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Interesting Actors on Classic TV Westerms


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#1 wouldbestar

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 02:55 PM

Am I the only one who didn't know that Art Fleming, the original host of Jeopardy, had a previous life as an actor? Alex Trebek and contestants still mention him on occasion but I never heard this said.

 

Grit is running the 1957-59 Western, The Californians, and Fleming plays Boston turned San Francisco lawyer "Jeremy Pitt" during the second season.  It's similar to the character Ben Cooper briefly played on Gunsmoke. and he's believable.

 

On paper this series should have been a big hit.  It was produced by Desilu while they were also making The Life and legend of Wyatt Earp.  it's set in San Francisco  in the early/mid 1850's just after California became a state but before the Civil War.  It's very corrupt politically; most of the police force is dirty.  The honest folks, lead by the newspaper publisher, have become vigilantes to try and keep some law and order.  When they finally find an honest man to be marshal, he's a gambler who came there to run a clean casino but was getting squeezed by the crooked ones.  He has to fight both the villains and the vigilantes to keep order. 

 

Most of the scripts were written by veteran screen writer Carey Wilbur and the principal director was Jacques Tourneur  who gave us Out of the Past; Paul Henreid  and original star Sean McClory also did some later ones.  At 30 minutes, the stories move quickly and believable.

 

If there was a flaw it was in the continuity of the characters.  The original lead, Adam Kennedy, wasn't around long while McClory and Nan Leslie, who played the married newspaper publishers were gone by the end of Season 1.  Soap star Richard Coogan came on the first year as "Marshal Wayne" and got help from Fleming and Carole Mathews as his business partner and would-be-wife but they were on sporadically and you didn't know how long they'd be around.  I do like most of what I've seen. 

 

P. S. RO was in an episode I saw last week but didn't recognize.  I saw a clip on either the 'Surprise Party" or Alec Baldwin interview yesterday.  He was the "bad guy" who got his at the end. 


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#2 wouldbestar

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 09:31 PM

On a 1957 episode of Tales of Wells Fargo Steve McQueen played gunman Bill Longley who like another of his characters, Tom Horn, finally met the rope.  The ending credits read "introducing Steve McQueen"; did I just see a star being born?  As this was just about the time before The Blob came out I think so. 

 

In this story Longley was a sympathetic character and McQueen worked well with Dale Robertson.  It was kind of like a changing of the guard as Robertson's career began winding down after this show ended in the 60's while McQueen's took off after getting his own Western series, Wanted:  Dead or Alive.   And "I was there" even if 60 years later.     


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#3 wouldbestar

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 02:28 PM

When I saw the premier episode of Bonanza back in 1959 my first thought was that I had no idea who any of these actors were.  I now find this amazing especially in regards to Michael Landon who had amassed quite a resume in his few brief years in Hollywood.  He did a lot of work for 4-Star and ZIV as well as WB which has turned up on vintage stations for many years now.  James Garner tried to get WB to sign him but according to his book, Jack Warner only saw a "skinny young kid with no promise" and passed on him.  Had he done so, of course, he would not have been available to play Joe Cartwright for Paramount which produced Bonanza or maybe his other famous role of that time The Teenage Werewolf.  He did a Wells Fargo episode which I saw yesterday and again wondered how he was so long under my radar.     

 

P. S. Dan Blocker showed up on Wells Fargo today.  This was a couple of years before he did Cimarron City which was also a Universal show.  He also did a lot of WB Westerns but never crossed paths with Landon there.


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#4 TopBilled

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 11:10 AM

Yes, of course, who hasn't, right?

 

Right. Though there probably are a few who have not.


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"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#5 rayban

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 10:59 AM

Have you seen him in Sam Fuller's cult classic SHOCK CORRIDOR? He does a great job in that one.

Yes, of course, who hasn't, right?


"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#6 TopBilled

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 09:14 AM

I just saw Peter Breck on an early "77 Sunset Strip" episode.  He was wonderfully sleazy, but, unfortunately, got killed off.

 

Have you seen him in Sam Fuller's cult classic SHOCK CORRIDOR? He does a great job in that one.


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"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#7 rayban

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 09:08 AM

President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt seems to be a plum role for any actor with talent.  I had the pleasure to see James Whitmore do it live at The University of Tampa many years ago and usual movie villain Claude Akins in a Gambler movie .  This week-end Peter Breck played him just after he came westward trying to conserve the buffalo who were being slaughtered for sport on Bronco.  He also comes to the aid of some exploited NAs who think he's a nut case which saves his life.  Bronco, nor anybody else, has any idea that they'll be calling him "Mr. President" in thirty years if they live that long. 

 

As well as a convincing dramatic actor, Breck was a real comedian which he got to show playing "Doc Holliday" on Maverick and "Nick" on The Big Valley often with Lee "Heath" Majors as a foil.  This was another fun episode in a series I didn't really like originally but am coming to appreciate now.   

I just saw Peter Breck on an early "77 Sunset Strip" episode.  He was wonderfully sleazy, but, unfortunately, got killed off.


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"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#8 rayban

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 09:01 AM

Chuck Connors is a Western actor who has not received due credit. His roles in The Rifleman and The Big Country legitimise his status as one of the finer actors in Western film. His ability to play both a hero and a villain demonstrates his versatility as a Western Actor.  

Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford forged such a loving - and memorable - relationship as father and son in "The Rifleman". 


"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#9 LilliaP

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 11:57 PM

Chuck Connors is a Western actor who has not received due credit. His roles in The Rifleman and The Big Country legitimise his status as one of the finer actors in Western film. His ability to play both a hero and a villain demonstrates his versatility as a Western Actor.  


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#10 wouldbestar

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 08:14 PM

President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt seems to be a plum role for any actor with talent.  I had the pleasure to see James Whitmore do it live at The University of Tampa many years ago and usual movie villain Claude Akins in a Gambler movie .  This week-end Peter Breck played him just after he came westward trying to conserve the buffalo who were being slaughtered for sport on Bronco.  He also comes to the aid of some exploited NAs who think he's a nut case which saves his life.  Bronco, nor anybody else, has any idea that they'll be calling him "Mr. President" in thirty years if they live that long. 

 

As well as a convincing dramatic actor, Breck was a real comedian which he got to show playing "Doc Holliday" on Maverick and "Nick" on The Big Valley often with Lee "Heath" Majors as a foil.  This was another fun episode in a series I didn't really like originally but am coming to appreciate now.   


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#11 rayban

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Posted 26 December 2016 - 05:17 PM

Today, on MeTV, on "Gunsmoke" there was gorgeous teamwork between Milburn Stone and Ben Cooper.

 

Ben Cooper was involved with an outlaw gang, but wanted to be a doctor.

 

Milburn Stone took him under his wing so that Ben Cooper could "read medicine".

 

The two men developed a real affection for each other.

 

In the end, Ben Cooper was killed by the leader of the gang.

 

And Milburn Stone expressed a genuine sense of loss.

 

A TV Western, which explores the possibilities of a male to male relationship, is more than unexpected - and welcome.     


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"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#12 rayban

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 03:05 PM

Today, on MeTV, on "Gunsmoke" there was an exceptional episode that was smoldering in bloodlust.

 

It was about an aging gunfighter, who was played by a youngish, but riveting Jack Elam.

 

His son, who was played by Teno Pollick, wanted to kill him for abandoning his mother and him many, many years ago.

 

And a father, who was played by Lee Van Clef, wanted to kill him for shooting his son down, who had challenged his reputation (this role was played by Zalman King)

 

James Arness, as Marshal Dillon, and Roger Ewing, as "Thad", were around in an effort to curb all of that bloodlust.

 

The relationship between James Arness and Roger Ewing seems, to me, to be a very mysterious one - both on and off the set.

 

Although years apart, they are carbon copies of each other.

 

Can a man fall in love with his mirror image?

 

There is just so much "subtext" to their relationship.

 

But what a cast there was today - Arness, Ewing, Elam, Van Clef, Pollick and King.

 

(As I mentioned once before, Teno Pollick had a very famous male lover - Tony Perkins - and their relationship had been a very serious one.)


"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#13 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 05:43 PM

Today, on MeTV, on "Wagon Train", Bette Davis did a high-comic turn as a madam who was transporting "her girls" westward.

 

At the end, Davis did the can-can with all of her girls.

 

She even bared her backside to the camera.

 

I got a kick out of her no-holds-bared performance.

 

A very young Robert Strauss played the man in her life.

 

And he was having a high old time, too.  

 

Decades showed Burke's Law and Basil Rathbone was featured as a director of Shakespearian plays.   He played an over the top character that actually felt the plays were very dated and was doing this for the money.   The role allowed Basil to do the old 'acting within acting' stunt and it was very funny.    Agnes Moorehead  was also featured as an actress allowing her to chew up the scenery (with great comic effect).


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#14 rayban

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 04:31 PM

Today, on MeTV, on "Wagon Train", Bette Davis did a high-comic turn as a madam who was transporting "her girls" westward.

 

At the end, Davis did the can-can with all of her girls.

 

She even bared her backside to the camera.

 

I got a kick out of her no-holds-bared performance.

 

A very young Robert Strauss played the man in her life.

 

And he was having a high old time, too.  


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"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#15 TopBilled

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 06:19 PM

Jarrod -

 

I agree, he did a "Big Valley" episode, in which he was most impressive - he played a doctor who was trying to save Audra's life and who was threatened by a man who wanted to kill him for supposedly "killing" the man's wife.

 

Yes, that's an episode from season 1, called Last Train to the Fair. He returned a few more times, in different roles, during the later seasons. He was always excellent, and of course he and Lee Majors would costar in the 70s on The Six Million Dollar Man.


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"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#16 rayban

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 06:01 PM

Yes, he seemed to really come into his own as a character actor on television. He was still too young during his time at MGM-- but in those later TV roles, he always makes an impression.

Jarrod -

 

I agree, he did a "Big Valley" episode, in which he was most impressive - he played a doctor who was trying to save Audra's life and who was threatened by a man who wanted to kill him for supposedly "killing" the man's wife.


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"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#17 TopBilled

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 05:53 PM

in the first, the storyline was blessed by the star turn of Richard Anderson, who always seemed somewhat lacklustre in his MGM glory days -

 

Yes, he seemed to really come into his own as a character actor on television. He was still too young during his time at MGM-- but in those later TV roles, he always makes an impression.


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"You've had a few hours given back to you from life. A few hours in which to change your minds and your hearts. When you came into the grounds of this inn, you came into a place as it was a year ago today. You were in your own time, but the house and garden and Gwyneth and I are in the time of last year. The day the bomb hit. When you go away and walk up the road you will have spent a night in an inn. But if you look back from the crest of the hill, the halfway house will not be here...but if you remember, it will be as you remember a forgotten snatch of song. It will be a picture before your eyes. Gone before you realize it is there. Or an echo in the hidden places of your mind. But you have been here...and the world is what you make it." -- Mervyn Johns, THE HALFWAY HOUSE.


#18 rayban

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 05:31 PM

Two interesting episodes on MeTV today of "The Rifleman", which is graced by the performances of Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford as a loving father and son - which is an unusual occurrence on TV today - 

 

in the first, the storyline was blessed by the star turn of Richard Anderson, who always seemed somewhat lacklustre in his MGM glory days -

 

he played an old friend of Lucas McCain's, who made his living at playing cards -

 

the contrast between Connors and Anderson was very interesting -

 

and that contrast made for an involving storyline -

 

in the end, Anderson had to leave town -

 

and both men were brokenhearted about it -

 

another superb example of male bonding -

 

in the second, Lucas and son Mark were involved in a murder mystery -

 

in the course of a half-hour format, a young spitfire was murdered -

 

and the revelation of the murderer was a totally unexpected one -

 

his loneliness got the better of him and outweighed all other considerations -

 

implicit in the denouement was the suggestion that a woman will always be a challenge -

 

contrary and aggressive, the very last thing that you would need -

 

Connors made something quite special out of it -

 

he was both an icon AND a sex symbol. 

 

(The conventions of the Western genre provide the basis for the implicitness of sexual relationships between MEN that are more "felt" than "acted upon".)

 

(But these feelings can be much more meaningful than any actual sex.)


"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#19 wouldbestar

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Posted 27 November 2016 - 09:46 PM

Bronco did it again this morning with James Coburn doing a different take from the usual portrayal of Jesse James as a misunderstood "Robin Hood of the West."  In this story he was a cold-blooded killer who learns well the ways of his boss, Quantrill.  In recent documentaries this is how he's being shown so this was ahead of its time. 

 

Bronco is a courier for Confederate General Shelby.  Jesse's kinsman and childhood friend Cole Younger serves with him.  Bronco is disgusted when he sees Jesse's men kill 28 young Union Pows just because they're Yankees and refuses to work with him any more.  Cole wants to leave but family ties and his guilt over having been the one who taught Jesse to shoot win out.

 

Years later Bronco and Shelby are U. S. Marshalls determined to get Jesse.  Since they still care about Cole, who hasn't killed anybody yet, they hope to get girlfriend Belle Starr and him out of the gang before that happens.  They agree but Jesse's outlaw instincts and fast guns wrecks all this and leads to Cole going to prison. 

 

Coburn nails this monstrous Jesse as only he could.  The story ends with the narration that he was shot in the back by one of his own men implying poetic justice.


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#20 fredbaetz

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 02:30 AM

Interesting, I'd never heard of this series.

 

Who played Bronco?

Ty Hardin played "Bronco".  Warner's brought in "Bronco" when Clint Walker of "Cheyenne" walked out in a dispute over money. . After Walker returned Warner's started to alternate the two series and a third was introduced "Sugarfoot" with Will Hutchins.


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