Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Jack Benny Program (1960)



Jack Benny has been called both the father of modern comedy and the father of post-modern comedy, and either title would be apt, though perhaps the latter is a better fit because without Benny there would be no Garry Shandling, Jerry Seinfeld, or Larry David, all comedians who exploit a self-referential, unflattering version of themselves for their popular TV series. But Benny had done all that decades before, both on his popular long-running radio show and the TV series that evolved from it and ran for 15 years from 1950-65. While Shandling's late 1980s series It's Garry Shandling's Show is considered innovative for "breaking the fourth wall," reveling in its artificiality, including the audience and show staff as participants and characters, and using crude sight gags chosen specifically for their phoniness, Benny had done all that, too. The show was all about the comedian Jack Benny and his show, serving up a riff on Shakespeare's "play within the play" for comic effect. Shandling joked about his hair and sexual prowess, or more often lack thereof, while Benny portrayed himself as vain, self-important, and excessively miserly, not unlike a certain George Costanza of Seinfeld whom Larry David has admitted was modeled after himself. The only difference is that Constanza is an unremitting failure, whereas Benny is and was a successful performer, though not irreplaceable, as demonstrated in the episode "Final Show of the Season" (May 1, 1960) in which Benny's sponsors haul out an animatronic dummy that mimics his mannerisms of folding his arms and turning his head for comic effect.

Speaking of sponsors, it's well known that they wielded considerable influence over television content during the 1950s and early 60s. As mentioned in other posts on this blog, they were the reason John Cassavetes quickly grew tired of the TV world and abandoned his series Johnny Staccato before completing even a single season. And they brought down Blake Edwards' promising and popular crime drama Mr. Lucky after one season because a few watchers complained about the title character's casino business. But Benny was fearless in poking fun at his sponsors and mucking up his in-show commercials. Shandling, in his talk show parody The Larry Sanders Show, may have mildly covered the same ground in having his character object to and then sabotage an in-show promotion for the Garden Weasel, but that was only a made-up product lampooned years after commercial sponsors had lost much of their clout. Benny would often avoid approving commercial jingles run by him by his long-time announcer Don Wilson, who frequently had to revert to subterfuge to squeeze the required commercials into the program. In "Easter Show" (April 17, 1960) Wilson dresses in drag, but without gloves, and gives an interview to a TV fashion reporter during the annual Hollywood Easter Parade to show off how Lux Pink Liquid Dishwashing Soap is mild on the hands. It would be interesting to know how Lux responded at the time to having a 300-pound man in women's clothing promoting their product.

The Jack Benny Program was also ahead of its time in dealing with racial stereotypes. Though the character of Benny's valet Eddie "Rochester" Anderson was originally drawn in the racial stereotypes of the era early in the radio show's tenure, after World War II those stereotypes were eliminated, at least for African-Americans, when the production re-ran a pre-War episode in 1948 and received many complaints from listeners about the racist depiction of Rochester. Thereafter Benny and his writers made every effort to show Rochester as his own character, not a type indicative of the race as a whole. As noted in the biographical section below, Anderson was the first African-American star in a nationwide program and by the 1950s was making the considerable salary of $100,000 per year. But during the TV era, the Program could lapse into stereotypical portrayals of other races, such as in the episode "Hong Kong Suit" (November 6, 1960) when Jack is quite proud of a suit he bought cheaply in Hong Kong but had to go to the section of town known only to locals and change his appearance by pulling at the edges of his eyes to make them slanted in order to fit in. And yet Benny skewered Asian stereotypes in the aforementioned "Final Show of the Season" when Wilson brings out the most famous announcer in Japan, Mr. Kyoto, to deliver the Lux in-show commercial. At first Kyoto reads the ad copy mispronouncing all the L's as R's, finishing with the tag line "Buy rots of Rux." Benny says that his sponsor would be very unhappy about this, so he and Wilson each recite the ad copy pronouncing the L's correctly, then invite Kyoto to give it another try. When he reads the copy flawlessly without a touch of accent, Benny asks why he did so poorly the first time. Kyoto replies that Benny's stupid writers wrote it that way, apparently unaware that some Japanese people can pronounce L's correctly.

Benny was also keenly aware of how his brand of comedy was different from the cornball jokes of Bob Hope or the over-the-top slapstick gags of Milton Berle. This is made evident in the "Milton Berle Show" episode (October 30, 1960) in which Berle offers his advice for how Benny can keep up with the rigors of doing a daily show by "socking it to" the audience with the physical brand of humor he had used a decade earlier. He persuades Benny to let him help Benny with that night's show and has Benny come out in a ridiculous clown outfit and tell painful jokes accompanied by gags like the top of his hat popping open and exploding. Benny complains repeatedly to Berle that this is not right for him, but Berle continues pushing him to do more of the same until Berle is the recipient of a pail of water over the head.

Benny was also very aware that people at that time saw him, like Berle, as members of the old guard of comedy, and when he decided to move the show from bi-weekly to weekly for the 11th season in the fall of 1960, he dedicated his first show, "Nightbeat Takeoff" (October 16, 1960), to having friends like George Burns advise him against going to a weekly format, particularly at his advanced age. He continues to insist that people love him, even after a terrifying nightmare in which he is grilled by Mike Douglas about why he thinks he can do a weekly show and having his adoring fans throw rocks through his windows.

But the rigors of a weekly show may have been one reason why the production recycled skits from previous broadcasts, as mentioned in the Rochester racist affair above. One favorite plot that got repeated airplay was the annual "Christmas Shopping" skit in which Jack goes Christmas shopping for various employees and causes all sorts of problems in the process. The "Christmas Shopping" episode for Season 11 (December 18, 1960) was one first aired on radio in 1948. In this version Benny is shopping for a wallet for Don Wilson and decides to repeatedly change the inscription on the accompanying greeting card, driving the beleaguered sales clerk, played by Mel Blanc, to suicide. Though suicide hardly seems like a comic subject, doing the skit even 12 years after its original performance cracks Benny up when he interacts with the increasingly frenzied Blanc.

But CBS eventually grew tired of Benny's brand of humor, canceling the series after its 14th season in 1964 as the TV comic landscape had shifted to zany-premised sitcoms like Bewitched, Mr. Ed, and My Favorite Martian. Benny was able to move the series to NBC for one final season but says that he, not the network, chose to end the show in 1965 because he had grown tired of the chase for ratings. He remained a fixture on television with various specials and appearances on shows like The Tonight Show and Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, but one can't help but feel that he hasn't continued to be held in the high esteem he deserves, considering the blueprint he set for so many of today's most critically acclaimed comics. Likewise his recorded legacy has been not well preserved. Whereas consumers today can buy every single episode of I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners on DVD and soon on Blu-ray, there are scant few offerings of Benny's work available. What's currently available is a hodge podge of low-budget collections, a random assortment of episodes from the 256 he produced over the life of the series and a recently released 3-disc collection "The Lost Episodes" taken from his personal collection of kinescopes donated to UCLA after his death. The video quality for all of these is hardly top notch. It's a sad state of affairs that the work of such a comic icon and innovator has been so poorly preserved.

The music for the series was composed and conducted by Mahlon Merrick, who had joined Benny's radio program in 1937. He was born in 1900 in Farmington, Iowa and attended what later became Washington State University, graduating in 1923 (in the 1940s he would write the school's fight song). After teaching music for 3 years, he became a professional saxophone player, eventually moving to Los Angeles and working in radio orchestras. Besides working on a number of radio shows, sometimes under the pseudonym of Gene LaGrande, Merrick also provided music for The Abbott and Costello Show, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Bob Cummings Show, and Blondie. He also composed the "Look Sharp March" for the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports. When Benny's program ended in 1965, Merrick retired to Palm Springs and died of cancer on August 7, 1969 at the age of 69.

As mentioned above, there is a disorganized collection of various episodes from the show's 15 years issued by low-budget outfits like Alpha Video, Passport Video, and Echo Bridge, many containing the same episodes. Some of these episodes are also available on youtube.com. The aforementioned "Lost Episodes" released by Shout! Factory contains selected episodes from 1956-64 and includes bonus material such as a couple of Benny's later TV specials and newsreel footage from the 1940s. From calendar year 1960, there are a total of 11 episodes available--6 on youtube and 6 in the "Lost Episodes" set, with 1 episode (the "Milton Berle Show") appearing in both.

The Actors

Jack Benny

Benjamin Kubelsky was born in Chicago and grew up in Waukegan, Illinois. He began studying the violin from the age of 6, taking lessons at one time from Otto Graham, Sr., father of Hall of Fame quarterback Otto Graham, Jr. By age 14 he began playing with dance bands and by 17 was playing in local vaudeville theaters. Here he was seen by Minnie Marx, mother of the Marx Brothers, and asked to join their outfit, but his father refused to let him go on the road at age 17. He then formed a musical duo with pianist Cora Salisbury, during which time he was forced to change his name due to legal proceedings from another performer named Jan Kubelik and took the stage name of Ben K. Benny. When Salisbury left, Benny replaced her with Lyman Woods and the two began adding comedy bits into their routine. He joined the Navy during World War I and was forced to develop his comedic skills further when he was booed while trying to entertain the troops with his violin playing. After the war he began to get more work combining his newly developed comedic talents with music. In 1922 he met his future wife Sadye Marks while attending a Passover seder with Zeppo Marx, though at the time he was 27 while she was 14 and disliked him enough to go to his next performance and heckle him from the front row, according to one version of the story. After a couple more chance encounters over the next five years, they married, and she became a collaborator and performer from that point forward, taking the stage name Mary Livingstone, until her increasing stage fright caused her to give up performing. Jack first made his mark in radio after a brief unsuccessful stint in movies with MGM; he appeared on Ed Sullivan's radio show in 1932 and later that year began to host his own program on NBC. The popular show ran for 16 years and made Benny a national figure before moving over to CBS in 1949. That same year he made his first television appearance on the initial broadcast of Los Angeles station KTTV. The following fall The Jack Benny Program made its television debut, initially as a series of five specials. The next season it aired once every six weeks, going to once every four weeks in 1952-53, and once every three weeks in 1953-54. It then aired every other week starting in the fall of 1954 until the fall of 1960 when it became a weekly broadcast. For five years he was appearing both on radio and television, finally ending his radio show in May of 1955, though CBS ran reruns until 1958.

His television show was finally canceled by CBS in 1964 and he moved over to NBC for one last season, then decided to cancel the series himself, having grown weary of the chase for ratings. He continued to host occasional specials and appeared on shows hosted by his friends Bob Hope, Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson, Joey Bishop, Dinah Shore, and many others. He also made multiple appearances as himself on shows such as Here's Lucy and Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. His last appearances were as roaster and roastee on The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast, In December 1974 he was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer, and he died at his home on December 26 of that year. His wife Mary Livingstone outlived him by 9 years, passing away June 30, 1983.

Eddie Anderson

Edmund Lincoln Anderson was born in Oakland, California, the son of a minstrel performer and a tightrope walker. His signature hoarse vocal tone was due to straining his vocal cords while hawking newspapers on the streets of Oakland as a boy. By age 14, he was part of a vaudeville act called The Three Black Aces with his brother Cornelius, eventually working his way to New York to perform at the Roxy and Apollo theaters. His success in the theater led to appearances at the Los Angeles Cotton Club and thereafter he began a film career, once established out west, beginning with various uncredited servant roles in 1932. His first credited roles came in Transient Lady in 1935, followed the next year by his most notable early role as Noah in The Green Pastures. His first appearance on Jack Benny's radio program came in 1937 when he played a railroad redcap. Anderson had a couple more appearances in other roles over the next few months and because of the positive audience response, Benny brought him on the show in the permanent role of his valet Rochester Van Jones, a name Anderson said that Benny invented. In his role as Rochester, Anderson became the first African-American to have a regular role on a national radio show. Though Rochester's early appearances were marked by the same stereotypical racial humor of the era, Benny made a concerted effort after World War II to remove black racist jokes about the character, particularly after the show reprised a 1941 script on a 1948 show and drew many complaints from listeners about the racial jokes recycled from the earlier program. While working on Benny's radio program and ensuing television show, Anderson continued taking film roles, appearing in such notable features as You Can't Take It With You, Gone With the Wind, Cabin in the Sky, and Brewster's Millions, though he stopped doing feature films after 1946.

Despite playing a servant for most of his career, Anderson became quite wealthy, making over $100,000 per year, such that he could afford to hire his own valet, and he owned a company that made parachutes during World War II and owned race horses, one of which ran in the Kentucky Derby. He returned to films in a small role in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in 1963 (Benny had a cameo in the same film), and occasionally appeared on other TV programs, usually as Rochester, such as The Red Skelton Hour and Bachelor Father. After The Jack Benny Program went off the air, he appeared in single episodes of It Takes a Thief and Love American Style, the movie Watermelon Man, and provided the voice for Bobby Joe Mason on the animated Harlem Globe Trotters and The New Scooby Doo Movies. He died of heart failure on February 28, 1977 at the age of 71. After his death his son established the Eddie Rochester Anderson Foundation for assisting homeless substance abusers.

Don Wilson

Don Wilson was born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1900 and played football for the University of Colorado in the 1920's. He was a radio singer at Denver radio station KFEL in 1923 and by 1929 had a similar role at KFI in Los Angeles. He then went on to work as a sportscaster, covering the opening of the 1932 Summer Olympics. He was working as a radio announcer two years later for George Gershwin's program Music by Gershwin when Jack Benny heard him and insisted that he be hired for his program. At 6 feet and 300 pounds, Wilson quickly became a constant target of Benny's jokes about his girth, though he also occasionally had acting roles on the show in addition to reading the commercials and forever trying to get Benny to approve commercial jingles sung by the vocal quartet The Sportsmen. Though Wilson continued working for Benny through the remainder of his radio career and his entire television career, he also took occasional outside work. He had actually made his first film appearance, though uncredited, before joining Benny in the 1932 feature Million Dollar Legs. He was the narrator for the 1938 Disney animated short Ferdinand the Bull and appeared in Du Barry Was a Lady, Sailor Beware, and Marilyn Monroe's Niagara, not to mention Benny's own Buck Benny Rides Again. He also made rare TV appearances, such as on The Red Skelton Hour, Death Valley Days, and as the TV announcer Walter Klondike on two episodes of Batman. He was a regular performer on the 1946 daytime comedy Glamour Manor. In the late 1960s and early 70s he was the spokesman and commercial voice of Western Union's Candygrams. He and his fourth wife Lois Corbet retired to the Palm Springs area in the late 1960s and together hosted a local TV talk show called Town Talk into the mid 1970s. He died of a stroke at his Cathedral City home on April 25, 1982 at the age of 81.

Dennis Day

Owen Patrick Eugene McNulty was born in the Bronx to an Irish Catholic family. Singing was his vocation from an early age, being a member of his high school glee club and while attending Manhattan College. Though he originally planned to study law and used his singing ability to earn money for tuition, his self-recorded "I Never Knew Heaven Could Speak," which he distributed to local New York radio producers, found its way to Mary Livingstone, wife of Jack Benny, who insisted that her husband hire Day for his show. When incumbent Irish tenor Kenny Baker objected to his role as dingbat singer and left the show, Day was brought in as his replacement and for nearly three decades both on radio and television played the naive comic foil to the constantly befuddled and exasperated Benny. After a stint in the Navy during World War II, Day's popularity was such that he was given his own radio show, A Day in the Life of Dennis Day, in which he played a naive soda jerk, which ran concurrently with Benny's own radio program for 5 years from 1946-51. After Benny made the move to television, Day also scored his own musical variety program The Dennis Day Show which ran for two seasons from 1952-54. Day made his first film appearance in Benny's Buck Benny Rides Again in 1940 but then began securing work on his own, usually including a vocal number or two, in films such as The Powers Girl, Sleepy Lagoon, and The Girl Next Door, though this last 1953 feature was his last. However, he did find occasional TV work during his long stint on Benny's various programs, including appearances on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Burke's Law, The Lucy Show, and Love American Style. At the end of his career he found voice work on animated TV fare such as Frosty's Winter Wonderland and The Stingiest Man in Town. He and his wife had 10 children and at one point ran an antique shop in Santa Monica. He died from ALS on June 22, 1988 at the age of 72.

Frank Nelson

Frank Brandon Nelson was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado and by age 15 was working as a radio announcer in the Denver area. At age 18 he moved to Hollywood and found work as a radio actor in dramas and comedies such as Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel, which also starred Groucho and Chico Marx. He began playing announcers in movies, often uncredited, in 1937 and first appeared on television on The Hank McCune Show in 1950. Nelson developed a comedic character with a distinctive catchphrase, a high-pitched, unctious, drawn-out "Yes?" that made him instantly recognizable, though he often was first shown with his back to the camera. On The Jack Benny Program he played a variety of department store floorwalkers, ticket agents, and other customer service roles, delivering sarcastic answers to Benny's questions. He performed a similar role playing Ralph Ramsey on I Love Lucy and had multiple appearances on a variety of shows through the decades from Our Miss Brooks to Sanford and Son. He also continued doing voicework on animated shows such as The Mister Magoo Show and The Flintstones with the last performance of his career coming on the 1994 series Garfield and Friends. He died from cancer on September 12, 1986 at the age of 75, but his legacy lives on in occasional parodies on shows such as The Simpsons and Jon Stewart's mannerisms on The Daily Show.

Notable Guest Stars

Season 10, Episode 11, "Jack Is Arrested for Disturbing the Peace": Mel Blanc (the voice of countless cartoon characters, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Foghorn Leghorn, Sylvester the cat, and Barney Rubble on The Flintstones) plays a drunk in lockup. Frank Gerstle (Dick Gird on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp and voice of Raseem on The Banana Splits Adventure Hour) plays the lockup policeman. Herb Vigran (Judge Brooker on Gunsmoke) plays an investigating policeman. Olan Soule (Aristotle "Tut" Jones on Captain Midnight, Ray Pinker on Dragnet (1952-59), and Fred Springer on Arnie) plays the court clerk. Lewis Charles (Lou on The Feather and Father Gang) plays a criminal in lockup.
Season 10, Episode 12, "Natalie Wood/Robert Wagner": Natalie Wood (shown on the left, starred in Miracle on 34th Street, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Rebel Without a Cause, The Searchers, West Side Story, Splendor in the Grass, Gypsy, This Property Is Condemned, Inside Daisy Clover, and Love With the Proper Stranger and played Ann Morrison on The Pride of the Family) plays herself. Robert Wagner (shown on the right, starred in Titanic (1953), Prince Valiant, All the Fine Young Cannibals, The Pink Panther, and Curse of the Pink Panther and played Alexander Mundy on It Takes a Thief, Maj. Phil Carrington on Colditz, Peter T. Ryan on Switch, Jonathan Hart on Hart to Hart, James Greyson Culver on Lime Street, Jack Fairfield on Hope & Faith, Teddy Leopold on Two and a Half Men, and Anthony DiNozzo, Sr. on NCIS) plays himself.
Season 10, Episode 14, "Easter Show": Barbara Nichols (played Ginger on Love That Jill) plays Jack's girlfriend Mildred Meyerhouser. Madge Blake (see her biography in the post for The Real McCoys) plays Jack super-fan Clara.  Mel Blanc (see "Jack Is Arrested for Disturbing the Peace" above) plays Jack's violin teacher Prof. Pierre LeBlanc.
Season 10, Episode 15, "Final Show of the Season": Joyce Davidson (co-host with Mike Wallace of PM East/PM West and later wife of talk-show host David Susskind) is the commercial announcer. William Schallert (Justinian Tebbs on The Adventures of Jim Bowie, Mr. Leander Pomfritt on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Martin Lane on The Patty Duke Show, Admiral Hargrade on Get Smart, Teddy Futterman on The Nancy Walker Show, Carson Drew on The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, Russ Lawrence on The New Gidget, and Wesley Hodges on The Torkelsons) plays sponsor executive Mr. Lewis.  John Hoyt (shown on the left, starred in My Favorite Brunette, The Lady Gambles, and Blackboard Jungle and who played Grandpa Stanley Kanisky on Gimme a Break!) plays sponsor executive Mr. Hall.
Season 11, Episode 1, "Nightbeat Takeoff": Mike Wallace (co-host of PM East/PM West and host of Nightbeat, The Mike Wallace Interview, and 60 Minutes) plays himself. George Burns (starred in The Big Broadcast, Here Comes Cookie, A Damsel in Distress, The Sunshine Boys and the Oh God! trilogy and played himself on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The George Burns Show, and Wendy and Me) plays himself.  Tony Curtis (starred in Houdini, Sweet Smell of Success, Some Like It Hot, The Defiant Ones, The Great Race, and The Boston Strangler and played Danny Wilde on The Persuaders!, McCoy on McCoy, and Roth on Vega$) plays himself. Robert Wagner (see "Natalie Wood/Robert Wagner " above) plays himself.  Johnny Green (composer, arranger and pianist) plays himself.
Season 11, Episode 3, "Milton Berle Show": Milton Berle (shown on the right, starred in Sun Valley Serenade, Always Leave Them Laughing, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Loved One, and The Muppet Movie and played the host on The Milton Berle Show and Louie the Lilac on Batman) plays himself.
Season 11, Episode 4, "Hong Kong Suit": Rolfe Sedan (Mr. Beasley the Postman on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and Mr. Briggs the Postman on The Addams Family) plays barbershop owner Andre. Richard Deacon (Sherman Hall on The Charles Farrell Show, Roger Finley on Date  With the Angels, Uncle Archie on Walt Disney Presents: Annette, Fred Rutherford on Leave It to Beaver, Mel Cooley on The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Roger Buell on The Mothers in Law) plays Harry the barber. Shirley Mitchell (Yvonne Sharp on Sixpenny Corner, Kitty Devereaux on Bachelor Father, Janet Colton on Pete and Gladys, and Clara Appleby on The Red Skelton Hour) plays Goldie the manicurist. Iris Adrian (Dottie on The Ted Knight Show) plays Mildred the manicurist. Gisele MacKenzie (singer and musician who played herself on The Gisele MacKenzie Show and Katherine Chancellor on The Young and the Restless) plays herself.
Season 11, Episode 5, "John Wayne Show": John Wayne (shown on the left, starred in Red River, Stagecoach, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Searchers, Rio Bravo, The Alamo, True Grit, and The Green Berets) plays himself. Jaye P. Morgan (popular singer) plays herself. Frank Fontaine (played Crazy Guggenheim on Jackie Gleason: American Scene Magazine and The Jackie Gleason Show) plays audience member John L.T. Savonie. Betty Furness (one-time spokesperson for Westinghouse and consumer affairs reporter for  the Today Show for 16 years) plays herself.
Season 11, Episode 7, "Lunch Counter Murder": Dan Duryea (starred in The Little Foxes, The Pride of the Yankees, Scarlet Street, and Winchester '73 and who played China Smith in China Smith and The New Adventures of China Smith and Eddie Jacks on Peyton Place) plays a murder gang leader. Verna Felton (the voice of the fairy godmother in Disney's Cinderella and played Hilda Crocker on December Bride and Pete and Gladys) plays Dennis Day's mother.
Season 11, Episode 8, "Jack Goes to a Concert": Jimmy Stewart (shown on the right, starred in You Can't Take It With You, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Shop Around the Corner, It's a Wonderful Life, Harvey, The Philadelphia Story, Destry Rides Again, Rope, Rear Window, Vertigo, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Anatomy of a Murder, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and played Prof. James K. Howard on The Jimmy Stewart Show and Billy Jim Hawkins on Hawkins) plays himself. Gloria Stewart (shown on the left, Jimmy Stewart's wife) plays herself. Barbara Nichols (see "Easter Show" above) returns as Mildred Meyerhouser. Damian O'Flynn (Dr. Goodfellow on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays a member of the concert audience.
Season 11, Episode 9, "Christmas Shopping": Mel Blanc (see "Jack Is Arrested for Disturbing the Peace" above) plays a sales clerk. Richard Deacon (shown on the left, see "Hong Kong Suit" above) plays a sales clerk. Maxine Semon (Honeybee Gillis on The Life of Riley and the voice of Mrs. Jillson on The Joey Bishop Show) plays a jewelry saleslady. Rolfe Sedan (see "Hong Kong Suit" above) plays a lingerie salesman.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (1960)


The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp is considered to be one of the first adult-oriented TV westerns, along with Gunsmoke and Cheyenne, which also debuted in 1955. But unlike the others, Earp was based, at least partially, on actual historical events and thus could be considered the forerunner of later series such as Bat Masterson, Johnny Ringo, and The Tall Man. The title for Earp hints at its mixing of fact and fantasy. The series is said to be based on the 1931 Earp biography Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal by Stuart Lake, which portrayed the gunslinger as a supreme hero. Other published accounts of his life portray him as a nefarious villain. The truth, no doubt, lies somewhere in between. The TV version of Earp is a bolt-upright champion of justice, whether it benefits him or not. He is incorruptible and demands that even the most heinous criminal be given a fair trial rather than subjected to "frontier justice." He is also chaste as the driven snow, as compared to other winking, slightly lecherous western heroes such as Gene Barry's Bat Masterson or Richard Boone's Paladin. However, the historical Earp was arrested three times in Peoria, Illinois for "Keeping and being in a house of ill-fame," that is, a brothel. Contemporary historians believe that Earp was likely an enforcer for the brothel rather than its owner or pimp. He later had a common-law marriage with a former prostitute, whom he abandoned when he met up with a traveling actress. He was also once arrested for taking part in a horse-stealing heist and broke out of jail. So Earp's real-life character was anything but straitlaced.
 
The television series, which ran for 6 seasons, followed his exploits from Ellsworth to Wichita to Dodge City, Kansas and then to Tombstone, Arizona, culminating in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, which did much to cement his reputation. The Tombstone years are depicted in Seasons 5 and 6, which ran from 1959-61. Earp is shown on the TV show as the resident marshal for the Arizona Territory, but in real life his brother Virgil was Deputy U.S. Marshal for the Tombstone Mining District. In 1880 Wyatt was appointed Deputy Sheriff of Eastern Pima County but served for only 3 months and resigned when the candidate he supported for County Sheriff was defeated in an election. Johnny Behan was then appointed as Sheriff of East Pima County. When Pima was split to form Cochise County, Wyatt ran against Behan for the new sheriff's position but lost. He claimed that he and Behan had worked out a deal that if he withdrew from the race, Behan would appoint him undersheriff, but after Behan won the election, he denied any such deal had been made. So Wyatt's tenure as a lawman in Tombstone was remarkably brief until Virgil appointed him as a temporary assistant in preparation for the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. After that iconic shoot-out, the Clantons were bent on revenge and Virgil was ambushed and maimed by shotgun blasts. Wyatt convinced Arizona Marshal Crawley Dake to appoint him a Deputy U.S. Marshal so that he could go after the attempted assassins. After his brother Morgan was assassinated, presumably by the Clanton gang,Wyatt rounded up a posse that included Doc Holliday and went after who believed were the killers. He and his posse tracked down and killed four men, including Curly Bill Brocius and Frank Stillwell, before being pursued by Behan's posse and crossing over into New Mexico and then Colorado. Earp continued to live a life of restlessness thereafter, including a time prospecting in Alaska, before settling down in San Francisco in his final years. During the last years of his life, his reputation continued to be a subject of debate and has continued decades thereafter. The television series depiction, however, allows no room for such debate--Earp is portrayed as the ultimate old west hero.

But while Earp's character is the stuff of legend in the series, it nevertheless depicts some events from his life with remarkable accuracy. In the episodes from calendar year 1960, "Let's Hang Curly Bill" (January 26, 1960) is perhaps the best example. This episode depicts the real-life events of October 28, 1880 when a drunk Curly Bill Brocius was accosted by town marshal Fred White, who attempted to take away Brocius' pistol. In the process of grabbing the gun, it went off, fatally wounding White in the groin. But before he died White signed a statement saying that he thought the shooting was accidental. Brocius also seemed not to know what he had done at the time. Virgil and Wyatt escorted Brocius out of Tombstone to Tucson for his trial, probably saving him from a lynching by doing so. At the trial Wyatt testified on Brocius' behalf that the shooting appeared to be accidental, and it was demonstrated that Brocius' gun could be fired when only half-cocked. Though he would later kill Brocius, Wyatt was instrumental in his being found not guilty and released. Most of these details are reflected accurately in the TV episode, though it is Wyatt who testifies at great length at Brocius' trial about his unusual gun and his peculiar way of holding it that it would make it easy for the gun to go off if someone were to try to pull it out of Brocius' hand. The episode plays out much like one for Perry Mason with Wyatt re-enacting what may have happened at the shooting and using presiding Judge Spicer in the role of White.

The series also depicts Earp's ongoing feuds with the Clanton gang and Sheriff Johnny Behan, who are depicted as working in cahoots, with Behan setting free any Clanton henchmen whom Wyatt happens to arrest. In real life, Earp and Behan feuded over the attentions of actress Josephine Sarah Marcus, whom Earp eventually married and remained with until the end of his life, though in the TV series there is no such character.

The television series is also remarkable for the exceptionally large cast of recurring characters. Assisting Earp in most episodes are the fictional deputy Shotgun Gibbs and the real-life character of Doc Holliday, who is portrayed as an ambiguous figure, fond of drinking and gambling and being a bad influence on younger brother Morgan Earp in "Big Brother" (November 1, 1960), but also a useful resource for Earp because he has many "hoodlum" acquaintances who often prove a valuable source of inside information. Newspaper editor John Clum appears in several episodes, most notably "John Clum, Fighting Editor" (April 12, 1960), sometimes serving as an assistant and confidant when Gibbs and Holliday are not about. Besides Sheriff Behan, Earp is opposed most often by Old Man Clanton, an outlaw kingpin with inept sons Ike, Phin, and Billy. Clanton's empire and vast army of gunmen, including Brocius and Johnny Ringo, are too powerful for Earp to bring down by himself, the most he can ever do is foil a robbery or murder here or there, but Earp has enough support from the citizens of Tombstone to keep Clanton from taking over his home turf, being relegated to the outlying, more lawless areas of the Arizona Territory. 

Some of the characters changed actors between or even within seasons. As explained in the actor biographies below, Douglas Fowley began playing the role of Doc Holliday in Season 2 and into Season 3 before being replaced by Myron Healey through the end of Season 4, but then returned to the role of Holliday for the series' final two seasons. Lash LaRue played corrupt Sheriff Johnny Behan in Season 5 but was replaced by Steve Brodie in Season 6. Former child actor Gary Gray played the youngest of the Clanton clan, Billy, in "The Buntline Special Stolen" (March 8, 1960) and in two other episodes prior, but the role was given to Ralph Reed in the series' final season. Virgil Earp was played by Ross Elliott in 4 episodes spanning from Season 3 to Season 5, but John Anderson took over the role during the final season. John Milford played Ike Clanton in Season 5 and was replaced by Rayford Barnes in Season 6. Four different actors played outlaw Johnny Ringo. 

For Season 5, the producers also brought in a regular female character in hotel proprietor Nellie Cashman, initially intended as a love interest for Wyatt. But after the first dozen or so episodes, that idea was jettisoned, and the Nellie character made fewer and less important appearances before being written out entirely in the show's final season. She does get one star turn in 1960, however, in the episode "The Big Fight at Total Wreck" (January 12, 1960), in which she attempts to reconcile two groups of Irish and Welsh miners who have been feuding for generations. Wyatt serves as a mere accessory in the negotiations, which appear to reach a final resolution until the episode's final scene.

Like its 1955 classmate Gunsmoke, Earp's use of a large recurring cast of characters necessitated few guest stars. But unlike the prevailing episodic nature of TV shows during the era, Earp, with its foundation in historical events, would sometimes refer back to events from previous episodes. This trend is most evident in the back-to-back episodes "His Life in His Hands" (March 22, 1960) and "Behan's Double Game" (March 29, 1960). In the first episode we see that saloon owner B.J. Ayres is working undercover for Earp, pretending to be a part of Clanton's operation. Clanton becomes suspicious when certain planned robberies begin to be tipped off and he suspects Ayres. Earp has to concoct an elaborate scheme to convince Clanton that Ayres is not a double-crosser. In the second episode, Earp and Ayres meet secretly outside of town and Ayres alludes to the way that Earp saved his neck in the previous episode. This is perhaps one of the rare instances in which consecutive episodes employ this kind of sequencing, other than multi-part episodes that are part of a single narrative.

In short, though Earp has not been as well remembered over the years as some of its contemporaries, particularly Gunsmoke and Bonanza, it paved the way for westerns that came along later in its rich set of characters, its historical basis, and its occasional, if rare and brief, story arcs.

The theme song for The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp is only slightly better than the worst TV theme song ever, for Bat Masterson. The music for the Earp theme was written by prolific veteran Hollywood songwriter Harry Warren, who was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 3 for "Lullaby of Broadway" with lyricist Al Dubin, "You'll Never Know" with lyricist Mack Gordon, and "On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe" with lyricist Johnny Mercer. Warren made the Hit Parade more often than even Irving Berlin and also wrote "Chattanooga Choo-Choo," the first Golden Record in history, "The Way You Look Tonight," one of the most recorded songs in history, "Jeepers Creepers," and "That's Amore." He collaborated on 18 Busby Berkeley musicals and had his songs appear in over 300 films. Warren died on September 22, 1981 in Los Angeles.

But the blame for the Earp  theme's awfulness goes to lyricist Harold Adamson and the performance by the Ken Darby Singers. Adamson, like Warren, is a member of the Songtwriters Hall of Fame. He grew up in New York City and attended the University of Kansas and Harvard before pursuing a songwriting career on Broadway. In 1933 he signed a contract with MGM and moved to California, where he spent the rest of his career. He wrote for films such as The Great Ziegfield, Top of the Town, Higher and Higher, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Later in his career he wrote for the films Around the World in 80 Days, An Affair to Remember, and The Incredible Mr. Limpet. He also provided the lyrics to the theme song for I Love Lucy. Adamson died August 17, 1980.

Kenneth Lorin Darby was not only a vocal performer but also a composer, arranger, and lyricist. He provided the singing voice for the Munchkin mayor in The Wizard of Oz and contributed to the 1940 first studio cast album for the film, which did not use the film's original performances. His group backed up Bing Crosby on his recording of "White Christmas" and Darby was Marilyn Monroe's vocal coach for the films Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and There's No Business Like Show Business. He also co-wrote Elvis Presley's hit "Love Me Tender" but signed over the rights to his wife, who is listed as co-composer with Presley. Darby won 3 Academy Awards for helping to write the scores for The King and I, Porgy and Bess, and Camelot. He also won a Grammy for his work on Porgy and Bess. Darby died January 24, 1992 at the age of 82.

At this time, the first two seasons are available on DVD from Inception Media Group. The entire series is in rotation on the Encore Westerns cable channel.

The Actors

Hugh O'Brian

Born Hugh Charles Krampe in Rochester, NY, O'Brian's father was a business executive who moved often until finally settling in Chicago when O'Brian was 5. O'Brian was a 4-sport athlete in high school and studied law for a semester at the University of Cincinnati before enlisting in the Marines in 1943. He became a drill instructor at age 17, the youngest in Marine Corps history, and served four years, during which he received an appointment to the Naval Academy, which he declined. He planned to resume his law studies at Yale and moved to Los Angeles to earn some money for his education but instead met actresses Ruth Roman and Linda Christian, who urged him to join a small theatre group. His success on the stage led to a change in plans and he enrolled at UCLA. In 1948 he was discovered by actress and director Ida Lupino during one of his performances and was cast in her film "Never Fear." From there he signed a contract with Universal Pictures, but his roles tended to be supporting ones or in B-grade fare like Rocketship X-M, Son of Ali Baba, and Seminole. However, he did score a role in There's No Business Like Show Business in 1954 before securing the role of Wyatt Earp the following year.

During his tenure on Earp, O'Brian spent over a week visiting renowned humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer in Africa and was struck by Schweitzer's belief that the key to education was teaching students to think for themselves. With this inspiration he founded the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership foundation, which recruits high school sophomores for seminars in which they interact with distinguished leaders from a variety of professions. For his philanthropic work O'Brian has been awarded 8 honoray doctorates and numerous citations and other awards. Besides his philanthropic work, O'Brian continued acting after Earp's 6-year run, eventually landing another lead role as Hugh Lockwood in the single-season (1972-73) adventures series Search. He appeared in 5 episodes, including the pilot, of Fantasy Island, and reprised his role as Wyatt Earp in the series Guns of Paradise, the TV movie The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw, and the 1994 feature Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone. A lifelong bachelor until the age of 81, O'Brian finally married Virginia Barber, his girlfriend of 18 years, in 2006. The couple was serenaded by Debbie Reynolds at their wedding ceremony. The couple currently resides in Benedict Canyon, California, overlooking Beverly Hills.

Morgan Woodward

Thomas Morgan Woodward was born in Fort Worth, Texas and grew up in nearby Arlington, graduating from high school in 1944. He enlisted in the Air Force and had been flying planes since the age of 16. After the war he attended Arlington State College and performed with the Margo Jones Repertory Theatre in Dallas, hoping for an eventual career in opera, which he eventually abandoned. In 1948 he transferred to the University of Texas, earned a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration, and then entered law school before being recalled to the Air Force during the Korean War. After returning to the States, Woodward was recruited by Walt Disney for his first live-action feature film The Great Locomotive Chase, released in 1956. The following year he was brought on to Earp to serve as Hugh O'Brian's sidekick and eventual deputy, appearing in 81 episodes for the reaminder of the series. He garnered a number of guest appearances, particularly westerns, after Earp's cancellation, including 19 appearances on Gunsmoke, 12 on Wagon Train, and 8 on Bonanza. He also received occasional film work, most notably his role as the silent, sunglass-wearing walking boss in Cool Hand Luke. In 1980 he was cast in the supporting role of Marvin "Punk" Anderson on the show Dallas and made 55 appearances over the next seven years. He also appeared 5 times as the character John Renko on Hill Street Blues in 1982. His last two television appearances came in The X-Files in 1995 and Millenniumin 1997. He has been an avid collector, restorer, and pilot of vintage airplanes and currently spends time between his ranch in Paso Robles, California and his home in Hollywood.

Douglas Fowley

Douglas Vincent Fowley was born in the Bronx, NY, and had a long string of jobs before taking up acting. These included a singing waiter, copy boy for the New York Times, Wall Street runner, Postal Service employee, and professional football player. His first exposure to acting was while attending the St. Francis Xavier Military Academy, and he landed his first film role, uncredited, in the Spencer Tracy & Claire Trevor feature The Mad Game in 1933. This was the first of over 240 film roles, many as villains and heavies, but perhaps his most memorable role was as film director Roscoe Dexter in Singin' in the Rain given the unenviable task of helping silent film star Lina Lamont make the transition to talking pictures despite her heavy Brooklyn accent. In the early 1950's he also began a string of occasional guest spots on TV programs such as The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickock, and City Detective. Though he is best known for playing the morally ambiguous Doc Holliday on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, he was not the only actor to play the character on the series, nor was it the only role he played on the series. He first appeared as the character Dr. Andrew Fabrique in 11 episodes during the show's first season. He made his first appearance as Holliday toward the end of Season 2, continuing in this role for 4 more episodes that season. He returned as Dr. Fabrique in the second episode of Season 3, then played Holliday in 6 more episodes in 1957. But then Myron Healey was brought in to play Holliday for the remainder of Season 3 and into Season 4. After playing Grandpa Logan in one episode late in Season 4, Fowley returned as Dr. Fabrique again a couple of episodes later before resuming his role as Holliday in the third episode of Season 5 after Healey had played the character in the first two episodes. From that point forward Fowley played Holliday exclusively for the duration of the series.

After Earp's cancelation, Fowley continued his film and occasional TV work, though at a much sparser pace than earlier in his career, until he landed the role of family patriarch Grandpa Hanks in the old west spoof Pistols 'n' Petticoats during the 1966-67 season. Sporadic work continued thereafter throughout the 1970s, but he landed another regular role at the end of his career playing a character named Robert Redford in the P.I. parody Detective School in 1979. His last television appearance came in 1982 on an episode of Merlin Olsen's Father Murphy. Fowley was married seven times and was the father of record producer and songwriter Kim Fowley, the impresario of the all-girl punk band The Runaways. Douglas Fowley died in Woodland Hills, California at the age of 86 on May 21, 1998.

Randy Stuart

Born Elizabeth Jane Shaubell in Iola, Kansas to a husband-wife traveling vaudeville team, Stuart made her stage debut at age 3, which she later said was a failure and an embarrassment to her mother. The family later moved to California, where Stuart attended college, and a screen test with 20th Century Fox landed her a contract with the studio. She made her film debut in an uncredited role in 1947, but by the following year she was getting credited roles in films such as Sitting Pretty, I Was a Male War Bride, and All About Eve. Perhaps her most memorable role from the 1950s was as the wife of the title character in the 1957 science fiction classic The Incredible Shrinking Man. She also found work in television, playing the wife of Alan Hale, Jr.'s secret agent in Biff Baker, U.S.A. She was added to the cast of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp as hotel proprietor Nellie Cashman during the show's fifth season in 1959-60 but was not retained for the following final season.

Afterward she continued to get occasional guest spots on shows like Bonanza, Maverick, Peter Gunn, and Hawaiian Eye. She played the wife of Harry Morgan's Bill Gannon in two episodes of Dragnet in 1967 and 1968 and had her final TV appearance in a 1975 episode of Marcus Welby, M.D. She was married and divorced three times, all to non-entertainers. She died of lung cancer at the age of 71 on July 20, 1996.

Trevor Bardette

Born in 1902 in Nashville, Arkansas, Terva Gaston Hubbard originally planned a career in mechanical engineering after graduating from Oregon State University and even penned a short story under his given name that was published in the August 1927 edition of Weird Tales before turning to acting a few years later under his new name Trevor Bardette. He enjoyed a lengthy and prolific career, beginning with the Hopalong Cassidy feature Borderland in 1937, usually in smaller villainous roles. Many of his early uncredited appearances were in major films, such as Jezebel, Marie Antoinette, Gone With the Wind, and The Grapes of Wrath. But he found meatier roles in serials such as Overland With Kit Carson, Winners of the West, and The Secret Code in the late 1930s and early 1940s. He began appearing in TV series in 1953, including memorable turns as the title character in "The Human Bomb" episode of The Adventures of Superman and as a criminal impersonating Julius Caesar in "Great Caesar's Ghost" two years later. His TV appearances outnumbered feature film work from that point forward, but he still found time for notable roles in the 1957 sci-fi thriller The Monolith Monsters, the Robert Mitchum bootlegging exploitation flick Thunder Road, and the Debbie Reynolds-Tony Randall sex comedy The Mating Game. He appeared in six episodes of Lassie, playing two different characters in three episodes each. He appeared as different characters in four different episodes of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp between 1956-58 before being cast as criminal patriarch Newman Haynes Clanton when the series progressed to Earp's time in Tombstone, Arizona. He would appear in 34 episodes as Clanton through the remainder of the series.

He continued working primarily in television through the remainder of the 1960s on shows like Cheyenne, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, and Flipper before retiring to his ranch in Green Valley, Arizona in 1970. He died there at the age of 75 on November 28, 1977.

Stacy Harris

Stanley Harris was born in Big Timber, Quebec, Canada and broke into acting on radio, playing FBI agent Jim Taylor in 409 episodes of ABC Radio's This Is Your FBI, which ran from 1945-53. His film debut came in the 1951 Alan Ladd thriller Appointment With Danger, which also starred Jack Webb with whom Harris became good friends. Webb would name his daughter Stacey after Harris, and Harris would go on to appear in several of Webb's later television productions, including both television versions of Dragnet and the feature film of the same name. His work on Webb's TV program soon led to appearances on scores of other shows, including the lead role as Det. Vic Beaujac in the short-lived crime drama N.O.P.D. in 1956, a role he reprised in the 1958 feature film New Orleans After Dark. Steady TV work continued until he was cast as Tombstone mayor and newspaper publisher John P. Clum in the fifth season of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, and he would go on to make 21 appearances in that role over the show's final two seasons.

The steady TV work continued after Earp on shows like Wagon Train, Bonanza, and 77 Sunset Strip. He appeared 8 times on the second version of Dragnet, 3 times on Adam-12, and 3 times on another Webb production as Agent Ben Hazard on the 1971 series O'Hara, U.S. Treasury. His last appearance on film was in the feature Noon Sunday in 1975, two years after his death at age 54 on March 13, 1973.

James Seay

Prolific character actor James Seay was born in Pasadena, California, his father at various times working for the railroad, ship builders, and in construction. His parents divorced by the time James was 6, and he lived with his mother, who supported them by doing housework for others. Seay was signed to a contract with Paramount in 1939, the year of his first uncredited role. He was quite active in the years leading up to the war, appearing in a dozen films in both 1941 and 1942 before joining the Army Air Corps in late 1942. He resumed his acting career after the war, still in supporting roles, as often as not uncredited. Most notable during this era was his uncredited appearance as Dr. Pierce in The Miracle on 34th Street. In the 1950s he appeared in many westerns and science fiction classics such as The Day the Earth Stood Still, When World Collide, Killers From Space, and The Amazing Colossal Man. He added television work to his resume in the early 1950s, with multiple appearances on Cowboy G-Men, The Cisco Kid, and Perry Mason. His first recurring role was as Sheriff Davis with 8 appearances between 1956-59 on the series Fury, typical of his frequent casting as an authority figure. But his longest-running role was as Circuit Judge Spicer on 22 episodes of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp during the show's final two seasons.

His television work, plus occasional movie appearances (a policeman in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?), continued after Earp, though the pace slowed down considerably. Still, he played Doc Porter in 3 episodes of Lassie and had multiple spots on The Andy Griffith Show, Death Valley Days, and The F.B.I., which included his last appearance in 1971. He died in Capistrano Beach, California at the age of 78 on October 10, 1992.

Damian O'Flynn

Not much has been published about prolific Irish-American supporting actor Damian O'Flynn, born in Boston in 1907. He broke into films in 1937, playing Ralph Krawford in the Bette Davis-Humphrey Bogart drama Marked Woman. An article that appeared in the December 12, 1938 edition of the Spokane, Washington newspaper The Spokesman-Review notes that an actor named Damian O'Flynn had married stage actress Eve March the previous day in New York. The article mentions that March was from Los Angeles but says that O'Flynn was a native of O'Neill, Nebraska and had been in "several" films, though imdb.com credits him only with the aforementioned Marked Woman by that point in his career.
 O'Flynn played the lead role of Eddie Delaney in the war-time private eye caper X Marks the Spot in 1942. And while serving in World War II, he played the uncredited part of Col. Ross in Winged Victory, released the same year. After the war he had parts in A Foreign Affair, Young Daniel Boone, and uncredited roles in The Pride of St. Louis and The Glenn Miller Story. He began appearing in TV series in 1951 with multiple credits on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Adventures of Superman, and Mr. Adams and Eve. But his longest running roles were on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, on which he had two recurring parts. When the series was based in Dodge City from 1956-59, he played Judge Tobin in 36 episodes. When the series shifted to Tombstone in the third episode of Season 5, he was recast as the town physician Dr. Goodfellow, a role he continued until the end of the series in 1961.

After Earp O'Flynn kept acting for another 8 years, with multiple appearances on Arrest and Trial and Green Acres, his last appearance in 1969. He passed away in Los Angeles at age 75 on August 8, 1982.

Carol Thurston

Elizabeth Thurston was born in North Dakota in 1923. By 1930 her family had moved to Forsyth, Montana and by age 12 she was performing in her father's repertory company. The family then moved to Billings, where Carol graduated from high school and was active in local civic theatre. The family then relocated to Hollywood when her father landed a job with Lockheed. Thurston broke into films when she was selected by Cecil B. De Mille over several other notable actresses (including Yvonne De Carlo) to play the role of Indonesian girl Three Martini in the Gary Cooper drama The Story of Dr. Wassell in 1944. The role was the first of many exotic parts she would play over the years, including in China Sky, Rogues' Regiment, Arctic Manhunt, and Apache Chief. She began appearing in television series in 1949, beginning with The Lone Ranger and later 6 appearances on The Adventures of Kit Carson. She appeared in four different roles on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp between 1956-59 before being cast as the fictitious daughter Emma of Old Man Clanton beginning in 1959. She would appear in only two more film roles after her work on Earp.

But her private life was more dramatic than the roles she played on screen. Besides being hand-picked by the legendary De Mille to start her film career, Thurston was seen dating Lew Ayres and Freddie Bartholomew before eloping to marry former University of Texas football player Col. David Thayer in 1945.Thurston temporarily retired from acting and the couple settled down in Texas City in 1947 until a disaster destroyed their home. Thurston gave birth to a daughter the next year but returned to acting only three months later and divorced Thayer the next year. By July 1950 gossip columnist Louella Parsons reported that Thurston was engaged to actor Ross Elliott, but the couple called off the wedding in December. By June 1953 she was helping her mother run a shopping bazaar in Hollywood. In January 1954 her ex-husband Thayer, then operating an oil company, crashed an oil tanker plane into a residential section of Burbank, California, causing serious burns to one of the residents there, who later died. She later married actor Barry Russo but they were headed for divorce by February 1959. In February 1962 she married writer Robert Creighton Williams in Los Angeles. Seven years later she committed suicide, first lapsing into a coma and finally dying on December 31, 1969 at the age of 47.

John Milford

Born in Johnstown, New York, Milford originally studied to be a civil engineer, which would prove useful later in life when he was credited with helping design the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But after completing a Bachelor's in engineering from Union College, he switched to acting and received a Master's Degree in Drama from Yale University. His film career began in earnest in 1955 with an uncredited role in the film Marty and another uncredited part in The Ten Commandments the following year. But the bulk of his 45-year career was spent in television, usually one-off guest spots on just about any series on the air, beginning with The Millionaire in 1958 and running through Chicken Soup for the Soul in 2000. He had 11 appearances on The Rifleman, another 7 on Gunsmoke, and 6 more on The Virginian playing various characters. On The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Milford had a small part in one episode in the middle of Season 4 and then was cast as Old Man Clanton's son Phin in the episode "Arizona comes to Dodge" late that same season. But for Season 5 he was cast as Phin's brother Ike and appeared in that role 12 times over the course of the season but was replaced by Rayford Barnes for the series' final season.

Out in the real world, Milford founded the Chamber Theatre in Los Angeles, which proved instrumental in the acting careers of Richard Chamberlain and Vic Morrow. After his work on Earp ended, he found occasional supporting roles on a few other series during his career, playing Corporal Kagey on The Lieutenant in 1963-64, Cole Younger on The Legend of Jesse James in 1965-66, Det. Lt. Paul Hewitt on The Bold Ones: The Lawyers in 1971-72, and Captain Dempsey on the Dukes of Hazzard spin-off Enos in 1980-81. He was also a member of The Carson Players on The Tonight Show, once playing Leonid Brezhnev to Johnny Carson's Ronald Reagan. His wife Susan Graw runs the TV production and talent agency Susan Graw & Associates, and their son Robert is the agency's manager. John Milford died of skin cancer August 14, 2000.

Steve Rowland

Stephen Jacob Rowland was born in Hollywood, the son of director Roy Rowland and script-writer Ruth Rowland, who was the niece of Louis B. Mayer. His first appearance on film was at age 11 in the feature Boys Ranch in which he sang "Dear Clementine" in a campfire scene, a premonition of a future career in music. By age 20 he began regular film roles, mostly uncredited at first, but eventually getting meatier work in films such as Crime in the Streets and Gun Glory (directed by his father). With his father directing 39 episodes in Season 5 and moving over to the producer's role in Season 6, he won a regular role on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp as Old Man Clanton's son Phin over those final two seasons, making 13 appearances in the role. He returned to films after Earp through the mid-1960s in features such as Wild Youth, the original version of The Thin Red Line, and The Battle of the Bulge.

But during the 1960s he made the switch to a music career, first while working on films in Spain he enjoyed European chart success as a member of the group Los Flaps. As the British Invasion took hold, he moved to London and produced records for the group Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick, and Tich, including their biggest hits "Bend It," "Hold TighLt," "Zabadak," and "The Legend of Xanadu." He also produced records for P.J. Proby, The Pretty Things, and then obscure singer-songwriter Rodriguez, the subject of the recent Academy Award-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man. He collaborated with Albert Hammond as a member of the band The Family Dogg, which had a #6 U.K. hit with "Way of Life." He also discovered and signed Peter Frampton with his band The Herd, as well as The Cure and The Thompson Twins. He has more recently published the memoir Hollywood Heat: Untold Stories of 1950s Hollywood. His late partner Judy Lewis was the illegitimate daughter of Clark Gable and Loretta Young. He now lives in Palm Springs, California.

William Phipps

William Edward Phipps was born in Vincennes, Indiana, grew up in St. Francisville, Illinois, and knew from an early age that he wanted to be an actor, appearing in plays while in grade school. After completing high school, he attended Eastern Illinois University for two years, where he studied accounting, was elected class president as a freshman, and was head cheerleader, but abandoned school and hitch-hiked his way to Hollywood in 1941. When the U.S. entered World War II, Phipps enlisted in the Navy and served as a radio operator on ships in the Pacific Ocean, then returned to California at war's end and enrolled in the Actors Lab, where he was a classmate of Russell Johnson. It was during a performance at the Actors Lab that he was spotted by Charles Laughton, who recruited him to appear in a play he was directing. From there he transitioned into film with his first appearance coming in 1947 in Crossfire. His career really took off the next decade as he voiced the character of Prince Charming in Disney's animated Cinderella (1950) and starred in a series of cult science fiction classics including Five, Invaders From Mars, The War of the Worlds, and Cat-Women of the Moon. He also began appearing in occasional TV roles at this time, though his feature film work dominated his resume until the mid 1950s. Toward the end of the 1950s he was making multiple appearances on shows like State Trooper, Sugarfoot, and Wanted: Dead or Alive and began the first of 16 appearances as the outlaw Curly Bill Brocius on Earp in 1956.

He resumed the occasional guest TV roles after Earp throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s on shows like Gunsmoke, The Virginian, and The Waltons. In the 1980s he won some recurring roles as Uncle Link on Boone and as Jake Dodge on the series Santa Barbara. He also narrated David Lynch's TV adaption of Dune in 1984 and provided the voice for the character Quentin in the feature film Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. His last appearance was in the feature Sordid Lives in 2000. He currently resides in Malibu, California.

Lash LaRue

Alfred Wilson LaRue was born to a traveling salesman in either Watervliet, Michigan or Gretna, Louisiana. According to his death certificate filed in the state of California, his father's last name was Wilson. Whether born in Michigan or Louisiana, LaRue grew up in the New Orleans area before his family moved to Los Angeles when he was a teenager. He attended a military school there and then the Univesity of the Pacific where he intended to study law until he enrolled in an acting class to help him overcome a speech impediment. He initially worked as a salesman, real estate agent, and hairdresser after college but managed to make a pair of small appearances in films for Universal in 1945. Realizing that he was not on the path to stardom at a major studio, he auditioned for the part of a bullwhip-wielding cowboy for low-budget producer Robert Emmett Tansey even though he did not know how to use a bullwhip. He nevertheless claimed to have used one since childhood and was selected for the part, after which he purchased one and tried unsuccessfully to teach himself how to use it. He finally confessed, bloodied and bowed, to Tansey but was retained for the part anyway because of his acting ability, and Tansey arranged for him to receive instruction in the whip's proper usage. His first three films for the lowly PRC studio paired him with singing cowboy Eddie Dean. Thereafter he was cast in the lead role after he received volumes of fan mail and adopted the moniker "Lash" to match his identity as a bullwhip master. Beginning with Law of the Lash in 1947, he appeared in over 20 features over the next 5 years, first as Marshal Cheyenne Davis and then under his own name. Other cowboy stars, such as Roy Rogers, began adding a bullwhip into their act as well, and LaRue would appear at many promotional events, giving bullwhip demonstrations and signing autographs. He also had a very successful series of comic books that ran for over 100 monthly issues, many selling over a million copies worldwide. Some of them teamed LaRue with his godson J.P. Sloan when LaRue was married to actress Barbara Fuller. LaRue was married and divorced at least 10 times. He also was an accomplished guitar player, often sitting in and jamming at the Dew Drop Inn in New Orleans when he would return to visit.

After his popularity in B-grade westerns faded, he turned to television, appearing mostly in westerns, such as 7 appearances in Judge Roy Bean in 1956 and several appearances on 26 Men. When The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp moved its storyline to the Tombstone, Arizona years of Earp's career, LaRue was cast as his nemesis, corrupt Tombstone sheriff Johnny Behan during the show's fifth season. But after 8 appearances in the role, it was handed to veteran character actor Steve Brodie for the show's final season. LaRue himself developed problems with alcohol, stooping to appearing at carnivals and circuses for years until he returned to film in the pornographic western Hard on the Trail in 1972. LaRue was not aware of the film's lurid content when he filmed his scenes and later was so mortified that he became a born-again Christian and evangelist, performing his whip-cracking tricks at faith-based events. He is also credited with teaching Harrison Ford to use a bullwhip for the Indiana Jones movies. In later life he toured the western film memorabilia circuit and died from emphysema in Burbank, California on May 21, 1996 at the age of 78.

Steve Pendleton

Gaylord "Steve" Pendleton was born in New York City, the younger brother of comic actor Nat Pendleton, a one-time olympic and professional wrestler. Not much has been published about the Pendletons background, but Steve broke into films at age 15 in the silent Mary Astor feature Success. His film career began in earnest 7 years later and included over 150 roles, many of them uncredited, over the next 40 years. Among his more memorable roles were in the films The Informer (1935), Road to Singapore (1940), The Return of Rin Tin Tin (1947), Rio Grande (1950), and Killers From Space (1954). He also appeared in Sergeant York, The Glenn Miller Story, The Caine Mutiny, Ocean's Eleven, and Tora! Tora! Tora! His television work began in 1951 with The Cisco Kid and included 6 appearances on Adventures of Wild Bill Hickock and 8 more on The Roy Rogers Show. On The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp he was cast as Wells Fargo Agent Thacker and appeared in 12 episodes over the show's final two seasons. Thereafter he had rare occasional appearances on shows such as The Beverly Hillbillies, Perry Mason, Get Smart, and The Virginian before being cast in the recurring role of Mr. Bennett on the Diahann Carroll series Julia in 1967. He had only a handful of appearances after that, the last being a 1976 episode of Cannon. He died in Pasadena, California on October 3, 1984 at the age of 76.

Ray Boyle

Not much has been published about actor and production designer Raymond C. Boyle, other than his filmography and the fact that he has been married since 1954 to actress Jan Shepard, who played Elvis Presley's sister in King Creole and was a one-time roommate of Amanda Blake. Boyle, who often was credited as Dirk London, was born in 1925 and began appearing in films in 1952, beginning with the science fiction cult classic Zombies of the Stratosphere (which also included a young Leonard Nimoy). He also began occasional TV work that same year, including appearances on Captain Video and His Video Rangers and Gang Busters. But none of the TV appearances led to a regular role until he was cast as Wyatt Earp's brother Morgan on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp beginning in 1956. He made 15 appearances in the role over the show's 6-year run, then had only a couple more TV appearances in the 1960s on Perry Mason and The Lawbreakers. He tried his hand at production design in the 1970s, working on the films The Brotherhood of Satan and A Boy and His Dog. He returned to acting in the 1990s with appearances on ER and Beverly Hills 90210. Boyle and Shepard currently live in North Hollywood.

Rayford Barnes

Rayford K. Barnes was born in Whitesboro, Texas in 1920. A World War II veteran, Barnes began his acting career by training with Stella Adler's Neighborhood Playhouse in New York before moving to San Francisco to open his own theatre. He later moved to Los Angeles and began appearing in films and television in 1952. The following year he appeared in John Wayne's Hondo and thereafter a considerable number of his more than 150 roles were in westerns, though he also occasionally was seen in other fare, such as 1955's Bowery to Bagdad, The Beginning of the End, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter, and The Three Stooges in Orbit. But his most memorable film roles were in westerns such as The Desperado, Young Guns, The Wild Bunch, Breakheart Pass, and Cahill, U.S. Marshal. His work in television also ran more to westerns with multiple appearances on shows like 26 Men, Maverick, Laramie, Gunsmoke, Have Gun -- Will Travel, and The Big Valley. On The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, he replaced John Milford in the role of Ike Clanton for the show's final season, making 8 appearances in all. He continued making appearances on TV programs into the 1990s, including Walker, Texas Ranger and ER. His younger brother Lou Warren/Dupont was a Las Vegas-based ventriloquist. Barnes died at the age of 80 on November 11, 2000 in Santa Monica, California.

Ralph Reed

Ralph Reed Freeto was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1931. His family relocated to California at least by the time he was 8 because he began appearing in films in the Bing Crosby feature The Star Maker in 1939. Steady work followed, often in uncredited roles, from 1944-47. During this time he also attended the Mar-Ken Schools for child actors. His profile as a high school senior in the school's 1949 yearbook notes his interest in acting. He was also a member of the National Honor Society and Senior Class President. After high school, Reed served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, then returned to acting in 1951. He continued to get cast as a youngster in films such as High Noon, Not of This Earth, and Reform School Girl even though he was 26 when these last two films were released. His television career began in 1951 with an appearance on The Stu Erwin Show and though sparse in comparison to his film work through the 1950s began picking up steam toward the end of the decade with multiple appearances on Wagon Train and The Rebel. After two appearances in two different roles on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp in the late 1950s, he was cast in the role of the youngest Clanton boy, Billy, for the show's final season, appearing 5 times in the role. His acting career did last much longer, however. He made multiple appearances on Rawhide in different roles but retired from acting in 1965 and became a real estate agent in Orange County until his death in El Toro at the age of 65 on January 21, 1997.

Steve Brodie

There is conflicting information about veteran character actor Steve Brodie, who was born either John Stephens or John Stevenson in El Dorado, Kansas in 1919. Before taking up acting Brodie raced cars, worked on oil rigs, made bootleg whiskey, and was a boxer. He had hoped to studio criminal law but was forced to drop out of school and took up acting. When the acting roles were few and far between, he changed his stage name to Steve Brodie, a flamboyant saloon owner who claimed to have jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge and lived to tell about it. When casting directors assumed the acting Brodie was related to the daredevil, he did not bother correcting them. He broke into films when an MGM talent scout brought him to Hollywood and signed him to a contract, which ran only a year, but he soon became ensconced as a go-to heavy. Amongst his most notable roles were in A Walk in the Sun, Badman's Territory, Crossfire, Return of the Badmen, Home of the Brave, Winchester '73, M, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, and The Caine Mutiny. In the early 1950s he also began working in television, both in westerns and other dramatic fare, including Adventures of Wild Bill Hickock, The Lone Ranger, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Wanted: Dead or Alive. He was cast to replace Lash LaRue in the role of crooked sheriff Johnny Behan for the final season of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.

After Earp he continued working primarily in TV with occasional feature film roles as well. He made multiple appearances on Everglades, PerryMason, Rawhide, Lassie, and Bonanza. Another point of disagreement about his personal life is how many times he was married. His first marriage was to actress Lois Andrews, but one source says they divorced in 1950 and he then married Barbara Ann Stillwell Savitt; another source says he remained married to Andrews until her death in 1968. In either case, Brodie's son Kevin went on to become a movie director and producer and directed his father in the 1975 sci-fi thriller The Giant Spider Invasion, which also starred Barbara Hale and Alan Hale, Jr. Brodie married Virginia Osburn in 1973 and remained married to her until his death. He last appeared on TV in the mini-series How the West Was Won in 1979, and his last film appearance was in The Wizard of Speed and Time in 1988. He died in West Hills, California on January 9, 1992 at the age of 72.

John Anderson

John Robert Anderson was born in Clayton and grew up in Quincy, Illinois. He served in the Coast Guard during World War II, started his acting career on a Mississippi River boat, and spent a year with the Cleveland Playhouse before moving to New York and acting on Broadway. He would eventually earn a Master's degree in drama from the University of Iowa. His television career began in 1950 on the Fireside Theatre and he made his first feature film appearance, uncredited, three years later in The Eddie Cantor Story. Over the next 40 years Anderson logged well over 200 credits both in television and movies, though he had only a handful of short-lived recurring roles, including 6 appearances as Wyatt Earp's brother Virgil during the final season of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. But he had already built a lengthy resume by that time, including multiple appearances on Gunsmoke, Have Gun -- Will Travel, and Sea Hunt. He played California Charlie in Hitchcock's Psycho and appeared in Ride the High Country, The Satan Bug, 5 Card Stud, The Great Bank Robbery, Cotton Comes to Harlem, and Smokey and the Bandit II. But his television credits far outnumbered his film work. Besides numerous appearances on The Rifleman, The Twilight Zone, The Virginian, Perry Mason, Laramie, and The Rat Patrol, he had regular roles playing Dr. Herbert Styles on Dallas and Harry Jackson, the grandfather of MacGyver. He also frequently played presidential or authority figures and was believed to bear a physical resemblance to Abraham Lincoln, whom he played three times. He also played Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the TV mini-series Backstairs at the White House and major league baseball commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis in the film Eight Men Out and the TV movie Babe Ruth. His last credits were in 1992 on Quantum Leap and Jake and the Fatman. He died of a heart attack on August 7, 1992 at the age of 69 and as a member of the Neptune Society had himself cremated and his ashes scattered at sea.

William Mims

Born in Carthage, Missouri in 1927, William Ray Mims moved to California as a teenager and attended Manual Arts High School and Los Angeles City College. He was active in Los Angeles local theatre and broke into films in 1956 in I Killed Wild Bill Hickock and made his first TV appearance that same year in an episode of Mike Hammer. His first regular role in TV was on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp in which he played Editor Dameron of the Clanton-controlled newspaper the Tombstone Nuggett during the show's final two seasons. After Earp he continued getting guest spots on westerns like Lawman, Tales of Wells Fargo, and Wagon Train and also had featured roles in films such as the Audie Murphy bio-pic Battle at Bloody Beach, Wild in the Country, The Children's Hour, The Lonely and the Brave, The Day Mars Invaded Earth, and Hot Rods to Hell. He appeared three times as Sam Ruddashaw on the TV series The Long, Hot Summer, three times as General Grant on The Beverly Hillbillies, and three times as Mayor Potts on Petticoat Junction. His television work continued steadily into the late 1980s, his last appearance being a 1988 episode of Falcon Crest. He died of cardiac arrest at the age of 64 on April 9, 1991. In his obituary in the Los Angeles Times, his wife mentioned that he was also founder and president of the Hollywood Hackers Celebrity Golf Club.

Notable Guest Stars

Season 5, Episode 19, "A Murderer's Return": Denver Pyle (shown on the left, played Ben Thompson in earlier seasons of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Grandpa Tarleton on Tammy, Briscoe Darling on The Andy Griffith Show, Buck Webb on The Doris Day Show, Mad Jack on The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, and Uncle Jesse on The Dukes of Hazzard) plays ex-convict Dobie Jenner. Rachel Ames (Audrey Hardy on General Hospital) plays his ex-girlfriend Phoebe McKean.
Season 5, Episode 20, "The Big Fight at Total Wreck": Clancy Cooper (Timmo McQueen on Lawman) plays Tim Shawnigan, leader of the Irish miners. Duncan Lamont (Victor Carroon on The Quartermass Experiment, Det. Insp. Ford on The Other Man, David MacMorris on The Texan, and Station Sgt. Cooper on Dixon of Dock Green) plays Jock Welsh, leader of the Welsh miners. Frank Gerstle (voiced Raseem on The Banana Splits Adventure Hour) plays mine owner Dick Gird.
Season 5, Episode 21, "Frontier Surgeon": Andy Albin (Andy Godsen on Julia) plays outlaw Tinkham Brown. John Gallaudet (Chamberlain on Mayor of the Town, Judge Penner on Perry Mason, and Bob Anderson on My Three Sons) plays Wells Fargo agent Thacker.
Season 5, Episode 22, "Let's Hang Curly Bill": Sam Flint (shown on the right, played Mr. Armstead on Father Knows Best and Judge Jewett in earlier episodes of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays Marshal Fred White.
Season 5, Episode 23, "Silver Dollar": Lesley Bradley (appeared in Time Flies, Anna Karenina, Attack of the Crab Monsters, and Teenage Cave Man) plays casino owner Dave Henson. Tom Palmer (Dr. Stewart on Lawman) plays cowboy Rafe Collins.

Season 5, Episode 24, "The Case of Señor Huerto": Penny Santon (shown on the left, played Madame Fatime in Don't Call Me Charlie, Madam Delacort on Roll Out, Mama Rosa Novelli on Matt Houston, Muriel Lacey on Cagney and Lacey, and Teresa Giordano on Life Goes On) plays widow Señora Huerta.
Season 5, Episode 25, "The Arizona Lottery": John Maxwell (Alex Gregory on The Court of Last Resort) plays Ten Percent Gang leader Shiloh Smith. Ron Foster (Officer Garvey on Highway Patrol) plays card player Johnny Behind the Deuce. Patricia Donahue (Hazel on The Thin Man and Lucy Hamilton on Michael Shayne) plays saloon girl Clara.
Season 5, Episode 26, "Don't Get Tough With a Sailor": John Litel (shown on the right, starred in Back in Circulation, On Trial, Murder in the Blue Room, four Nancy Drew films, and eight Henry Aldrich films and played Willis Thackery on My Hero, the Governor on Zorro, and Dan Murchison on Stagecoach West) plays retired Navy commander David Rowland. Mickey Simpson (Boley on Captain David Grief) plays Rowland sentry Magruder. Madge Kennedy (appeared in Bad Company, Lust for Life, Houseboat, and They Shoot Horses, Don't They? and played Aunt Martha Bronson on LeaveIt to Beaver) plays Rowland's wife Mrs. Rowland. 

Season 5, Episode 27, "The Scout": Charles McGraw (shown on the left, appeared in The Killers, Blood on the Moon, The Narrow Margin, and Spartacus and played Mike Waring on The Adventures of Falcon) plays legendary scout Tom Barrows. Rico Alaniz (earlier played Mr. Cousin on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays Apache leader Tahzay. 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 Indian reservation agent Smith.
Season 5, Episode 28, "The Buntline Special Stolen": Gary Gray (child actor who appeared in Return of the Bad Men, Rachel and the Stranger, and the "Father" movies Father Makes Good, Father's Wild Game, and Father Takes the Air) plays youngest Clanton boy Billy. Charles Wagenheim (Halligan on Gunsmoke) plays gunsmith Mr. Spangenberg. James T. Callahan (Dr. Yates Atkinson on Dr. Kildare, Danny Adams on Wendy and Me, George Callison on The Governor and J.J., Sgt. Hal Grady on The Runaways, and Walter Powell on Charles in Charge) plays a Spengenberg customer.
Season 5, Episode 29, "China Mary": Anna May Wong (shown on the right, the first Chinese-American movie star, starred in The Thief of Baghdad, Peter Pan, Shanghai Express, and Island of Lost Men) plays Chinese matriarch China Mary. Gerald Jann (Ling on Hong Kong) plays her top policeman.
Season 5, Episode 31, "Behan's Double Game": Orville Sherman (Mr. Feeney on Buckskin, Wib Smith on Gunsmoke, and Tupper on Daniel Boone) plays Johnny Behan's deputy Cavanaugh. John Litel (see "Don't Get Tough With a Sailor" above) returns as retired Navy commander David Rowland.
Season 5, Episode 32, "The Salvation of Emma Clanton": Sam Gilman (Sam Grafton on Shane) plays outlaw Gringo Hawkby. William Stevens (Officer Jerry Walters on Adam-12) plays Hawkby's henchman Willie. 

Season 5, Episode 33, "John Clum, Fighting Editor": Del Monroe (shown on the left, played Kowalski on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) plays Clanton gunman Pete Spence. Bud Osborne (played stagecoach drivers in dozens of westerns and in episodes of The Cisco Kid, Annie Oakley, The Range Rider, Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger, The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, Rescue 8, Zorro, Bronco, Law of the Plainsman, Johnny Ringo, Cheyenne, The Texan, Maverick, and Rawhide) plays stagecoach driver Levi McDaniels.
Season 5, Episode 34, "The Judge": Douglas Fowley (see the actor biographies above) plays elderly retired judge Amos Waggoner.
Season 5, Episode 35, "The Court vs. Doc Holliday": Forrest Lewis (shown on the right, played Mr. Peavey on The Great Gildersleeve) plays Holliday impersonator Ratzy Melvin.
Season 5, Episode 36, "Roscoe Turns Detective": Jock Gaynor (Deputy Marshal Heck Martin on Outlaws) plays Army Cavalry Lt. Grange. Paul Jasmin (provided the voice for Norma Bates in Psycho) plays gypsy Louis Vanik. William Keene (played various reverends on The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D.) plays Grange's superior Colonel Hibbert. Clancy Cooper (see "The Big Fight at Total Wreck" above) plays horse trader Skinner Malone.
Season 5, Episode 37, "The Posse": Ron Ely (shown on the left, starred in The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker, Night of the Grizzly, and Doc Savage: Man of Bronze and played Mike Madison on The Aquanauts and Tarzan on Tarzan) plays greenhorn bank employee Arleigh Smith. Peter Mamakos (Jean Lafitte on The Adventures of Jim Bowie) plays a San Berdoo gang member.
Season 5, Episode 38, "The Confidence Man": Nancy Hadley (Marilee Dorf on The Brothers and Barbara Simpson on The Joey Bishop Show) plays saloon performer Evie Marlow.
Season 5, Episode 39, "The Toughest Judge in Arizona": Angela Greene (Tess Trueheart on Dick Tracy) plays Clanton gang fence Alma Ross. Sam Flint (see "Let's Hang Curly Bill" above) plays wagon driver Spouter.
Season 5, Episode 40, "My Enemy -- Johnny Behan": Robert Gothie (Sam Hanson on The Gallant Men) plays rancher Will Morris.
Season 5, Episode 41, "Wyatt's Bitterest Enemy": Charles Wagenheim (see "The Buntline Special Stolen" above) plays informant Rowdy.
Season 6, Episode 1, "The Truth About Old Man Clanton": Howard Petrie (shown on the right, played Hugh Blaine on Bat Masterson) plays Arizona Governor Gosper. Britt Lomond (Captain Monastario on Zorro) plays outlaw Johnny Ringo.
Season 6, Episode 2, "The Doctor": Gregory Walcott (starred in Badman's Country and Plan 9 From Outer Space and played Det. Roger Havilland on 87th Precinct) plays outlaw leader Odie Hewitt. Walter Coy (Zoravac on Rocky Jones, Space Ranger and was the narrator on Frontier) plays doctor-turned-prospector Henry Mason. Sarah Selby (Aunt Gertrude on The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure, Lucille Vanderlip on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Miss Thomas on Father Knows Best, and Ma Smalley on Gunsmoke) plays  his wife Cora.
Season 6, Episode 3, "Johnny Behind the Deuce": Jack Ging (shown on the left, played 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 card-player Johnny O'Rourke. Carolyn Craig (starred in Giant, House on Haunted Hill, and Studs Lonigan and played Cynthia Allison on General Hospital) plays his fiancé Marcia.
Season 6, Episode 4, "Shoot to Kill": Howard Petrie (see "The Truth About Old Man Clanton" above) returns as Governor Gosper. Tyler McVey (Gen. Maj. Norgath on Men Into Space) plays Arizona Marshal Crawley Dake. Frank Gerstle (see "The Big Fight at Total Wreck" above) returns as mine owner Dick Gird. Don C. Harvey (Collins on Rawhide) plays a bartender.
Season 6, Episode 6, "Big Brother": Sue Randall (shown on the right, Miss Alice Landers on Leave It to Beaver) plays outlaw moll Lucy Tedder. Sherwood Price (Gen Gen. Jeb Stuart on The Gray Ghost) plays her fiancé Frank McLaury.
Season 6, Episode 7, "Woman of Tucson": Lloyd Corrigan (starred in A Girl, a Guy, and a Gob, Hitler's Children, Captive Wild Woman, The Bandit of Sherwood Forest, and Son of Paleface and played Papa Dodger on Willy, Wally Dipple on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Uncle Charlie on Happy, and Professor McKillup on Hank) plays dime novel author Ned Buntline. Rita Lynn (Ella Russo on The Detectives and Miss Kelly on Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) plays outlaw widow Amy Jones. James Nolan (Inspector Roper on Dante) plays Ten Percent Gang leader Luke Tighe.
Season 6, Episode 8, "The Fanatic": Mort Mills (shown on the left, played Marshal Frank Tallman on Man Without a Gun, Sgt. Ben Landro on Perry Mason, and Sheriff Fred Madden on The Big Valley) plays religious sect hater Odie Cairns. 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 religious sect outcast Hiram Grant. Jeanne Bates (Nurse Wills on Ben Casey) plays his wife Selma. 
 
Season 6, Episode 9, "He's My Brother": Wesley Lau (shown on the right, played Lt. Andy Anderson on Perry Mason and Master Sgt. Jiggs on The Time Tunnel) plays outlaw Dave Dray. Robert Sampson (Sgt. Walsh on Steve Canyon, Father Mike Fitzgerald on Bridget Love Bernie, and Sheriff Turk Tobias on Falcon Crest) plays his brother Cully.
Season 6, Episode 10, "The Too Perfect Crime": Denver Pyle (see "A Murderer's Return" above) plays stable owner Hoss Mackey. Ed Nelson (Michael Rossi on Peyton Place and Ward Fuller on The Silent Force) plays mine employee Hal Babcock. David Carlile (Deputy Bookright on The Long, Hot Summer) plays Babcock's rival Tom Gibbons.
Season 6, Episode 11, "Johnny Ringo's Girl": Suzanne Lloyd (Raquel Toledano on Zorro) plays Ringo's girlfriend Mary Turner. Lee Farr (Det. Lt. Jim Conway on The Detectives) plays her brother Claude. Britt Lomond (see "The Truth About Old Man Clanton" above) plays returns as Johnny Ringo. Glenn Strange (played Frankenstein's monster in House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein and played Sam Noonan on Gunsmoke) plays saddle tramp Joe.
Season 6, Episode 12, "Miss Sadie": Susan Cummings (shown on the left, played Georgia on Union Pacific) plays bank robber Ben Roberts' wife Sadie. Sam Flint (see "Let's Hang Curly Bill" above) plays bank manager Mr. Gale.
Season 6, Episode 13, "Winning Streak": Gloria Winters (Babs Riley on The Life of Riley and Penny King on Sky King) plays Morgan Earp's fiancé Ruthie Jensen.