Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Rifleman (1961)

In his 2005 monograph The Rifleman, Seton Hall University professor Christopher Sharrett maintains that the series is "the most compelling of the TV westerns that appeared at the end of the 1950s," superior to both the longer-running Gunsmoke and Bonanza. Sharrett categorizes adult TV westerns into two groups--the gunfighter motif, exemplified by programs such as Gunsmoke, Have Gun -- Will Travel, and Wanted:Dead or Alive, and the frontier settler motif, exemplified by Bonanza and Wagon Train. Sharrett finds that The Rifleman is unique in fusing those two constructs, depicting with unusual authenticity for its era the trials and triumphs of a single parent with a son and a trademark weapon running a ranch on the outskirts of an established community. Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain is not a marshal upholding law and order like Matt Dillon or an adventurer seeking to administer justice as he sees fit, as are Paladin, Cheyenne, Sugarfoot, Bronco, Bill Longley of The Texan, or any of a number of other gun-toting drifters. He is a rancher and a citizen of North Fork, New Mexico who happens to have a distinctive weapon, like Josh Randall of Wanted: Dead or Alive or Wyatt Earp, who isn't afraid to use it to defeat evil threats to a barely tamed frontier.

Sharrett also admires The Rifleman as an early example of the vision of original writer-director Sam Peckinpaugh and revels in its inherent contradictions in portraying Lucas as a reasonable man who would rather settle disagreements peacefully rather than resorting to the savage violence he seems unable to avoid because of the unreasonableness of others. Sharrett also sees the western in general as a subliminally controlling influence on male America during an age of Cold War, conformism, and capitalist propaganda, depicting a male fantasy of freedom and power while still championing the benefits of domesticity. But while The Rifleman may ultimately uphold the status quo, it also offers a glimpse into the cracks in its foundation.

Sharrett points out that although Lucas McCain staunchly supports North Fork Marshal Micah Torrance, whom he rescued from a debilitating alcoholism and persuaded the town to install as chief lawman, it is Lucas who more often than not has to back him up to make the law stick. During episodes that aired in 1961, this origin story is replayed in "Closer Than a Brother" (February 21, 1961) when Micah learns that an old nemesis, near-sighted gunman Ansel Bain, who made him flee in fear years ago, has been spotted in a nearby town and is apparently headed to North Fork. Micah becomes cranky and then turns his badge over to Lucas, whom he acknowledges is always the one to bail him out, and descends back into a bout of drunkenness. Rather than providing a sympathetic ear to his old friend, Lucas gives him a dose of tough love by not only riding to the next town and telling Bain where Micah lives but in also refusing to back Micah up after Bain pays him a visit and sets up a meeting in town for the next day. When he learns of Lucas' role in setting Bain onto him, rather than getting angry he considers it an act of kindness that Lucas would have gone to all that trouble, and he musters up the courage to rip Bain's glasses from his head and knock him out with a whiskey bottle. Though Lucas refuses to assume his usual role of Micah's bodyguard, he still orchestrates the incident's resolution by pushing Micah face first into what he fears most, essentially bailing him out from his own self-pity.

Though Lucas may unofficially provide Micah's backbone, he is officially a part of the town's establishment as a member of the town council. However, in one of the contradictory twists that Sharrett so enjoys, it seems that whenever he has to attend a town council meeting, Mark gets into trouble. In other words, in supporting the community, Lucas endangers his own family. In "A Friend in Need" (December 25, 1961), Lucas go into town to buy supplies at Milly Scott's general store. Lucas has to stay in town that evening for a town council meeting, telling Mark to take the supplies home with him after he helps Milly stock in her canned goods. But unbeknownst to the McCains, they are being watched by hired gun Carl Avery, who kidnaps Mark in a plot to lure Lucas out of town where he can be shot down. Fortunately, Avery is not a good enough shot to hit Lucas on the first try, before he realizes he is under attack, and Lucas is savvy enough to get under the building Avery is perched on and shoot him upward through the roof. Lucas is lucky to survive an incident that would never have happened had he not chosen his duty as a responsible citizen over his duty as a protective parent.

Lucas likewise runs into trouble when serving as a town official in the High Noon-inspired episode "Long Gun From Tucson" (December 11, 1961). Micah is out of town and has designated Lucas to fill in for him when notorious gunman John Holliver returns to avenge being literally ridden out on a rail 5 years earlier. Gunsmith Henry Waller, blacksmith Nils Swenson, and hotel clerk Eddie Halstead are all nervous when they hear of Holliver's expected return, as they all had a role in his ouster and figure they could be the target of his revenge. But after Lucas talks to Holliver and learns that he doesn't care whom he shoots, just as long as it is a North Fork citizen, Waller, Swenson, and Halstead all back away and argue that Lucas, as the designated law officer, should be the one to face Holliver, who has brought three other gunman with him to ensure that he gets a fair shot, or so he claims. Never one to shirk his duty as a beacon of law and order, Lucas goes into the street on the assigned morning to face Holliver and his gang, but is surprised when Waller, Swenson, and Halstead follow him with pistols to back him up. In another stroke of good fortune, Lucas and his band of amateur shooters mow down Holliver and his men without a single injury.

Lucas is again put in harm's way as the result of steadfastly supporting law and order in "The Decision" (November 6, 1961) when he witnesses the son of a local rancher baron, Corey Hazlitt, mercilessly gun down one of his father's ranch hands. Though Hazlitt's brother and cousin threaten Mark's safety and later gang up on and beat Lucas to a pulp in an effort to get him to recant his testimony, Lucas refuses to back down. At first Lucas doesn't tell Mark about the threat to his life and merely tells him to stick close to the house until the trial is over. When Mark nevertheless goes out into the pasture to repair a broken fence, hoping that his father will be pleased that he took the initiative, Lucas is instead furious that Mark disobeyed his orders, but after Mark explains his reason for his actions, Lucas has to tone down his anger and accept the responsibility that he was not forthcoming in his communication to his son. As Sharrett has observed, Lucas' parenting style is more aligned with the then-popular teachings of Dr. Spock rather than the more traditional top-down patriarchy of the 19th century. But even with his more modern approach to child-rearing, Lucas is challenged in balancing his responsibilities of parent vs. citizen.

In expounding on Lucas' role as a reasonable supporter of the established order, Sharrett also mentions that the show at times dealt with racism in a slightly more enlightened way than society as a whole or the western in particular. Sharrett describes at length the 1959 episode "The Indian" in which Michael Ansara portrays Native American Sam Burkhardt, who is also a Harvard-educated U.S. Marshal (the character would be spun off into its own series, Law of the Plainsman, later that year) whom the citizens of North Fork at first reject because of his race but are later shown the error of their ways by Lucas. In 1961, the episode "The Queue" (March 16, 1961) takes a similar approach to race, though this time through the story of Chinese launderer Wang Chi, who incurs the wrath of a local bigot and general troublemaker whom Lucas eventually has to gun down. While the episode depicts Lucas and Milly helping Wang Chi set up his business in North Fork and Mark becomes best friends with Wang Chi's son, even defending him against the bullying of the bigot's son, having him depicted as a launderer reinforces existing stereotypes about the Chinese, and by episode's end both Wang Chi and his son have shorn their traditional Chinese ponytails, called a "queue," signifying that they have discarded any notion of returning to their homeland and have accepted being assimilated into American society. So while blatant racism is painted as evil, one must still conform to the white definition of normality to be fully American. 

During this era when the African-American civil rights movement was gaining momentum, many westerns treaded lightly on the subject of race by dramatizing racism against the Chinese or Native Americans rather than confronting racist treatment of Blacks head-on. In the 34 episodes airing in 1961, we see only one African-American character, and his appearance is a curious one. In the aforementioned "Closer Than a Brother," Lucas is forced to take over the role of marshal when Micah has a breakdown at the prospect of facing his nemesis Ansel Bain. After Micah pins his marshal badge on Lucas, the latter is approached out of the blue by an African-American laborer named Thaddeus, who says he overheard in the saloon that Lucas had been made marshal and therefore might need help on his ranch. Without knowing anything more about Thaddeus or his background, Lucas shakes his hand and accepts his offer. Later that evening back at the McCain ranch, Lucas reads the Bible for inspiration about how to deal with Micah's dilemma, and Thaddeus shows that he is well-versed in the teachings of the Good Book. Afterwards we never see or hear from Thaddeus again, his only purpose seeming to be in showing that Lucas is a tolerant and thoughtful man. Though he is depicted favorably, Thaddeus is far from a fully realized human being, serving more as a prism through which we can more fully appreciate Lucas's brilliance. The series would offer a more complete Black character the following year in the episode "Two Ounces of Tin" starring Sammy Davis, Jr., which Sharrett describes in some detail. But in 1961 the series didn't know how to deal with the African-American.

Like many other westerns of the era, The Rifleman skirted the racial implications of the country's Civil War. We frequently encounter former Confederate Army characters, and often as not, they are shown as being unable to accept their defeat. In "The Prisoner" (March 14, 1961) Lucas is captured by one such character, Major Aaron King, and his adjutant Cpl. Troc and placed in a wooden cage they have built outside North Fork. The deranged King intends to punish Lucas, as a former member of the Union outfit that defeated and imprisoned King and Troc in deplorable conditions, as payback for what he endured. Lucas eventually outsmarts the Confederates by breaking out of the cage when he is brought some food, grabbing Troc's gun, and shooting both men dead. King and Troc are depicted as insane because they want revenge for treatment during a war that ended 20 years ago, not because they fought for a cause that enslaved people because of their race. At episode's end Micah brings King's saddle bags back to Lucas's house and Mark removes a Confederate flag, commenting that his father always told him the flag was a sign of honor. Lucas replies that those two men were not honorable but that men on both sides fought bravely to produce a country where all can be free. In 1961, Blacks may have been technically free but were certainly not equal. Shows like The Rifleman and virtually every other western, white-washed an inglorious period in American history in the service of perpetuating a white male American patriarchy, a system that we are still struggling with today.

As of this writing, the first two seasons of The Rifleman have been released on DVD by the original production company of Levy-Gardner-Laven. The program also airs Saturday mornings on the AMC cable channel.

The Actors

For the biographies for Chuck Connors, Johnny Crawford, and Paul Fix, see the 1960 post for The Rifleman.

Joan Taylor

Born Rose Marie Emma in Geneva, Illinois, both of Taylor's parents were show business veterans. Her Austrian mother Amelia Berky, was a song-and-dance vaudeville star in the 1920s. Her Sicilian father was a Hollywood prop man but later managed a movie theater after moving the family to Lake Forest, Illinois, where Taylor developed a love of the movies shown at her father's theater. After graduating from the Chicago National Association of Dancing Masters, Taylor moved to Hollywood in 1946 and began acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. Actor Victor Jory set up an interview for her with producer Nat Holt, which led to a movie career, beginning with the western Fighting Man of the Plains in 1949. It was also at the Pasadena Playhouse that she met her first husband Leonard Freeman while working on a production of Here Comes Mr. Jordan, and the couple were married in 1953. Taylor continued her film career throughout the 1950s, appearing mostly in westerns as well as two cult sci-fi classics--Earth vs. The Flying Saucers and 20 Million Miles to Earth. In 1958 she moved from feature films over to television, making guest appearances on programs such as Wagon Train, Yancy Derringer, and 21 Beacon Street until she was cast as Chuck Connors' romantic interest beginning in Season 3 of The Rifleman.
Taylor made 18 appearances as general store proprietor Milly Scott over two seasons of The Rifleman in a role reminiscent of Miss Kitty on Gunsmoke or Lily Merrill on Lawman. After her contract expired, she made a single appearance on 77 Sunset Strip and then retired from acting. Her husband went on to create and produce the series Hawaii Five-O, and after his death from surgery complications in 1974, Taylor took over his production company for the remainder of the series' run. She also turned to writing screenplays, co-authoring the 1997 feature comedy Fools Rush In as well as TV movies and an episode of the series Family. In 1976 she remarried to TV director/producer Walter Grauman, who worked on The Untouchables, The Fugitive, Barnaby Jones, and Murder, She Wrote, but the couple divorced 4 years later. Taylor died of natural causes at the age of 82 on March 4, 2012 in Santa Monica, California.

Ralph Moody

Ralph Roy Moody was born in St. Louis in 1886 and began performing on the stage at age 14 in 1900. Besides performing at the 1904 World's Fair in his hometown, he performed in a variety of theater troupes throughout the midwest, eventually forming his own troupe named after his wife, the Hazel McOwen Stock Company, in which she also acted. One performance in Dallas, TX in 1927 billed Moody as a Harold Lloyd impersonator. However, Moody's traveling theater days came to an end in 1939 when tornados destroyed most of his tents. He then turned to radio acting, playing the character Uncle Abner on radio in Topeka, Kansas and later settling in Cincinnati to work for Crosley Radio in the early 1940s. In 1945 he moved to California, and after a 3-month dry spell began to find work on radio programs such as Red Ryder and The Roy Rogers Show. At the age of 62 he finally broke into films in 1948 and the following year began also acting on TV programs such as The Lone Ranger. Because of his rugged features, he was often cast either as an old man or a Native American or other non-white ethnic type in films such as Road to Bali, The Far Horizons, and Reprisal! He appeared 15 times in a variety of roles on the original TV version of Dragnet and another 5 times when Jack Webb brought the series back to TV in the late 1960s. Other than 4 appearances as the Native American Nochalo/Nachato on the western series Broken Arrow in the late 1950s, his role as Doc Burrage on The Rifleman was his only recurring role. He appeared 9 times in the role between 1961-63. Once during that span the role was played by Robert Burton, and before Moody took over the role in 1961 it had been played by Edgar Buchanan, Rhys Williams, Jack Kruschen, and Fay Roope.

Moody remained active after The Rifleman right up until his death at age 84 in 1971, appearing in multiple episodes not only of Dragnet but also of Bonanza, Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, and Daniel Boone. His last credit was for the 1971 TV movie The Impatient Heart. He passed away September 16, 1971 in Burbank, California.

Bill Quinn

William Tyrell Quinn, born in New York City, began his acting career at age 6, appearing in the Broadway production Daddies in which he was billed as Billy Quinn. Besides appearing in vaudeville, Quinn made his film debut in the 1924 silent feature The New School Teacher, but his career on film really didn't take off until some 25 years later when he first appeared on the TV series The Big Story. His over 200 career acting credits are also largely on television, though he did also appear in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, three Don Knotts features--The Reluctant Astronaut, The Shakiest Gun in the West, and How to Frame a Figg--and as McCoy's father in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. But the first of several recurring TV roles was as bartender Frank Sweeney in 38 episodes of The Rifleman during the show's entire 5-year run. He made many other guest appearances during this period on shows such as Wanted: Dead or Alive, Perry Mason, and Hawaiian Eye

Once The Rifleman ended, Quinn was cast as a variety of different judges in Chuck Connors' next series, Arrest and Trial, and concurrently played a series of different admirals on McHale's Navy. He also appeared in a variety of roles in 7 episodes of Bonanza and The Big Valley and 6 episodes of Ironside and The F.B.I., as well as smaller numbers of appearances on shows like The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Virginian, and Mod Squad. In 1970 he began appearing as Felix and Oscar's physician Dr. Melnitz on The Odd Couple, and in 1972 he appeared 3 times as Mary Richards' father on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Because Quinn's daughter Virginia was married to Bob Newhart, Quinn also appeared 4 times on The Bob Newhart Show and another 3 times on Newhart a decade later. He played a judge 8 times on Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law, played Police Chief Paulson on MacMillan & Wife, and, most memorably, played Archie Bunker's blind neighbor Mr. Van Ranseleer on All in the Family and Archie Bunker's Place. His last credited role was in Star Trek V. He died of natural causes at age 81 on April 29, 1994 in Camarillo, California.

Joe Higgins

Like Bill Quinn, actor Joseph H. Higgins, born in Logansport, Indiana, began his career as a child at the age of 9. His television career began with a 1960 appearance as an unnamed bartender on The Rifleman. After that he would appear 20 more times during the remainder of the series' run, mostly as blacksmith Nils Swenson.

After The Rifleman, Higgins benefitted from his association with Chuck Connors, appearing in the feature film Flipper and 24 times as Jake Shakespeare on the series Arrest and Trial. He continued steady TV work thereafter on shows such as  Burke's Law, The Monkees, The Big Valley, and Daktari

But Higgins' biggest break came when he was cast as a gravel-voiced southern sheriff JW in Dodge automobile TV commercials in 1969 with the catch-phrase "You in a heap o' trouble, boy!" The commercial proved so popular that Higgins was retained for a series of Dodge commercials over the next several years, then a series of safety public service announcements promoting seat belt use, and even commercials for local Dodge dealers after the national commercials were discontinued. He also was cast in sheriff roles on programs such as Green Acres, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, and The Fall Guy and in feature films such as Sixpack Annie and The Man From Clover Grove. His character JW obviously provided the blueprint for scores of southern-fried sheriffs to come, most notably Jackie Gleason's Buford T. Justice in Smokey and the Bandit. His last acting credit was in a 1987 episode of the TV series Stingray. Besides his acting career, Higgins was an avid airplane buff and earned a Ph.D. in Aviation Education from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He died from a heart attack at the age of 72 on June 15, 1998.

Notable Guest Stars

Season 3, Episode 15, "Six Years and a Day": John Larch (starred in The Wrecking Crew, Play Misty for Me, and Dirty Harry and played Deputy District Attorney Jerry Miller on Arrest and Trial, Gerald Wilson on Dynasty, and Arlen & Atticus Ward on Dallas) plays vengeful former doctor Jack Cooke. Ron Hayes (see the biography section for the 1960 post on Bat Masterson) plays hired gun Bruce. James Gavin (Sheriff Frank Madden on The Big Valley) plays stranded traveler Lee Marston. 

Season 3, Episode 16, "Flowers by the Door": Richard Anderson (shown on the left, appeared in Forbidden Planet, Paths of Glory, and Seven Days in May and played D.A. Glenn Wagner on Bus Stop; Lt. Steve Drumm on Perry Mason; Chief George Untermeyer on Dan August; Oscar Goldman on The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman; and Buck Fallmont on Dynasty) plays traveling book salesman Jason Gowdy. Patricia Breslin (Amanda Peoples Miller on The People's Choice and Laura Brooks on Peyton Place) plays ranch wife Cora Seevers. 

Season 3, Episode 17, "The Long Trek": Lonny Chapman (appeared in East of Eden, Baby Doll, The Birds, and The Reivers and played Frank Malloy on For the People) plays extradited outlaw Stanley. 

Season 3, Episode 18, "The Actress": Morris Ankrum (starred in Rocketship X-M, Invaders From Mars, Earth vs. The Flying Saucers, and The Giant Claw and played the judge 22 times on Perry Mason) plays Lucas' neighbor Jacob Black. Diana Millay (shown on the right, played Laura Collins on Dark Shadows) plays his young wife Elizabeth Garrett Black.
Season 3, Episode 19, "Face of Yesterday": John Anderson (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays drunkard troublemaker Hank Clay. Ben Cooper (Waverly on The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo and the Director on The Fall Guy) plays his sharp-shooting son Simon Lee. K.T. Stevens (Vanessa Prentiss on The Young and the Restless) plays his wife Nancy. 

Season 3, Episode 20, "The Wyoming Story, Part 1" and Season 3, Episode 21, "The Wyoming Story, Part 2": Kent Taylor (Carlos Murietta on Zorro and Capt. Jim Flagg on The Rough Riders) plays corrupt U.S. Indian agent Forbes McKee. Dabbs Greer (see the biography section for the 1960 post on Gunsmoke) plays La Mesa, Wyoming town drunk Finny. Russell Thorson (Det. Lt. Otto Lindstrom on The Detectives and William Kennerly on Peyton Place) plays La Mesa Marshal Gene Burks. 

Season 3, Episode 22, "Closer Than a Brother": Berry Kroeger (appeared in Black Magic, Gun Crazy, Hitler, and Demon Seed) plays Micah's nemesis Ansel Bain. Rex Ingram (shown on the left, starred in The Green Pastures, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Thief of Baghdad (1940), Cabin in the Sky, Sahara, God's Little Acre, and Anna Lucasta) plays ranch worker Thaddeus. Kelly Thordsen (Colorado Charlie on Yancy Derringer) plays saloon troublemaker Arthur Truelove.

Season 3, Episode 23, "The Lost Treasure of Canyon Town": William Fawcett (Clayton on Duffy's Tavern, Marshal George Higgins on The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, and Pete Wilkey on Fury) plays ghost town resident Mr. Newman. Robert Foulk (Ed Davis on Father Knows Best, Sheriff Miller on Lassie, Joe Kingston on Wichita Town, Mr. Wheeler on Green Acres, and earlier played Phillip Toomey on The Rifleman) plays his son Herbert. 

Season 3, Episode 24, "Dark Day at North Fork": John Milford (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays ex-convict Jack Solby. 

Season 3, Episode 25, "The Prisoner": John Dehner (shown on the right, played Duke Williams on The Roaring '20's, Commodore Cecil Wyntoon on The Baileys of Balboa, Morgan Starr on The Virginian, Cyril Bennett on The Doris Day Show, Dr. Charles Cleveland Claver on The New Temperatures Rising Show, Barrett Fears on Big Hawaii, Marshal Edge Troy on Young Maverick, Lt. Joseph Broggi on Enos, Hadden Marshall on Bare Essence, and Billy Joe Erskine on The Colbys) plays former Confederate Major Aaron King. Adam Williams (appeared in Flying Leathernecks, The Big Heat, Fear Strikes Out, and North by Northwest) plays his adjutant Cpl. Troc. 

Season 3, Episode 26, "Assault": Linda Lawson (shown on the left, played Renee on Adventures in Paradise, Pat Perry on Don't Call Me Charlie, and Laura Fremont on Ben Casey) plays farmer's daughter Vashti Croxton. Paul Mantee (starred in Robinson Crusoe on Mars, Blood on the Arrow, and A Man Called Dagger and played Det. Al Corassa on Cagney & Lacey and Commander Clayton on Hunter) plays her fiance Cade Conway. King Calder (Lt. Gray on Martin Kane) plays her father King Croxton. Med Flory (played clarinet in the Ray Anthony orchestra and founded and plays alto sax in the group Super Sax, appeared in Gun Street, The Nutty Professor (1963), and The Gumball Rally, and played Sheriff Mike McBride on High Mountain Rangers) plays her brother Thess. Bob Sweeney (Oliver Munsey on Our Miss Brooks, Fibber McGee on Fibber McGee and Molly, and Gilly Box on Brothers; also directed 80 episodes of The Andy Griffith Show and lesser numbers of many other series) plays traveling salesman Speed Sullivan. Danny Richards, Jr. (Franklin Sanders on Willy) plays his son Swifty.

Season 3, Episode 27, "Short Rope for a Tall Man": Bert Freed (appeared in The Atomic City, The Cobweb, and Paths of Glory and played Rufe Ryker on Shane) plays small-town kingpin Ben Crown. William Schallert (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis) plays general store owner Joe Lovering. Norman Leavitt (Ralph on Trackdown) plays undertaker Jephtha Docking.

Season 3, Episode 28, "The Clarence Bibs Story": Buddy Hackett (shown on the right, starred in God's Little Acre, The Music Man, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, and The Love Bug and played Stanley Peck on Stanley and Uncle Lonnie on Action) plays mop boy Clarence Bibs. John Milford (see "Dark Day at North Fork" above) plays troublemaker Reade. Lee Van Cleef (starred in High Noon, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly) plays troublemaker Wicks. X Brands (Pahoo-Ka-Ta-Wah on Yancy Derringer) plays gunman Pretty Man Longden. Denver Pyle (Ben Thompson on 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 Longden's partner George Tanner.

Season 3, Episode 29, "The Score Is Even": Adam Williams (see "The Prisoner" above) plays murderer Jax. Kelly Thordsen (see "Closer Than a Brother" above) plays his partner Andy. Joe Benson (appeared in 40 episodes of The Rifleman, mostly as uncredited bartenders, townsmen, and the like) plays horse owner Abe Merar. 

Season 3, Episode 30, "The Mescalero Curse": 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 Apache witch doctor Mogollan. Jackie Searl (one-time child actor, appeared in Tom Sawyer (1930), Huckleberry Finn (1931), Alice in Wonderland (1933), Great Expectations(1934), and Little Lord Fauntleroy) plays ranch hand Tom. 

Season 3, Episode 31, "Stopover": Adam West (shown on the left, played Det. Sgt. Steve Nelson on The Detectives, Bruce Wayne on Batman, Captain Rick Wright on The Last Precinct, and Dr. Noah Goddard on Black Scorpion) plays stage passenger Mr. Ryan. 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 liquor salesman Vince Medford. 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 stage passenger Tess Miller. 

Season 3, Episode 32, "The Lonesome Bride": Joan Shawlee (appeared in All Ashore, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Irma La Douce, The Wild Angels, and Willard and played Aggie on Aggie, Lorna on The Betty Hutton Show, Pickles Sorrell on The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Margo on The Feather and Father Gang) plays mail-order bride Mary Woodson. Kay E. Kuter (Newt Kiley on Petticoat Junction and Green Acres) plays prankster Charv Banner. 

Season 3, Episode 33, "Death Trap": James Drury (shown on the right, appeared in Forbidden Planet, Pollyanna, and Ride the High Country and played The Virginian on The Virginian and Captain Spike Ryerson on Firehouse) plays cattle drover Spicer. John Pickard (Capt. Shank Adams on Boots and Saddles and Sgt. Maj. Murdock on Gunslinger) plays drover Stacey. Steve Pendleton (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays North Fork Deputy Ben Johnson. Philip Carey (starred in I Was a Communist for the FBI, Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison, Calamity Jane, Mister Roberts, Dead Ringer, and Three For Texas and played Lt. Michael Rhodes on Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers, Philip Marlowe on Philip Marlowe, Capt. Edward Parmalee on Laredo, and Asa Buchanan on One Life to Live) plays physician Simon Battle. Gigi Perreau (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Betty Hutton Show) plays his daughter Vickie. 

Season 3, Episode 34, "The Queue": Victor Sen Yung (Jimmy Chan in 13 Charlie Chan movies, Cousin Charlie Fong on Bachelor Father, and Hop Sing on Bonanza) plays Chinese launderer Wang Chi. Peter Whitney (Sergeant Buck Sinclair on The Rough Riders and Lafe Crick on The Beverly Hillbillies) plays racist Vince Fergus.

Season 4, Episode 1, "The Vaqueros": Martin Landau (shown on the left, starred in North by Northwest, Cleopatra, The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Fall of the House of Usher, and Ed Wood and played Rollin Hand on Mission: Impossible!, Commander John Koenig on Space: 1999, Dr. Sol Gold on The Evidence, Bob Ryan on Entourage, and Frank Malone on Without a Trace) plays bandito Miguel. Than Wyenn (Licenciado PiƱa on Zorro) plays bandito Ramos. Roberto Contreras (Pedro on The High Chaparral) plays bandito Angelo. Ziva Rodann (appeared in Forty Guns, The Private Lives of Adam and Eve, The Story of Ruth, and College Confidential and played Nefertiti on Batman) plays cantina dancer Maria. Vladimir Sokoloff (appeared in The Life of Emile Zola, Road to Morocco, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Back to Bataan, and I Was a Teenage Werewolf) plays her father Abuelito.

Season 4, Episode 2, "First Wages": Ed Nelson (Michael Rossi on Peyton Place and Ward Fuller on The Silent Force) plays wanted criminal Ben Vargas. 

Season 4, Episode 3, "Sheer Terror": Charles MacCaulay (appeared in Head, Blacula, Airport '77, Raise the Titanic, Splash, and 6 Perry Mason TV movies and played Elliot Kincaid #2 on Days of Our Lives) plays foppish bank robber Mr. Sloan. Tommy Cook (appeared in Adventures of Red Ryder, Jungle Girl, Tarzan and the Leopard Woman, Humoresque, and Teenage Crime Wave) plays his gunman Andy Carr. 

Season 4, Episode 4, "The Stand-In": Dabbs Greer (shown on the left, see "The Wyoming Story, Part 1" above) plays prison wagon driver Bert Taylor. Richard Devon (shown on the right, played Jody Barker on Yancy Derringer) plays his partner Gus Potter. Charles Cooper (starred in The Wrong Man and played the sheriff on Father Murphy and Judge Robert Boucher on The Practice) plays their prisoner Rudy Croft.

Season 4, Episode 5, "The Journey Back": John Anderson (see "Face of Yesterday" above) plays army deserter Will Temple. John Milford (see "Dark Day at North Fork" above) plays squatter Jess Grady. Harry Carey, Jr. (starred in Red River, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Mister Roberts, and The Searchers and played Bill Burnett on The Adventures of Spin and Marty) plays army investigator Lt. Vaughn.

Season 4, Episode 6, "The Decision": Denver Pyle (see "The Clarence Bibs Story" above) plays rancher patriarch Frank Hazlitt. Hampton Fancher (played Deputy Lon Gillis on Black Saddle and co-wrote the screenplay and was executive producer on Blade Runner) plays his son Corey. Kevin Hagen (John Colton on Yancy Derringer, Inspector Dobbs Kobick on Land of the Giants, and Dr. Hiram Baker on Little House on the Prairie) plays his son Harry. Richard Kiel (shown on the left, starred in The Phantom Planet, Eegah, The Longest Yard, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, and Pale Rider and played Moose Moran on Barbary Coast) plays their cousin Carl. Henry Norell (Henry Slocum on Oh, Those Bells) plays Hazlitt's attorney C. Henry Whitmore.

Season 4, Episode 7, "Knight Errant": Lawrence Dobkin (Dutch Schultz on The Untouchables, the narrator on Naked City, Judge Saul Edelstein on L.A. Law, and Judge Stanley Pittman on Melrose Place) plays Lucas' old friend Don Lagarde. Jack Elam (Deputy J.D. Smith on The Dakotas, George Taggart on Temple Houston, Zack Wheeler on The Texas Wheelers, and Uncle Alvin Stevenson on Easy Street) plays his squire Gates. Sean McClory (Jack McGivern on The Californians and Myles Delaney on Bring 'Em Back Alive) plays former rustler Col. Charles Black.

Season 4, Episode 8, "Honest Abe": Royal Dano (shown on the right, appeared in The Far Country, Moby Dick, and The Outlaw Josey Wales) plays Abel Lincoln, who believes he is Abraham Lincoln. K.T. Stevens (see "Face of Yesterday" above) plays his sister Emma. Charles Cooper (see "The Stand-In" above) plays out-of-town troublemaker Matt Yordy. Pick Temple (cowboy folksinger who hosted the children's program The Pick Temple Giant Ranch) plays a saloon singer.

Season 4, Episode 9, "The Long Goodbye": Edgar Buchanan (shown on the left, played Uncle Joe Carson on The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, and Petticoat Junction, Red Connors on Hopalong Cassidy, Judge Roy Bean on Judge Roy Bean, Bob/Doc Dawson on Tales of Wells Fargo, and J.J. Jackson on Cade's County) plays eccentric former hobo Grandpa Fogarty. Teddy Rooney (son of actors Mickey Rooney and Martha Vickers) plays his grandson Woody. Virginia Christine (was the Folger's Coffee woman in commercials and starred in The Mummy's Curse, The Killers, and Night Wind and played Ovie Swenson on Tales of Wells Fargo) plays busybody Mrs. Dalrymple. Bill Zuckert (Arthur Bradwell on Mr. Novak and Chief Segal on Captain Nice) plays escaped convict Debo Lee.

Season 4, Episode 10, "The Shattered Idol": Kevin McCarthy (starred in Death of a Salesman, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 & 1978), The Misfits, and Hotel and played Philip Hastings on The Survivors, Claude Weldon on Flamingo Road, Zach Cartwright on Amanda's, George Hayward on Bay City Blues, and Lucas Carter on The Colbys) plays author Samuel Clemens. Jack Elam (see "Knight Errant" above) plays pool shark Russell. 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 Mr. Loomis.

Season 4, Episode 11, "Long Gun From Tucson": Peter Whitney (see "The Queue" above) plays vengeful gunman John Holliver. Whit Bissell (starred in He Walked by Night, Creature From the Black Lagoon, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, I Was a Teenage Frankenstein, and Hud and played Bert Loomis on Bachelor Father, Calvin Hanley on Peyton Place, and Lt. Gen. Heywood Kirk on The Time Tunnel) plays gunsmith Henry Waller. 

Season 4, Episode 12, "The High Country": James Coburn (shown on the right, starred in The Magnificent Seven, Charade, Our Man Flint, and In Like Flint and played Jeff Durain on Klondike and Gregg Miles on Acapulco) plays mountain man Ambrose. Jan Stine (Roger on The Donna Reed Show) plays his friend Gorwin Morgan. Ellen Corby (Henrietta Porter on Trackdown and Esther Walton on The Waltons) plays Gorwin's mother Mrs. Morgan. Valora Noland (appeared in Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party, Sex and the College Girl, and Summer Children) plays her daughter Clare. Booth Colman (Prof. Hector Jerrold on General Hospital and Dr. Felix Burke on The Young and the Restless) plays mountain village leader Jeremiah.

Season 4, Episode 13, "A Friend in Need": Parley Baer (Mayor Roy Stoner on The Andy Griffith Show, Darby on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Mayor Arthur J. Henson on The Addams Family, and Doc Appleby on The Dukes of Hazzard) plays rancher Neff Packer. Lee Farr (Lt. Jim Conway on The Detectives and was married to actor Felicia Farr) plays hired gunman Carl Avery. Tom Snyder (shown on the left, Emmy-winning talk-show host of The Tomorrow Show and The Late, Late Show) plays posse member Pete.

Monday, May 18, 2015

My Three Sons (1961)

As it continued its initial season in the winter and spring of 1961, what would eventually become TV's second-longest-running live-action comedy was still searching for its identity, despite being helmed by veteran director Peter Tewksbury, formerly of Father Knows Best. The series tries its hand at parody in "The Delinquent" (February 16, 1961) in which Mike is suspected of and then encourages his girlfriend Jean Pearson to believe he is part of a motorcycle gang when he is secretly building her a new hi-fi set for her birthday with his friend Time Weede. His sneaky behavior is paralleled by Bub watching a stereotypical juvenile delinquent movie on TV and Tramp's extracurricular adventures with a forward poodle from down the street. Not surprisingly, the parody comes off a bit forced, as it does in the following episode "Man in a Trenchcoat" (February 23, 1961) in which Robbie is suspected of being a delinquent for stealing hubcaps off Mr. Pearson's car when he is really sneaking around with classmate Judy Doucette under the auspices of studying together, thereby arousing the suspicions of his steady girlfriend Vivian Gibson, who sends her brother out to spy on him wearing a trenchcoat, an obvious attempt to play off B-grade suspense thrillers. Robbie's sense of intrigue and paranoia is heightened from addictively reading pulp suspense novels, which by episode's end his father convinces him are a waste of his time. It's as if the series has to try on and poke fun at other formulas because it hasn't yet established it's true core yet. It's often easier to say what you are not than what you are.

This definition by denial is brought up again in "Organization Woman" (February 2, 1961) in which the Douglas's are visited by Steve's sister Harriet when he is away on business. Harriet's husband is an efficiency expert, so when she walks into the chaotic Douglas household, she decides to try out some of her husband's principles on them, and after some initial hurdles, the family is soon operating at maximum efficiency, until Steve returns home from his trip and is completely confounded by her system. Though he tries to adapt, Harriet eventually comes to realize that while maximizing traffic flow and resource usage, she has eliminated human interaction, the primary purpose of living together. Thus, the family has to become something it isn't in order to recognize the value of what it has. Likewise, in "Other People's Houses" (February 9, 1961) Robbie initially thinks his friend Hank's home is better than his because Hank, an only child, has his own room, but Hank is actually starving for the messiness of having siblings and wants to go to a military academy just to get away from the stifling gaze of his parents. In the end Hank's father tells Bub not to change a thing about the Douglas household because doing so would be a mistake. In other words, things are perfect just as they are in the Douglas household. 

The same point is made in a different way in "Bub Leaves Home" (January 12, 1961) in which Bub feels displaced after Steve's Aunt Selina comes to visit. At first all the boys think Selina is great because she can help Mike fix the motor in his car, will toss the football with Robbie, and helps Chip work on his scooter, so much so that Bub thinks they prefer her as his replacement. He makes up an excuse about taking a job with his old vaudeville friend Flats Jensen and goes to the bus station to take the next bus out of town. But while there he runs into Selina, who says that she was only there on vacation and is returning to where she belongs because she's not one to think that the grass is greener elsewhere. Bub realizes that Steve and the boys will be lost without him or be forced to call on the incompetent Aunt Mae, so he tears up his bus ticket and heads outside where Steve and the boys are waiting to take him home.

And in an episode that recalls one of Fred MacMurray's early films, Alice Adams,  Robbie is embarrassed about his low-brow family in "The Musician" (May 11, 1961) after visiting the palatial home of Elizabeth Martin, a girl he fancies and whom Bub invites to dinner before Robbie can tell him not to. Though Bub and the boys dress up and try to act proper to make a good impression, Robbie through nervousness spills water all over Elizabeth and then staggers into the kitchen, thinking he has ruined everything and can't figure out if he is the real Robbie or the one he imagines Elizabeth expects him to be. He is jolted back to reality when he hears the strains of Dixieland jazz coming from the living room and returns to find Elizabeth leading the family in a spirited rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In." He tells her he thought she only liked classical music, but she says she likes all kinds and invites him to join in, in other words, to just be himself. Once again Robbie is taught that he needn't put on airs or feel that any other family is better than his.

But while the Douglas' family is depicted as a paragon, they are not without their flaws. In "The Wiley Method" (April 13, 1961) Steve suggests that Robbie adopt some of the flamboyant, unconventional methods of his history teacher Mr. Wiley in order to attract the attention of the new girl in school, Maribel Quinby, only to have Robbie's efforts backfire and nearly get him expelled. After Wiley gets the two kids together by sending them both to the library separately in search of the same book, Robbie returns home to tell his father that he will never give any son of his such horrible advice. And Steve has to hand Chip some tough love in "The National Pastime" (April 27, 1961) after encouraging Chip not to give up on baseball just because he fails the first time, but then as umpire has to call him out at home plate when Chip's new-found confidence turns into overconfidence and he runs through a third-base stop sign. He also has to console Robbie when he loses in the finals of the "Soap Box Derby" (March 30, 1961) after failing himself to fix a missile launch problem he was brought in as a consultant to solve.

By Season 2 this brand of sentimentality started becoming the stock-and-trade of the series, ironically after Tewksbury, the Father Knows Best director, was let go and replaced with Richard Whorf. Tewksbury was something of a control freak (according to Charles Tranberg's Fred MacMurray: A Biography, he threatened not to join the show for Season 1 if Ryan O'Neal were cast as Mike), and his perfectionism not only drove other cast and crew crazy but his insistence on reshooting scenes over and over cost the producers an extra $125,000, which they were forced to pay MacMurray when his scenes ran 25 days over the allotted number in his contract at a price of $5,000 per day. 

Season 2 episodes find Tramp saving the family from a fire in "Tramp the Hero" (October 26, 1961) after Chip feels embarrassed that Tramp can't perform any tricks like his friend Sudsy's dog can. In "A Perfect Memory" (November 2, 1961), Steve drives all over town reliving memories of a high school sweetheart who comes back wanting to see him but then, after leaving clues that have Steve trying to catch up with her, leaves town before seeing him so that she doesn't spoil the sweet memories they still have of each other. "Bub's Lodge" (November 9, 1961) finds Mike embarrassed about what his fellow fraternity pledges will think about Bub's gawdy lodge brother costume and silly membership chants until his father makes him realize that he is willing to endure equally humiliating treatment in order to be accepted into his fraternity. And in "Chip's Composition" (November 30, 1961) Chip's teacher assigns her class to write an essay on "What My Mother Means to Me." Chip doesn't think he can get a pass from his fierce teacher just because he doesn't have a mother, and Steve prefers to let Chip work things out for himself rather than telling him what to write about a mother he never really knew. So Chip ends up writing a tear-jerking ode to the ways in which Bub is the best mother any boy could hope for.

However, Chip has it right that Bub is the best thing about the Douglas household. While Don Grady as Robbie often comes off forced, and Tim Considine as Mike and Stanley Livingston as Chip are merely adequate, William Frawley shines as the crusty former vaudeville hoofer with a heart of gold, William "Bub" O'Casey. Perhaps it's because the character of Bub hews close to Frawley's real personality, as described in a August 5, 1961 TV Guide cover story, which despicts him as alternately charming or withering. In "Bub Goes to School" (December 14, 1961) he turns on the charm with all manner of witty repartee in trying to woo a senior night school student. His lines roll off his tongue as if he is improvising, and his sarcastic banter with the boys saves many episodes from sinking into maudlin pap. His is the one character in the series who is a true original. Sadly, he would appear in only the first five of the show's twelve seasons.

Musically, most Season 1 episodes credit only theme composer Frank De Vol, profiled in the 1960 post on My Three Sons. However, two episodes later in the season had other composers: Jeff Alexander scored "The Musician" (May 11, 1961), and Pete Rugolo (profiled in the 1960 post on Thriller) scored "Trial by Separation" (May 25, 1961), which includes a mambo number playing at a high school dance. Four episodes in Season 2 have scores by Ramey Idriss--"Bub's Lodge," "Chip's Composition," "Bub Goes to School," and "Robbie's Band," the last three of these in collaboration with Gene Garf, who played organ on the Green Acres theme. Idriss' greatest claim to fame was writing the "Woody Woodpecker Song," for which he received an Oscar nomination in 1949, but he also provided material for Eddie Cantor, Jimmy Durante, and Marion Hutton and played the balalaika in the score for the film Patton.

Only the first two seasons have been released on DVD by Paramount Home Video; the last of these was in 2010, and no announcements have been made about future releases.

The Actors

For the biographies of Fred MacMurray, William Frawley, Tim Considine, Don Grady, and Stanley Livingston, see the 1960 post of My Three Sons. Several other actors had recurring supporting roles--Ricky Allen (shown on the left) as Chip's friend Sudsy Pfeiffer, Olive Dunbar as his mother Mrs. Pfeiffer, Keith Taylor as Chip's friend Frederick Ryan, Peter Brooks as Robbie's friend Hank Ferguson, and Andrew Colmar as Mike's friend Tim Weede. But other than their filmographies, nothing is published online that would provide enough information for a true biography.


Cynthia Pepper

Cynthia Anne Culpepper was born into the entertainment business. Her father Jack Pepper was a longtime vaudevillian song-and-dance man, the first husband of Ginger Rogers, who relocated to Hollywood when the last of the vaudeville houses closed down and found work as a character actor in films. Her mother, Dawn Stanton Pepper, was a dancer who had appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies and some of Billy Rose's productions before teaming up with Pepper for a husband-and-wife act. Cynthia was a child model by age 3, and her father would bring her on stage and sing to her during his vaudeville days, but her own acting experience only amounted to a small part in the Broadway production It's a Gift and an uncredited part in the 1950 feature film Cheaper by the Dozen before she replaced her mother in her father's act toward the end of her high school years. Her father had her tutored in the ways of show business by a team of former vaudevillians, but her acting career didn't really take off until after she graduated from high school. In 1960 at age 19 she had a few, mostly uncredited TV appearances on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Bourbon Street Beat, 77 Sunset Strip, and Thriller before being cast as girlfriend next door Jean Pearson on My Three Sons, on which she appeared 8 times during the first season. 

One of those appearances caught the attention of producers Larry Klein and Hal Goodman, who cast her as Roaring '20's teenager Margie Clayton in her own series Margie in the fall of 1961. Though she was also being courted by Desilu at the same time, Margie would prove to be the high point of her career, as afterward she managed only a handful of movie roles, most notably opposite Elvis Presley in Kissin' Cousins in 1964, and a smattering of TV guest spots on shows like Perry Mason, Wagon Train, and The Addams Family as well as a final return to My Three Sons in 1964 in which, as Jean Pearson, she learns that Mike has been engaged to another woman. She was cast in the TV pilot for Three Coins in the Fountain in 1970, but the series was never picked up. She had married for the second time in 1968 and after the failed pilot, she devoted herself to her marriage and raising her son from her first marriage. However, she somewhat recently appeared in a bit role in Sandra Bullock's Miss Congeniality 2. Pepper currently resides in Las Vegas and makes appearances at Elvis Presley and other nostalgia-based conventions.

Notable Guest Stars

Season 1, Episode 15, "Domestic Trouble": Anne Seymour (appeared in All the King's Men, The Gift of Love, The Subterraneans, and Fitzwilly and played Lucia Garrett on Empire and Beatrice Hewitt on General Hospital) plays matchmaker Mrs. Barr. Dorothy Konrad (Mrs. Trilling on The Last Resort) plays housekeeper Leona.
Season 1, Episode 16, "Bub Leaves Home": Mary Jackson (shown on the left, played Emily Baldwin on The Waltons, Sarah Wicks on Hardcastle and McCormick, and Great Grandma Greenwell on Parenthood) plays Steve's Aunt Selina Bailey. George Dunn (Jesse Williams on Cimarron City) plays a bus passenger.
Season 1, Episode 17, "Mike in a Rush": James Bonnet (went on to become a screenwriter for Tarzan, Adam-12, Kojak, Barney Miller, and Knots Landing) plays fraternity organizer Art Landis. Skip Young (see the biography section for the 1960 post on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet) plays fraternity member George Collingwood.

Season 1, Episode 18, "The Bully": Mary Adams (shown on the right, see the biography section for the 1961 post on Window on Main Street) plays school principal Mrs. Wisbee.

Season 1, Episode 19, "Organization Woman": Joan Tewkesbury (later was a writer for feature films Thieves Like Us, Nashville, and A Night in Heaven, directed episodes of Doogie Howser, M.D., Felicity, and The Guardian, which she also produced) plays Steve's sister Harriet Watson.

Season 1, Episode 20, "Other People's Homes": David White (Larry Tate on Bewitched) plays Robbie's friend's father George Ferguson.

Season 1, Episode 22, "Man in a Trenchcoat": Cindy Carol (Alma Hanson on Leave It to Beaver, Binkie Massey on The New Loretta Young Show, and Susan on Never Too Young) plays Robbie's steady girlfriend Vivian Gibson. Cheryl Holdridge (Julie Foster on Leave It to Beaver) plays another girl he has been studying with, Judy Doucette. Robert P. Lieb (Harry Thompson on Hazel) plays Jean Pearson's father.

Season 1, Episode 23, "Deadline": Mark Slade (Malone on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Eddie on Gomer Pyle, USMC, Patrick Hollis on The Wackiest Ship in the Army, Billy Blue Cannon on The High Chaparral, and Taylor Reed on Salty) plays high school newspaper sports editor Stu Walters. Woody Chambliss (Captain Tom on Yancy Derringer and Lathrop on Gunsmoke) plays faculty advisor Edgar Loos. Beau Bridges (shown on the left, played Seaman Howard Spicer on Ensign O'Toole, Richard Chapin on United States, Dave Hart on Harts of the West, Judge Bob Gibbs on Maximum Bob, Dan Falco on Beggars and Choosers, Tom Gage on The Agency, Maj. Gen. Hank Landry on Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate SG-1, Carl Hickey on My Name Is Earl, Nick Brody on Brothers & Sisters, Barton Scully on Masters of Sex, and Tom Miller on The Millers) plays high school reporter Russ Burton. Charlotte Stewart (starred in Eraserhead and Tremors and played Maybelle on Bachelor Father, Eva Beadle Simms on Little House on the Prairie, Tamra Logan on The Young and the Restless, Betty Briggs on Twin Peaks, and Collette Swanson on Life Goes On) plays high school poet Agnes Finley.

Season 1, Episode 24, "The Lostling": May Heatherly (Heather McNabb on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.)  plays new neighbor Mary Hawkins. 

Season 1, Episode 25, "Off Key": Olive Dunbar (shown on the right, played Heather Ruth Jensen on My World and Welcome To It and Bertha Bottomly on Big John, Little John) plays Chip's friend's mother Mrs. Pfeiffer. 

Season 1, Episode 26, "Small Adventure": Ken Christy (Bill Franklin on Meet Corliss Archer) plays demolition expert Ed. Paul Trinka (Patterson on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) plays younger co-worker Art.

Season 1, Episode 27, "Soap Box Derby": Ralph Story (the narrator on Alias Smith and Jones) plays engineering project leader Paul Rankin. Richard McKenzie (Walter Chaiken on It Takes Two) plays junior engineer Quinn. Joe Higgins (Nils Swenson on The Rifleman, Jake Shakespeare on Arrest and Trial, and Sheriff Chuck Bevans on Sigmund and the Sea Monsters) plays a junk dealer.

Season 1, Episode 28, "Unite or Sink": Robert Gothie (Sam Hanson on The Gallant Men) plays milkman Harry. Ann Morgan Guilbert (shown on the left, see the biography section for the 1961 post on The Dick Van Dyke Show) plays neighbor Verna Foster. Malcolm Atterbury (starred in I Was a Teenage Werewolf, The Birds, and The Learning Tree and played John Bixby on Wagon Train and Grandfather Aldon on Apple's Way) plays neighbor Mr. Kincaid. Bill Idelson (Babcock on The Bill Dana Show and wrote screenplays for multiple episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, Gomer Pyle, USMC, and The Odd Couple as well as many other programs) plays neighbor Pete. Pearl Shear (Zuleika Dunbar on The Waltons) plays neighbor Roseanne Jones.

Season 1, Episode 29, "The Wiley Method": Chris Warfield (Rev. Dr. Frank Thornton on Going My Way) plays history teacher Jeff Wiley. Marjorie Eaton (appeared in That Forsyte Woman, Witness for the Prosecution, Mary Poppins, and The Trouble With Angels) plays English teacher Cynthia Pitts.

Season 1, Episode 30, "The National Pastime": William Leslie (shown on the right, appeared in The Long Gray Line, Hellcats of the Navy, Up Periscope, and Mutiny in Outer Space and was the narrator on The Prosecutors: In Pursuit of Justice) plays baseball coach Mr. Thompson. 

Season 1, Episode 32, "The Musician": Sandy Descher (appeared in Them!, The Cobweb, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, and A Gift for Heidi and played Judy Massey on The New Loretta Young Show and Susan on The New Phil Silvers Show) plays young pianist Elizabeth Martin. 

Season 1, Episode 33, "The Horseless Saddle": Arthur Hunnicutt (starred in The Red Badge of Courage, The Last Command, The Cardinal, and Cat Ballou) plays pony-ride proprietor George. Betsy Jones-Moreland (Judge Elinor Harrelson in 7 Perry Mason TV movies) plays stock-trader's wife Flo Afton.

Season 1, Episode 34, "Trial by Separation": Florence MacMichael (shown on the left, played Winnie Kirkwood on Mister Ed) plays Jean Pearson's mother. 

Season 1, Episode 35, "The Sunday Drive": Florence MacMichael (see "Trial by Separation" above) returns as Jean Pearson's mother Florence. Robert P. Lieb (see "Man in a Trenchcoat" above) returns as Mr. Pearson.

Season 1, Episode 36, "Fire Watch": William Boyett (Sgt. Ken Williams on Highway Patrol and Sgt. MacDonald on Adam-12) plays senior fire watchman Joe Mitchell. Tiger Fafara (Tooey Brown on Leave It to Beaver) plays lost hiker Roger. Candy Moore (Angie on The Donna Reed Show and Chris Carmichael on The Lucy Show) plays his sister Shirley.

Season 2, Episode 1, "Birds and Bees": Joan Taylor (shown on the right, starred in Apache Woman, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, and 20 Million Miles to Earth and played Milly Scott on The Rifleman) plays teacher Muriel Stewart. 

Season 2, Episode 2, "Instant Hate": Joe Cranston (Anderson on The Gale Storm Show) plays new neighbor John Kaylor. Ann Marshall (Angela Brown on My Favorite Martian and later played Cynthia Wright on My Three Sons) plays his daughter Barbara. Lillian Powell (Florence Bixel on Noah's Ark) plays his Aunt Marian. Norman Grabowski (appeared in Girls Town, College Confidential, Sex Kittens Go to College, Roustabout, The Monkey's Uncle, and The Towering Inferno and played Padowski on Hank) plays office worker Herman.

Season 2, Episode 3, "The Crush": Sally Hughes (Sally Darby on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet) plays Steve's secretary Sally. 

Season 2, Episode 4, "Tramp the Hero": Keith Taylor (shown on the left, played Harry on Leave It to Beaver and Tubby on McKeever & the Colonel) plays neighborhood kid Frederick Ryan. Olive Dunbar (see "Off Key" above) returns as Mrs. Pfeiffer. 

Season 2, Episode 5, "A Perfect Memory": Ludwig Stossel (appeared in Casablanca, Kings Row, and Pride of the Yankees and played Peter Van Dyne on Ramar of the Jungle and Anton Kovac on Man With a Camera) plays Steve's old high school janitor Mr. Letov. Dennis Whitcomb (later wrote episodes of Death Valley Days, The Munsters, I Dream of Jeannie, and My Three Sons) plays Steve's high school rival Larry Peckinpaugh. Claude Johnson (Officer Brinkman on Adam-12)  plays drugstore waiter Tom. 

Season 2, Episode 6, "Bub's Lodge": Stuffy Singer (shown on the right, played Donnie Henderson on Beulah and Alexander Bumstead on Blondie) plays Mike's college friend Doug. Doodles Weaver (narrated Spike Jones' horse-racing songs, hosted A Day With Doodles, and played Jack Stiles on Lawman) plays Bub's lodge brother Max. 

Season 2, Episode 7, "A Lesson in Any Language": Beau Bridges (see "Deadline" above) returns as Mike's friend Russ Burton. Bill Erwin (Glenn Diamond on Struck by Lightning) plays Steve's work colleague Joe Walters. Eddie Robertson (Eddie Thomerson on Fernwood Tonight) plays a record store clerk.

Season 2, Episode 8, "The Ugly Duckling": Karen Green (Mary Hammond on The Eve Arden Show) plays Robbie's classmate Carrie Marsh. Robert Dunlap (Dennis on Peyton Place) plays Robbie's classmate Billy.

Season 2, Episode 9, "Chip's Composition": Natalie Masters (Wilma Clemson on Date With the Angels and Edith Barson on Dragnet) plays Chip's teacher Mrs. Bergen. Olive Dunbar (see "Off Key" above) returns as Mrs. Pfeiffer. John Gallaudet (shown on the left, played Chamberlain on Mayor of the Town, Judge Penner on Perry Mason, and later played Bob Anderson on My Three Sons) plays her husband Mr. Pfeiffer. Keith Taylor (see "Tramp the Hero" above) returns as Chip's friend Frederick Ryan.

Season 2, Episode 10, "Mike in Charge": Natalie Masters (see "Chip's Composition" above) returns as Chip's teacher Mrs. Bergen. Olive Dunbar (see "Off Key" above) returns as Mrs. Pfeiffer.

Season 2, Episode 11, "Bub Goes to School": Harriet E. MacGibbon (shown on the right, played Margaret Drysdale on The Beverly Hillbillies) plays elder night school student Margaret Cunningham.

Season 2, Episode 12, "Robbie's Band": Richard Bellis (Emmy-winning composer for many TV movies) plays Robbie's bandmate Carl. Robert Dunlap (see "The Ugly Duckling" above) plays Robbie's bandmate Jess.

Season 2, Episode 13, "Damon and Pythias": Buddy Hart (Chester Anderson on Leave It to Beaver) plays Chieftain's club member Hal Seely.