Longtime fans of Kenny Rogers just got dealt five of a kind, as the five TV movies starring the country legend as The Gambler are being released as a DVD collection for the first time ever.
Titled Kenny Rogers: The Gambler, the six-film box set (featuring the 1981 TV movie Coward of the County as a bonus) can be found exclusively at Walmart stores on October 6 from Shout! Factory.
The series generated five Emmy Award nominations. Playing the lead role of Brady Hawkes, Rogers made his acting debut in The Gambler, which was a massive ratings hit that achieved critical success for CBS upon its original release on April 8, 1980. It was nominated for two Emmy Awards.
Rogers, who died in March at age 81, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013. Don Schlitz, who wrote the iconic song “The Gambler,” joined in 2017.
The Gambler is an Old West tale inspired by one of Rogers’ most beloved songs of all time. Brady Hawkes (Kenny Rogers) is a gamblin’ man who has seen it all…except for the son he never knew. When Hawkes receives a surprising letter from his child, he sets off on a journey to finally meet the boy.
In the course of his travels, Hawkes crosses paths with the impetuous Billy Montana (Bruce Boxleitner), and the two become fast friends. Billy considers himself to be a professional gambler, but he’s got a lot to learn — and Hawkes has some very familiar advice for him.
In the tradition of The Gambler series, Coward of the County takes its inspiration from one of Kenny Rogers’ all-time greatest hits. Rogers plays a small-town preacher whose nephew has taken a pledge of pacifism at the request of his dying father. The young man’s oath is tested when the Gatlin boys attack his loving wife.
Rogers returned as Brady Hawkes in The Gambler: The Adventure Continues, which premiered in November 1983 on CBS. The film was an even bigger ratings success than the first and earned an additional two Emmy Awards.
The Gambler Part III: The Legend Continues followed in 1987 (also on CBS), and the Emmy-nominated fourth installment, The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw, starring Rogers and Reba McEntire, aired on NBC in 1991.
The series moved back to CBS for the 1994 finale, Gambler V: Playing For Keeps. The first four movies of the series were directed by Dick Lowry and the last was directed by Jack Bender.