Monday, January 11, 2021

87th Precinct (1962)


In our post on the 1961 episodes of 87th Precinct, we discussed how the series somewhat based on Ed McBain's novels seemed intent on showing not only that police detectives are humans like the rest of us, with families and concerns outside the office, but are actually a cut above the ordinary people they come in contact with every day. That theme continued through the remainder of the program's only season, as we continue to see their office visited by civilian cranks such as Mrs. Collier, who claims to have committed multiple crimes in which she had no part in "Out of Order" (January 22, 1962). But in one sense, the program bit off more than it could chew--focusing on not one but four different detectives, each with supposedly a different personality and background, while also following the police procedural format that has to identify and apprehend this week's villain or gang within 60 minutes. In most cases, the procedural format overshadows any character revelation or development amongst the four principals, and the producers made things even more difficult for themselves by frequently introducing new characters that become the center of attention, thereby drawing focus even farther away from the principals. 

The most obvious diversion is Det. Carella's deaf/mute wife Teddy, who was introduced the program's pilot as a way to show the softer side of her husband, as we discussed in our previous post. Unfortunately for the show's producers, viewers found her far more interesting than any of the show's stars and demanded to see more of her, perhaps in every episode, as documented in the February 17, 1962 TV Guide article "She Was Too Much of a Good Thing." After appearing in 3 episodes in 1961, she would show up only once more in the 1962 episode "Step Forward" (March 26, 1962) in a story more focused on her husband's flirtation with leaving the police force for a bank job. After all four detectives spend many episodes complaining about how little they are paid, Carella is finally fed up at not being able to pay his bills, so he takes up an offer from a few years earlier by a bank president who wants him to be his head of security. However, he is soon bored with coddling wealthy customers and literally itches (he develops hives) to get back to solving crimes. Again, the lesson from this episode's sermon is that these four detectives are selfless public servants who will turn down better offers to help themselves--and their families.

Hulking Det. Roger Havilland offers a similar explanation in the last episode to air, "Girl in the Case" (April 30, 1962), when he is asked by a threatened stenographer he has been assigned to protect why he spurned a career in professional football, which he was offered after college, to become a cop--saying he just wanted to do something useful. What he doesn't explain in this episode is why he allows himself to become romantically involved with the stenographer when he is on duty, though as one might expect, she rebuffs his advances and chooses to marry a rich man not for love but for luxury. Like Carella turning down a cushy bank job, Havilland rejects a career that could have earned him enough money to catch a woman like the stenographer, though it is clear we are led to believe he is actually better off not pairing up with someone so shallow.

Det. Meyer is the noble martyr in "Feel of the Trigger" (February 26, 1962) when he tries to ignore a series of blackouts in order to keep doing his job, only his behavior makes as much sense as going to work when you're sick because he can put his partner at risk if one of the blackouts occurs at a critical moment when they are facing a dangerous criminal. Fortunately for the other detectives, Meyer's wife Sarah forces him to go to the doctor who prescribes him some pills to regulate his blood pressure before all his test results come back, and he is able to apprehend a murderous punk with a karate chop after Carella takes a bullet in the leg. Back at the office Meyer hears from Sarah that the doctor said there is nothing wrong with him--he only needs regular sleep and meals, and he tells his colleagues after getting off the phone that women are such worriers. Despite the fact that we are supposed to believe that his physical troubles were no big deal, Meyer has shown poor judgment in trying to power through what could have been a serious health crisis if it happened at the wrong time. His attempt to comically brush off his wife's legitimate concern shows us that he hasn't really learned his lesson.

And yet detective-on-loan Cotton Hawes (yet another new character who distracts from the principals) does learn his lesson in not trying to be a hero in "New Man in the Precinct" (April 16, 1962). Hawes is temporarily reassigned from his cushy, wealthy precinct to the 87th and isn't used to dealing with the rough-and-tumble ways of the poorer side of town. He notes that domestic disputes are very civil where he comes from, and his lack of hard knocks almost gets Carella killed when he announces that they are police after Carella pounds on the door of a dangerous suspect. We are thereafter treated to a tableau of all the other detectives telling their families and associates what a stupid, ignorant move Hawes made in announcing himself, but in reality his mistake is no stupider than Meyer's in "Feel of the Trigger"--Meyer is just luckier. After trying to right his wrong on his own, Hawes finally realizes that trying to be a hero is stupid and calls in the other detectives when he learns where the perpetrator has gone to try to escape. His is a character that viewers could have related to since he has not yet achieved perfection, but at the end of the episode he returns to his safer precinct.

In "The Last Stop" (April 23, 1962) we are treated to two more characters with backstories--Lt. Jim Burns, the boss of the four detectives, and his former mentor Det. Mike Power, who has been banished from the prestigious Central Station after an informant in his custody is gunned down in a taxi stalled in downtown traffic. Burns takes pity on Power when the latter is cut adrift only 6 months short of retirement and agrees to give him a home in the 87th to serve out his tenure since he feels a debt to Power. But he soon comes to regret it as Power is a grandstanding know-it-all who sees no problem in bending the rules if it is to his benefit. No one in the precinct can stand him, but they still have to endure him. After Power takes credit to his newspaper reporter friend Ed Bennett for solving a tax fraud scheme that Carella actually unraveled, the hit man who killed his informant comes looking for him to prove to his wife that Power would never recognize him. Power does not show any signs of knowing who he is dealing with when they meet in a bar, and almost gets killed when he tries to return the hit man's lighter he left in the bar, though he later tells the detectives in the 87th Precinct that he knew the hit man all along. Power is held up as the antithesis of the 87th boys--showy, overconfident, and unwilling to admit his shortcomings, while Burns reveals that he can let emotion cloud his judgment in allowing a sloppy detective to work for him out of a sense of debt.

Another policeman who lets emotion overrule his better judgment is patrolman Bill Miller in "A Bullet for Katie" (February 12, 1962). After his wife his shot through the window of their apartment and nearly killed, Miller fixates on ex-con Lou Gantry as the shooter because Gantry had threatened revenge against Miller when he was sent to prison years ago. However, Gantry is truly reformed, but a work colleague named Cole sees his checkered past as an opportunity for blackmail, pressuring Gantry to cover for Cole's embezzlement in exchange for his silence about his past. When Gantry refuses to go along, Cole falsely tells the police that Gantry's alibi on the night of the shooting was a lie, and when an indiscreet dispatcher hears that Havilland and Kling have left to pick up Gantry, he passes the information to Miller, who is afraid that Gantry will somehow escape justice unless he administers it himself. Fortunately, Miller hesitates long enough in shooting Gantry to allow Havilland and Kling to arrive and stop him before telling him that his wife was shot accidentally by a kid who was playing with a friend's father's war trophy. The purpose of episodes such as this one and "The Last Stop" is to venerate the 87th Precinct detectives by contrasting them with other policemen who are not as principled.

But to the series'  credit we also see a policeman who is just as principled as they are in "Square Cop" (March 12, 1962). Like Mike Power in "The Last Stop," veteran officer Otto Forman is near retirement, but when his rookie replacement is shot and killed by a robber who escapes despite Forman having a clear shot at him, and the robber is later identified as Forman's estranged son, we are led to question his motives. His legitimate explanation that he was blinded by the robber's headlights and that there were too many innocent bystanders in the line of fire comes off sounding weak, so the 87th boys stake out his apartment, figuring his son, who took a bullet from the now-dead rookie cop, might show up there seeking help and a means to escape. Their hunch proves correct, but to their surprise Forman refuses to help his son and even challenges him to go ahead and shoot his father. After a tense standoff, Forman helps capture his son, and the 87th men recommend him for a special commendation. As in real life, there are good cops and bad cops, and the 87th Precinct just happens to be blessed with four exceptional cops.

However, despite its relatively realistic take on the lives of policemen and detectives, 87th Precinct didn't really catch on with viewers over the course of the season. Hard-to-please TV Guide reviewer Gilbert Seldes called the series "well-made" in his February 17 issue review but also remarked that while he enjoyed the episode he watched ("Give the Boys a Great Big Hand"), he did not feel compelled to watch it every week. And while the April 28th TV Guide cover story discussed how much fan mail teen heart-throb Ron Harper was receiving while playing Det. Bert Kling, it also mentions that Gregory Walcott, i.e., Det. Roger Havilland, had 87th Precinct business cards made up for himself and his three co-stars as a novelty, but when he presented one to a young lady at a party, she thought it was real, meaning she didn't even know of the show's existence. As documented on the web site, 87th Precinct began with poor reviews but improved over time and even started garnering positive press in 1962. As late as March, it was being reported that NBC had said the series would "continue for some time." However, by this time the series may have already lost viewers due to the poorer-quality early episodes, a case in point being "Main Event" (January 1, 1962), which is marred by a worn-out plot and overwrought acting and direction, as compared to the much crisper episode "Man in a Jam" (January 8, 1962) only a week later that presents a novel story about a man trying to be arrested for a murder he committed because he knows the police do not yet have enough evidence to convict him, and after he is acquitted he could not be retried due to double jeopardy laws. notes that early ratings in November and December, 1961 had it tied with The Andy Griffith Show and The Danny Thomas Show, both of which finished in the top 10 at the end of the season, while 87th Precinct failed to crack the top 30 at season's end. Perhaps the improvement in quality came too late to reclaim viewers who had already left the series behind. After its final original episode aired on April 30th followed by a summer of reruns, the series disappeared for good until its 2012 DVD revival.

The Actors

For the biographies of Robert Lansing, Ron Harper, Norman Fell, Gregory Walcott, Gena Rowlands, Ruth Storey, and Dal McKennon, see the 1961 post on 87th Precinct.

Paul Genge

Paul Morgan Genge was born in Brooklyn, NY on March 29, 1913. Little has been published about his life off screen and off stage. He was appearing on Broadway as early as 1935, as he is listed as a member of the male chorus in a production of Panic, which ran for only two days. The following year, he appeared as the captain Francisco in a production of Hamlet that starred Olivia de Havilland and Leslie Howard. The Internet Broadway Database lists him in three more productions--Journey to Jerusalem in 1940, Romeo and Juliet in 1951, and Bernardine in 1952-53. In between these, he enlisted in the U.S. Army on June 2, 1941, rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant during World War II. In 1944 he married Rowena Kirkpatrick, but they divorced two years later. He remarried to Jeanne Elsa Lasher on March 31, 1948, and they remained married until her death in 1976. Genge made his television debut in a 1953 episode of Man Against Crime titled "High Ambush," which aired April 22, 1953. He appeared in a second episode of the series in June of that year but then did not land another TV role for 5 years, finally breaking the streak with an episode of The Walter Winchell File and appeared in 3 more programs and 2 episodes of Perry Mason that year as well as his first feature film role, an uncredited part as a police inspector in I Want to Live! starring Susan Hayward. From then on the work would be steady, both on TV and feature films-- uncredited parts in North by Northwest, The Beat Generation, and The F.B.I. Story in 1959; 3 appearances on Mr. Lucky along with single appearances on Peter Gunn, Tales of Wells Fargo, One Step Beyond, Route 66, and Bonanza in addition to his first credited feature role in The Crowded Sky in 1960, and appearances on The Untouchables, The Twilight Zone, and Shotgun Slade in 1961, the same year he made his first of 5 appearances as Lt. Jim Burns on 87th Precinct.

After his brief, only recurring TV role, Genge's opportunities dwindled somewhat, though he did return to The Untouchables and Perry Mason and other series such as Hawaiian Eye, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. His feature film work also receded somewhat as he was returned to uncredited parts in such noteworthy films as The Americanization of Emily and The Sandpiper in the mid-1960s. He had a credited part as an unnamed policeman in 1967's Hot Rods to Hell and scored perhaps his most-remembered, though small role as shotgun-toting hitman Mike in the 1968 Steve McQueen drama Bullitt. The 1970s saw his roles diminish even further, appearing only in single episodes of The Bold Ones: The Senator and The Streets of San Francisco, with only one feature film, one TV movie, and his final uncredited appearance in the 1975 TV mini-series Lincoln. He died 13 years later at the age of 75 in Los Angeles on May 13, 1988.



Notable Guest Stars

Season 1, Episode 15, "Main Event": Myron McCormick (starred in No Time for Sergeants and The Hustler) plays boxing manager Scotty Thompson. Arch Johnson (shown on the left, starred in Somebody Up There Likes Me, G.I. Blues, and The Cheyenne Social Club and played Gus Honochek on The Asphalt Jungle and Cmdr. Wivenhoe on Camp Runamuck) plays former boxer Bert "Bobo" Felix. Robert Carricart (Pepe Cordoza on T.H.E. Cat) plays mobster Frankie Spain . Henry Corden (Carlo on The Count of Monte Cristo, and Babbitt on The Monkees and did voicework on The Flintstones, Jonny Quest, The Atom Ant Show, The Banana Splits Adventure Hour and Return to the Planet of the Apes) plays his henchman Cyril. Paul Newlan (Police Capt. Grey on M Squad and Lt. Gen. Pritchard on 12 O'Clock High) plays boxing camp owner Dennis Calhoun. Maggie Pierce (Barbara Crabtree on My Mother the Car) plays boxer's girlfriend Martha Costello. Norman Leavitt (Ralph on Trackdown) plays a gas station attendant. Dennis McCarthy (Dr. Sam Hodges on Cimarron City) plays the police lab technician.

Season 1, Episode 16, "Man in a Jam": Lin McCarthy (shown on the right, starred in Yellowneck, The D.I., and Face of a Fugitive and played Bill Talbot on Modern Romances) plays groom-to-be Cleve Tompson. Robert Sampson (Sgt. Walsh on Steve Canyon, Father Mike Fitzgerald on Bridget Love Bernie, and Sheriff Turk Tobias on Falcon Crest) plays his friend Jerry Young. Sheila Bromley (Janet Tobin on I Married Joan and Ethel Weiss on Hank) plays landlord Mrs. Holt. Ed Peck (Officer Clark on The Super, Coach Cooper on Semi-Tough, Police Capt. Dennis McDermott on Benson, and Police Officer Kirk on Happy Days) plays modeling agency owner Mike Waring. Michael Fox (Sig Levy on The Clear Horizon, Coroner George McLeod on Burke's Law, Amos Fedders on Falcon Crest, Saul Feinberg on The Bold and the Beautiful, and appeared 25 times as autopsy surgeons and various other medical witnesses on Perry Mason) plays police forensic investigator Grossman. Jerry Dexter (voiced Chuck on Shazzan, Gary Gulliver on The Adventures of Gulliver, Alan M. on Josie and the Pussycats and Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space, Elmo on The Funky Phantom, Hal Bryant on Sealab 2020, Ted on Goober and the Ghost Chasers, and Drak Jr. on Drak Pack) plays bachelor party guest Pat.

Season 1, Episode 17, "Give the Boys a Great Big Hand": Michael Forest (starred in Ski Troop Attack, Atlas, and The Glory Guys and was the voice of Capt. Dorai on Street Fighter II: V and Olympus on Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue) plays missing sailor Karl Andrade. Theodore Marcuse (starred in Hitler, The Cincinnati Kid, and Harum Scarum and played Von Bloheim on Batman) plays ship Capt. Kromer. Barry Atwater (shown on the left, played Dr. John Prentice on General Hospital) plays choreographer Warren Tudor. Asa Maynor (Dixie on Straightaway) plays his receptionist. Roxanne Arlen (former wife of Red Buttons, appeared in Hot Rod Girl, Bachelor Flat, and Gypsy) plays dancer Taffy. George N. Neise (Capitan Felipe Arrellanos on Zorro, Dr. Nat Wyndham on Wichita Town, and Colonel Thornton on McKeever & the Colonel) plays airline executive Piat. Lorna Thayer (starred in The Beast With a Million Eyes and played the waitress in Five Easy Pieces) plays missing boy's mother Mrs. Livingston. Norman Grabowski (appeared in Girls Town, College Confidential, Sex Kittens Go to College, Roustabout, The Monkey's Uncle, and The Towering Inferno and played Padowski on Hank) plays rookie policeman Linowski. Herb Vigran (Judge Brooker on Gunsmoke) plays Missing Persons Dept. Lt. Bartholdi. Dennis McCarthy (see "Main Event" above) returns as the police lab technician.

Season 1, Episode 18, "Out of Order": Dawn Wells (shown on the right, played Mary Ann Summers on Gilligan's Island) plays chorus girl Kathy Blakely. Mary Gregory (appeared in Sleeper and Coming Home and played Dr. Stanwhich on Knots Landing and Judge Pendleton on L.A. Law) plays landlord Mrs. Gadby. Cheerio Meredith (Emma Brand on The Andy Griffith Show and Lovey Hackett on One Happy Family) plays eccentric crank Mrs. Collier. Jack Smith (singer who hosted his own radio show, appeared in King Kong (1933), On Moonlight Bay, and The Barefoot Executive, and hosted You Asked For It and American West) plays diner owner Telford. C. Lindsay Workman (see the biography section for the 1961 post on The Donna Reed Show) plays diner cook Evans. Jack Reitzen (Chopstick Joe on Terry and the Pirates and Flores on Not for Hire) plays a bookie. Jack Regas (director of multiple episodes of The Lost Saucer, Dr. Shrinker, The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, Magic Mongo, and Out of This World) plays a chorus line director. Dennis McCarthy (see "Main Event" above) returns as police lab technician Joe.

Season 1, Episode 19, "The Pigeon": Peter Falk (shown on the left, starred in Robin and the 7 Hoods, Murder by Death, and The Cheap Detective and played Daniel O'Brien on The Trials of O'Brien and Columbo on Columbo) plays son of famous mobster Greg Brovane. Frank Sutton (appeared in Marty, Town Without Pity, and The Satan Bug and played Eric Raddison on Tom Corbett, Space Cadet and Sgt. Vince Carter on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.) plays robbery gang leader Tully Borgman. Morgan Woodward (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays accomplice Matty Tremaine. Arthur Batanides (Sgt. Olivera on Johnny Midnight) plays accomplice Clay Boudreau. Marjorie Bennett (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis) plays robbery witness Mrs. Turner. Harry Swoger (Harry Sprague on The Big Valley) plays a garage mechanic. Nora Marlowe (Martha Commager on Law of the Plainsman, Sara Andrews on The Governor and J.J., and Mrs. Flossie Brimmer on The Waltons) plays landlord Rosalie Pender. Richard Deacon (see the biography section for the 1961 post on The Dick Van Dyke Show) plays D.A. representative Martin. Harlan Warde (John Hamilton on The Rifleman and Sheriff John Brannan on The Virginian) plays prison psychiatrist Dr. Daniels. Clark Howat (Dr. John Petrie on The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu and the police dispatcher on Harbor Command) plays a lie-detector-test examiner. E.J. Andre (Eugene Bullock on Dallas) plays a man who gives candy to children.

Season 1, Episode 20, "A Bullet for Katie": Ed Nelson (Michael Rossi on Peyton Place, Ward Fuller on The Silent Force, and Sen. Mark Denning on Capitol) plays policeman Bill Miller. Della Sharman (Nurse Johnson on Dr. Kildare) plays his wife Katie. Harold J. Stone (John Kennedy on The Grand Jury, Hamilton Greeley on My World and Welcome to It, and Sam Steinberg on Bridget Loves Bernie) plays ex-con Lou Gantry. Patty Ann Gerrity (Alice Holliday on This Is Alice) plays his daughter Wendy. Roger Mobley (Homer "Packy" Lambert on Fury) plays neighbor of the Millers, Lane Connors. Robert Brubaker (Deputy Ed Blake on U.S. Marshal and Floyd on Gunsmoke) plays his father Fred. Catherine McLeod (Claire Larkin on Days of Our Lives) plays Lane's mother. John Fiedler (shown on the right, appeared in 12 Angry Men, That Touch of Mink, The World of Henry Orient, Kiss Me, Stupid, Girl Happy, The Odd Couple, True Grit and played Emil Peterson on The Bob Newhart Show and Woody on Buffalo Bill) plays Gantry's work colleague Cole. William Keene (played various reverends on The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D.) plays their boss Mr. Oxman. Harry Holcombe (appeared in The Fortune Cookie, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Foxy Brown, Escape to Witch Mountain, and Empire of the Ants and played Frank Gardner on Search for Tomorrow, Doc Benson on My Mother the Car, Mr. Kendricks on Barefoot in the Park, and Dr. J.P. Martin on Bonanza) plays a doctor.

Season 1, Episode 21, "King's Ransom": Charles McGraw (appeared in The Killers, Blood on the Moon, The Narrow Margin, and Spartacus and played Mike Waring on The Adventures of Falcon) plays shoe company executive Douglas King. Nancy Reagan (shown on the left, second wife of Ronald Reagan, starred in The Next Voice You Hear..., Donovan's Brain, and Hellcats of the Navy) plays his wife Diane. John McLiam (appeared in Cool Hand Luke, In Cold Blood, Sleeper, The Missouri Breaks, and First Blood) plays their chauffeur Charles Reynolds. John Astin (appeared in That Touch of Mink, The Wheeler Dealers, Move Over, Darling, Viva Max, and Freaky Friday and played Harry Dickens on I'm Dickens, He's Fenster, Gomez Addams on The Addams Family, Rudy Pruitt on The Phyllis Diller Show, Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Sherman on Operation Petticoat, Ed LaSalle on Mary, Buddy Ryan on Night Court, Radford on Eerie, Indiana, and Prof. Albert Wickwire on The Adventures of Briscoe County, Jr.) plays phone installer Cassidy. Charles Aidman (narrator on the 1985-87 version of The Twilight Zone) plays kidnapper Eddie Folsom. Virginia Vincent (see the biography section for the 1961 post on The Joey Bishop Show) plays his wife Kathy. Dan Tobin (Terrance Clay on Perry Mason) plays con man Adrian Score.

Season 1, Episode 22, "Feel of the Trigger": Jerry Hausner (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Mr. Magoo Show) plays grocer Nathan Kossoff. Renata Vanni (appeared in Pay or Die!, A Patch of Blue, and Fatso and played Rose Brentano on That Girl) plays his wife Maria. Neil Burstyn (third husband of Ellen Burstyn, story editor on The Monkees) plays robber Danny Brodek. Ted de Corsia (Police Chief Hagedorn on Steve Canyon) plays his father John. Ellen Corby (shown on the right played Henrietta Porter on Trackdown and Esther Walton on The Waltons) plays Danny's mother. Bernie Hamilton (Capt. Harold Dobey on Starsky and Hutch) plays police Officer Kendal. Maudie Prickett (see the biography section for the 1961 post on Hazel) plays Meyer's Nurse Crowley. Dick Wessel (see the biography section for the 1960 post on Riverboat) plays suspect's father Howard Pitt. Jean Inness (see the biography section for the 1961 post on Dr. Kildare) plays shoplifter Agnes Burton.

Season 1, Episode 23, "Killer's Choice": Gloria Talbott (starred in The Cyclops, Daughter of Dr. Jekyll,  and I Married a Monster From Outer Space and played Moneta on Zorro) plays liquor store maanger Amy Boone. R.G. Armstrong (Police Capt. McAllister on T.H.E. Cat and Lewis Vendredi on Friday the 13th) plays her boss Franklin Phelps. Rosemary DeCamp (shown on the left, starred in Yankee Doodle Dandy, Rhapsody in Blue, and The Life of Riley and played Peg Riley on The Life of Riley, Margaret MacDonald on The Bob Cummings Show, Aunt Helen on Petticoat Junction, Helen Marie on That Girl, and Grandma Amanda Renfrew on The Partridge Family) plays his wife Marna. John Lasell (Dr. Peter Guthrie on Dark Shadows) plays Amy's ex-husband Ted Boone. Katherine Warren (appeared in The Lady Pays Off, The Glenn Miller Story, and The Caine Mutiny) plays Amy's mother Mrs. Travail. Nancy Kulp (Pamela Livingstone on The Bob Cummings Show, Jane Hathaway on The Beverly Hillbillies, Mrs. Gruber on The Brian Keith Show, and Mrs. Hopkins on Sanford and Son) plays liquor store customer Miss Fitzhenry. Clancy Cooper (see the biography section for the 1960 post on Lawman) plays police Det. Monroe. Sidney Clute (Sgt. Same Gerke on Steve Canyon, Det. Simms on McCloud, the National Editor on Lou Grant, and Det. Paul La Guardia on Cagney & Lacey) plays bartender Blackie. Jonathan Hole (Orville Monroe on The Andy Griffith Show) plays hotel manager Mr. Morgan. Carla Balenda (Patricia Hardy on The Mickey Rooney Show, Betty Leonard on The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu, and Miss Hazllit on Lassie) plays phony flight attendant Miss Tilson. Berniece Janssen (David Janssen's mother) plays a Phelps party guest.

Season 1, Episode 24, "Square Cop": Lee Tracy (shown on the right, starred in Doctor X, Blessed Event, Dinner at Eight, Bombshell, and The Lemon Drop Kid and played John J. Malone on The Amazing Mr. Malone, Martin Kane on Martin Kane, and Lee Cochran on New York Confidential) plays 30-year police veteran Officer Otto Forman. Jack Hogan (starred in The Bonnie Parker Story, Paratroop Command, and The Cat Burglar and played Kirby on Combat!, Sgt. Jerry Miller on Adam-12, Chief Ranger Jack Moore on Sierra, and Judge Smithwood on Jake and the Fatman) plays his estranged son Johnny. James Hong (Barry Chan on The New Adventures of Charlie Chan, Frank Chen on Jigsaw John, and Doctor Chen Ling on Dynasty) plays restaurant owner "Mike" #2. Paul Smith (George Howell on The Gertrude Berg Show, Capt. Martin on No Time for Sergeants, Harley Trent on Mr. Terrific, and Ron Harvey on The Doris Day Show) plays aspiring reporter Fred Jamison.

Season 1, Episode 25, "Step Forward": Philip Bourneuf (shown on the near left, appeared in Joan of Arc, Chamber of Horrors, and Pete 'n' Tillie and played Dr. Wickens on Dr. Kildare) plays bank president John Frost. Ray Teal (shown on the far left, see the biography section for the 1961 post on Bonanza) plays Texas millionaire Sam Thorpe. Isobel Elsom (appeared in Of Human Bondage, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Lust for Life, and My Fair Lady) plays wealthy bank customer Andrea Edgerton. Alvy Moore (appeared in Susan Slept Here, Designing Woman, and The Wackiest Ship in the Army and played Howie on Pete and Gladys and Hank Kimball on Green Acres) plays suit salesman Adam Sloan. Byron Foulger (Mr. Nash on Captain Nice and Wendell Gibbs on Petticoat Junction) plays bank guard Frank. Charles Seel (Otis the Bartender on Tombstone Territory, Mr. Krinkie on Dennis the Menace, and Tom Pride on The Road West) plays bank guard Lloyd. Hank Brandt (Leonard Waggedorn on Julia, Morgan Hess on Dynasty, and Dr. Aaron Kranzler on Santa Barbara) plays police patrolman Vic. Alice Backes (Vickie on Bachelor Father) plays Carella neighbor Jane. Leonard A. Mazzola (set decorator on The Sixth Sense, Fame, and Beauty and the Beast) plays robber Barrows.

Season 1, Episode 26, "Idol in the Dust": Michael Dante (Crazy Horse on Custer) plays professional baseball player Larry Brooks. Jeanette Nolan (shown on the right, starred in Macbeth (1948), The Big Heat, Tribute to a Bad Man, and The Reluctant Astronaut, did voicework for Psycho, The Rescuers, and The Fox and the Hound, and played Annette Devereaux on Hotel de Paree and Holly Grainger on The Virginian) plays his mother. Al Ruscio (Paul Locatelli on Shannon, Sal Giordano on Life Goes On, Frank Ruscio on Joe's Life, and Kosta Kanelos on Port Charles) plays his brother Joe. Paddi Edwards (Doris on The Trouble With Harry and voiced Gorda on Phantom 2040, Atropos on Hercules, and Vera Groober-Schwartz on Pepper Ann) plays Joe's wife Betty. Joseph Mell (Bill Pence on Gunsmoke) plays grocer Sol. David Kent (Bill Scott on Leave It to Beaver) plays his son Richard. Robert Biheller (Corky on Here Come the Brides) plays punk Ben Kramer. Frank Bank (see the biography section for the 1960 post on Leave It to Beaver) plays Kramer's friend. Howard Caine (Schaab on The Californians and Maj. Wolfgang Hochstetter on Hogan's Heroes) plays poker game organizer Georgie Meinig.

Season 1, Episode 27, "Ramon": Danny Bravo (voice of Hadji on Jonny Quest) plays young troublemaker Ramon Morales. Willis Bouchey (shown on the left, played Mayor Terwilliger on The Great Gildersleeve, Springer on Pete and Gladys, and the judge 23 times on Perry Mason) plays State Department agent Harry Spencer. Rico Alaniz (Mr. Cousin on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays conspirator Rafael Bencosme.

Season 1, Episode 28, "New Man in the Precinct": Fred Beir (Larry Atwood on Days of Our Lives) plays detective on loan Cotton Hawes. Joan Patrick (see the biography section for the 1961 post on Dr. Kildare) plays his wife Chris. Robert Colbert (see the biography section for the 1961 post on Maverick) plays former boxer Matt Murdock. Elizabeth Perry (shown on the right, played Katy Elliott on Morning Star) plays doctor's daughter Linda Walters. Ray Montgomery (Prof. Howard Ogden on Ramar of the Jungle) plays veteran 87th detective Frank Kanin. Jack Albertson (starred in Days of Wine and Roses, Kissin' Cousins, The Flim-Flam Man, and Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and played Lt. Harry Evans on The Thin Man, Walter Burton on Room for One More, Lt. Cmdr. Virgil Stoner on Ensign O'Toole, Paul Fenton on Mister Ed, and Ed Brown on Chico and the Man) plays boxing manager Maxie Carroll. Margie Regan (Lucy Carr on Michael Shayne) plays Kling's fiance Claire Townsend. John Aniston (Martin Tourneur on Search for Tomorrow and Victor Kiriakis on Days of Our Lives) plays a police officer.

Season 1, Episode 29, "The Last Stop": Victor Jory (shown on the left, starred in Madame Du Barry, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Gone With the Wind, and The Miracle Worker and played Lt. Howard Finucane on Manhunt) plays veteran reassigned detective Mike Power. Lyle Talbot (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet) plays informant Woody Gaynor. Ralph Manza (Al Bonacorsi on The D.A.'s Man, Mike Costello on General Hospital, Jay Drury on Banacek, Ambulance Aide Stanke on A.E.S. Hudson, Padre Guardiano on Mama Malone, Bud on Newhart, and Father Lewis on Days of Our Lives) plays a taxi driver. Sheldon Allman (Norm Miller on Harris Against the World) plays Central Station Det. White. George Cisar (see the biography section for the 1961 post on Dennis the Menace) plays grocer Mr. Starr. Frank Gerstle (Dick Gird on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays newspaper reporter Ed Bennett. 

Season 1, Episode 30, "Girl in the Case": Janis Paige (shown on the right, appeared in Of Human Bondage, Cheyenne, Romance on the High Seas, Silk Stockings, and Please Don't Eat the Daisies and played Jan Stewart on It's Always Jan, Kate Lanigan on Lanigan's Rabbi, Auntie V on Eight Is Enough, Nettie McCoy on Gun Shy, Blanche Riddle on Baby Makes Five, Catherine Hackett on Trapper John, M.D., Aunt Iona Huntington on General Hospital, and Minx Lockridge on Santa Barbara) plays freelance stenographer Cheryl Anderson. Russell Collins (appeared in Niagara, Bad Day at Black Rock, and Fail-Safe and played Owen Sharp on Many Happy Returns) plays dying millionaire Raymond L. Masters. Jerry Paris (see the biography section for the 1961 post on The Dick Van Dyke Show) plays his son Douglas. Joan Staley (Playboy Playmate who appeared in Cape Fear, Roustabout, Valley of the Dragons, Johnny Cool, and The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and played Tiger on The Lively Ones, Hannah on 77 Sunset Strip, and Roberta Love on Broadside) plays Douglas' girlfriend Monica. Douglas Dick (Carl Herrick on Waterfront) plays elder Masters' nephew Anson Masters. Bill Erwin (Joe Walters on My Three Sons and Glenn Diamond on Struck by Lightning) plays elder Masters' valet George. S. John Launer (Marshall Houts on The Court of Last Resort and the judge 33 times on Perry Mason) plays shady lawyer Warner. Kathleen Freeman (played Katie on Topper, Marilly on Mayor of the Town, Bertha Krause on The Bob Cummings Show, Flo Shafer on The Beverly Hillbillies, Kate Harwell on Funny Face, and Iris Belmont on Lotsa Luc) plays policewoman Miss Wilson. Craig Duncan (Sgt. Stanfield/Banfield on Mackenzie's Raiders) plays a taxi driver. Addison Richards (starred in Boys Town, They Made Her a Spy, Flying Tigers, and The Deerslayer and played Doc Calhoun on Trackdown and Doc Landy on The Deputy) plays elder Masters' brother-in-law Windrow. Norman Grabowski (See "Give the Boys a Great Big Hand" above) plays a policeman. Thomas Browne Henry (Dr. Reno on Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, Mr. Channing on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, J. Homer Radcliffe on Tombstone Territory, and Prof. Hubacher on The Gertrude Berg Show) plays Douglas Masters' lawyer.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The Virginian (1962)

While series creator and executive producer Frank Price explains in Paul Green's A History of Television's The Virginian 1962-71 that the impetus for creating the western series was Music Corporation of America's (MCA) decision to move the top-rated program for 1961-62 Wagon Train from NBC to ABC, thereby creating a huge gap in NBC programming for the fall of 1962, the shadow of Bonanza surely also figured in the decision to make it a 90-minute color program. NBC was already feeling the heat from Bonanza when they decided to convert two of their other western series, Tales of Wells Fargo and Laramie, into color programs for the Fall of 1961. Choosing to make The Virginian a 90-minute program was a way of one-upping the vastness of Bonanza, but as the expansion of Gunsmoke from a 30-minute program to 60 minutes showed, longer was not always better, at least in terms of winning additional viewership. However, Price's first stab at The Virginian was itself a 30-minute pilot created in 1958 that failed to sell. Price was then a writer for Screen Gems and chose to adapt Owen Wister's 1902 novel for the small screen in part, as he tells Green, because it had just entered into the public domain, meaning they would not have to pay royalties for the concept, hardly the best motivation for choosing source material. Wister's novel was spun out of previously published short stories in which the character of The Virginian was not the protagonist and thus did not require a specific name, and when he decided to expand on the premise for the novel, he decided to leave it's titular character unnamed. The novel was adapted into four different feature films, including two in the silent era, before Price brought it to television. Between his failed pilot and the successful 1962 debut of The Virginian, Price had produced two other western series for NBC, Overland Trail, which co-starred future Trampas actor Doug McClure, and The Tall Man, which co-starred Season 1 guest star on The Virginian Barry Sullivan, along with future Virginian regular cast member Clu Gulager

Price describes for Green an imagined backstory for The Virginian, but this biography is never presented in the actual filmed program. However, Price took liberties with the other characters from the original novel--The Virginian's arch enemy Trampas, a murderous gambler in the novel, becomes one of his employees on television, and his good friend Steve, who turns out to be a cattle thief and whom The Virginian himself has to hang in the novel, is another ranch hand on TV. Due to lobbying by star Lee J. Cobb, the name of Judge Henry becomes Judge Henry Garth on television, and Price decided to interject his daughter Betsy into the TV series to give it more of a family feel, perhaps like another popular color-produced western of the era. The ranch itself was known as Sunk Creek in the novel, but Price renames it Shiloh to give it some resonance as the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War; it encompasses a significant chunk of the state of Wyoming much like The Ponderosa does in Nevada. The character of Molly Wood in the novel is a school teacher who ends up marrying The Virginian, with the latter eventually becoming a partner of Sunk Creek Ranch, but in the TV series Molly runs the Medicine Bow newspaper and is not clearly The Virginian's steady gal, as she is also wooed by Trampas, Steve Hill, and visiting Argentine businessman Enrique Cuellar in "The Big Deal" (October 10, 1962). She appears only in 6 episodes, the last being "The Man From the Sea" (December 26, 1962).

In a television landscape filled with westerns, some with distinctive characters or premises while others are obviously mere imitations of more successful programs, The Virginian in its early episodes fails to stake out unique territory and comes off more as the Wagon Train replacement or Bonanza competitor that it was intended to be. As Price relates to Green, the program had many problems and significant upheaval before it even aired its first episode. Original executive producer Charles Marquis Warren had produced the hit Rawhide, and the early Season 1 episode "50 Days to Moose Jaw" (December 12, 1962) plays like it could have just as easily fit into that other program, but NBC executives were not happy with his early work and he was jettisoned for Roy Huggins of Cheyenne and Maverick fame before the season began. Huggins and Price then reworked the episodes that Warren had produced, though he was still given on-screen credit. One of the complains against Warren's work was that he focused his episodes almost exclusively on the guest stars rather than the characters of the regular cast. The very first episode, "The Executioners" (September 19, 1962), provides a perfect example as the Shiloh and Medicine Bow crew serve mostly as bystanders when a stranger new to town, who winds up working as a ranch hand at Shiloh, courts the local school teacher but has an ulterior motive--to get her to confess that she testified falsely against an innocent man who was then hung and turns out to be the stranger's father. The plot here is a familiar one in western television, in which someone hell-bent on revenge has to be shown that achieving it will not bring relief. Again, trying to latch onto the popularity of other western series, the guest star is Hugh O'Brian, recently unemployed lead of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.

As mentioned above, the second episode, "Woman From White Wing" (September 26, 1962) stars another recently unemployed western lead, Barry Sullivan of The Tall Man, in a story even Price and Huggins did not like because it made Betsy the adopted rather than natural-born daughter of Judge Garth. Price says he felt this cut off several possible backstory elements for Garth's character, but the episode does provide an explanation for how he came to be such a prodigious landowner because he wound up claiming the land granted to himself and two other partners who set out together from Ohio. One of the partners dies along the way, while Garth is unable to find the third, Betsy's real father, after they split up, but he returns after breaking out of prison to claim his natural daughter, even though the life he can offer her pales in comparison to what Garth can do.

Other episodes recycle already shopworn TV western plot devices: many series included a boxing episode to capitalize on the popularity of televised boxing in the early 1960s, while The Virginian bobs slightly to feature a wrestling star in "Big Day, Great Day" (October 24, 1962), an episode that Green also cites as being problematic since it nearly has the character Steve Hill getting married and moving to Texas only 6 episodes into the series' first season. Another popular gimmick was introducing real historical figures into fictional series, a kind of nod to western grand-dad Death Valley Days and its foundation in actual history. Teddy Roosevelt was a favorite of the writers over at Warner Brothers as they had Peter Breck play him in a 1960 episode of Sugarfoot and a 1961 episode of Bronco. The Virginian uses Karl Swenson to play the future U.S. president in the series' most ridiculous early episode, "Riff-Raff" (November 7, 1962). In this tall tale, it's the men from Shiloh who actually took San Juan Hill during the Spanish American War, after engaging in a rough-house game of polo, with Roosevelt only showing up to encourage them beforehand and congratulate them after the fact. The whole farce is played entirely for laughs but lands with a thud. The introduction of publishing icon Joseph Pulitzer and a watch he sends with Molly back to Shiloh to present to Garth which then proves critical in his rescue from sadistic ex-con Martin Kalig is likewise ridiculous but this time not intended to bring laughter. The watch presentation is also a lame attempt to imbue Garth's character with a level of celebrity and gravitas that he clearly hasn't earned only 9 episodes into the series' first season.

Other episodes that trade heavily in worn-out plots or the premise of other series include The Virginian playing Perry Mason to free a falsely accused Trampas in "The Accomplice" (December 19, 1962), a coward who has to find his courage in "The Brazen Bell" (October 17, 1962), and an iron-fisted patriarch who rules a lawless region with his brood in "Impasse" (November 14, 1962). Despite its lack of a distinctive identity, The Virginian had enough sizzle in its initial season to sneak into the Nielsen ratings at #26, just behind former champion Wagon Train, which obviously did not benefit from its change of networks. But the heyday for westerns in general was fading. Whereas, the top three spots were held by westerns in 1961-62, only Bonanza at #4 and Gunsmoke at #10 cracked the top 10 in 1962-63. The Virginian would improve its popularity with viewers in later seasons and become the third-longest running western by the time it was canceled after a name change to The Men of Shiloh in 1971. But first it had to find its footing on exactly what it was trying to be.

Just as they went for the biggest and most lavish when they chose to make The Virginian a 90-minute color program, the producers hired one of the biggest names in popular music when they selected Toronto-born Percy Faith to write the theme for the new series. The oldest of 8 children, Faith was a child prodigy, learning to play the violin at age 7 before switching to piano. By age 11 he made his first public performance and while still a teenager performed at the prestigious Massey Hall and provided accompaniment for silent movies in theatres. But at age 18 he suffered severe burns to his hands after one of his sister's clothes caught fire, and he was unable to play the piano for months while recuperating, leading him to turn his focus to arranging and composing. He landed a job as an arranger and conductor with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in the 1930s and by 1937 had his own program, Music By Faith. After the program's termination, Faith decided to move to the U.S., citing budget cuts and anti-Semitism at the CBC, eventually landing in New York City in 1941. He worked for NBC radio, became a U.S. citizen in 1945, then moved to CBS two years later, becoming the musical director for programs sponsored by Coca Cola and Woolworth's. After recording for various record labels in the 1940s, Faith found a permanent home with Columbia beginning in 1950, releasing that year the first of over 60 LPs with the label, Your Dance Date With Percy Faith. Besides recording his own material, he worked for Mitch Miller in A&R and provided arrangements and orchestral backings for vocalists such as Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Doris Day, and Sarah Vaughan. He scored his first #1 hit with "Delicado" in 1952, and again topped the charts the next year with the "Theme From Moulin Rouge" with vocals by Felicia Sanders. He received an Oscar nomination for the score for Day's 1955 film Love Me Or Leave Me, and scored his third #1 hit in 1960 for the "Theme From a Summer Place," which also earned him the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. On the heels of this success, making Faith the most popular easy listening artist in the world, and his move from New York to Los Angeles that year, he was hired to provide the score for The Virginian. He would go on to score three more feature films and earn another Grammy in 1969 for his album Love Theme From "Romeo and Juliet." During the later 1960s he began a successful trend of recording easy listening versions of pop and rock hits, which continued into the 1970s and the Disco Era, his last minor hit being a disco version of the "Theme From a Summer Place" titled "Summer Place '76." He died that year from cancer at the age of 67. 

The complete series has been released on DVD by Timeless Media Group.

The Actors

For the biography of Doug McClure, see the 1960 post on Checkmate. For the biography of Roberta Shore, see the 1961 post on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. For the biography of Pippa Scott, see the 1960 post on Mr. Lucky.

James Drury

James Child Drury was born April 18, 1934 in New York City where his father was a professor who taught marketing at New York University. His mother owned a family farm in Salem, Oregon, and the young Drury grew up shuttling back and forth across the country, but his time in Oregon proved influential on his later acting career as his maternal grandfather trained him in horsemanship, marksmanship, and how to be a woodsman. His first acting experience came playing King Herod in a Christmas play at age 8, and four years later he turned professional, acting in a traveling production of Life With Father. In between, he contracted polio at age 10, and later remarked that he pretended acting in plays during his time of illness, deciding on an acting career at an early age. He went to high school in Los Angeles, attending the same University High School as future cast member Doug McClure, before matriculating to his father's college New York University to study drama. After signing a contract with MGM in 1954, he returned to Los Angeles and finished his studies at UCLA while make his feature film debut in 1955 in The Blackboard Jungle. He got his first credited role in The Tender Trap that same year and also appeared in Forbidden Planet before moving over to 20th Century Fox, where he landed bigger roles in films such as Love Me Tender and Bernardine. In 1958 he began getting regular guest star work on western series such as The Texan, Bronco, and Zane Grey Theater. That same year he appeared in the first pilot for The Virginian, though the series was not picked up in that 30-minute format that depicted his character as more of a dandy than a hard-nosed ranch foreman. He made the rounds of more western series in 1959, from Have Gun--Will Travel to Lawman to Death Valley Days, but after being suspended at 20th Century Fox for refusing parts, he moved over to Walt Disney Studios to appear in Toby Tyler or Ten Weeks With a Circus and Pollyanna in 1960. That same year he also appeared in two episodes of The Rebel and was cast in the lead role of the proposed spin-off The Yank, but that series was also not picked up. He signed a 7-year contract with Universal in 1962 and had his most promising feature film role to date in Sam Peckinpah's Ride the High Country. Though he later said he suspected that Universal had him pegged for the lead role in The Virginian all along, he still had to audition against many other actors, was told to lose 30 pounds in 30 days, and was finally given the role a few days before shooting began.

After securing his role of a lifetime on The Virginian, Drury's work elsewhere vanished over the next 5 years because of the demands of filming a weekly 90-minute program. In 1967 he starred in the war drama The Young Warriors, guest starred on It Takes a Thief the following year, and had cameos alongside Doug McClure in two 1969 episodes of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. After The Virginian morphed into The Men From Shiloh for its final season, Drury initially had trouble shaking the role he had played for the past 9 years, appearing in only a couple of TV movies and an episode of Ironside in 1971-72. After appearing in the pilot and a second episode of Alias Smith and Jones, he was then cast in the lead of the 1974 fireman's action adventure series Firehouse, but the series fizzled out after 13 episodes, failing to dent the appeal of the more popular Emergency! Drury thereafter broadened his pursuit beyond film to include a return to the stage as well as hotel renovation, running a horse farm, and eventually settling in Houston to work in the oil and gas industry. But he returned to TV in 1983 in an episode of The Fall Guy, and after a couple of TV movies appeared as Capt. Tom Price in the first three episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger in 1993. He had two guest spots on The Adventures of Briscoe County, Jr. and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues as well as a pair of cameos in the feature film reboots of Maverick and The Virginian. But he spent considerable time in his later years traveling by car to western-themed conventions across the country, refusing to fly after 9/11 because he would have had to remove his cowboy boots to go through security screening. He died of natural causes at the age of 85 on April 6, 2020. His son Timothy is a musician who has played keyboards on tour with The Eagles and Whitesnake.

Lee J. Cobb

Born Leo Jacoby in The Bronx, New York on December 8, 1911, Cobb's father was a compositor for a foreign-language newspaper. The young Cobb was a musical prodigy on both violin and harmonica, but a hand injury ended his career on the former instrument. However, it is believed that his prowess on harmonica led to his first appearance on film, though he was not credited, as a member of Borrah Minevitch and his Harmonica Rascals in 1929's Boyhood Days. Cobb had run away from home to Hollywood 2 years earlier at the age of 16, but after largely striking out, he returned to New York to study accounting at New York University supplemented by voice acting in radio dramas. He returned to California and became a member of the Pasadena Playhouse in 1931 but then returned to New York again and by 1935 had joined the liberal Group Theatre, which staged many of Clifford Odets' progressively themed plays, including Waiting for Lefty and Golden Boy. His first credited appearances in film came in the 1937 westerns North of the Rio Grande and Rustler's Valley. In 1939 he appeared in the film adaptation of Golden Boy and in 1943 had a supporting role in multiple Oscar winner The Song of Bernadette. His career was interrupted by World War II, during which he served in the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Forces, appearing in the unit's 1944 promotional feature Winged Victory. He returned from service to regular feature film work in Call Northside 777, The Miracle of the Bells, The Dark Past, and The Man Who Cheated Himself, but his biggest break came in being cast as Willy Loman in the original 1949 production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. Miller had written the part of Loman specifically for Cobb. In 1951 he made his television debut in an episode of Somerset Maugham TV Theatre and appeared in two more drama anthology series as well, but this was also the year in which he was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee after being alleged to be a Communist by Larry Parks' testimony based on his involvement with the Group Theatre back in the 1930s. Cobb refused to testify for 2 years but could not find work, and after his wife had a nervous breakdown he relented and named names, thereby allowing him to return to work in 1953. He received his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor the following year for On the Waterfront, directed by fellow friendly testifier and former Group Theatre member Elia Kazan. In 1955 he suffered his first heart attack during the filming of The Houston Story and was replaced by Gene Barry. He had significant roles in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, 12 Angry Men, and The Three Faces of Eve before earning his second Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for The Brothers Karamazov in 1958. He made occasional TV guest appearances, mostly on drama anthology series, but devoted the bulk of his work to feature films, appearing in Exodus in 1960 and How the West Was Won in 1962. 

According to an interview with costar James Drury in Paul Green's A History of Television's The Virginian, 1962-71, Cobb never enjoyed his role as Judge Henry Garth on The Virginian--he felt it was beneath him, and after 4 years he quit the series. But he subsequently took roles in the James Coburn spy spoofs In Like Flint and Our Man Flint and returned to a regular television role in 1970 as David Barrett on The Young Lawyers. He reprised his role as Willy Loman in a 1966 TV movie adaptation of Death of a Salesman and appeared in Clint Eastwood's first crime drama Coogan's Bluff in 1968. That year he also played the title role in the longest-running Broadway production of King Lear. By the 1970s he began appearing in more TV movies than feature films, though he had a memorable turn as Lt. William Kinderman in The Exorcist in 1973. By 1975 he began appearing in Italian feature films, his last American production being That Lucky Touch starring Roger Moore and Susannah York. He died of a second heart attack at the age of 64 on February 11, 1976.

Gary Clarke

Born Clarke Frederick L'Amoureaux on August 16, 1933 in East Los Angeles, Clarke was a track and field athlete in high school and after graduation acted in community theater in San Gabriel, California, where he worked as a machinist and delivering newspapers. After appearing in a series of plays in nearby Glendale, he was spotted by agent Byron Griffith, who encouraged him to audition for a part in the 1958 teen exploitation feature Dragstrip Riot. Initially Clarke was to play the part of leader of the good gang, but after the lead actor left the production, Clarke was inserted in his place. He would go on to appear in similar fare over the next couple of years, including How to Make a Monster in which he played a teenage werewolf, Missile to the Moon, and Date Bait. His TV career also began in 1958 with single appearances on Jane Wyman Presents the Fireside Theatre, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Sky King before scoring his first recurring role as Dick Hamilton, brother of the title character's girlfriend on Michael Shayne, which ran for a single season in 1960-61. Over the next year he racked up numerous credits on other TV shows such as Thriller, Wagon Train, Laramie, Gunsmoke, and The Tall Man before being cast as ranch hand Steve Hill on The Virginian. At the same time he was starring on television, Clarke was performing as a vocalist in revues that included such high-profile acts as Louis Prima, The Lettermen, and Rudy Vallee. Clarke himself released two singles for RCA in 1962, the first covering a Jackie DeShannon composition "Tomorrow Never Knows."

Clarke left The Virginian early in Season 3 after appearing as Jerome Garvey on General Hospital and appearing in the low-budget feature Strike Me Deadly with best friend Steve Ihnat and a pre-Petticoat Junction Jeannine Riley both in 1963. Clarke married his second wife, actress Pat Woodell of Petticoat Junction fame, in 1964. After The Virginian Clarke appeared in two more B-level features, Passion Street, U.S.A. and the winter-themed surf flick Wild Wild Winter while also moving into screenwriting, creating the character Hymie the Robot and authoring 6 episodes of Get Smart! In 1967 he returned to a regular role on the short lived western Hondo as Captain Richards and 2 years later played Dr. Crosley on the soap opera Bright Promise with his wife also in the cast as Barbara Jenkins. He spent the 1970s making occasional TV guest spots, a string of TV movies, and an occasional feature film, such as a supporting role in Class of '74 which starred Woodell. But he left film acting for 11 years after 1974 and eventually divorced Woodell in 1977. In 1985 he returned to television on series such as Dynasty, Hail to the Chief, and Hollywood Beat. In the late 1980s be wrote and produced public service announcements such as "Youth at Risk" and "Promoting Healthy Behavior." Beginning in the 1990s the number of credits declined, though he did have minor roles in Tombstone in 1993, Matthew McConaughey's The Paperboy in 2012, and the JFK assassination drama Parkland in 2013. Clarke currently resides in the Austin, Texas area and in 2014 produced a TV pilot called Billy and the Bandit in which a young boy daydreams his way back to the Wyoming days depicted in The Virginian. The cast included James Drury, Roberta Shore, and Clarke's daughter Ava L'Amoureaux.

Ross Elliott

Born Elliott Blum on June 18, 1917 in The Bronx, New York, Elliott recalled his acting career beginning with 1-act plays performed when he attended summer camp as a child. After graduating from the City College of New York in 1937, he worked in variety shows and summer stock theater before joining Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre for which he appeared in their inaugural production of Julius Caesar that same year. He participated in Welles' famous 1938 radio version of War of the Worlds as well as theatrical productions of Danton's Death and the touring version of Five Kings. He left the Mercury group in 1938 and joined the touring version of What a Life. When World War II broke out, Elliott enlisted in the Army in 1941 and wound up joining a drama group led by Ezra Stone, who had starred in What a Life, eventually being cast in the Irving Berlin musical This Is the Army and carrying over his small role into the film version which appeared in 1943. After the war, Elliott performed in Walter Huston's theatrical production of Apple of His Eye before moving to Hollywood in 1947 to pursue a career in film. His debut came later that year in the KKK-themed feature The Burning Cross. Though most of his parts were minor supporting roles, he finally began getting more substantial parts with 1950's Woman on the Run in which he played Ann Sheridan's husband. But despite a significant role in the 1951 Tim Holt western Hot Lead, his major roles thereafter tended to be B-movie fare, such as Problem Girls and The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms in 1953 and Women's Prison and Tarantula in 1955. He began supplementing his feature film roles with TV work beginning in 1951, first appearing on anthology series and then shows such as The Lone Ranger and Sky King. His biggest break came when he was cast as a TV commercial director in the "Lucy Does a TV Commercial" episode of I Love Lucy in 1952. Three years later he was brought back for 3 episodes as Ricky's press agent. His ability to play anything from drama to comedy kept him extremely busy on a variety of programs and feature films throughout the 1950s, including multiple appearances on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, State Trooper, The Loretta Young Show, and The Silent Service. He played Wyatt Earp's brother Virgil in 4 episodes of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp in 1958-59 and played various U.S. Coast Guard officers in 6 episodes of Sea Hunt in 1960-61. The year 1961 also marked the first of 11 appearances as Jack Benny's director Freddie on The Jack Benny Program. But his longest recurring role was playing Sheriff Mark Abbott on The Virginian, appearing 61 times over the series' 9-year run, though he was never a permanent member of the cast. 

Concurrent with his stint on The Virginian, he appeared 4 times as Marty Rhodes on the legal drama Sam Benedict in 1962-63 and was the original Lee Baldwin on General Hospital from 1963-65 before quitting the series after getting upset on the set. He would later remark, "I'll be honest with you. I made some wrong turns. I made some career decisions and did some dumb things that cost me and sent me off-track...There were a few wrong turns, and there was a wrong turn or two that I won't go into. If I hadn't made them, my career would have had more lasting up-turns."  And yet he still remained incredibly prolific into the mid-1980s, including multiple appearances on The Time Tunnel, The F.B.I., Ironside, Mod Squad, The Felony Squad, Emergency!, Barnaby Jones, and The Six Million Dollar Man. His last credits came on episodes of The A-Team, the rebooted Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and the Chuck Norris feature Scorpion. Reflecting years later, he said that one of his favorite roles came in a 1973 episode of Kung Fu, which he compared to painting a masterpiece. Elliott died of cancer at the age of 82 on August 12, 1999.

Notable Guest Stars

Season 1, Episode 1, "The Executioners": Hugh O'Brian (shown on the left, see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays drifter Paul Taylor. Colleen Dewhurst (multiple Emmy winner and wife of George C. Scott, starred in A Fine Madness, The Cowboys, Annie Hall, Ice Castles, and The Dead Zone and played Avery Brown, Sr. on Murphy Brown) plays school teacher Celia Ames. John Larch (starred in The Wrecking Crew, Play Misty for Me, and Dirty Harry and played Deputy District Attorney Jerry Miller on Arrest and Trial, Gerald Wilson on Dynasty, and Arlen & Atticus Ward on Dallas) plays Medicine Bow Sheriff Neil Brady. Richard Bull (played the Seaview doctor on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Thatcher on Nichols, and Nels Oleson on Little House on the Prairie) plays a doctor.

Season 1, Episode 2, "Woman From White Wing": Barry Sullivan (shown on the right, see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Tall Man) plays Judge Garth's former partner Frank Dawson. Tom Reese (starred in Taggart, The Money Trap, and Murderers' Row and played Sgt. Thomas Velie on Ellery Queen) plays Dawson's current partner Wid. Robert Sampson (Sgt. Walsh on Steve Canyon, Father Mike Fitzgerald on Bridget Love Bernie, and Sheriff Turk Tobias on Falcon Crest) plays their other partner Jesse. Parley Baer (see the biography section for the 1961 post on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet) plays Wyoming's first U.S. senator. Brendan Dillon (Tommy Kelsey on All in the Family) plays baggage handler Mr. Bemis. Jan Stine (Roger on The Donna Reed Show) plays shoeshine boy Eddie. George Dunn (Jessie Williams on Cimarron City and the Sheriff on Camp Runamuck) plays newspaper clerk Biggs.

Season 1, Episode 3, "Throw a Long Rope": Jack Warden (shown on the left, starred in From Here to Eternity, 12 Angry Men, and Run Silent, Run Deep and played Matt Gower on The Asphalt Jungle, Major Simon Butcher on The Wackiest Ship in the Army, Lt. Mike Haines on N.Y.P.D., Morris Buttermaker on The Bad News Bears, and Harry Fox, Sr. on Crazy Like a Fox) plays homesteader Jubal Tatum. Roger Mobley (Homer "Packy" Lambert on Fury) plays his son Homer. Jacqueline Scott (starred in House of Women, Empire of the Ants, and Telefon and played Donna Kimble Taft on The Fugitive) plays his wife Melissa. John Anderson (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays ranch owner Major Cass. Ted Knight (Phil Buckley on The Young Marrieds, Ted Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Roger Dennis on The Ted Knight Show, and Henry Rush on Too Close for Comfort) plays homesteader Skelly. Richard Bull (see "The Executioners" above) plays physician Doc Spence. Lew Brown (SAC Allen Bennett on The F.B.I. and Shawn Brady on Days of Our Lives) plays blacksmith Garretson. 

Season 1, Episode 4, "The Big Deal": Ricardo Montalban (shown on the right, starred in The Kissing Bandit, On an Island With You, The Singing Nun, and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and played David Valerio on Executive Suite, Mr. Roarke on Fantasy Island, and Zach Powers on The Colbys) plays Colombian businessman Enrique Cuellar. Dal McKennon (see the biography section for the 1961 post on 87th Precinct) plays the lumberyard owner. Orville Sherman (Mr. Feeney on Buckskin, Wib Smith on Gunsmoke, and Tupper on Daniel Boone) plays a doctor. George Cisar (see the biography section for the 1961 post on Dennis the Menace) plays hotel owner George. Bill Zuckert (Arthur Bradwell on Mr. Novak and Chief Segal on Captain Nice) plays drummer Bernie. Mark Tapscott (see the biography section for the 1961 post on The Tall Man) plays a cowboy staying at the hotel. Brendan Dillon (see "Woman From White Wing" above) returns as newspaper pressman Mr. Bemis. 

Season 1, Episode 5, "The Brazen Bell": George C. Scott (shown on the left, Oscar winner, starred in Anatomy of a Murder, The Hustler, Dr. Strangelove, and Patton and played Neil Brock on East Side/West Side, President Samuel Arthur Tresch on Mr. President, and Joe Trapchek on Traps) plays school teacher Arthur Lilly. Anne Meacham (Althea Dennis on The Brighter Day and Louise Goddard on Another World) plays his wife Sarah. Royal Dano (appeared in The Far Country, Moby Dick, and The Outlaw Josey Wales) plays escaped convict Dan Molder. John David Chandler (appeared in Mad Dog Coll, The Young Savages, Ride the High Country, and The Good Guys and the Bad Guys) plays his partner Dog. Robert Stevenson (bartender Big Ed on Richard Drum and Marshal Hugh Strickland on Stagecoach West) plays townsman Mr. Torson. Michael Fox (Sig Levy on The Clear Horizon, Coroner George McLeod on Burke's Law, Amos Fedders on Falcon Crest, Saul Feinberg on The Bold and the Beautiful, and appeared 25 times as autopsy surgeons and various other medical witnesses on Perry Mason) plays a chain gang guard. Justin Smith (appeared in The Jazz Singer, Wild on the Beach, and The Candidate) plays store owner Mr. Lemmiker.

Season 1, Episode 6, "Big Day, Great Day": Aldo Ray (shown on the right, starred in Pat and Mike, We're No Angels, The Naked and the Dead, God's Little Acre, and The Green Berets) plays wrestler Frank Krause. Dennis Patrick (Paul Stoddard on Dark Shadows, Capt. Jack Breen on Bert D'Angelo/Superstar, Fred Foley on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Patrick Chapin on Rituals, and Vaughn Leland on Dallas) plays his manager Cappy Donald. Rosemary Murphy (Margaret Blumenthal on Lucas Tanner) plays saloon girl Pearl Dodd. Carolyn Kearney (appeared in Hot Rod Girl, Young and Wild, and The Thing That Wouldn't Die and played Ellen Holt on Lassie) plays younger saloon girl Maxine. Mickey Shaughnessy (appeared in From Here to Eternity, Designing Woman, Jailhouse Rock, Don't Go Near the Water, Sex Kittens Go to College, College Confidential, and The Boatniks) plays world champion wrestler Muldoon. Dan Sheridan (see the biography section for the 1960 post on Lawman) plays his manager Pilbeam. Barry McGuire (popular singer who was a member of the New Christy Minstrels and had the 1960s protest hit "Eve of Destruction") plays Krause's brother Harry. Dorothy Neumann (Miss Mittleman on Hank) plays Blaine's nurse Martha. Paul Barselou (played various bartenders in 9 episodes of Bewitched) plays a press photographer.

Season 1, Episode 7, "Riff-Raff": Karl Swenson (shown on the left, played Lars Hanson on Little House on the Prairie) plays Rough Riders' founder Col. Theodore Roosevelt. Don Durant (Johnny Ringo on Johnny Ringo) plays his subordinate Capt. Larry Langhorne. Ray Danton (starred in Chief Crazy Horse, Onionhead, The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond, The George Raft Story, and Portrait of a Mobster and played Nifty Cronin on The Alaskans) plays Langhorne's subordinate Lt. Steve Hamilton. Judson Pratt (Billy Kinkaid on Union Pacific) plays fur trapper Harry. Bing Russell (father of Kurt Russell, played Deputy Clem Foster on Bonanza) plays drill sergeant Eads. Hal Needham (Hollywood's highest-paid stuntman who invented numerous stunt devices, was a double for Richard Boone and Burt Reynolds, and directed Smokey and the Bandit, Hooper, and Cannonball Run) plays a Rough Rider volunteer. Jan Stine (see "Woman From White Wing" above) returns as Shiloh ranch hand Eddie.

Season 1, Episode 8, "Impasse": Eddie Albert (shown on the right, starred in Roman Holiday, Oklahoma!, The Teahouse of the August Moon, The Sun Also Rises, The Longest Day, and The Longest Yard and played Larry Tucker on Leave It to Larry, Oliver Wendell Douglas on Green Acres and Petticoat Junction, and Frank MacBride on Switch) plays wild horse wrangler Cal Kroeger. Denise Alexander (Susan Hunter Martin on Days of Our Lives, Mary McKinnon on Another World, Sister Beatrice on Sunset Beach, Lola on The Inn, Dr. Lesley Webber on General Hospital, and Louise Fitzpatrick on Pretty the Series) plays his daughter Mildred. Robert Colbert (see the biography section for the 1961 post on Maverick) plays his son Miles. Jim McMullan (Officer Don Burdick on Chopper One, John Moore on Beyond Westworld, Brent Davis on The Young and the Restless, and Senator Andrew Dowling on Dallas) plays his son Jess.  Tom Skerritt (starred in MASH, Big Bad Mama, The Turning Point, The Dead Zone, Steel Magnolias, and A River Runs Through It and played Dr. Thomas Ryan on Ryan's Four, Evan Drake on Cheers, Sheriff Jimmy Brock on Picket Fences, and William Walker on Brothers & Sisters) plays his son Eric. Quinn K. Redeker (Perry Levitt on Dan Raven, Alex Marshall #2 on Days of Our Lives, and Rex Sterling on The Young and the Restless) plays his son Daniel. William Phipps (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays Shiloh ranch hand Jock Wheeler. Jerry Summers (appeared in The Young Swingers, Surf Party, and Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine and played Ira on The High Chaparral) plays ranch hand Eddie Milford.

Season 1, Episode 9, "It Tolls for Thee": Lee Marvin (shown on the left, starred in The Big Heat, Bad Day at Black Rock, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Cat Ballou, The Dirty Dozen, and Paint Your Wagon and played Det. Lt. Frank Ballinger on M Squad) plays ex-con Martin Kalig. Albert Salmi (Yadkin on Daniel Boone and Pete Ritter on Petrocelli) plays his gang member Quinn. Michael T. Mikler (Walter Reynolds on The Young Marrieds) plays gang member Cord. Ron Soble (appeared in The Cincinnati Kid, True Grit, and Papillon and played Dirty Jim on The Monroes) plays gang member Mungo. Warren J. Kemmerling (Judge Rense on How the West Was Won) plays rival gang member Sharkey. John Zaremba (Special Agent Jerry Dressler on I Led 3 Lives, Dr. Harold Jensen on Ben Casey, Admiral Hardesy on McHale's Navy, Dr. Raymond Swain on The Time Tunnel, and Dr, Harlem Danvers on Dallas) plays newspaper publisher Mr. Stone. Sydney Smith (Conrad Morland on The Dennis O'Keefe Show and the judge 6 times on Perry Mason) plays newspaper publisher Mr. Drummond. Stuart Nisbet (later played Bart the bartender on The Virginian) plays newspaper publisher Mr. Nelson. Francis de Sales (Lt. Bill Weigand on Mr. & Mrs. North, Ralph Dobson on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Sheriff Maddox on Two Faces West, and Rusty Lincoln on Days of Our Lives) plays banker Mr. Larkin. 

Season 1, Episode 10, "West": Steve Cochran (starred in The Best Years of Our Lives, White Heat, and Private Hell 36) plays Trampas' friend Jamie Dobbs. Claude Akins (Sonny Pruett on Movin' On and Sheriff Elroy P. Lobo on B.J and the Bear and on Lobo) plays Dobbs' friend Lump. James Brown (appeared in Going My Way, Sands of Iwo Jima, The Sea Hornet, and A Star Is Born (1954) and played Lt. Rip Masters on The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin and Det. Harry McSween on Dallas) plays their friend Lucky. Allen Case (shown on the right, see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Deputy) plays Flagtop Sheriff Blade. Leo Gordon (Big Mike McComb on Maverick) plays Ace in the Hole Gang leader Jack Scratch. Richard Reeves (Mr. Murphy on Date With the Angels) plays blacksmith Munsy. Russell Thorson (played Det. Lt. Otto Lindstrom on The Detectives and William Kennerly on Peyton Place) plays Medicine Bow Sheriff Stan Evans. William D. Gordon (Joe Travis on Riverboat and wrote or adapted teleplays for Thriller, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Fugitive, Ironside, and CHiPs) plays banker Mr. Blench. 

Season 1, Episode 11, "The Devil's Children": Charles Bickford (shown on the left, starred in Of Mice and Men, The Song of Bernadette, Four Faces West, Johnny Belinda, and  A Star Is Born and later played John Grainger on The Virginian) plays stern homesteader Tucker McCallum. Joan Freeman (appeared in Come September, Panic in Year Zero!, Roustabout, The Reluctant Astronaut, and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter and played Elma Gahrigner/Emma Gahringer in Bus Stop, Dr. Sue Lambert on Lassie, and Barbara Robinson on Code R) plays his daughter Tabby. Burt Brinckerhoff (Charles Shannon on Dr. Kildare and directed multiple episodes of Lou Grant, Nine to Five, Remington Steele, ALF, and 7th Heaven) plays Tabby's boyfriend Dan Flood. Vivi Janiss (Myrtle Davis on Father Knows Best) plays Dan's mother Ivy. Charles Aidman (narrator on the 1985-87 version of The Twilight Zone) plays Shiloh ranch hand Sam Hicks. Ed Prentiss (the narrator on Trackdown and later played Carl Jensen on The Virginian) plays jury foreman Simon Pingree. Maurice Manson (Frederick Timberlake on Dennis the Menace, Josh Egan on Hazel, and Hank Pinkham on General Hospital) plays courtroom Judge Hanson. Russell Thorson (see "West" above) returns as Sheriff Stan Evans.

Season 1, Episode 12, "50 Days to Moose Jaw": James Gregory (shown on the right, see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Lawless Years) plays experienced cattle drover Slim Jessup. Brandon de Wilde (starred in The Member of the Wedding, Shane, All Fall Down, and Hud and played Jamison Francis McHummber on Jamie) plays runaway James Cafferty. Frank Overton (starred in Desire Under the Elms, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Fail-Safe and played Major Harvey Stovall on 12 O'Clock High) plays his father Sam. Charles Seel (Otis the Bartender on Tombstone Territory, Mr. Krinkie on Dennis the Menace, and Tom Pride on The Road West) plays their cook. H.M. Wynant (Lt. Bauer on The Young Marrieds, Frosty on Batman and Ed Chapman on Dallas) plays Idaho rancher Dalton Lacey. Midge Ware (WAC Cpl. Mallory on The Phil Silvers Show and Amby Hollister on Gunslinger) plays his wife Regina. Dennis Cross (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Blue Angels) plays his brother Boyd. Paul Birch (Erle Stanley Gardner on The Court of Last Resort, Mike Malone on Cannonball, and Capt. Carpenter on The Fugitive) plays Idaho Sheriff Halsey. Willis Bouchey (Mayor Terwilliger on The Great Gildersleeve, Springer on Pete and Gladys, and the judge 23 times on Perry Mason) plays creditor Henry Mulford. Harry Swoger (Harry the bartender on The Big Valley) plays ranch hand Squat.

Season 1, Episode 13, "The Accomplice": Bette Davis (shown on the left, 11-time Oscar nominee and 2-time winner, starred in Of Human Bondage, Dangerous, Jezebel, Dark VIctory, The Letter, The Little Foxes, Now, Voyager, Mr. Skeffington, All About Eve, The Star, and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?) plays bank teller Delia Miller. Lin McCarthy (starred in Yellowneck, The D.I., and Face of a Fugitive and played Bill Talbot on Modern Romances) plays "reporter" Malcolm Brent. Woodrow Parfrey (appeared in Planet of the Apes, Dirty Harry, and Papillon and played Holmes on Iron Horse) plays bank teller Joe Darby. Alice Backes (Vickie on Bachelor Father) plays his wife Coralee. Noah Keen (Det. Lt. Carl Bone on Arrest and Trial) plays defense attorney Samuel Cole. Gene Evans (starred in The Steel Helmet, Thunderbirds, Donovan's Brain, and Operation Petticoat and played Rob McLaughlin on My Friend Flicka and Spencer Parrish on Spencer's Pilots) plays Rocky Point Sheriff Luke Donaldson. Ken Mayer (Maj. Robbie Robertson on Space Patrol) plays his deputy Clay Friendly. Bryan O'Byrne (played Man in the Middle on Occasional Wife) plays hotel clerk Ned Carlin. Tim Graham (Homer Ede on National Velvet) plays telegrapher Ezra Peters. Harold Gould (Bowman Chamberlain on The Long Hot Summer, Harry Danton on The Feather and Father Gang, Martin Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda, Jonah Foot on Foot in the Door, Ben Sprague on Spencer, and Miles Webber on The Golden Girls) plays prosecutor Tom Finney. Byron Morrow (Capt. Keith Gregory on The New Breed and Pearce Newberry on Executive Suite) plays courtroom Judge Cornwall. Victor French (later became son-in-law of Lee J. Cobb, appeared in Charro!, Rio Lobo, and An Officer and a Gentleman and played Agent 44 on Get Smart, Fred Gilman on The Hero, Chief Roy Mobey on Carter Country, Isaiah Edwards on Little House on the Prairie, and Mark Gordon on Highway to Heaven) plays barfly Roy.

Season 1, Episode 14, "The Man From the Sea": Carol Lynley (shown on the right, starred in Return to Peyton Place, Under the Yum Yum Tree, The Pleasure Seekers, Bunny Lake Is Missing, and The Poseidon Adventure) plays disturbed young woman Judith Morrow. Shirley Knight (starred in Ice Palace, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Sweet Bird of Youth, Dutchman, and As Good as It Gets and played Mrs. Newcomb on Buckskin, Estelle Winters on Maggie Winters, and Phyllis Van De Kamp on Desperate Housewives) plays her twin sister Susan. Tom Tryon (starred in Three Violent People, I Married a Monster From Outer Space, The Cardinal, and The Glory Guys and played Texas John Slaughter on The Magical World of Disney) plays former sailor Kevin Doyle. Dick Wilson (Dino Barone on McHale's Navy and George Whipple in Charmin toilet paper commercials) plays a bartender. Larry J. Blake (played the unnamed jailer on Yancy Derringer and Tom Parnell on Saints and Sinners) plays a boxing promoter. Jan Arvan (Nacho Torres on Zorro and Paw Kadiddlehopper on The Red Skelton Hour) plays the Medicine Bow mayor.