Television

Beaverthon!

laredo2

Well, I tuned into WSB’s RTN feed this morning and found out that the previously scheduled back-to-back episodes of Wagon Train had been replaced with—and I know this is gonna surprise you—two hours of Leave It to Beaver. (It’s not looking good for your Kraft Suspense TheatreRick.) I still haven’t been able to piece together just exactly what the blue blazes is going on here, but in glancing at my CharredHer homepage, Run for Your Life will be swapped for even more Beaver reruns. (Oh, if only my pal Jeff Stewart were here.) My best guess is that WSB tapped these shows for their subchannel and some of them just aren’t ready—which doesn’t make sense, really: Train and Bachelor Father were CBN/Family Channel staples for many years and Rick says WOR used to run Life not too long ago…so I’m still stumped about what’s holding them up.

The only bright spot about today’s schedule was that they did show an episode of Laredo, a program that I’m quite fond of even though my only exposure to it before today was when Universal packaged several of Laredo’s episodes into TV-movies which would run on weekends on WSAZ-TV in Huntington, WV when I was a tad. Originally presented as an episode of The Virginian (“We’ve Lost a Train,” the final episode of the 1964-65 season), it was picked up as a comedy-western series in the fall of 1965 and ran two seasons, chronicling the colorful escapades of three Texas Rangers in the western outpost of Laredo. The show’s Virginian “pilot” was sort of an homage to Dumas’ The Three Musketeers (with Doug McClure’s Trampas character filling in as the fourth Musketeer, D’Artagnan) but once the actual series got underway it had more of a resemblance to Republic’s popular The Three Mesquiteers series of the 1930s and 1940s.

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The cast of Laredo: Peter Brown, Neville Brand, William Smith, and Philip Carey.

I like Laredo because of its light-hearted nature and first-rate cast: Neville Brand (whose very presence in any film noir makes it a must-see), Peter Brown (who played opposite John Russell in the classic TV oater Lawman), William Smith and Philip Carey—I don’t remember too much about the fourth Ranger (Robert Wolders) added in the second season, though. The episode I watched today was very funny; in “The Heroes of San Gill” rangers Chad Cooper (Brown) and Joe Riley (Smith) con their compadre Reese Bennett (Brand) into keeping an eye on things in Laredo while they sneak off to a big “fiesta” being held near the Mexican boarder. Cooper and Riley have already been told the party is off-limits by their commander, Captain Parmalee (Carey), and once they arrive they must resort to any means necessary to keep out of Parmalee’s sight…since he was invited there to give a speech! Naturally, our heroes are saved when they foil an assassination plot on Parmalee and some Mexican officials that was to be carried out by the ever delightfully evil Theodore Marcuse (a menacing bald actor frequently seen in villainous roles on The Wild Wild West and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.)

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