Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Lawless Years (1961)



As America's interest in the Roaring '20's continued with the unbridled success of ABC's The Untouchables, NBC resurrected its own Prohibition-era crime drama The Lawless Years in the spring of 1961 as a sort of extended summer replacement program, with 20 new programs airing between May 12 and September 22. The March 25 edition of TV Guide noted that the show was returning as part of NBC's shakeup of its Friday evening lineup, replacing the first half of The Bell Telephone Hour. The program had initially launched in April 1959, the same month The Untouchables first aired as a two-part TV movie on Desilu Playhouse, and ran for 18 episodes until the end of August of that year. Its second season was then tried as a prime-time series in October 1959 but was canceled after only 9 episodes, the last airing in January 1960.

Like the man whose exploits inspired The Untouchables, New York detective Barney Ruditsky, whose unpublished memoirs were the source for The Lawless Years, had a checkered career after his glory years. He retired from the New York police force after 20 years in 1941, served in the U.S. Army in Africa during World War II, and then settled in Los Angeles, where he owned a nightclub called Sherry's, a liquor store, and a private detective agency. He also served as a technical advisor and occasionally had bit parts in feature films for 20th Century Fox: Margin for Error, Behind Green Lights, and Nocturne. However, his reputation as a scion of law and order came under attack by the Los Angeles Police Department, who suggested that his detective agency was also in the business of collecting bad gambling debts for mobsters like Bugsy Siegel and Mickey Cohen, though Ruditsky denied the accusations when called to testify before the Kefauver hearings on organized crime. However, even in his New York salad days Ruditsky was on a few occasions accused of taking bribes in underworld-backed labor disputes, though no charges were ever brought against him.

But his Hollywood detective agency was dealt a severe blow when he was at the center of the infamous Wrong Door Raid after being hired by Joe Dimaggio to spy on Marilyn Monroe, whom he suspected of having an affair. When one of Ruditsky's agents saw Monroe's car parked outside a friend's apartment which Dimaggio believed was being used for trysts with Monroe's voice coach, Ruditsky called Dimaggio, who brought along Frank Sinatra and a few other friends, and the group broke down the apartment door only to find a secretary who lived alone and had no connection to Monroe. The fallout from the incident seriously damaged Ruditsky's reputation, but not enough to keep NBC from hiring him as a technical advisor for the series based on his memoirs about his days in New York.

With Ruditsky directly involved in the series, it's no wonder that James Gregory's portrayal of him is bolt upright. Gregory's Ruditsky can't be bought, though in the episode "Ginny" (July 14, 1961) he goes undercover and pretends to take money from Dutch Schultz in order to shut down his operation of paying off dirty cops. He seems to have a somewhat cordial relationship with some of his adversaries, particularly Lepke Buchalter in "Ike, the Novelty King" (September 22, 1961), and seems to have grown up with many more, most notably Louis Kassoff in the five-part serial "Louy K" (May 26 - June 23, 1961). But he takes great pleasure in telling off the dangerous criminals he is trying to nab--calling them punks, scum, and telling them how much they stink. Remarkably, no one ever takes a shot at him or lands a punch. 

While the depiction of Ruditsky might be one dimensional, many of the stories of noted New York gangsters stick fairly close to the actual facts of their lives. "The Kid Dropper Story" (July 7, 1961) is based on the death of Nathan Kaplan, though in the TV episode he is named Jacob Koster. Dropper has a running feud with gangster Little Augie Orgen, who vows to get even and has a young upstart shoot Dropper when he is seated in a police car after being released from prison, just as he was in real life. "Little Augie" (July 21, 1961) shows Jacob "Little Augie" Orgen being gunned down by Lepke Buchalter and Gurrah Shapiro (who in the TV series is named Charlie Gurrah). And at the end of the episode "Romeo and Rose" (September 15, 1961), Ruditsky mentions that Murder, Inc. enforcer Abe Reles was eventually arrested and sang his guts out to the authorities before either jumping or being pushed out of a 10th story window to his death, just as happened to the real Abe "Kid Twist" Reles.

Since Ruditsky's memoirs were never published, it is difficult to fact-check the other stories presented on The Lawless Years. The death of the title character in "The Jack 'Legs' Diamond Story" (May 12, 1961) is depicted as having been ordered by rival gangster Dutch Schultz, which was one of the prevailing theories at the time. But later testimony suggests that it was more likely the work of the Albany, New York police force. And the five-part "Louy K" serial is believed to have been loosely based on the life of underworld mastermind Meyer Lansky, who was still alive and doing business when The Lawless Years aired. Though he was a Russian immigrant and a key organizer and brain trust of New York gangster activities, eventually setting up gambling operations in Las Vegas and running a successful hotel in pre-revolutionary Havana, he was not driven to a life of crime by the rape of his sister and he was not gunned down by Buchalter's men after leaving the organization after his sister's death. The Louy K serial is one of the least successful of the stories on The Lawless Years because there isn't enough action to warrant devoting five full episodes to it, and it has the smell of melodrama with Kassoff's shouting denunciation of his rabbinical studies after he is powerless to stop his sister's rape. Though the shorter 30-minute treatment of other stories can at times seem procedural and formulaic, at least the pacing doesn't drag as it does in the Louy K series.

Since it had failed in its lone attempt as a fall prime-time series and was brought back as an extended summer stop-gap, it's no surprise that The Lawless Years was not given another shot at NBC's regular seasonal schedule. Ruditsky himself would die the next year from a heart attack shortly after being diagnosed with a colon tumor. The Roaring 20's fad in 1960s American television wouldn't last much longer--The Roaring 20's was canceled in 1962, and The Untouchables in 1963. But the genre has a certain timeless appeal, as shown with the more recent Boardwalk Empire series, which ran from 2010 until 2014. It's just unfortunate that Ruditsky didn't chronicle his days in Los Angeles.

Though no on-screen credit is given for the theme music or individual scores for The Lawless Years, musical supervision was handled by Raoul Kraushaar (he is credited with composing the theme on imdb.com), who was born in Paris, France the son of an orchestral musician. After his mother died, he went to live with an aunt and then stowed away on an ocean liner headed for New York. He studied musical arrangement at Columbia University before moving to Los Angeles in the 1930s. There he worked arranging for big bands and later secured a job with Republic Pictures, which resulted in working on Gene Autry feature films beginning with Rovin' Tumbleweeds in 1939. After the war he began hiring out to a number of other studios and worked on science fiction classics such as Preshistoric Women, Invaders From Mars, and The Unknown Terror as well as the noir classic The Blue Gardenia and a number of B-grade westerns. In 1952 his work on Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd led to his being hired to write the theme and material for individual episodes of The Abbott and Costello Show. While continuing prolific work on feature westerns, he also found work on more TV series such as Hopalong Cassidy and Lassie, for which he was at one time credited with writing the theme, but this was later proved to have been written by William Lava. The issue of uncertain attribution, common for the era, makes it hard to know exactly how much of the music Kraushaar composed on the series he supervised, he is credited with composing for 24 episodes of Mister Ed in 1961, as well as 2 episodes each of Assignment Underwater and Outlaws. His credited compositional work for the remainder of his career, which ran through the 1970s, consisted of more B grade features, most notably the 1966 camp classics Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter and Billy the Kid Versus Dracula. His last credit was for the 1980 TV movie Children of Divorce, after which he retired to Pompano Beach, Florida. He died there at the age of 93 on October 13, 2001.

The "complete series" has been released on DVD by Timeless Media Group. However, this 45-episode collection is missing the two-part "Mad Dog Coll Story," which aired on July 28 and August 4, 1961.

The Actors

For the biography for James Gregory, see the post for The Lawless Years 1960.

Robert Karnes

Robert Anthony Karnes was born in Paducah, Kentucky, though he was living in Arizona by the time he received his Social Security card. Little is known about his early years, but he broke into film roles in the mid-1940s, beginning with an uncredited appearance in The Leopard Man in 1943. Though most of his early work was similarly without credits, he appeared in some major motion pictures during this era--The Best Years of Our Lives, Miracle on 34th Street, Gentlemen's Agreement, All the King's Men, Call Northside 777, and From Here to Eternity. His television debut came in 1951, appearing on three different programs but all in likewise unnamed character parts. His career throughout the 1950s was prolific but consisted largely of minor roles or supporting roles in B-movie material, such as Project Moon Base and Half Human. His role as Barney Ruditsky's sidekick Max Fields was his first recurring TV role, appearing 21 times on the series between 1959-61. This role seemingly led to more regular TV work: he appeared four times as Deputy D.A. Victor Chamberlin on Perry Mason in 1960-61, as well as multiple appearances on The Real McCoys, Have Gun -- Will Travel, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents during the same period. He remained very busy throughout the rest of his career, making 11 appearances on Gunsmoke, 6 on Ironside, and 5 on Bonanza in addition to dozens of other programs, though his only other recurring role was playing Sheriff King in 4 episodes of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries in 1977. Married to actress Doris Karnes for 38 years, he died from heart failure on December 4, 1979 at the age of 62.

Notable Guest Stars

Season 3, Episode 1, "The Jack 'Legs' Diamond Story": Robert Ellenstein (shown on the left, appeared in 3:10 to Yuma, Too Much Too Soon, and North by Northwest) plays mobster Jack "Legs" Diamond. Joseph Mell (appeared in When World Collide, The Lost Planet, Magnificent Obsession, and I Was a Teenage Werewolf and played Bill Pence on Gunsmoke) plays Hotsy Totsy Club co-owner Charlie Entra. Dick Wilson (Dino Barone on McHale's Navy and George Whipple in Charmin toilet paper commercials) plays club manager Hymie Cee. Peggy Maley (starred in The Lady Says No, The Wild One, Human Desire, and The Guns of Fort Petticoat) plays Diamond's wife Alice. Norman Alden (Johnny Ringo on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Captain Horton on Rango, Grundy on Not for Hire, Tom Williams on My Three Sons, and Coach Leroy Fedders on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman) plays Dutch Schultz hitman Lulu.
Season 3, Episode 2, "The Sonny Rosen Story II": John Gabriel (shown on the right, played Andy Rivers on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mr. Van Huyten on A Kind of Loving, Dr. Seneca Beaulac on Ryan's Hope, and Pete LeGrand on Days of Our Lives) plays spoiled rich kid Sonny Rosen. Peter Brocco (Peter the waiter on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show) plays his father Meyer. Dorothy Adams (appeared in Laura, The Best Years of Our Lives, The Winning Team, and The Killing) plays his mother Sarah. Bernard Fein (Pvt Gomez on The Phil Silvers Show) plays thug Bo Scalsi. Charles Wagenheim (Halligan on Gunsmoke) plays informant Louie the Gimp.

Season 3, Episode 3, "Louy K: Part 1": Paul Richards (appeared in Playgirl and Beneath the Planet of the Apes) plays gangster kingpin Louis Kassoff. Naomi Stevens (Juanita on The Doris Day Show, Mama Rossini on My Three Sons, Rose Montefusco on The Montefuscos, and Sgt. Bella Archer on Vega$) plays his Aunt Rose.  Baruch Lumet (renowned Yiddish theater actor who appeared in The Killer Shrews, The Interns, and The Pawnbroker) plays a street vendor.
Season 3, Episode 4, "Louy K: Part 2--Sing Sing": Paul Richards (shown on the left, see "Louy K: Part 1" above) returns as Louis Kassoff. Naomi Stevens (see "Louy K: Part 1" above) returns as his Aunt Rose. John Vivyan (see the biography section for the 1960 post on Mr. Lucky) plays gangster Lepke Buchalter.  Robert Ellenstein (see "The Jack 'Legs' Diamond Story" above) returns as Legs Diamond. Henry Corden (Carlo on The Count of Monte Cristo, and Babbitt on The Monkees and did voicework on The Flintstones, Jonny Quest, The Atom Ant Show, The Banana Splits Adventure Hour and Return to the Planet of the Apes) plays gangster Waxey Gordon. Stanley Adams (Lt. Morse on Not for Hire) plays gangster Charlie Gurrah. Ken Mayer (Major Robbie Robertson on Space Patrol) plays prison guard Stagg. Joseph Mell (see "The Jack 'Legs' Diamond Story" above) plays a fish peddler.
Season 3, Episode 5, "Louy K: Part 3--Birth of the Organization": Paul Richards (see "Louy K: Part 1" above) returns as Louis Kassoff. Jack Weston (Wilbur "Wormsey" Wormser on Red Brown of the Rocket Rangers, Chick Adams on My Sister Eileen, Walter Hathaway on The Hathaways, and Danny Zimmer on The Four Seasons) plays mob financier A.J. Naomi Stevens (see "Louy K: Part 1" above) returns as his Aunt Rose. John Vivyan (see "Louy K: Part 2" above) returns as Lepke Buchalter.  Robert Ellenstein (see "The Jack 'Legs' Diamond Story" above) returns as Legs Diamond. Henry Corden (see "Louy K: Part 2" above) returns as Waxey Gordon. Stanley Adams (see "Louy K: Part 2" above) returns as Charlie Gurrah. Norman Alden (see "The Jack 'Legs' Diamond Story" above) plays gangster Lucky Luciano. Dick Wilson (see "The Jack 'Legs' Diamond Story" above) plays gangster Little Augie Orgen.
Season 3, Episode 6, "Louy K: Part 4--Heydays of the Organization": Paul Richards (see "Louy K: Part 1" above) returns as Louis Kassoff. Naomi Stevens (see "Louy K: Part 1" above) returns as his Aunt Rose. John Vivyan (shown on the right, see "Louy K: Part 2" above) returns as Lepke Buchalter.  Robert Ellenstein (see "The Jack 'Legs' Diamond Story" above) returns as Legs Diamond. Joan Staley (Playboy Playmate who appeared in Cape Fear, Roustabout, Valley of the Dragons, Johnny Cool, and The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and played Hannah on 77 Sunset Strip and Roberta Love on Broadside) plays Diamond's mistress Kiki Roberts. Henry Corden (see "Louy K: Part 2" above) returns as Waxey Gordon. Stanley Adams (see "Louy K: Part 2" above) returns as Charlie Gurrah. Norman Alden (see "The Jack 'Legs' Diamond Story" above) plays gangster Lucky Luciano. Milton Frome (starred in Pardners, The Delicate Delinquent, and The Swinger and played Lawrence Chapman on The Beverly Hillbillies) plays Ruditsky's superior Capt. McCloskey.
Season 3, Episode 7, "Louy K: Part 5--The Disintegration": Paul Richards (see "Louy K: Part 1" above) returns as Louis Kassoff. Naomi Stevens (see "Louy K: Part 1" above) returns as his Aunt Rose. John Vivyan (see "Louy K: Part 2" above) returns as Lepke Buchalter.  Henry Corden (see "Louy K: Part 2" above) returns as Waxey Gordon. Stanley Adams (see "Louy K: Part 2" above) returns as Charlie Gurrah. Joseph Mell (see "The Jack 'Legs' Diamond Story" above) returns as a fish peddler.

Season 3, Episode 8, "The Miles Miller Story": Walter Burke (shown on the left, starred in All the King's Men, Jack the Giant Killer, and Support Your Local Sheriff! and played Tim Potter on Black Saddle) plays underworld attorney and mastermind Miles Miller. Richard Reeves (Mr. Murphy on Date With the Angels) plays one of his thugs Red Morin. Joan Staley (see "Louy K: Part 4--Heydays of the Organization" above) plays Miller's girlfriend Daphne Marco. Meg Wyllie (Mrs. Kissell on The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters and Aunt Lolly Stemple on Mad About You) plays an insurance company agent's wife Mrs. Banks.
Season 3, Episode 9, "The Kid Dropper Story": Jack Weston (see " Louy K: Part 3--Birth of the Organization" above) plays gangster Jacob "Kid Dropper" Koster. Al Ruscio (Paul Locatelli on Shannon, Sal Giordano on Life Goes On, and Frank Ruscio on Joe's Life) plays his brother Benjamin.  Bartlett Robinson (Frank Caldwell on Mona McCluskey) plays the New York District Attorney.  Milton Frome (see "Louy K: Part 4--Heydays of the Organization" above) plays Ruditsky's superior Capt. Coombs. Ron Soble (Dirty Jim on The Monroes) plays Little Augie henchman Big Smiley.
Season 3, Episode 10, "Ginny": Barbara Stuart (shown on the right, played Bessie on The Great Gildersleeve, Alice on Pete and Gladys, Bunny on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., Peggy Ferguson on The McLean Stevenson Show, Marianne Danzig on Our Family Honor, and Alice on Huff) plays Dutch Schultz's girlfriend Ginny. Milton Frome (see "Louy K: Part 4--Heydays of the Organization" above) returns as Capt. McCloskey. Hal Hamilton (Dr. Sidney Fell on Days of Our Lives) plays dirty cop Det. Rand. Bobs Watson (Sidney on The Jim Backus Show) plays a popcorn vendor.

Season 3, Episode 11, "Little Augie": Vic Morrow (shown on the left, starred in Tribute to a Bad Man, God's Little Acre, and Portrait of a Mobster and played Sgt. Saunders on Combat! and Capt. Eugene Nathan on B.A.D. Cats) plays gangster Jacob "Little Augie" Orgen. Stanley Adams (see "Louy K: Part 2" above) returns as Charlie Gurrah. Sid Tomack (Jim Gillis on The Life of Riley) plays garment factory owner Henry James. Orville Sherman (Mr. Feeney on Buckskin, Wib Smith on Gunsmoke, and Tupper on Daniel Boone) plays one of his striking workers Samuel Landman. Terence de Marney (Case Thomas on Johnny Ringo and Counsellor Doone on Lorna Doone) plays underworld financier A.J. Tyler McVey (Gen. Maj. Norgath on Men Into Space) plays a judge. Hugh Sanders (starred in That's My Boy, The Pride of St. Louis, The Winning Team, and The Wild One) plays the New York District Attorney.
Season 3, Episode 14, "Blood Brothers": Harry Dean Stanton (shown on the right, appeared in Kelly's Heroes, Dillinger, Cool Hand Luke, Repo Man, Pretty in Pink, Alien, Paris, Texas and played Jake Walters on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman) plays small-time punk Tommy Ryan. Joe Corey (Humphrey Humpsteader on Dear Phoebe) plays his best friend Vince Matteo.
 
Season 3, Episode 15, "The Victor Gorido Story": Henry Corden (shown on the left, see "Louy K: Part 2" above) plays hitman Victor Gorido. Dick Miller (see "The Jack 'Legs' Diamond Story" above) plays his partner Happy Mione. Charles Wagenheim (see "The Sonny Rosen Story II" above) returns as Louie the Gimp.
Season 3, Episode 16, "Artie Moon": George Brenlin (Benny on General Hospital and Deke Dukowski on Adam-12) plays small-time racketeer Artie Moon. Mary Webster (Rachel Verinder on The Moonstone, Jill Reed on Emergency-Ward 10, Anna on Circus, and Sarah Onedin on The Onedin Line) plays his wife Goldie. Warren Oates (starred in In the Heat of the Night, The Wild Bunch, and Stripes and who played Ves Painter on Stoney Burke) plays his partner Charlie Brown.
Season 3, Episode 17, "Triple Cross": Stephen Roberts (Mr. Stan Peeples on Mr. Novak) plays thug Olaf Jurgeson. Nita Talbot (shown on the right, played Dora Miles on The Jim Backus Show, Marya on Hogan's Heroes, Judy Evans on Here We Go Again, Delfina on General Hospital, and Rose on Starting From Scratch) plays his girlfriend Mildred Greyson. John Gabriel (see "The Sonny Rosen Story II" above) plays his getaway driver Eddie Maschio. David Fresco (Albert Wysong on Murder One) plays Charlie Lucky operative Crawford. Peter Brocco (see "The Sonny Rosen Story II" above) plays Mildred's father Isaac Gross.
Season 3, Episode 18, "The Jonathan Wills Story": Tommy Cook (played Little Beaver in the Red Ryder radio serial and in feature film The Adventures of Red Ryder and appeared in Jungle Girl, Tarzan and the Leopard Woman, Humoresque, and Teenage Crime Wave) plays low-level criminal Joey Valenti.
Season 3, Episode 19, "Romeo and Rose": Paul Richards (see "Louy K: Part 1" above) plays hitman Manny "Romeo" Farkas.


Season 3, Episode 20, "Ike, the Novelty King": Joseph Mell (see "The Jack 'Legs' Diamond Story" above) plays novelty shop owner Ike, the Novely King. John Vivyan (see "Louy K: Part 2" above) returns as Lepke Buchalter. James Lanphier (shown on the left, see the biography section for the 1960 post on Peter Gunn) plays Lepke's lieutenant Pittsburgh Phil. Orville Sherman (see "Little Augie" above) plays furrier Sam. Norman Alden (see "The Jack 'Legs' Diamond Story" above) returns as Dutch Schultz hitman Lulu.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Frontier Circus (1961)



During the 1960-61 television season, the western was still riding high, with 4 of the top 6 programs being of the western persuasion. One of the most popular was Wagon Train, produced by Revue Studios, finishing #2 for 1960-61 before ascending to the top spot for 1961-62. While the western was still immensely popular, the sheer number of westerns on the air had pretty much tapped the well dry in terms of new concepts. There were already historically based series such as Bat Masterson and The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, wandering gunfighters such as Cheyenne and Bronco, town marshals on Gunsmoke and Lawman, cattle drivers on Rawhide, single parents on The Rifleman and Bonanza, a bounty hunter on Wanted:Dead or Alive, a gun for hire on Have Gun -- Will Travel, an aspiring lawyer on Sugarfoot, card-playing brothers on Maverick, a shotgun-toting detective on Shotgun Slade, and a reluctant deputy on The Deputy. What the western didn't have was animals. So established western novelist Samuel A. Peeples, who the season before  had created The Tall Man based on the legendary but historically questionable relationship between Sheriff Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, came up with the idea of Frontier Circus, which TV Guide in its Fall 1961 Preview issue sarcastically called "Wagon Train with animals."

And, yes, like Wagon Train, the program focuses on a caravan traveling across the west and encountering all sorts of adventures along the way. And many of the plots are driven by characters the circus regulars encounter along the way, rather than telling the story of the regular characters themselves, in this case ringmaster Colonel Casey Thompson, straw boss Ben Travis, and scout and advance man Tony Gentry, with animal handler Duffy added once the season started rolling. For example, we aren't told in the first 10 episodes that aired in 1961 where Thompson's "Colonel" title came from; we only know he has always had a dream of leading a circus across the country. And Ben Travis' backstory is a mystery. Tony Gentry, on the other hand, is a former Confederate soldier from Texas who could have gone astray after the war, as men like Jess Evans in "The Hunter and the Hunted" (November 2, 1961) have done, but was taken in by Thompson. But unlike Wagon Train, the series does not have an umbrella structure that defines each season or an overall premise to unify the disparate, individual episodes. In Wagon Train, each season constitutes one trip across the country from Missouri to California, bringing settlers west to populate an increasingly white western United States. Though there is not a rigid geographical structure for the sequence of episodes, they generally progress across plains, deserts, and mountains before reaching the west coast. Frontier Circus has no such progression. The one episode that alludes to these geographical reference points is "Winter Quarters" (November 23, 1961), which finds the Thompson & Travis Circus at the end of their performing season in Nevada. Usually they would pack up and head back to Missouri to hole up during the winter, repairing damaged equipment and developing new acts for the next season.  But Thompson persuades his partners that they should instead press on over the Sierra Mountains to California, which he paints as all sunshine and gold. However, the next week they are near Purgatory, Colorado ("Patriarch of Purgatory," November 30-1961), and the week after that they are near Hamilton, North Dakota ("The Shaggy Kings," December 7, 1961), so there is little rhyme or reason to their peregrinations. And as far as an overall purpose, Thompson essentially admits that his program is piggy-backing on the wagon trains depicted in "that other series" in "The Shaggy Kings" when he explains to Travis that they provide entertainment for all the struggling settlers who are striving to carve out a new nation in the west.

While other westerns of the era made at least a half-hearted attempt to depict other races and genders as worthy of respect, Frontier Circus sticks to a white patriarchal model as the ideal in the mythical west. The few Native Americans we see in the first 10 episodes are either bigamists or duplicitous. In "Dr. Sam" (October 26, 1961) Chief Red Cloud is immediately smitten by Dr. Samantha Applewhite when his braves commandeer her wagon and bring her and her nurse into his camp, offering to make her his ninth wife before she is rescued by the smooth-talking Thompson. And in "The Shaggy Kings" half-breed Michael Smith sets up Travis and Gentry for an ambush by leading them on a buffalo hunt and then persuading Comanche Chief Shining Knife to attack them for desecrating their sacred animal. Nor do Mexicans come in for much better treatment. In "Winter Quarters" Thompson generously takes in the horseless horse thief Nino Sanchez, who sells him a story about working with his brothers to cut timber for the mining companies nearby, then steals one of his horses and has his brothers redirect the caravan to a dead end where they lose the rest of their stock. Though he eventually regrets double-crossing Thompson who saves him from a lynch-minded rancher, he confesses that he and his brothers have decided to enter into the more profitable enterprise of cattle rustling.

White women, however, are given the most extended treatment in a more varied complex of issues but rarely are they shown as men's equals. In the aforementioned "Dr. Sam," Thompson feels that it isn't natural for a woman to be a doctor and he feels betrayed that Applewhite did not tell him she was female in their correspondence before showing up to work for him. His sexism is treated as being humorous and he is eventually outvoted by the other circus workers to allow Applewhite to stay, or more correctly to be brought back when she leaves in a huff, and after she successfully performs a brain operation on a fallen highwire performer, Thompson comes to accept her in her role. But we also hear her nurse say that she is being held to a higher standard than a man would--should she have failed to save the highwire performer, everyone would have wondered whether a man could have succeeded. And when she rides off with her nurse after her initial insulting exchange with Thompson, she is immediately captured by Indians and must be rescued by Thompson, showing that a woman is unable to fend for herself in the wild west. By episode's end she is offered a residency at a New York hospital that she decides to accept because she will be able to figuratively blaze trails for medicine-minded females who come after her, but it's clear that this path is a safer one than the one she leaves behind with the circus.

Thompson doesn't have a problem with his female sharp-shooter, an Annie Oakley-like performer named Bonnie Stevens, in "The Smallest Target" (October 12, 1961). She is even depicted as a better marksman than her estranged husband. But like the 1960 My Three Sons episode "Lady Engineer" and the 1960 episode "The Career Woman" from The Donna Reed Show, a successful career woman can never be fulfilled unless she has a home and a family. Stevens' backstory is that she abandoned her husband and newborn son to pursue a career full of adventure, but when she meets her now 10-year-old son during one of the circus' stops, her motherly instincts well up inside her and she can no longer remain separated from her boy. At the show's conclusion, she and her husband have reconciled and she decides to leave the circus and attend to the needs of her family, leaving her prize rifle with Thompson as a memento. The message is clear: a woman might be able to do all the things a man can do, but it won't make her happy unless she sticks to her traditional subservient role.

Thelma Ritter plays another career woman in "Journey From Hannibal" (November 9, 1961) but one forced into running her husband's livery stable after he dies. Despite her independent nature and her refusal to fall for Thompson's sales pitch to pay her later for boarding an elephant he bought 4 months ago, she finally has to go along with his proposal to take her with him back to Bismarck, where the circus will earn enough to settle his account with her, because her hometown of Hannibal, Missouri is drying up and she is headed for bankruptcy if she stays where she is. In other words, she is a damsel in distress and Thompson is her knight in shining armor. Once she has made the long journey with him to Bismarck and is repaid, she says she will probably settle down somewhere and open another livery stable, which is perfectly acceptable within the patronizing framework of Frontier Circus because she is past child-bearing age.

Another damsel in distress is dance hall singer Karina Andrews in the episode "Karina" (November 9, 1961), who has the temerity to shoot her abusive husband after he beats her for refusing to take the stage at his tawdry dance hall. Fearing that she will be hanged for murder, she flees the scene and winds up hiding in the circus prop tent, where she is discovered by Gentry, who immediately falls in love with her and puts her on a pedestal as an angel though he knows nothing about her. However, though Karina has the strength to shoot her own husband, she doesn't have enough to finish the job: Her husband is not dead, and eventually he and his brother catch up with the circus and attempt to spirit her back home. But Travis, Thompson, and Gentry, with an assist from elephant keeper Duffy, successfully rescue her, during which the husband is crushed between two wagons by the elephant. Though she is tempted to remain with the circus and its idyllic family atmosphere, she ultimately decides she must return to "reality" to clear her name, leaving Gentry and Travis with only their idealized memories of who she is.

Other damsels in need of rescue include blind horse trainer Maureen McBride in "Lippizan" (October 19, 1961) whose prize stallion is killed when Travis mounts it to chase a robber who then shoots the horse during his escape. Travis must then find and train a suitable replacement to prevent McBride from being left destitute and heart-broken. In "Depths of Fear" (October 5, 1961) Millie Carno must be rescued from her abusive lion-taming husband by his former boss. And in "Patriarch of Purgatory" (November 30, 1961) Susannah Hedges must be rescued from her slave-owning miner father, who makes the mistake of kidnapping Travis and Gentry but is no match for their daring escape plan. And yet none of these rescued women ever wind up staying with the circus. As Dr. Christopher Sharrett has observed in his treatise on The Rifleman, in the fantasy world of the western the female is generally made unattainable, at least by the main characters, to preserve the freedom of their boys club.

In any case, the knight-in-shining armor theme did not make Frontier Circus a winner. It lasted a mere 26 episodes, ending its brief run in September 1962. Scriptwriter Dorothy Fontana has suggested that one factor in the series' cancellation was the high production costs required by the use of trained animals. Perhaps more consequential is that despite the show's circus razzle dazzle, it had little new to offer to a genre already a bit overworked.

The theme music and individual scores for several episodes of Frontier Circus were composed by David Buttolph, who was profiled in the 1960 post on Maverick.

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

The Actors

Chill Wills

Hailing from small Seagoville in Dallas County, Texas, Chill Theodore Wills was given his unusual first name by his parents as an ironic twist on the fact that he was born on one of the hottest days of the year in 1903. Wills began his entertainment career as a singer, performing from age 12 in tent shows and vaudeville before forming the vocal group Chill Wills and His Avalon Boys in the 1930s. Spotted by an RKO talent scout during a Hollywood performance, they soon began appearing in low-budget westerns beginning with Bar 20 Rides Again in 1935, though Wills appeared as an uncredited campfire singer in W.C. Fields' classic comedy It's a Gift the year before. After 5 more Avalon Boys appearances, the group appeared in the Laurel & Hardy western farce Way Out West in 1937, in which Wills doubled as Stan Laurel's singing voice. After the success of this film, Wills left the vocal group and struck out on a solo career as an actor, landing background and supporting roles throughout the rest of the 1930s and 1940s in feature films such as Lawless Valley, Boom Town, Tarzan's New York Adventure, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Harvey Girls, and The Yearling. In 1950 he was cast as the uncredited speaking voice of Francis the Talking Mule, and appeared in 6 such features over the next 5 years. He had a memorable turn as Uncle Bawley in 1956's Giant, starring James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, and Montgomery Clift, and received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role as the character Beekeeper in John Wayne's 1960 epic The Alamo. However, his over-the-top campaigning for the award turned off many of his Hollywood colleagues, including Wayne. After he ran a series of ads that read, "Win, lose, or draw, you're all my cousins and I love you," Groucho Marx countered with an ad of his own that read, "Dear Mr. Chill Wills, I am delighted to be your cousin but I voted for Sal Mineo." Wills started doing guest appearances on television in 1958, with an episode each of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Wagon Train and amassed only a half-dozen such credits before being cast as circus co-owner Col. Casey Thompson on Frontier Circus in the fall of 1961.

After the series' brief run was over, he returned to feature films, appearing in McLintock!, The Wheeler Dealers, and The Cardinal all in 1963. Appearances in a pair of two-part episodes on Route 66 and Rawhide and a single episode of Burke's Law were his only credits in 1964, but the following year he played Jim Ed Love in the Glenn Ford & Henry Fonda feature The Rounders and was cast in the same role when the movie was adapted into a TV series in 1966. Like Frontier Circus, this series last only a single season, after which it was back to sporadic guest appearances and fewer film roles, such as in Fireball 500 and Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, which included the film debut of Bob Dylan. During this time Wills was also active politically for arch conservative candidates like Barry Goldwater in his 1964 run for U.S. President, and he served as M.C. during the California campaign appearances by segregationist Alabama Governor George Wallace in 1968. Wills' last appearance on screen  was in the TV movie Stubby Pringle's Christmas in 1978. He died that same year from cancer at the age of 76 on December 15th.

 

John Derek

Derek Delevan Harris was born in Hollywood, the son of silent-era film director Lawson Harris and minor actress Dolores Johnson. As a youth, his good looks drew the attention of movie mogul David O. Selznick and name-giving agent Henry Willson, who dubbed him Dare Harris. After appearing in minor roles in two 1944 films, Since You Went Away and I'll Be Seeing You, he was drafted into the army and served in the Philippines at the end of the war. When he returned stateside, he sought out Humphrey Bogart, who gave him the name John Derek and had him cast as young criminal Nick Romano in Knock on Any Door, which appeared in 1949. The same year he won praise playing Broderick Crawford's step-son in the Oscar-winning All the King's Men, but his acting career thereafter failed to capitalize on these early successes. Instead of starring in Nicolas Ray's production of In a Lonely Place, which Bogart's production company had initially acquired specifically for Derek, the story was rewritten to star Bogart, and Derek wound up signing with Columbia and appearing in swash-buckling B movies like Rogues of Sherwood Forest, Mask of the Avenger, Prince of Pirates, and The Adventures of Hajji Baba. His studio wanted him cast in the lead for From Here to Eternity, but director Fred Zinnemann threatened to quit unless Montgomery Clift got the part. Though he had a few well-received roles in the latter 1950s, playing Joshua in Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments and Taha in Otto Premminger's Exodus, most of his material was second rate.

During this period Derek would also begin a pattern for which he would be most remembered--marrying starlets and micro-managing their careers. He married French actress Patti Behrs in 1948 and divorced her 8 years later, after which he married the Swiss actress Ursula Andress, who at the time, according to Derek, spoke little English. He also later remarked that he didn't like her hair or eyebrows and that she needed to lose weight, and he prevailed upon her to change to meet his expectations, a controlling characteristic that would later have him called a Svengali. His casting as circus co-owner Ben Travis on Frontier Circus would be his last major role on film, other than co-starring with Andress in the 1966 World War II feature Once Before I Die, which would ironically be set in the Philippines and co-star his Frontier Circus friend Richard Jaeckel.
Once Frontier Circus was canceled, Derek instead turned to photography and directing, in addition to managing the careers of his next three wives. When Andress was called on to do a nude scene in the 1964 feature Nightmare in the Sun, Derek at first agreed but then changed his mind and refused to let her do it, though he would later photograph her nude for a Playboy magazine pictorial for which he was paid $15,000. He divorced Andress in 1965 after she had an affair with French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, though the two remained good friends thereafter. His next wife was actress Linda Evans, whom he married in 1968 (despite the fact that he initially didn't like the way she dressed) and directed in the little-seen Childish Things from 1969. In 1972 while directing a feature film that would eventually be released in 1981 as Fantasies, he fell in love with 16-year-old actress Mary Cathleen Collins, who was then billed as Bo Shane. When Bo's agent threatened to file a morals charge against Derek, he and Bo moved to Germany for two years. Once she turned 18, he divorced Evans and married Bo. Though Derek would later say in a People magazine interview that Evans was very understanding about the whole affair, she later said that she wanted to die and was angry, and yet, like Andress, she remained good friends with him and Andress and Bo through the rest of his life. Bo Derek's career didn't go anywhere for 6 years, until she was cast as the object of Dudley Moore's desire in Blake Edwards' 10. John Derek's career also went nowhere during this period, his only work being a 1979 pornographic feature he co-produced with Bo called Love You! Bo Derek's appearance in 10, which made her an overnight sensation, was only brought about because of Karen Callan, who had met the Dereks at a Hugh Hefner party and recommended Bo to Edwards when he told her he was having trouble finding the right actress for the role. According to Edwards, Bo told him at their first meeting that Callan was acting as her agent, but John Derek cut her out of any compensation from the movie and made unsubstantiated claims that Callan had campaigned for a role in the movie in place of Julie Andrews, Edwards' wife, which Edwards denies. Derek's clashes with directors and anyone else connected with his wife's career eventually led him to reject the entire film industry and vow that from then on, he and Bo would make their own films. The results were disastrous--Tarzan, the Ape Man, Bolero, and Ghosts Can't Do It, all directed by Derek, were widely ridiculed and torpedoed Bo's career, as Edwards had predicted in the February 1980 People profile of the Dereks. Nevertheless, Bo stood by her man until his death at age 71 from heart failure on December 22, 1998.

 

Richard Jaeckel

Born in Long Beach, New York, Richard Hanley Jaeckel's family moved to California when he was a teenager. After graduating from Hollywood High School, he went to work in the mail room at 20th Century Fox, where he was spotted in 1943 by a casting director who wanted him to play a young Marine in Guadalcanal Diary. At first Jaeckel said he wasn't interested and eventually agreed to play the role only on the condition that he could then return to work in the mail room. But he next appeared in the Navy flyer drama Wing and a Prayer before serving in the real Navy from 1944-48. After his service he returned to acting in a pair of John Wayne war features The Sands of Iwo Jima and Battleground. He would be gunned down by Gregory Peck in the opening scene of The Gunfighter and play a lusty young boarder after Terry Moore in Come Back, Little Sheba in 1952. Two years later he would make his television debut playing Billy the Kid in an episode of Stories of the Century, the first of many appearances on drama anthologies throughout the 1950s. Nor did his feature film work diminish throughout the decade, appearing in such top-flight films as Attack, 3:10 to Yuma, and The Naked and the Dead. Being cast as scout Tony Gentry on Frontier Circus in 1961 was the first of many recurring TV roles.

After the series' 26-episode run, he continued to find occasional TV guest spots on shows such as Wagon Train, Combat!, and The Virginian, but it was his feature film work that won him the most accolades, appearing in Town Without Pity, 4 for Texas, and most notably in The Dirty Dozen as tough Sgt. Bowman, followed by the similarly themed The Devil's Brigade the following year. He received his one and only Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor playing Paul Newman's brother in 1970's Sometimes a Great Notion. Newman picked him for the role after observing Jaeckel interacting with his family at Malibu Beach and felt he was just the right actor to play his on-screen brother. In 1972 he was cast as Lt. Pete McNeil in the detective series Banyon and after appearing in the 1973 TV movie Firehouse as Hank Meyers, he was kept on in the same role when the premise was moved to TV in 1974. Other than Clint Eastwood's The Drowning Pool in 1975, the quality of his feature films declined in the 1970s to such fare as Walking Tall II and Mako: The Jaws of Death, but his television work was steady, including another recurring role as Jack Klinger in Andy Griffith's 1979 series Salvage 1. He played Major Hawkins in the 1983 series At Ease and then found steady work for 3 years playing Lt. Martin Quirk on Spenser: For Hire. His last regular role and acting credits were playing rescue operation leader Captain Ben Edwards on Baywatch from 1989-94. In 1994 he was forced to file for bankruptcy and lost his home and most of his possessions. He was also diagnosed with melanoma and moved into the Motion Picture and Television Retirement Center in Woodland Hills, California, where he stayed until his death at age 70 on June 14, 1997.

 

J. Pat O'Malley

James Patrick Francis O'Malley was born in Burnley, Lancashire, England and was first known as a singer who recorded over 400 songs singing with Jack Hylton and his orchestra as well as a solo performer. Hylton and O'Malley came to the United States in 1935 to record with American musicians, and O'Malley wound up staying and shifting into acting and animation voicework. His first feature film appearance came in the 1940 Victor Mature romance Captain Caution, followed by Paris Calling in 1941, and Thumbs Up and Lassie Come Home, both in 1943. In 1949 he began working for Disney in animated roles requiring a British accent, beginning with voicing Cyril Proudbottom in the short The Wind in the Willows and the feature The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. He would go on to provide multiple voices for Disney animated features Alice in Wonderland, 101 Dalmations, Mary Poppins, and The Jungle Book as well as playing the character Perkins in the Disney serial and related feature film The Adventures of Spin and Marty. His television career began with an episode of the drama anthology Stage 13 in 1950, and he amassed a steady stream of credits throughout the 1950s in more drama anthologies and scripted series such as The Danny Thomas Show and Maverick. He appeared 7 times as Judge Caleb Marsh in the western series Black Saddle in 1959-60 and played the character Sgt.O'Reilly in the 7-part Disney serial The Swamp Fox in 1960-61 before being cast as animal handler Duffy on Frontier Circus in the fall of 1961.

 After the series ended his workload continued to be heavy on scores of TV series and occasional feature film roles. He played Dick Van Dyke's father Sam in two episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show and would later play Carol Brady's father on the first episode of The Brady Bunch. In 1963-64 he had a recurring role as Harry Burns on My Favorite Martian, followed by the role of Mr. Bundy on George Burns' Wendy and Me in 1964-65. Despite multiple appearances on everything from Gunsmoke to Batman to Ironside, he didn't find his next regular role until he was cast as Herbert Morrison on Touch of Grace in 1973, then appeared 9 times as Bert Beasley on Maude between 1975-77. As the 1970s turned over to the 1980s, he continued to find work on series such as The Dukes of Hazzard, Barney Miller, and Fantasy Island, with his last credits coming in a pair of Taxi episodes in 1982. He died from heart disease at the age of 80 on February 27, 1985.

Notable Guest Stars

Season 1, Episode 1, "Depths of Fear": Aldo Ray (shown on the left, starred in Pat and Mike, We're No Angels, The Naked and the Dead, God's Little Acre, and The Green Berets) plays alcoholic former big-cat tamer Toby Mills. James Gregory (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Lawless Years) plays sadistic lion tamer Jacob Carno. Bethel Leslie (appeared in 15 episodes of The Richard Boone Show and played Claudia Conner on All My Children and Ethel Crawford on One Life to Live) plays his wife Millie. Vito Scotti (Jose on The Deputy, Capt. Gaspar Fomento on The Flying Nun, Gino on To Rome With Love, and Mr. Velasquez on Barefoot in the Park) plays circus clown Jaybo. Frank Ferguson (Gus Broeberg on My Friend Flicka, Eli Carson on Peyton Place, and Dr. Barton Stuart on Petticoat Junction)plays circus wagon driver Fred. Bern Hoffman (Sam the bartender on Bonanza) plays bully Bannister. Clegg Hoyt (Mac on Dr. Kildare) plays a mountain man.

Season 1, Episode 2, "The Smallest Target": Barbara Rush (starred in When Worlds Collide, It Came From Outer Space, Magnificent Obsession, and Robin and the 7 Hoods and played Lizzie Hogan on Saints and Sinners, Marsha Russell on Peyton Place, Eudora Weldon on Flamingo Road, and Ruth Camden on 7th Heaven) plays sharp-shooter Bonnie Stevens. Brian Keith (shown on the right, starred in The Parent Trap, The Pleasure Seekers, With Six You Get Eggroll, and The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming and played Matt Anders on The Crusader, Dave Blassingame on The Westerner, Uncle Bill Davis on Family Affair, Steven Halliday on The Zoo Gang, Lew Archer on Archer, Milton C. Hardcastle on Hardcastle and McCormick, Professor Roland G. Duncan on Pursuit of Happiness, B.L. McCutcheon on Heartland, and Walter Collins on Walter & Emily) plays her abandoned husband Dan Osborne. Roy Barcroft (Col. Logan on The Adventures of Spin and Marty and Roy on Gunsmoke) plays his ranch-hand Pete Andrews.

Season 1, Episode 3, "Lippizan": Vera Miles (shown on the left, starred in Wichita, The Searchers, The Wrong Man, The FBI Story, and Psycho) plays blind horse-trainer Maureen McBride. Gordon Jones (appeared in The Green Hornet, Flying Tigers, My Sister Eileen, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and McLintock! and played Mike Kelley on The Abbott and Costello Show, Pete Thompson on The Ray Milland Show, Hubie Dodd on So This Is Hollywood, and Butch Barton on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet) plays roustabout Rousty. H.M. Wynant (Frosty on Batman and Ed Chapman on Dallas) plays bandit Talby. Kay E. Kuter (Newt Kiley on Petticoat Junction and Green Acres) plays train agent Will Cutler. Otto Kruger (appeared in Treasure Island, Dracula's Daughter, Saboteur, Murder, My Sweet, and High Noon) plays former Austrian horse soldier Gen. Frederic Jellich. Joan Staley (Playboy Playmate who appeared in Cape Fear, Roustabout, Valley of the Dragons, Johnny Cool, and The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and played Hannah on 77 Sunset Strip and Roberta Love on Broadside) plays circus girl Anna-Marie. Dick Wessel (see the biography section for the 1960 post on Riverboat) plays a blacksmith named Smith.

Season 1, Episode 4, "Dr. Sam": Irene Dunne (shown on the right, five-time Oscar nominee for starring in Cimarron, Theodora Goes Wild, The Awful Truth, Love Affair, and I Remember Mama) plays physician Dr. Samantha Applewhite. Ellen Corby (Henrietta Porter on Trackdown and Esther Walton on The Waltons) plays her nurse Abby. Norman Leavitt (Ralph on Trackdown) plays bear transporter Mr. Willoughby. Sue England (Mildred Price on Bracken's World) plays circus performer Mary. Jay Silverheels (appeared in Key Largo, The Pathfinder, Drums Across the River, The Black Dakotas, and Walk the Proud Land and played Tonto on The Lone Ranger and in 4 Lone Ranger feature films) plays Chief Red Cloud. Jon Locke (Officer Garvey on Highway Patrol and Sleestack Leader on Land of the Lost) plays trapeze artist Jerry.

Season 1, Episode 5, "The Hunter and the Hunted": Eddie Albert (shown on the left, starred in Roman Holiday, Oklahoma!, The Teahouse of the August Moon, The Sun Also Rises, The Longest Day, and The Longest Yard and played Larry Tucker on Leave It to Larry, Oliver Wendell Douglas on Green Acres and Petticoat Junction, and Frank MacBride on Switch) plays small-town physician Dr. Payton Jordan. Jocelyn Brando (Marlon Brando's older sister) plays his wife Phyllis. Rip Torn (starred in King of Kings, Sweet Bird of Youth, Tropic of Cancer, and The Cincinnati Kid and played Arthur on The Larry Sanders Show and Don Geiss on 30 Rock) plays former Confederate renegade Jess Evans. John Anderson (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays saloon owner Carl. Cloris Leachman (starred in The Last Picture Show, Charley and the Angel, Dillinger, and Young Frankenstein and played Ruth Martin on Lassie, Rhoda Kirsh on Dr. Kildare, and Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, and Phyllis) plays his wife Anna.

Season 1, Episode 6, "Karina": Elizabeth Montgomery (shown on the right, played Samantha Stephens on Bewitched) plays runaway dance-hall singer Karina Andrews. Tod Andrews (Maj. John Singleton Mosby on The Gray Ghost) plays her husband Jeff. Nora Marlowe (Martha Commager on Law of the Plainsman, Sara Andrews on The Governor and J.J., and Mrs. Flossie Brimmer on The Waltons) plays fortune teller Madame Sonya. Barbara Stuart (Bessie on The Great Gildersleeve, Alice on Pete and Gladys, Bunny on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., Peggy Ferguson on The McLean Stevenson Show, Marianne Danzig on Our Family Honor, and Alice on Huff) plays knife-thrower's assistant Melda.

Season 1, Episode 7, "Journey From Hannibal": Thelma Ritter (starred in All About Eve, Pickup on South Street, Rear Window, Pillow Talk, The Misfits, Birdman of Alcatraz, and How the West Was Won) plays stable owner Bertha Beecher. Arte Johnson (a regular performer on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In who played Bascomb Bleacher, Jr. on Sally, Cpl. Lefkowitz on Don't Call Me Charlie, Clive Richlin on Glitter) plays train agent Charles Gippner. Clem Bevans (appeared in Sergeant York, Saboteur, The Yearling, Mourning Becomes Electra, and Harvey) plays train agent McPhee. James Flavin (Lt. Donovan on Man With a Camera and Robert Howard on The Roaring 20's) plays train conductor Boyle. Bill Zuckert (Arthur Bradwell on Mr. Novak and Chief Segal on Captain Nice) plays small-town Sheriff Barrett.

Season 1, Episode 8, "Winter Quarters": Robert J. Wilke (appeared in Best of the Badmen, High Noon, The Far Country, and Night Passage and played Capt. Mendoza on Zorro) plays disgruntled wagon driver Jack Gance. Alex Cord (Jack Kiley on W.E.B., Mike Holland on Cassie & Co., and Michael Coldsmith Briggs III on Airwolf) plays horse thief Nino Sanchez. Walter Sande (appeared in To Have and Have Not, A Place in the Sun, and Bad Day at Black Rock and played Capt. Horatio Bullwinkle on The Adventures of Tugboat Annie and Papa Holstrum on The Farmer's Daughter) plays roustabout Jake. Roy Barcroft (see "The Smallest Target" above) plays rancher Gore.  

Season 1, Episode 9, "Patriarch of Purgatory": Royal Dano (appeared in The Far Country, Moby Dick, and The Outlaw Josey Wales) plays mine owner Jethro Hedges. Robert Sampson (Sgt. Walsh on Steve Canyon, Father Mike Fitzgerald on Bridget Love Bernie, and Sheriff Turk Tobias on Falcon Crest) plays his son Mark.

Season 1, Episode 10, "The Shaggy Kings": Dan Duryea (shown on the left, starred in The Little Foxes, The Pride of the Yankees, Scarlet Street, and Winchester '73 and played China Smith on China Smith and The New Adventures of China Smith and Eddie Jacks on Peyton Place) plays mountain man Tobias Tiber. Dick York (Tom Colwell on Going My Way and Darrin Stephens on Bewitched) plays former gunfighter Jeb Randall. Michael Pate (starred in Face to Face, Julius Caesar, Hondo, and Tower of London and played Chief Vittoro on Hondo and Det. Sgt. Vic Maddern on Matlock) plays duplicitous Comanche Michael Smith. Frank DeKova (Chief Wild Eagle on F Troop and Louis Campagna on The Untouchables) plays sharp-shooter Karl Maynard. Jack Lambert (see the biography section for the 1960 post on Riverboat) plays gunman Hark Baker. Paul Newlan (Police Capt. Grey on M Squad and Lt. Gen. Pritchard on 12 O'Clock High) plays circus physician Doc Turner. Alan Carney (Mike Strager in a series of RKO comedies in the 1940s and appeared in The Absent-Minded Professor, Son of Flubber, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, and Herbie Rides Again) plays the circus cook. Dennis Cross (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Blue Angels) plays Comanche Chief Shining Knife.