none other than late-night host Conan O’Brien. He was so delighted when he found out that NBC bought the rights to the show that he created something called the Texas Ranger lever. The rule was simple: whenever Conan pulled the lever, a random piece of footage from Walker, Texas Ranger would play for 15 seconds.
One detail that seems to bind a lot of Chuck Norris’s movies/TV shows is the use of violence. These days, fans of primetime TV are used to it. However, back in the 90s, the amount of violence found in Walker, Texas Ranger was pretty much unprecedented and people weren’t used to so much blood and gore. For example, the UCLA Center for Communication Policy released a study in 1998 that expressed “serious concerns” about the amount of violence on the show.
Norris Got A Badge
The sign of a great actor is their ability to detach themselves from the character when everything is said and done. However, it seems like Chuck Norris’s reputation as Cordell Walker just keeps on creeping up on him. In 2010, Governor of Texas at the time, Rick Perry, took it upon himself to award both Chuck and his brother Aaron Norris as Honorary Rangers of the State of Texas. Not only that, but the Senate also recently gave Norris the title of “Honorary Texan.”
Chuck, You’re On TV!
Chuck Norris didn’t see what all the fuss was about and thought that the graphic content of the show was acceptable. Nevertheless, he did end up discussing the use of violence on TV with ABC’s Peter Jennings. The only problem was that Norris was told beforehand that he would be talking about underage substance usage. “I was very upset that they got me there under false pretenses,” he said. “More than upset, I was p***** off.”
Fans of Walker, Texas Ranger were left in storyline limbo when a spin-off TV movie was released in 2005. Although the show came to a relatively satisfactory ending, the spin-off Trial by Fire ended up posing more questions than answers. Although it was a welcome reunion for the cast, deputy-D.A. Alexandra Cahill, played by Sheree J. Wilson, seemed to get killed off at the end of the movie. In what was designed to be a cliffhanger, over a decade has passed and it is still unclear what actually happened.
Sing Us A Song, Chuck!
What many casual fans don’t realize is the amount of involvement that Chuck Norris had with Walker, Texas Ranger. Not only was he the main star of the show, but he also took part in numerous creative decisions. Norris wrote many of the show’s episodes, and ever produced a handful. However, the most surprising contribution of all was when Norris sang “Eyes of a Ranger,” the theme song of the show. It was used from season two onwards.
Norris Didn’t Want To Be On TV
Before he landed the role of Cordell Walker, Chuck Norris was already the star of some of the biggest blockbusters of the 80s. Movies such as Missing in Action and The Delta Force cemented Norris’s reputation as a true Hollywood great. However, he was extremely adamant about making a transition into TV and had already turned down offers to be on 12 different shows. Nevertheless, when CBS came calling, Norris had a change of heart.
What A Silly Name!
There is no denying the importance of names, and even more so when it comes to literature. Names in novels, movies, and TV shows often have meanings or at the very least, they sound good. So when the writers were coming up with character names, they knew that Chuck Norris’s name needed to pop the most. It was revealed that the ranger was actually going to have a pretty bad name. The working title for the show was Sam Bolt, Texas Ranger.
Walker? More like, Firewalker
Not only do we know what Chuck Norris’s character was originally going to be called, but we also have an idea as to why the writers ended up deciding on “Walker.” The general consensus is that the showrunners took inspirations from an action movie that Norris did back in 1986 – Firewalker. Seeing that the plot of Walker, Texas Ranger is very similar to that of Norris’s other movie Lone Wolf McQuade, this actually makes a lot of sense.
What Happened Next?
Many fans were left with a sour taste in their mouths after such an ambiguous ending to the TV film spin-off Trial by Fire. As a result, many diehard fans have taken to their laptops and put together some high-quality fan-fiction that aims to fill in the gaps. The first spin-off books appeared in bookstores at the turn of the Millenium. One of the most notable authors was James Reasoner, who penned three novels that detailed what happened to Cordell Walker after the on-screen events.