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Interesting Actors on Classic TV Westerms

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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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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 general store owners 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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Today, on "Wagon Train", there was a terrific performance from David Wayne as a very charming medicine man, who had no illusions about himself.

I can't recall the name of the episode.

As a orphan who desperately wanted a father, Charles Herbert gave excellent support to the star

Their scenes together were truly heartbreaking.

To see acting of this calibre on a weekly TV series - a Western,no less - gives such a special charm to these old, old shows.

At the end, when Charles Herbert was put into the care of an elderly grandfather, the old man respected the little boy's relationship with the medicine man.

The grandfather offered to share him - because he, too, had fallen under the sway of a medicine man - his very own father.

Just after "Wagon Train ", there was a terrific episode of "The Big Valley", which used the premise of the famous Dirk Bogarde/Jean Simmons film,"So Long At The Fair".

It was called "The Disappearance".

Victoria and her daughter were guests at a hotel, where there was an enthusiastic gathering of men who were selling cattle to potential buyers.

They shared separate rooms.

Later, when Victoria went to get her daughter for dinner, she was missing.

There was no trace of her.

And nobody remembered her, either.

If you remember "So Long At The Fair", you will know what had happened.

Except this one had a happy ending, Victoria found her daughter and saved her.

The guest star was Lew Ayres, who added, along with Miss Stanwyck, a kind of Hollywood glamour to the episode.   

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3 hours ago, rayban said:

Today, on "Wagon Train", there was a terrific performance from David Wayne as a very charming medicine man, who had no illusions about himself.

I can't recall the name of the episode.

As a orphan who desperately wanted a father, Charles Herbert gave excellent support to the star

Their scenes together were truly heartbreaking.

To see acting of this calibre on a weekly TV series - a Western,no less - gives such a special charm to these old, old shows.

At the end, when Charles Herbert was put into the care of an elderly grandfather, the old man respected the little boy's relationship with the medicine man.

The grandfather offered to share him - because he, too, had fallen under the sway of a medicine man - his very own father.

Just after "Wagon Train ", there was a terrific episode of "The Big Valley", which used the premise of the famous Dirk Bogarde/Jean Simmons film,"So Long At The Fair".

It was called "The Disappearance".

Victoria and her daughter were guests at a hotel, where there was an enthusiastic gathering of men who were selling cattle to potential buyers.

They shared separate rooms.

Later, when Victoria went to get her daughter for dinner, she was missing.

There was no trace of her.

And nobody remembered her, either.

If you remember "So Long At The Fair", you will know what had happened.

Except this one had a happy ending, Victoria found her daughter and saved her.

The guest star was Lew Ayres, who added, along with Miss Stanwyck, a kind of Hollywood glamour to the episode.   

Interesting post, Ray. "The Disappearance" is one of Stanwyck's best episodes on The Big Valley. Lew Ayres returned for another guest appearance, as a different character.

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I loved "The Disappearance".  It kept you guessing right up to the end.  Of course, since Linda Evans was one of the stars, she would survive.  Both of the episodes with Lew Ayres were among the best of the show.  What terrific writers they had.

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On 2/4/2018 at 11:36 AM, Terrence1 said:

I loved "The Disappearance".  It kept you guessing right up to the end.  Of course, since Linda Evans was one of the stars, she would survive.  Both of the episodes with Lew Ayres were among the best of the show.  What terrific writers they had.

The more that I watch "The Big Valley", the more that I appreciate the show.

Especially the four stars and the guest stars, like Adam West and Tom Tryon.

 

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7 hours ago, rayban said:

The more that I watch "The Big Valley", the more that I appreciate the show.

Especially the four stars and the guest stars, like Adam West and Tom Tryon.

I agree. It was regularly on during a period of my life when I was not watching much television, but I think it is very well done. I sort of get a kick out of the cast introductions at the beginning where Barbara Stanwyck is introduced as "Miss Barbara Stanwyck". I guess "Miss" as used here is sort of an American version of "Dame".

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26 minutes ago, Thenryb said:

I agree. It was regularly on during a period of my life when I was not watching much television, but I think it is very well done. I sort of get a kick out of the cast introductions at the beginning where Barbara Stanwyck is introduced as "Miss Barbara Stanwyck". I guess "Miss" as used here is sort of an American version of "Dame".

"Dame"has something to do with being honored as a female Knight of the British Empire by the Queen of Great Britain.

Calling an American actress or some other prominent woman "Miss" is simply a title of professional and societal respect.

Loretta Young was always called Miss Young on her show and Lucille Ball was called Miss Ball as well, even though she was obviously really Mrs. Arnaz.

Using "Miss" has nothing to do with royalty or any kind of Empire whatsoever.

A national honor comprable to "Dame" in the United States would be the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which has been presented to artists like Audrey Hepburn, Aretha Franklin, Doris Day, and Rita Moreno.

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6 minutes ago, Princess of Tap said:

Dame has something to do with being honored as a female Knight of the British Empire by the Queen of Great Britain.

Calling an American actress or some other prominent woman "Miss" is simply a title of professional and societal respect.

Loretta Young was always called Miss Young on her show and Lucille Ball was called Miss Ball as well, even though she was obviously really Mrs. Arnaz.

Using "Miss" has nothing to do with royalty or any kind of Empire whatsoever.

Yes, during my relatively long life as an American,  I am aware that we do not have titles of royalty at all. The show does not introduce Linda Evans as Miss Linda Evans likely because of the difference in status. I also know what "Dame" signifies.

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10 hours ago, Thenryb said:

Yes, during my relatively long life as an American,  I am aware that we do not have titles of royalty at all. The show does not introduce Linda Evans as Miss Linda Evans likely because of the difference in status. I also know what "Dame" signifies.

Of course you know what "Dame" signifies and to assume otherwise shows a lot of hubris (ha ha).     I agree with you 100% as to the use of 'miss' in the credits.     Stanwyck was of course a major MOVIE star.    The credit was designed the way it was to say 'and we have this great movie star on our program'.     The producers wanted something more then just her name so Babs would standout even more from the other actors on the credit.   That is why "Miss" was added.

 

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38 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Of course you know what "Dame" signifies and to assume otherwise shows a lot of hubris (ha ha).     I agree with you 100% as to the use of 'miss' in the credits.     Stanwyck was of course a major MOVIE star.    The credit was designed the way it was to say 'and we have this great movie star on our program'.     The producers wanted something more then just her name so Babs would standout even more from the other actors on the credit.   That is why "Miss" was added.

Thanks for getting the point of my comment.

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12 minutes ago, rayban said:

Remember when it was "Miss Audrey Hepburn" in "The Nun's Story"?

I don't recall that,  but speculating on the reasons behind that could be fun.

E.g. Hepburn was on her second marriage.    Was the 'Miss' added because the story is about a Nun?   :blink:

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4 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I don't recall that,  but speculating on the reasons behind that could be fun.

E.g. Hepburn was on her second marriage.    Was the 'Miss' added because the story is about a Nun?   :blink:

Just a guess here, but I am thinking that it was added to bring "stature" to her name.

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56 minutes ago, rayban said:

Just a guess here, but I am thinking that it was added to bring "stature" to her name.

This from Wikipedia which is consistent with my recollection as well:

"It was a default title for actresses (Miss Helen Hayes, Miss Barbara Stanwyck) or other celebrities (Miss Amelia Earhart). Such default usage has also proved problematic; the poet Dorothy Parker was often referred to as Miss Parker, even though Parker was the name of her first husband and she herself preferred Mrs. Parker. Later in the century, the use of "Miss" or "Mrs." became a problem for The New York Times in referring to political candidate Geraldine Ferraro[citation needed], a married woman who did not use her husband's surname, since Mrs. has been used with a woman's maiden name only in limited circumstances in public life before the 1980s." 

By the time Audrey Hepburn made The Nun's Story, she had probably attained sufficient stature to be introduced as "Miss Audrey Hepburn".  I believe those times are gone. (I do not recall seeing "Miss Meryl Streep" as an introduction).

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1 hour ago, rayban said:

Just a guess here, but I am thinking that it was added to bring "stature" to her name.

I just don't see any reason to add 'stature' to a well known movie actress for the movie's credits.

While the 'stature' reason applies to Stanwyck and her T.V. role,  it doesn't apply here with Hepburn.

So I'm sticking with my guess;   MISS was used to implied a virgin was playing the part of a nun.  

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6 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I just don't see any reason to add 'stature' to a well know movie actress for the movie's credits.

But that was a common practice in days of old, particularly in theatrical circles, which have always been perceived as more prestigious than film. In a way it was the American replacement of the British "Sir" or "Dame". One prime example, and of the opposite gender, was George Arliss, who was regularly credited as "Mr. George Arliss". It was meant as an honorific. At the same time, many female theater greats of the 19th/early 20th century were credited under their married names, such as Mrs. Leslie Carter, and the "Miss" name was added to some to denote youth and the traditional unmarried connotation. 

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6 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

But that was a common practice in days of old, particularly in theatrical circles, which have always been perceived as more prestigious than film. In a way it was the American replacement of the British "Sir" or "Dame". One prime example, and of the opposite gender, was George Arliss, who was regularly credited as "Mr. George Arliss". It was meant as an honorific. At the same time, many female theater greats of the 19th/early 20th century were credited under their married names, such as Mrs. Leslie Carter, and the "Miss" name was added to some to denote youth and the traditional unmarried connotation. 

Note that I said 'well known movie actress':   I agree that 'back in the day' it was common for actors that were more well known for their performances in the theater to get some type of 'title' added to their name to honor them and sort of introduce them to movie audiences.     

Hey,  if it was a fairly common practice then that would be the reason,  but I still find it an odd \ lame practice to use on a well known movie actress.   Also,  making it 'Miss' when the women is married is misleading (but again, so is a lot of PR).

 

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Stanwyck's billing was definitely meant to show respect. They could just as easily have had the credits with her name and image appearing first, but saved it till the end to differentiate her.

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Today, on "Trackdown", which was a weekly TV Western from the late 50's, the star, Robert Culp, who played a Texas Ranger, Hoby Gilman, got involved with a young boy, Malcolm Brodrick and his outlaw father, William Talman.

The young boy, Jeremy Sand, could not believe that his father was a bad man.

Hoby Gilman tried very hard to open the boy's eyes.

Both Culp and Brodrick played well together.

Especially Brodrick who was full of anger and hate in terms of Gilman's beliefs about his father.

At the end, their coming-together was both unexpected and heartwrenching.

Sometimes, a boy is forced to grow up!

Also, today, on "Have Gun, Will Travel", Richard Boone, as Palladin, tried to save a young man, Paul Jasmin, as Hank, from a supposedly crazy father and two off-the-wall brothers.

The brothers wanted to declare the father insane.

They were eager to get their hands on his estate.

Hank had gone off and gotten married.

The brothers had mailed her a dead cat as a wedding present!

Richard Boone had a hard, virile presence - and the idea of his not succeeding seemed very remote.

In the end, Palladin was forced to confront the brothers, who even looked crazy and then shoot one of them down.

Hank was duly grateful - "have gun, will travel", indeed.

Also, today, on "Gunsmoke", there was the usual well-written, well-directed and well-acted episode.

In this one, Earl Holliman and Jacqueline Scott starred as a husband and wife who hadn't seen each other in years.

They had two young children, both of them thought that their father was dead.

As the long-departed husband, Holliman had a very rude awakening when he realized that his wife was through with him.

As the put-upon wife, Scott was fierce in her determination to keep him out of her and her children's life.

But, in trying to get rid of him, she simply fell into pit of quicksand.

Holliman had a particularly touching death scene in which he realized how alone he actually was.

Scott was able to keep the truth about her husband's criminal past from her children.

They just saw him as a bad man who had wandered into their lives.

In the end, they went to the local fair and won a prize for their pig! 

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Today, on "Gunsmoke", there was an extremely interesting episode - I can't recall the title - about three young men who were given a second chance in life - to let go of a life of crime and go to work for a living.

The actors brought a great deal to the material - Michael Burns as Eric, Timothy Burns as Billy - are he and Michael actual brothers? - and Bill Callaway as Shufflles.

All of the principals, except Doc, were involved in the action - trying to help the friends gain a foothold in life.

Sadly, the guys, who were used to a life of crime, couldn't break the habit.

Billy was just too bad to be rehabilitated, Eric went away for a year, and Shuffles remained with the religious couple who still believed in him.

The three young actors did a terrific job - you were hoping for the best for them all.

And everyone else - especially Sam, the bartender - did their best in support of them, too.
 

 

 

 

 

 

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This morning, on "Have Gun,Will Travel", Charles Bronson guest-starred - appealingly - as a man's man who hired Palladin (Richard Boone) to teach him how to court a lady.

Richard Boone seemed to be getting quite a kick out of the proceedings.

Interestingly, Harry Carey, Jr. was one of Charles Bronson's ranch hands.

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Today, on MeTV, there was a very interesting episode of "Gunsmoke" that guest-starred an actor unknown to me - Anthony Costello (as Keith Lavery).

Mr. Costello was a very good-looking young man who seemed to be as tall as James Arness (Matt Dillon).

Mr. Costello's character seemed to have everything against him - two friends who were pushing him to the wrong side of the law, a relationship with a saloon girl who was pregnant with his child, but did not want to tell him and Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake) who felt that he needed to be pushed to do the right thing.

He almost destroys his life, but, in the end, not quite.

He's surrounded by people who do love him.

The episode ends with a close-up of Matt Dillon's face - smiling at the sight of a young man who's thrilled that he has a new lease on life.

(Mr. Costello died of Aids in 1983.)

 

 

 

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57 minutes ago, rayban said:

Today, on MeTV, there was a very interesting episode of "Gunsmoke" that guest-starred an actor unknown to me - Anthony Costello (as Keith Lavery).

Mr. Costello was a very good-looking young man who seemed to be as tall as James Arness (Matt Dillon).

Mr. Costello's character seemed to have everything against him - two friends who were pushing him to the wrong side of the law, a relationship with a saloon girl who was pregnant with his child, but did not want to tell him and Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake) who felt that he needed to be pushed to do the right thing.

He almost destroys his life, but, in the end, not quite.

He's surrounded by people who do love him.

The episode ends with a close-up of Matt Dillon's face - smiling at the sight of a young man who's thrilled that he has a new lease on life.

(Mr. Costello died of Aids in 1983.)

Sounds like an interesting episode Ray. Thanks for mentioning it. According to his credits on the IMDb, he was in two episodes of Gunsmoke. I think you've described his second appearance:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0594210/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_21

Screen Shot 2018-04-07 at 1.06.18 PM.jpg

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Today, on MeTV, on "Bonanza", there was a first-rate episode that was titled "The Trouble With Jamie".

It was about an overly-refined young man (Michael Burns) with a European education.

He had been thrown out of some of the finest boarding schools in Europe.

He and his wealthy father and the father's ward came to visit Ben Cartwright and his sons.

The boy and his father did not get along.

And the Cartwrights seemed to regard the boy as a rare bird of paradise.

The boy's father left his son with the Cartwrights, because he and his son were feuding and the father had to leave for a short business trip.

Ben Cartwright took the boy in hand and attempted to make him "manly".

Of course, the boy was resistant, but Ben, Joe and Hoss weren't exactly lightweights.

In the end, Ben taught the boy to do a day's work and feel proud of that work, too.

While the script was fairly conventional in teaching the boy "the ways of a man", Michael Burns' performance gave it such style and energy that it became more than it was.

It was a shining example of a young actor who was able to transform the material onto a higher plane.

Of course, the episode was "deeply coded" in so many ways - the young man was probably on his way to being gay, but, along the way, learned some of life's lessons and became a substantial human being.

In the end, Jaime was gracious enough to not hate his father, who seemed to blame him for his wife's death in childbirth and accept the ward as his new mother.

"Bonanza", like "Gunsmoke", was often the platform for stellar acting. 

In this case, young Michael Burns! 

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(Above, Michael Burns, Barbara Stanwyck and Colleen Dewhurst in an episode of "The Big Valley").

(Mr. Burns is a distinguished academic and a retired college professor.)

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(Above, Michael Burns and Randy Boone in "It's A Man's World" - 1962.)

Mr. Burns in the film that so many of us remember - starring Sandy Dennis and directed by Robert Altman - "That Cold Day In The Park" -

MV5BZmZlOGUzNDgtMWQ2ZC00ZGYyLTkxOGEtOWYy

That+Cold+Day+in+the+Park+Michael+Burns+

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