One of the things I enjoy doing in retirement is watching some of the old TV series I liked. “Rawhide” is one example.
Today’s episode was a very good one, called "Incident with an Executioner (1959). It was the third episode (January 23, 1959), of the first season.
It’s a very good script. Great action, tension, and plot, but what I really liked is all the fine characters in it. I decided to do some internet research on the persons in the episode.
Eric Fleming, who died young, was great as Gil Favor, the “trail boss”.
Clint Eastwood was the sort-of-wild drover, Rowdy Yates. What a career he has had.
In this episode, veteran movie actor Dan Duryea played the mysterious “man with the black satchel”.
Martin Milner, played his usual wholesome self. He later became famous for TV roles on The Stu Irwin Show; Route 66; and Adam 12. He had a terrific career as an actor. As a youth, he was in Life with Father; Sands of Iwo Jima; Halls of Montezuma; and Operation Pacific. After those movies, he was drafted into an Army Special Services Unit with actor David Janssen. The two of them convinced a fellow serviceman to try acting…………Eastwood! Milner is a graduate of North Hollywood High School, where my older daughter graduated.
Sheb Wooley was a regular on Rawhide. His other claim to fame was as a Country Singer. He had a national pop hit with the novelty song “Purple People Eater”. His wife’s cousin was Roger Miller, later to become a famous country singer. Wooley took an interest in him and provided him with his first musical instruments. Wooley was in two of my favorite Western movies: High Noon (as the brother of gunman Frank Miller) and The Outlaw Josie Wales, one of Clint Eastwood’s best.
Paul Brinegar played Wishbone, the cook who fit the sagebrush-mold that all Westerns were required to have as a sidekick/comedic foil.
James Drury played a fast-gun in this show. He was later “The Virginian”.
William Schallert played a traveling salesman……a drummer, as they were called. He is one of those handful of character actors whose name you might not know but who was in a thousand TV roles. My favorite regular TV role of his was as the teacher, Mr. Pomfritt, on Dobie Gillis.
Stafford Repp played a sleazy banker. My favorite regular TV role of his was as Chief O’Hara on Batman. He would say “Golly, Caped Crusader”, or something like that.
Jan Shepard had an interesting association in the Western TV genre. She was Amanda Blake’s roommate shortly before Blake got her breakout role as Kitty, on Gunsmoke. Shepard was in dozens of TV shows, including a four year stretch where she was in episodes of Perry Mason, one of my favorite shows of the 60’s.
As I was researching all these characters, there were many times where these actors intersected, such as being on episodes of The Virginian, but my favorite “connection” concerns the wonderful theme song of “Rawhide”. Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’; Keep those dogies moving”, etc. What a great song, sung perfectly by Frankie Laine. The writer was the same person who wrote the theme from High Noon. Would you expect the writer to be a famous country song writer like Gene Autry or Roy Rogers? Or a Russian named Dimitri Tiomkin?