Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Deputy (1960)

The cover of the January 23, 1960 issue of TV Guide included the teaser "Is Henry Fonda Really on TV?" The article inside the issue revealed that yes, he was, but the brevity of his appearances was not without controversy. Fonda played the character of Simon Fry, Chief Marshal of the Arizona Territory in 1880, but as the show's title indicated, the real focus of the series, created by Norman Lear and Roland Kibbee for a fall 1959 debut, was the character of Deputy Marshal Clay McCord, who was played by Allen Case. Fonda's contract, which he claims was worked out by his agent, stipulated that he needed to appear in only 6 full episodes out of the first season's 39 and that all of his screen appearances would be filmed in ten weeks, which created logistical difficulties in scheduling the work for any other actors who might appear with him. This left Fonda free the other 42 weeks of the year to appear in the many films and stage productions to which he was already committed. This work arrangement obviously suited the actor just fine, so much so that Fred MacMurray struck a similar bargain when he agreed to star in My Three Sons a year later. Fonda's contract meant that in most of the episodes he narrates and appears only briefly at the beginning and sometimes the end of the episode. Fonda rationalized that because of his character's relationship with his deputy, his presence is always felt, even when he is not on screen. But not all viewers felt this presence: one viewer quoted in the aforementioned TV Guide article commented, "In walks Fonda, he says 'Howdy,' leaps on his horse, takes off and you don't see him again until the end of the show." The fan response was apparently enough to increase Fonda's screen time for the second season, in which he appeared full-time in 13 episodes.

Speaking of the relationship between the marshal and the deputy, the show maintains a constant give and take between Fry and McCord, initially because McCord is first and foremost a storekeeper, running a general store in Silver City with his sister Fran (Betty Lou Keim). In the earlier episode of the series, Silver City has a regular marshal, Herk Lamson (Wallace Ford), who is nearing retirement and sometimes needs the help of a younger assistant, particularly one with the quick-draw skills of McCord, or needs to go out of town on business. So Fry frequently appears to coax McCord to temporarily put on the deputy badge and help out Lamson, but McCord doesn't relish the role and is usually reluctant. Add to this Fran's downright objection because of her concern that Clay will meet the same fate as their father, who stumbled home one night with a fatal gunshot wound. 

This dynamic changes, however, with the episode "The Truly Yours" (April 9, 1960) in which the McCord's general store is burned to the ground by Clay's childhood friend turned outlaw Coffer. Though we do not see her in this episode, Clay mentions that he has sent Fran to live with some relatives in Colorado since they no longer have a store, and we also learn that Lamson suffered a broken arm and decided to retire from his post as marshal. We never see their characters again, except for the out-of-sequence episode "Ma Mack" (July 9, 1960) that concludes the first season, in which the McCord's store is still standing and Lamson is still marshal. In the next several episodes after "The Truly Yours," Fry holds out the carrot of reward money to Clay as an enticement for his services as deputy, telling him that the money would be a big help in rebuilding his store. But each time the reward money winds up in someone else's hands, such as in "Palace of Chance" (May 21, 1960) when Fry gives the money to Julie Grant who helped Clay nab the Cherokee Kid. These episodes also include a more prominent role for restaurant waiter Jose (Vito Scotti) who becomes a kind of assistant to Clay. Eventually Clay assumes the role of deputy marshal of Silver City full-time, for which he receives a regular salary. Beginning with season 2, Jose has also been jettisoned and Clay has a new sidekick in army Sergeant Hapgood Tasker (Read Morgan), who is introduced in the season's second episode "Meet Sergeant Tasker" (October 1, 1960). The eye-patch-wearing Tasker is stationed in Silver City to run the local supply depot but yearns for more action, having been reduced to being a clerk after a more exciting role in the cavalry, so he frequently accompanies Clay on his rounds and gets involved in some of his more difficult assignments.

Throughout all the character changes and Clay's new job responsibilities, Fry continues to be a supportive though tricky character, often setting up situations to force Clay to resolve problems without knowing that he is being manipulated. In "The Three Brothers" (December 10, 1960), Fry has to prod Clay to work harder on an unsolved murder case and a string of bank robberies when he feels that Clay has gotten too chummy with the titular three brothers, who Fry suspects are deeply involved. And in "Judas Town" (December 31, 1960), Fry assigns Clay to go pick up a prisoner in Slateville to get him out of Silver City and show its citizens how much they need Clay to keep law and order. However, Clay doesn't always follow the Chief Marshal's orders--he never goes to Slateville but waits outside Silver City to re-arrest a band of troublemakers whose initial arrest turned the town against him because it jeopardized future business opportunities for local merchants. This sometimes good-natured, sometimes fractious relationship between Fry and Clay gives the show some depth and makes it something more than the typical western.

Another element that makes the show atypical is Clay's lack of romantic attachments. A young, single, good-looking, upstanding man like Clay McCord would normally have many opportunities and great interest in seeking female companionship, but such encounters are rare in this series. However, in the first half of season 2, we begin to see interest in women start to grow in Clay's character. In "The Fatal Urge" (October 15, 1960), Clay allows himself to be bushwhacked by the duplicitous Martha Jackson when he tries to kiss her. In "Passage to New Orleans" (November 19, 1960), both Clay and Fry fall for Lucy Ballance, whom they are escorting to New Orleans to testify in the murder trial against her fiance, setting up a romantic triangle that almost proves their undoing at the hands of the episode's villain. And in "Sally Tornado" (December 3, 1960), Clay is assigned to take the title character to Yuma to be hanged but along the way the two come to trust each other and awaken deep feelings that cannot last. It should prove interesting to see what further romantic escapades Clay will embark on in the show's remaining episodes that aired in 1961.

The striking and unusually jazzy theme song and score for the series were composed by Capitol Records arranger and guitarist Jack Marshall. While the theme song contains its share of orchestral flourish, particularly the reworked version introduced for season 2, the score for the individual episodes often contains Marshall's swinging jazz guitar lines that are remarkable for a western show. Besides releasing five albums on Capitol and one on Contemporary Records, Marshall arranged for other artists like Judy Garland, The Four Freshmen, Blossom Dearie, Wanda Sá, Howard Roberts, and Jack Sheldon, but his most notable arrangement was for Peggy Lee's hit version of the song "Fever." And he was a prolific session guitarist, playing for artists such as Bing Crosby, June Christy, Louis Prima, Nat King Cole, Nancy Wilson, and many more. Among his compositions, his theme for The Munsters earned him a Grammy nomination. He died September 2, 1971 at the age of 49.

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

The Actors

Henry Fonda

Born in Grand Island, NE, Fonda grew up in Omaha and got into acting at age 20 at the insistence of Marlon Brando's mother after dropping out of the University of Minnesota. Though his father was initially against his new career choice, Fonda succeeded at local community theatre before heading to Falmouth, MA and then to New York and Broadway. He continued stage work throughout his career, earning a Tony Award in 1948 for his role in Mister Roberts and another nomination for Clarence Darrow in 1975. He transitioned into films in 1935 when he was cast in the lead role for The Farmer Takes a Wife, a role that he had originated on Broadway. He received his first Oscar nomination for his role as Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath in 1940 but did not actually win the award until 1982 for his work in On Golden Pond. In between those two nominations, he also received a nomination as producer for the film 12 Angry Men in 1957. Other memorable films he starred in included Jezebel, Young Mr. Lincoln, The Ox-Bow Incident, The Lady Eve, Mister Roberts, War and Peace, How the West Was Won, Fail-Safe, Advise & Consent, and Once Upon a Time in the West.

Fonda was a life-long friend and twice a roommate of Jimmy Stewart, though the two nearly ended their friendship in an argument over the McCarthy hearings in the 1950s. Fonda was a staunch liberal but was still good friends with John Wayne and John Ford until the latter punched him in the mouth while filming Mister Roberts in 1955. Like Stewart, he was known as a ladies' man who married five times and had numerous affairs. According to his daughter Jane, Fonda was deeply in love with Lucille Ball. However, despite his easy-going friendly disposition on screen, he was described as aloof and often angry in person. His relationship with his children, particularly Jane and Peter, has been described as "emotionally distant." Yet despite any personal shortcomings, he is considered one of the greatest actors in the history of American film. He died August 12, 1982 from heart disease at the age of 77.

Allen Case

Case grew up in Dallas, TX, attended Southern Methodist University, and appeared locally on TV in a number of variety shows before moving to New York and successfully auditioning for a singing role on Arthur Godfrey's morning TV program. Following that success he began singing in nightclubs and in musical theatre on Broadway. More airtime on Godfrey's show, plus an appearance on Jack Paar led to a small role in the film Damn Yankees and a move to Hollywood. From there, he had guest appearances on a number of westerns, including Wagon Train, Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, and Have Gun--Will Travel. He returned to New York briefly for more musical theatre work off-Broadway but was then cast as Clay McCord on The Deputy. During the show's 2-year run, he also recorded a record of vocal standards for Columbia titled The Deputy Sings with arrangements by Frank DeVol.

After The Deputy ended, Case made occasional appearances on shows like Perry Mason and The Virginian and was then cast as Frank James for the show The Legend of Jesse James, which ran for only one season in 1965-66. More occasional appearances followed that on shows like The Bob Newhart Show, The Life and Times of Eddie Roberts, and CHiPs, the last appearance being in 1982. Case died of a heart attack at the age of 51 while on vacation in Truckee, CA on August 25, 1986.


Betty Lou Keim

Born in Malden, MA, the daughter of a choreographer and a dancer, Keim grew up in New York and first appeared on the stage at age 7. She broke into TV work with a regular role on the show My Son Jeep in 1953 and later appeared in films such as These Wilder Years, Teenage Rebel, and Some Came Running. After being cast for and appearing in 23 episodes of The Deputy, Keim married actor Warren Berlinger and retired from acting to raise a family of four children. She died at the age of 71 from lung cancer on January 27, 2010.

Wallace Ford

Born in England as Solomon Jones Grundy, Ford was separated from his parents at an early age and was sent to live in an orphanage, eventually transferred to one of its branches in Toronto, and from there lived in a series of 17 foster homes before running away to join a vaudeville troupe at the age of 11. He then joined a friend in the life of a hobo riding the rails in America until that friend was crushed to death by a railroad car, at which point Ford took that friend's name--Wallace Ford--in his memory. After working in vaudeville and various theatre groups, Ford made it to Broadway in 1921. A decade later he starred in his first film, opposite Joan Crawford in Possessed. The next year he played the lead role in the cult classic Freaks and had a major role in the crime drama The Beast of the City. The film roles continued steadily throughout the 30s, 40s, and into the early 50s in pictures such as The Whole Town's Talking, The Mummy's Hand, Blood on the Sun, and Harvey. He added TV work to his resume beginning with an appearance on Death Valley Days in 1953 until being cast as Marshal Herk Lamson on The Deputy in 1959. He appeared in 24 episodes during the show's first season but was not brought back for its second. Thereafter, he had the odd single appearance on shows like Lassie and The Andy Griffith Show before making his final film appearance in the Sidney Poitier hit A Patch of Blue in 1965. He died of a heart attack June 11, 1966 at the age of 68.

Read Morgan

A Chicago native who attended and played basketball for the University of Kentucky, Morgan found his niche playing athletic types in many of his early roles, first appearing as a wrestler on The United States Steel Hour in 1956. By 1959 he was appearing in a number of westerns, such as Tales of Wells Fargo, Riverboat, Laramie, and Shotgun Slade before being cast as Sergeant Hapgood Tasker for the second season of The Deputy. That was to be his only regular television role, though he had a string of appearances that included 10 turns on Gunsmoke in different roles and four each on Police Woman and Barnaby Jones. He also had minor roles in a number of films, from exploitation B-movies like The Beach Girls and the Monster to more serious fare like The New Centurions and Dillinger. His last film role was in the revisiting of the 1950s TV western Maverick in 1994.

Notable Guest Stars

Season 1, Episode 16, "Backfire": Charles Cooper (the sheriff on Father Murphy and Judge Robert Boucher on The Practice) plays outlaw Con Marlowe. Bob Steele (starred in Breezy Bill, Of Mice and Men, and The Big Sleep, played Billy the Kid in 6 westerns and Tucson Smith in 19 others, and played Trooper Duffy on F Troop) plays hired gun Fred Sooley.
Season 1, Episode 17, "Hang the Law": Robert Foulk (Jackley on The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure, Ed Davis on Father Knows Best, Joe Kingston on Wichita Town, Sheriff Miller on Lassie, Deputy Sheriff Clem on Bonanza, and Roy Trendell on Green Acres) plays cattle thief Dick Easter. Forrest Lewis (Mr. Peavey on The Great Gildersleeve) plays Clay's friend Alf Borroway. Martha Hyer (starred in Sabrina, The Delicate Delinquent, My Man Godfrey, Houseboat, Bikini Beach, and First Men in the Moon) plays Reverend Cartwright's daughter Joy. Sam Flint (Mr. Armstead on Father Knows Best) plays Judge Davidson. 

Season 1, Episode 18, "The Silent Gun": Dean Fredericks (Kaseem in Jungle Jim, Komawi in The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, and Lt. Col. Steve Canyon in Steve Canyon) plays mute stranger Pete Clemson. Marcia Henderson (starred in Thunder Bay, Naked Alibi, The Naked Hills, and Riot in Juvenile Prison and played Mickey Riley on Dear Phoebe) plays school-teacher Marion Whelan. Herbert Lytton (Admiral Reynolds on McHale's Navy) plays bank robber Parnell Locke. Grandon Rhondes (Mr. Vanderlip on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Dr. Stevens on Lassie, Dr. J.P. Martin on Bonanza, and the judge 16 times on Perry Mason) plays Mayor Dorsey. 

Season 1, Episode 19, "The Hidden Motive": Jeremy Slate (starred in The Sons of Katie Elder, The Devils Brigade, and True Grit and played Larry Lahr on The Aquanauts) plays one of the Dawson Brothers. 

Season 1, Episode 20, "Lawman's Blood": 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 Silver City's Doc Landy. Ronnie Burns (adopted son of George Burns and Gracie Allen, played Ronnie Burns on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and The George Burns Show and played Chris Day on Happy) plays renegade Morgan Burch. 

Season 1, Episode 21, "The Return of Simon Fry": Stacy Keach, Sr. (father of Stacy Keach, Jr. and played Carlson on Get Smart) plays ruffian Vic Rufus. Peter Mamakos (Jean Lafitte on The Adventures of Jim Bowie) played henchman Jubba.

Season 1, Episode 22, "Queen Bea": Frank Cady (shown on the right, played Doc Williams on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and Sam Drucker on The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, and Petticoat Junction) plays store owner Mr. Rickert. Phyllis Avery (Peggy McNulty on The Ray Milland Show: Meet Mr. McNulty) plays store owning entrepreneur Beatrice Vale.

Season 1, Episode 23, "The Two Faces of Bob Claxton": Joseph Mell (Bill Pence on Gunsmoke) plays peddler Amos Cash. Johnny Seven (Lt. Carl Reese on Ironside) plays outlaw Pete Claxton. William Lally (Tommy Clifford on My Son Jeep) plays the prosecuting attorney.

Season 1, Episode 24, " Lady With a Mission": Jan Clayton (starred in Sunset Trail, The Wolf Hunters, and This Man's Navy and played Ellen Miller on Lassie) plays suffragette Agatha Stone. Helen Kleeb (Mrs. Holland on Dennis the Menace and Mamie Baldwin on The Waltons) plays welcoming committee head Mrs. Lillem. Carleton Young (starred in Dick Tracy (1937), The Brigand, Thunderhead - Son of Flicka, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and played Harry Steeger on The Court of Last Resort) plays liquor distributor Sam Hodges. James Lanphier (starred in Flight of the Lost Balloon and The Pink Panther and who played Leslie on Peter Gunn) plays Hodges' henchman Sloan. Tim Graham (Homer Ede on National Velvet) plays bartender Willis.

Season 1, Episode 25, "The Border Between": George J. Lewis (Don Alejandro de la Vega on Zorro) plays Mexican land-owner Don Renaldo del Cortio. Anna Kashfi (Marlon Brando's first wife) plays his daughter Felipa. Leo Gordon (Big Mike McComb on Maverick) plays mine owner Evan Sloate. Laurie Mitchell (starred in Calypso Joe, Queen of Outer Space, and Missile to the Moon) plays saloon girl Lorrie. 

Season 1, Episode 26, "Final Payment": Gerald Mohr (narrator on 19 episodes of The Lone Ranger, Christopher Storm on Foreign Intrigue, voice of Mr. Fantastic and Reed Richards on Fantastic 4) plays mortgage owner Dustin Groat. Henry Hunter (Doctor Summerfield on Hazel) plays bank official Mr. Monroe. Kevin Hagen (John Colton on Yancy Derringer, Inspector Dobbs Kobick on Land of the Giants, and Dr. Hiram Baker on Little House on the Prairie) plays Groat's hired gun Kemmer. Charles Seel (the bartender on Tombstone Territory, Mr. Krinkie on Dennis the Menace, and Tom Pride on The Road West) plays Doc Miller. 

Season 1, Episode 27, "Dark Reward": John Dennis (Dutch Schultz on The Lawless Years) plays reward scammer Hawkins. Richard Garland (Clay Horton on Lassie) plays his boss Matt Ross. Jean Willes (starred in 5 Against the House, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Desire Under the Elms, and The FBI Story) plays saloon girl Rosy. Harry Harvey (Sheriff Tom Blodgett on The Roy Rogers Show, Mayor George Dixon on Man Without a Gun, and Houghton Stott on It's a Man's World) plays Mr. Carter, a shooting victim's father. 

Season 1, Episode 28, "Marked for Bounty": Ron Hayes (Wyatt Earp on Bat Masterson, Lincoln Vail on Everglades, Ben Jones on The Rounders, and Hank Johnson on Dallas) plays prisoner Ralph Jenson. Regis Toomey (starred in Alibi, Other Men's Women, The Finger Points, His Girl Friday, and The Big Sleep and played Joe Mulligan on The Mickey Rooney Show, Lt. Manny Waldo on Four Star Playhouse, Lt. McGough on Richard Diamond, Private Detective, Det. Les Hart on Burke's Law, and Dr. Barton Stuart on Petticoat Junction and Green Acres) plays prison warden Jess Martin. Vito Scotti (shown on the left, played Capt. Gaspar Fomento on The Flying Nun, Gino on To Rome With Love, and Mr. Velasquez on Barefoot in the Park) plays restaurant waiter Jose. Charles Seel (see "Final Payment" above) reappears as Doc Miller. 

Season 1, Episode 29, "The Truly Yours": James Coburn (shown on the right, starred in The Magnificent Seven, Charade, Our Man Flint, and In Like Flint and played Jeff Durain on Klondike and Gregg Miles on Acapulco) plays outlaw Coffer. Mike Road (Marshal Tom Sellers on Buckskin, Lt. Joe Switolski on The Roaring 20's, and provided the voice for Race Bannon on Johnny Quest and Ugh on Space Ghost) plays Coffer's accomplice Fancy.  

Season 1, Episode 30, "A Time to Sow": Richard Crenna (shown on the left, starred in The Pride of St. Louis, Our Miss Brooks, The Sand Pebbles, Wait Until Dark, First Blood, Rambo: First Blood, Part II, and Rambo Three and played Luke McCoy on The Real McCoys, James Slattery on Slattery's People, Richard C. Barrington on All's Fair, Dr. Sam Quinn on It Takes Two, Mitch O'Hannon on Pros and Cons, and Jared Duff on Judging Amy) plays hitman Andy Willis. Coleen Gray (starred in Kiss of Death, Nightmare Alley, and The Killing and played Muriel Clifford on McCloud) plays his wife Lucy. Frank Ferguson (Gus Broeberg on My Friend Flicka, Eli Carson on Peyton Place, and Dr. Barton Stuart on Petticoat Junction) plays cattle rancher Tim McCullough. Robert Carricart (Pepe Cordoza on T.H.E. Cat) plays hitman go-between Fraser. 

Season 1, Episode 31, "The Last Gunfight": Robert Redford (shown on the right, starred in Barefoot in the Park, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, and All the President's Men) plays young thug Burt Johnson. Charles McGraw (Mike Waring on The Adventures of Falcon) plays legendary gunslinger Johnny Dean. Monica Lewis (jazz singer who starred in Excuse My Dust, Affair With a Stranger, and The D.I.) plays his fiancé Helen Ivers.

Season 1, Episode 32, "Chain of Action": Lee Patterson (Dave Thorne on Surfside 6 and Dr. Kevin Cook on Texas) plays outlaw Lige Schofield. Bek Nelson (Dru Lemp on Lawman and Phyllis Sloan on Peyton Place) plays his girlfriend Claudia, Francis de Sales (Lt. Bill Weigand on Mr. & Mrs. North, Ralph Dobson on The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, Sheriff Maddox on Two Faces West, and Rusty Lincoln on Days of Our Lives) plays Marshal Porter. Will Wright (Mr. Merrivale on Dennis the Menace and Ben Weaver on The Andy Griffith Show) plays Sheriff Delaney.

Season 1, Episode 33, "The Lucifer Urge": George Tobias (shown on the left, starred in Sergeant York, This Is the Army, and Yankee Doodle Dandy and played Pierre Falcon on Hudson's Bay, Trader Penrose on Adventures in Paradise, and Abner Kravitz on Bewitched) plays land grabber Barney Wagner. Ralph Moody (Doc Burrage on The Rifleman) plays property owner Walt Conroy. Vito Scotti (see "Marked for Bounty" above) reappears as waiter Jose.
Season 1, Episode 34, "Palace of Chance": Lee Van Cleef (shown on the right, starred in For a Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly) plays prison escapee the Cherokee Kid. Dennis Cross (Cmdr Arthur Richards on The Blue Angels) plays gambling house owner George Reed. Steve Brodie (Sheriff Johnny Behan on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays his assistant Fisher.
Season 1, Episode 35, "The X Game": John Hoyt (starred in My Favorite Brunette, The Lady Gambles, and Blackboard Jungle and played Grandpa Stanley Kanisky on Gimme a Break!) plays horse raiser Hap Allison. Tom McKee (Comrade Laylock Brisson on I Led 3 Lives, Captain Davis on The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, and Fire Chief Tucker on Rescue 8) plays phony government agent Les Coyle. Don Gordon (Lt. Hank Bertelli on The Blue Angels and Richard Jensen on Peyton Place) plays henchman Queed. Eddie Foster (starred in Highway Patrol(1938), Angels Over Broadway, and Killer Ape and played Mason on Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe) plays henchman Tomaso.
Season 1 Episode 36, "The Stand-Off": Alan Hale, Jr. (shown on the left, played Biff Baker on Biff Baker U.S.A., Casey Jones on Casey Jones, Sculley on The Texan, and The Skipper on Gilligan's Island) plays escaped convict Frank Engle. Ann McCrea (Midge Kelsey on The Donna Reed Show) plays his girlfriend Helen Swayde. Addison Richards (starred in Boys Town, They Made Her a Spy, Flying Tigers, and The Deerslayer and played Doc Calhoun on Trackdown) plays Doc Landy.
Season 1, Episode 37, "Trail of Darkness": Clu Gulager (Billy the Kid on The Tallman, Emmett Ryker on The Virginian, and Cuda Weber on The MacKenzies of Paradise Cove) plays wagon driver Sanford. Donald Woods (John Brent on Tammy and Craig Kennedy on Kennedy, Criminologist) plays criminal ringleader Mr. Brainerd. John Mitchum (starred in Dirty Harry, Magnum Force, and The Enforcer and played Pickalong on Riverboat, Trooper Hoffenmueller on F Troop, and the bartender on The Virginian) plays henchman Stubbs. Vito Scotti (see "Marked for Bounty" above) reappears as waiter Jose. Addison Richards (shown on the right, see "The Stand-Off" above) reappears as Doc Landy.

Season 1, Episode 38, "The Choice": Vince Edwards (shown on the left, starred in The Killing, The Scavengers, and The Devil's Brigade and played Dr. Ben Casey on Ben Casey and Dr. Matt Lincoln on Matt Lincoln) plays ex-convict Dory Matson. Vito Scotti (see "Marked for Bounty" above) reappears as waiter Jose. Addison Richards (see "The Stand-Off" above) reappears as Doc Landy.
Season 1, Episode 39, "Ma Mack": Jack Hogan (starred in The Bonnie Parker Story, Paratroop Command, and The Cat Burglar and who 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 Ma Mack's son Abner. Gregory Walcott (starred in Badman's Country and Plan 9 From Outer Space and played Det. Roger Havilland on 87th Precinct) plays drunkard Reece. Douglas Kennedy (starred in Adventures of Don Juan, I Was an American Spy, and Jack McCall, Desperado and played Marshal Steve Donovan on Steve Donovan, Western Marshal and Sheriff Fred Madden on The Big Valley) plays Sheriff Bates. 

Season 2, Episode 1, "The Deadly Breed": Susan Oliver (shown on the left, played Ann Howard on Peyton Place) plays blackmailer Julie Desmond. Lyle Bettger (starred in The Vanquished, Destry, and The Fastest Guitar Alive and played Sam Larsen on The Court of Last Resort and Harry Driscoll on The Grand Jury) plays her father Aces Thompson. Robert P. Leib (Harry Thompson on Hazel) plays a sucker named Baker. Francis de Sales (see "Chain of Action" above) plays a sucker named Mattson.
Season 2, Episode 2, "Meet Sergeant Tasker": Joan O'Brien (shown on the right, starred in The Alamo and It'$ Only Money) plays saloon girl Emily Price. Rayford Barnes (Ike Clanton on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays card cheater Charlie.
Season 2, Episode 3, "The Jason Harris Story": Jeff Morrow (starred in Sign of the Pagan, This Island Earth, Pardners, and The Giant Claw and played Dr. Lloyd Axton on The New Temperatures Rising Show) plays accused Marshal Jason Harris. Dianne Foster (starred in Night Passage, The Last Hurrah, and The Deep Six) plays his wife Laurie. Myron Healey (Doc Holliday on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays crook Johnny Dustin. Robert Stevenson (bartender Big Ed on Richard Drum) plays henchman Morgan.
Season 2, Episode 4, "The Fatal Urge": Kathleen Crowley (Terry Van Buren on Waterfront and Sophia Starr on Batman) plays grieving auctioneer's niece Martha Jackson. Tony Young (Cord on Gunslinger) plays outlaw Tweed Younger.
 Season 2, Episode 5, "Mother and Son": James Franciscus (shown on the left, played Det. Jimmy Halloran on Naked City, Russ Andrews on The Investigators, John Novak on Mr. Novak, Mike Longstreet on Longstreet, Benjamin Elliot on Doc Elliot, and James Hunter on Hunter) plays outlaw William Stanhope. Josephine Hutchinson starred in The Story of Louis Pasteur, Son of Frankenstein, and Tom Brown's Schooldays) plays his mother. Robert Karnes (Max Fields on The Lawless Years and Deputy D.A. Victor Chamberlin on Perry Mason) plays Stanhope gang member Sam Nelson.
Season 2, Episode 6, "Bitter Root": Virginia Gregg (starred in Dragnet, Crime in the Streets, Operation Petticoat and was the voice of Norma Bates in Psycho and the voice of Maggie Belle Klaxon on Calvin and the Colonel) plays isolated spinster Hester Macklin. Don Megowan (Captain Huckabee on The Beachcomber) plays outlaw Don Brandon. Paul Sorensen (Bradley on Dallas) plays gang member Will Terry.
Season 2, Episode 7, "The Higher Law": John Larch (shown on the right, 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 Indian attacker Jack Rivers. H.M. Wynant (Frosty on Batman and Ed Chapman on Dallas) plays Mescalero Black Wing. Michael Hinn (Luke Cummings on Boots and Saddles) plays saloon patron Jed Pitt. Addison Richards (see "The Stand-Off" above) reappears as Doc Landy.
Season 2, Episode 8, "Passage to New Orleans": Patrice Wynmore (starred in She's Working Her Way Through College, She's Back on Broadway, and Ocean's Eleven) plays chief witness Lucy Ballance. Carl Benton Reid (starred in The Little Foxes, In a Lonely Place, Lorna Doone, and The Left Hand of God and played The Man on Burke's Law) plays the accused's father Mr. Carruthers. 
Season 2, Episode 9, "The World Against Me": Dennis Olivieri (Roy Strickland on The Betty Hutton Show and Stanley Gabriel on The New People) plays bitter orphan Tommy White.
Season 2, Episode 10, "Sally Tornado": Fay Spain (shown on the left, starred in Dragstrip Girl, Al Capone, and The Gentle Rain) plays bank robber and murderer Sally Tornado. William Fawcett (Clayton on Duffy's Tavern, Marshal George Higgins on The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, and Pete Wilkey on Fury) plays trapper and prospector Jipsom.
Season 2, Episode 11, "The Three Brothers": Jack Ging (Beau McCloud on Tales of Wells Fargo, Dr. Paul Graham on The Eleventh Hour, Lt. Dan Ives on Mannix, Lt. Ted Quinlan on Riptide, and Gen. Harlan "Bull" Fullbright on The A-Team) plays brother Jay Bennett. Lew Gallo (Major Joseph Cobb on 12 O'Clock High) plays brother Frank Bennett.
Season 2, Episode 12, "Day of Fear": Mary Tyler Moore (shown on the right, played Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mary Brenner on Mary, and Annie McGuire on Annie McGuire) plays quarantined stage passenger Amy Collins. Tyler McVey (starred in Hot Car Girl, Night of the Blood Beast, and Attack of the Giant Leeches and played Maj. Gen. Norgrath on Men Into Space) plays her father Stu. Robert Ridgely (Lt. Frank Kimbro on The Gallant Men, the announcer on the The Woody Woodbury Show, Cliff Hamilton on The Domestic Life, and did voicework for many cartoons, including Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, The Dukes, and The Incredible Hulk) plays visiting deputy Pete. Addison Richards (see "The Stand-Off" above) reappears as Doc Landy.
Season 2, Episode 13, "Second Cousin to the Czar": George Wallace (starred in Radar Men From the Moon, Destry, and Forbidden Planet and played Judge Milton Cole on Hill Street Blues and Grandpa Hank Hammersmith on Sons and Daughters) plays con man Dan Farrell. Carl Esmond (starred in Little Men, Lover Come Back (1946), and Walk a Crooked Mile) plays his accomplice Duke Dimitri. Clancy Cooper (Timmo McQueen on Lawman) plays horse raiser Hawkins. Terry Frost (Sgt. Moore/Morse/Morris on Highway Patrol) plays drifter Burke.
Season 2, Episode 14, "Judas Town": Ed Nelson (Michael Rossi on Peyton Place and Ward Fuller on The Silent Force) plays spoiled rich kid Pete McCurdy. Roy Roberts (Capt. Simon P. Huxley on The Gale Storm Show, Admiral Rogers on McHale's Navy, John Cushing on The Beverly Hillbillies, Mr. Cheever on The Lucy Show, Frank Stephens on Bewitched, Norman Curtis on Petticoat Junction, and Mr. Botkin/Bodkin on Gunsmoke) plays his father Linc.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Blue Angels (1960)

The synopsis of this series is based on viewing only two episodes. Given the show's obscurity and short lifespan, it is unlikely that additional episodes will be made available, but if they are, this synopsis will be updated with the additional information.

The Blue Angels was an action-adventure series based on the real-life exploits of the U.S. Navy's flight demonstration squadron. These stunt pilots would often perform at air shows and other public events. Like Men Into Space, the series was made in collaboration with the U.S. military, in this case the Navy, who, it is reported, wanted the episodes to be as realistic as possible, even if they suffered dramatically as a result. It is interesting to note that the five actors who comprised the main cast that appeared in 33 of the show's 39 episodes, were all World War II veterans from various branches of the military. The show ran for a single season from September 26, 1960 until July 3, 1961. The show did not feature many well-known guest stars, but up-and-coming Burt Reynolds, who at the time had a regular role on Riverboat, appeared in two episodes and Ernest Borgnine appeared in one.

Also like Men Into Space, the show seemed more of a propaganda vehicle for the Navy than a serious dramatic effort. There seems to be more attention paid to the details of each mission than to character development, and the two episodes viewed are heavily interspersed with actual footage of Navy planes and aircraft carriers, the sort of footage that would appeal to military enthusiasts and pre-teen boys. However, both of the episodes viewed also dealt with actual historic events. In "The Lebanon Incident," the Blue Angels are sent on a hurried mission to make aerial photographs of Lebanon, with full cooperation from the Lebanese government. The photos will then be immediately flown to Washington. After the mission is completed, the crew learns that the Marines will land on the beach in Lebanon the day after the photos arrive in Washington. Although not explicitly stated, the episode seems tied to the Lebanon Crisis of 1958 in which pro-western Lebanese President Camille Chamoun, a Maronite Christian, requested help from the United States to fend off an anticipated civil war from the Muslim population in response to western intervention in Egypt. President Eisenhower did send 14,000 men, including over 5,000 Marines, to defuse the tensions. The last episode of 1960, "The Diamond Goes to War" (December 26, 1960) details a mission from the Korean War in which the Angels bomb a North Korean dam near the Chinese border. During the actual war, the United Nations Command bombed a series of 13 hydroelectric dams in June of 1952 in an attempt to weaken the North Korean economy and hasten the progress of stalled truce negotiations. Though the mission succeeded in destroying 90% of the facilities, it had little effect on the negotiations. As for the propaganda angle, the end of this episode has the flavor of a kitschy western: After the Angels return to their base and a wounded member is hauled off on a stretcher, an anonymous airman standing nearby asks the ground-based chief, "Who were those men?" as if he had just witnessed the Lone Ranger riding off into the sunset.

At this time, two episodes ("The Lebanon Incident" and "The Diamond Goes to War") from December 1960 are available on youtube.com, courtesy of the San Diego Air and Space Museum, though the video quality is substandard.

The Actors

Dennis Cross

Born in Helena, Montana, Cross served in the Marines during World War II and fought in the Battle of Guadalcanal. After the war, he studied at The Actors Lab in Hollywood before moving to New York in 1950 and appearing on live TV programs there. He began appearing in films and TV shows beginning in the mid 50s, but being cast as Commander Arthur Richards on The Blue Angels was his only regular role on television. He appeared 6 times on The Rifleman and Rawhide and 13 times on Gunsmoke as well as fewer times on many other shows throughout the 60s and into the 70s. After retiring from acting, Cross served as Vice President of the Doctors Insurance Company in Santa Monica, CA. He died in Los Angeles at age 66 on April 6, 1991.

His son Randy Cross was an NFL lineman for the San Francisco 49ers and later became a TV commentator on NFL games. 

Don Gordon

A native of Los Angeles, Gordon served in the Navy during World War II, including time on the aircraft carriers the USS Saratoga and the USS Yorktown. He began appearing in films in 1949 and in television shows two years later. He made occasional appearances on a number of shows throughout the 50s but probably most significant were his two turns on Wanted: Dead or Alive, which starred Steve McQueen, with whom he became good friends and would later appear in three McQueen movies--Bullitt, Papillon, and The Towering Inferno. His role as Lt. Hank Bertelli on The Blue Angels was his only regular role during a long and prolific career, but he did play the character of Richard Jensen in five episodes of Peyton Place in 1966. He continued mixing TV appearances and roles in feature films throughout his career, including films such as Cannon for Cordoba, Slaughter, Omen III: The Final Conflict, Lethal Weapon, and The Exorcist III. His last acting appearance was in an episode of Diagnosis Murder in 1993, though he was also interviewed for and appeared in the Steve McQueen documentary Steve McQueen - The Essence of Cool in 2005. At this writing, he is 85 years old and living with his fourth wife Denise Farr, to whom he has been married since 1979.

Morgan Jones

Another Navy veteran, Jones was born in Wooster, OH and stationed at the Naval Base Coronado during his military service. He went into acting after leaving the service and had his first appearance as an audience member in Singin' in the Rain in 1952. He also had supporting roles in Forbidden Planet, Not of This Earth, and The Giant Claw. His TV career began in 1953, and he made eight appearances as Sgt. Corey on Highway Patrol in 1955-56. He had occasional appearances in a variety of other television programs before being cast as Commander Donovan on The Blue Angels. Thereafter, he appeared four times as Sgt. Charlie Phillips on Arrest and Trial in 1963, three appearances as Keller on Daniel Boone in 1967, six appearances as Howard Pender on Mannix in 1967-68, three appearances as Capt. Boggs on Rat Patrol in 1967-68, and four appearances as Sgt. Boggs on The Young Rebels in 1970. He continued landing occasional TV roles into the mid-80s, the last being on Murder She Wrote in 1986. He died January 13, 2012 in Tarzana, CA at the age of 84.

Michael Galloway

Hailing from Boise, Idaho, Galloway served in the Air Force in World War II, then spent time at both the University of Idaho and USC on basketball scholarships until an auto accident ended his athletic career and forced him to pursue acting. Most of his appearances in film and television were in the 1950s, and his role as Lt. Russ MacDonald on The Blue Angels was his only regular TV role. After the show ended, he appeared in only two more films and one TV program, the last being the show Tales of the Unexpected in 1984. He died October 12, 2010 at the age of 85.

Warner Jones

Not much is known about Warner Jones, ironic in that in his obituary published January 5, 2011 in the Eureka Times-Standard, the author twice mentions that rather than regale others about his Hollywood past, Jones would tell them to Google him. His role playing Capt. Wilbur Scott on The Blue Angels was the most significant of his career. He also had five appearances as Harry McGill on the TV series Window on Main Street in 1961 and one appearance each on The Rifleman, Mr. Lucky, and The Andy Griffith Show. According to the Times-Standard obituary, he moved around a lot after his acting career ended, trying his hand at selling insurance and teaching before settling in Houston, TX and working for the VA for 16 years. But then a vacation trip to Eureka convinced him to retire there, where he spent the last 20 years of his life.

Other Actors

According to imdb.com, the above listed actors appeared in 33 of the 39 episodes for the show. Other than two appearances each by William Bryant and Burt Reynolds, no other actors are listed as regular characters. However, in the episode "The Diamond Goes to War," an entirely different cast plays the four Blue Angel pilots--Robert Knapp as Commander Zeke Martin, Eddie Foy III as Lt. Lefty Doyle, Jimmy Murphy as Lt. Nello Bruzzi, and Edward Kemmer as Capt. Doc Hathaway. Because of imdb's incomplete information and the unavailability of additional episodes for viewing, it is unknown whether this cast appeared in the other five episodes that do not contain the five actors listed above.

Notable Guest Stars

Season 1, Episode 11, "The Lebanon Incident": Francis de Sales (Lt. Bill Weigand on Mr. & Mrs. North, Ralph Dobson on The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, Sheriff Maddox on Two Faces West, and Rusty Lincoln on Days of Our Lives) plays an unnamed aircraft carrier captain. Nelson Leigh (Pastor Martin on This Is the Life and the judge 9 times on Perry Mason) plays an unnamed admiral. Karl Held (David Gideon on Perry Mason, Philip Mervish on The Lotus Eaters, Travis on The Aphrodite Inheritance, and Garth on Falcon Crest) plays the unnamed L.S.O. 

Season 1, Episode 14, "The Diamond Goes to War": Carleton Young (starred in Dick Tracy (1937), The Brigand, Thunderhead - Son of Flicka, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and played Harry Steeger on The Court of Last Resort) plays an unnamed aircraft carrier captain. Douglas Henderson (appeared in From Here to Eternity, Invasion of the Saucer Men, and The Manchurian Candidate and played Col. James Richmond on The Wild, Wild West) plays C.I.C. Commander Bill Stein. Richard Wessell (Carney Kohler on Riverboat) plays ground-based Chief Wessell.