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Interesting Actors on Classic TV Westerms

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I watched an episode of "Bonanza" today, which was about a prison riot and had a fairly conventional storyline.

 

But the prison itself was an extraordinary physical manifestation - a seething pit of filth and depravity.

 

The prisoners looked like they were crawling with lice.

 

And there was a stunning performance by Marco St. John as a rabid dog of a man.

 

He looked like he could bite his way through the TV tube.

 

Later, I watched an episode of "Rawhide", which was in black and black and rather dull-looking.

 

A lot of the "outdoor locations" looked like studio sets.

 

But this one had an extraordinary performance by Eddie Bracken as a man whom nobody wanted to take seriously, but who actually saved the day.

 

Also, one of the regulars - he worked on the chuck wagon with Wishbone - was James Murdock; he played "Mushy", a mentally challenged young man who was so warm and friendly - he was, also, extraordinarily beautiful.

 

Below, James Murdock as "Mushy" - 

 

James+Murdock2.jpg

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Later, I watched an episode of "Rawhide", which was in black and black and rather dull-looking.

 

A lot of the "outdoor locations" looked like studio sets.

 

But this one had an extraordinary performance by Eddie Bracken as a man whom nobody wanted to take seriously, but who actually saved the day.

 

 

I think you are referring to a season 5 episode of Rawhide called 'Incident of the Clown.' Bracken played a different role in another episode the following season. He continued to appear on television programs until 2000, two years before his death.

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I think you are referring to a season 5 episode of Rawhide called 'Incident of the Clown.' Bracken played a different role in another episode the following season. He continued to appear on television programs until 2000, two years before his death.

Yes, Jarrod, that was the title - "Incident of the Clown" - the cast of regulars was a very interesting one, and Bracken distinguished the episode with his artistry.

 

Yesterday, I watched an episode of "The Virginian" which featured a storyline that spotlighted Doug McClure and Miyoshi Umeki.

 

Together, they were really exceptional, because they were so different.

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I watched two interesting episodes of "The Rifleman" today -

 

in the first, there were two intriguing performances by James Barton and James Franciscus as a father and son who meet 24 years too late - Franciscus, who feels that he has been "cheated" all his life, goes off the deep end when his father dies suddenly and, so, he tries to convict the young men (two pups, really) who accidentally caused his father's "accident"    

 

in the second, Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford, who are the leads, father and son, did exceptional work as they tried to deal with a religious zealot (John Dehner), his wayward wife (Phyllis Avery) and a baby - the baby stole all of her scenes

 

Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford - and Paul Fix, as the sheriff - really provided a great deal of charm and warmth to this series.

 

Today, this series is almost "notorious" for its blatantly phallic imagery - as Chuck Connors moves forward (with the credits) and "blasts off" with a huge rifle between his legs.  

 

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Speaking of movie stars in small roles in Westerns, I'm reminded of The Big Valley.  One can watch just about any episode and find someone from the movies.  They used an amazing number of guests in great stories.  One that comes to mind is Ellen Burstyn in the role of a nun who had a history with Heath Barkley (Lee Majors).  She even used another name in the credits:  Ellen McRae.

 

Terrence.

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Today, on "Bonanza" on MeTV, there was such a charming performance from an elderly actor, who was immediately recognizable as the great MGM star from the 20's and 30's, Ramon Navarro.

 

And he was given excellent support from the young actor, who played his nephew, Michael Dante.

 

Ramon Navarro often spoke in his native language, too - Spanish.

 

So obviously, a man who had been a star once upon a time.

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Today, this series is almost "notorious" for its blatantly phallic imagery - as Chuck Connors moves forward (with the credits) and "blasts off" with a huge rifle between his legs.  

 

 

In all the years I've watched episodes of this series I've never related this introduction to anything of a sexual nature.  Just what purient mind cooked this idea up?  Are we to wonder now if when any character shoots a gun in such a show or movie it's subbing for a certain part of male anatomy?  This is what's twisted.   

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In all the years I've watched episodes of this series I've never related this introduction to anything of a sexual nature.  Just what purient mind cooked this idea up?  Are we to wonder now if when any character shoots a gun in such a show or movie it's subbing for a certain part of male anatomy?  This is what's twisted.   

 

Each of us may see something different when watching a film.   Can't you understand that?   What I find twisted is your implication that because you don't see something others are twisted if they do.

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Each of us may see something different when watching a film.   Can't you understand that?   What I find twisted is your implication that because you don't see something others are twisted if they do.

Not wanting to start a fight - BUT -

 

the gun has always had phallic implications.

 

The most famous of which is the "gun scene" between Montgomery Clift and John Ireland in Howard Hawks' "Red River".

 

But, enough said, I do not want to belabor the point.

 

Or be forced to write an article about "the gun and its' implications" in Western and Crime Films.

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jamesjazzguitar, on 21 May 2016 - 6:11 PM, said:

Each of us may see something different when watching a film.   Can't you understand that?   What I find twisted is your implication that because you don't see something others are twisted if they do.

 

I'm surprised at you.  You're usually so even-handed.  People seem to be trying to force sexuality into any and all phases of relationships real or on film whether it really exists or not because that's how they look at things.  On another thread the implication was that 3:10 to Yuma had a gay underlying theme even though one character seduces the female store clerk.  This has come up for other films where men have a strong bond but nothing else that indicates more than that.  I'm certain that some find something similar for female characters whether it's there or not.  And those of us who don't need this to enjoy a film are considered the weird ones?  Can't the story just be what it is?         

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jamesjazzguitar, on 21 May 2016 - 6:11 PM, said:

Each of us may see something different when watching a film.   Can't you understand that?   What I find twisted is your implication that because you don't see something others are twisted if they do.

 

I'm surprised at you.  You're usually so even-handed.  People seem to be trying to force sexuality into any and all phases of relationships real or on film whether it really exists or not because that's how they look at things.  On another thread the implication was that 3:10 to Yuma had a gay underlying theme even though one character seduces the female store clerk.  This has come up for other films where men have a strong bond but nothing else that indicates more than that.  I'm certain that some find something similar for female characters whether it's there or not.  And those of us who don't need this to enjoy a film are considered the weird ones?  Can't the story just be what it is?         

 

You still don't get it.  No person here is one of "the weird ones".      Yea,  gay folks at this forum often relate to films in ways that I don't (as well as seeing subtext that I fail to see or related to) but that doesn't make them the weird ones.    Should I read into your use of the term 'they'?        

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I'd like to sing the praises of James Murdock again as "Mushy" on "Rawhide".

 

He played a mentally challenged young man and he was also an extraordinarily beautiful young man.

 

On yesterday's episode on MeTV, the episode had two guest stars - Glenda Farrell and Frankie Avalon.

 

Glenda Farrell played a wealthy woman who struck a deal with Eric Fleming and Clint Eastwood that included putting her wayward nephew to work on the cattle drive.

 

The nephew, who was played by Frankie Avalon, was a "bad apple".

 

But James Murdock actually had a civilizing influence on him.

 

Frankie Avalon's character responded to his gentleness and warmth and wanted to teach "Mushy" to do a lot of practical things.

 

He wanted to teach "Mushy" to play a guitar and shoot a gun.

 

It turned out to be quite an experience for the two of them.

 

In the end, the nephew's bad side could not be controlled and he was accidentally killed in a cattle stampede that he himself had set up.

 

"Mushy" was devastated - he had lost a true friend.

 

In the end, the camera focused on James Murdock's face - and his forlorn expression told a sad, sad story - he had lost somebody who had cared about him.

 

Of course, the irony here is that the nephew was a really bad apple, who had met somebody who could have turned him around.

 

It isn't often that a Western episode explores this kind of male bonding.

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I watched some episodes of "Lassie" today - although it is not a Western, it does have a Western-like setting.

 

This one was about Lassie, who objected to the family's new refrigerator - he preferred the old icebox - and, consequently, would not eat anything from the refrigerator.

 

The family unit is so tightly knit - June Lockhart as mom, Hugh Reilly as dad, Jon Provost as Timmy and, of course, Lassie - a male dog who was always referred to as "she" or "her"

 

The episode was so "innocent" that it was completely captivating.

 

And, to think that "Lassie" was early Sunday night programming on TV.

 

Bring back those days - because the world has changed so drastically - and so badly.

 

Oh, for those Sundays with Jon Provost and Lassie!

 

I also watched some episodes of "The Lone Ranger" with John Hart and Jay Silverheels.

 

I do not remember John Hart as The Lone Ranger.

 

But, in one episode in which he played an old, old man, he revealed himself to be quite a fine actor.

 

I really enjoyed the episode which centered around a young man who hated his outlaw father and was completely devoted to his mother.

 

The young actor's name was Bob Arthur - and he almost stole the spotlight from The Lone Ranger and Tonto.

 

The sets were, for the most part, artificial - but that fakery only added to the charm of the series. 

 

The famous opening and closing of the show, in terms of words and visuals, are still quite potent.    

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Yesterday, I watched two episodes of "The Life and Times of Wyatt Earp", which starred Hugh O'Brien.

 

I don't really remember this show - and I didn't particularly care for what I saw.

 

But Hugh O'Brien was an interesting combination of laid-back presence and the sizzle factor.

 

If ever a TV star could be said to blast through the tube, it was Hugh O'Brien.

 

Looking at him, appreciating him, is more than - enough.

 

PROGRAM0304.jpg

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If you have Amazon Prime, catch a Republic western comedy from 1955 called THE TWINKLE IN GOD'S EYE. Mickey Rooney plays a newly ordained preacher, and Hugh O'Brien is the owner of a saloon who tries to drive religious zealots out of the community (because they might cut into his business). I believe it was the same year O'Brien began his television series, so he's in peak form.

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If you have Amazon Prime, catch a Republic western comedy from 1955 called THE TWINKLE IN GOD'S EYE. Mickey Rooney plays a newly ordained preacher, and Hugh O'Brien is the owner of a saloon who tries to drive religious zealots out of the community (because they might cut into his business). I believe it was the same year O'Brien began his television series, so he's in peak form.

Will do, Jarrod, you seem to be a connoisseur of the Western genre.

 

Recently, I saw Hugh O'Brien in a Lana Turner flick, "Love Has Many Faces".

 

He did not have the leading male role - that belonged to Cliff Robertson.

 

In fact, many of Hugh O'Brien's scenes were with Ruth Roman, as a wealthy widow on the make, who was a fan of Hugh O'Brien's "assets".

 

But his mere presence on the screen sent these scenes into a kind of "overdrive".

 

Some actors have a kind of presence that goes beyond their acting abilities.

 

Hugh O'Brien had that unique quality.

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Will do, Jarrod, you seem to be a connoisseur of the Western genre.

 

Recently, I saw Hugh O'Brien in a Lana Turner flick, "Love Has Many Faces".

 

He did not have the leading male role - that belonged to Cliff Robertson.

 

In fact, many of Hugh O'Brien's scenes were with Ruth Roman, as a wealthy widow on the make, who was a fan of Hugh O'Brien's "assets".

 

But his mere presence on the screen sent these scenes into a kind of "overdrive".

 

Some actors have a kind of presence that goes beyond their acting abilities.

 

Hugh O'Brien had that unique quality.

 

I agree. O'Brien brings an undeniable sexual energy to his roles. But he underplays his scenes, so we get a very potent but laid back type of man on screen.

 

THE TWINKLE IN GOD'S EYE is leaving Amazon Prime on August 31. Make sure to see it while you can.

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Very disturbing episode today on "Daniel Boone" which featured a terrific performance from Vincent Price, as a highly perverted "piece of garbage".

 

He collected children that nobody really wanted - he actually had NINE of these children - and he forced all of them to steal anything that looked valuable to any of them.

 

He would promise them food - meat, actually - but was more likely to feed them bread and water.

 

The kids were a mess - filthy, wild and frightened.

 

At night, he locked them in an abandoned cattle car.

 

Luckily, Daniel Boone's son, Israel, was instrumental in exposing the poor excuse for humanity that

Vincent Price's character was.

 

When an episode of a classic TV series is this hard-hitting, it really and truly is - an eye-opener.

 

By the way, Darby Hinton, who played Daniel Boone's son, was an extremely natural child actor.

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I don't think I've ever sat through an entire episode of the Daniel Boone television series. And come to think of it, I've never seen the Disney movies either.

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Today, on "The Big Valley", Van Williams gave an impressive performance as a sheriff and widower, who was trying to take care of his son in a very hostile environment.

 

The little boy, who played his son, John Daniels, did quite well, too.

 

Van Williams really had star quality.

 

He belonged on the big screen.

 

He played extremely well with everybody, especially Richard Long as Jarrod Barkley.

 

(The episode was titled "Rimfire" and aired on Feb. 19, 1968.)

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Today, on "The Big Valley", Van Williams gave an impressive performance as a sheriff and widower, who was trying to take care of his son in a very hostile environment.

 

The little boy, who played his son, John Daniels, did quite well, too.

 

Van Williams really had star quality.

 

He belonged on the big screen.

 

He played extremely well with everybody, especially Richard Long as Jarrod Barkley.

 

(The episode was titled "Rimfire" and aired on Feb. 19, 1968.)

 

It's been awhile, so I will have to go back and look at that one.

 

I have the entire series on DVD. My favorite is season 1, episode 16-- where bad guy John Dehner takes over the Barkley home. His scenes with Stanwyck are truly great. The character he plays is named Daddy Cade.

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Yesterday, I watched two episodes of "The Life and Times of Wyatt Earp", which starred Hugh O'Brien.

 

I don't really remember this show - and I didn't particularly care for what I saw.

 

But Hugh O'Brien was an interesting combination of laid-back presence and the sizzle factor.

 

If ever a TV star could be said to blast through the tube, it was Hugh O'Brien.

 

Looking at him, appreciating him, is more than - enough.

 

PROGRAM0304.jpg

I remember the scene with O'Brien from Twins.  He was still in pretty good shape.

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Ray,

 

Because you mentioned The Big Valley today, I decided to find my collection of episodes. The first season is on Hulu and I watched all of those a few months ago. So now I'm going through my discs starting with season 2. I just watched the one with Buddy Hackett, pretending to be Heath's biological father. Some excellent scenes, and a change of pace for him in a dramatic role. In the 80s, Hackett guest-starred twice on Lee Majors' series The Fall Guy, so obviously they bonded while working on TBV.

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Jarrod,

 

I do not think that "The Big Valley" was ever considered a hit TV series, but, fortunately, over the decades, time has been very kind to this particular show.

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Jarrod,

 

I do not think that "The Big Valley" was ever considered a hit TV series, but, fortunately, over the decades, time has been very kind to this particular show.

 

Agreed. It holds up rather well, because of the strong writing and performances. After the Buddy Hackett one, I watched another episode from season 2 called 'Caesar's Wife.' I had first seen it in the 90s when the show was rerun on Pat Robertson's channel. I wanted to see if it was as good as I remembered, and it was. 

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