Television and radio version of Hopalong Cassidy:
Boyd resumed production himself in 1946, on lower budgets, and continued through 1948, when "B" westerns in general were being phased out. Boyd thought that Hopalong Cassidy might have a future in television, spent $350,000 to obtain the rights to his old films, and approached the fledgling NBC television network. The initial broadcasts were so successful that NBC couldn't wait for a television series to be produced, and simply re-edited the old feature films down to broadcast length. On June 24, 1949, Hopalong Cassidy became the first network Western television series.
The enormous success of the television series made Boyd a star. The Mutual Broadcasting System began broadcasting a radio version of "Hopalong Cassidy," with Andy Clyde (later George McMichael on Walter Brennan's ABC sitcom The Real McCoys) as the sidekick, in January 1950; at the end of September, the show moved to CBS Radio, where it ran into 1952. Hopalong Cassidy also appeared on the cover of national magazines, such as Look, Life, and Time. Boyd earned millions as Hopalong ($800,000 in 1950 alone), mostly from merchandise licensing and endorsement deals. In 1950, Hopalong Cassidy was featured on the first lunch box to bear an image, causing sales for Aladdin Industries to jump from 50,000 units to 600,000 units in just one year. In stores, more than 100 companies in 1950 manufactured $70 million of Hopalong Cassidy products, including children's dinnerware, pillows, roller skates, soap, wristwatches, and jackknives. There was also a new demand for Hopalong Cassidy features in movie theaters, and Boyd licensed reissue distributor Film Classics to make new film prints and advertising accessories. Another 1950 enterprise saw the home-movie company Castle Films manufacturing condensed versions of the Paramount films for 16 mm and 8 mm projectors; they were sold through 1966.
Boyd began work on a separate series of half-hour westerns made especially for television. Edgar Buchanan was the new sidekick, Red Connors (a character from the original stories and a few of the early films). The theme music for the television show was written by veteran songwriters Nacio Herb Brown (music) and L. Wolfe Gilbert (lyrics). The show ranked number 7 in the 1949 Nielsen ratings. The success of the show and tie-ins inspired several juvenile TV Westerns, including The Gene Autry Show and The Roy Rogers Show.
Boyd's company devoted to Hopalong Cassidy, U.S. Television Office, is still active and has released many of the features to DVD, many of them in sparkling prints prepared by Film Classics.