HOTEL DE PAREE
After seventeen years in prison for accidentally killing a man, a reformed gunfighter known as Sundance returns to Georgetown, Colorado, where he finds his Hotel de Paree now being operated by Annette Deveraux (Jeanette Nolan)—a relative of the man Sundance killed. Deveraux operates the hotel as if she were still in France instead of the Wild West causing financial problems. By the end of the first episode, Sundance and Annette become partners in the hotel. By the 5th episode they have been joined by Annette’s niece, Monique Deveraux (Judi Meredith), who arrives from France. A kinky sexual flirtation verging on a ménage à trois quickly develops between Sundance and both the Deveraux women.
Running for thirty-three, 30 minute, black-and-white episodes, the series starred Earl Holliman, and premiered on CBS during the 1959 television season. At the time Westerns were beginning to show signs of waning viewer interest. New shows were thought to need a gimmick and Hotel De Paree had one of the strangest. Instead of a gimmick gun like Josh Randall’s mare’s leg (Wanted: Dead Or Alive), or The Rifleman’s Winchester, or a useless arm ala Tate, Sundance’s gimmick was a hatband of polished silver disks worn around his black Stetson, which he uses to blinded his adversaries in a gunfight—seriously.
Sundance, however, didn’t really need the flashing disks as he was a faster gun, a better shot, and far tougher in a fist fight than anyone he comes up against. There seemed to be no official law in Georgetown, so Sundance’s takes on the role of reluctant marshal when his fast gun is needed to keep things peaceful. For a little comic relief, Sundance befriends a local shopkeeper, Aaron Donoger, played by veteran Western actor Strother Martin. Sundance also interacts regularly with his dog, Useless.
The show was loosely based on the real Hotel de Paris founded in 1875 in Georgetown, Colorado, by French immigrant Louis Dupuy. Considered the best cook in the Colorado Territory, Dupuy ran the hotel for twenty-five years, establishing it as a center of fine French dining. In some ways Dupuy anticipated the modern foodie culture, providing an unparalleled dining experience in an entirely unexpected place In 1959, Gold Medal Books published Sundance, an original tie-in novel based on the series, written by Richard Jessup under his Richard Telfair pseudonym. A single issue Dell Comic book was issued featuring an original story written by Gaylord Du Bois.