THE RIFLEMAN series attracted a dedicated television-viewing audience and enjoyed a five-year run (1958–1963) on ABC, not least due to its appealing and talented ensemble cast. The interaction between Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford as father and son, Lucas and Mark McCain, reflected a genuine rapport, which was the series' greatest asset. Their relationship convincingly portrayed the deep respect, kinship and comraderie between parent and child.
A superb supporting cast played memorable and engaging characters, which contributed to THE RIFLEMAN's stature as one of the great classic western adventure series. The actors' portrayals were both nuanced and gripping, deeply human and often heroic. Paul Fix's character, Marshal Micah Torrance, was a touchstone of human frailty and the power of redemption. Fix portrayed Marshal Torrance with a stoical, sympathetic dignity that underscored the high moral aspirations of the series' core message.
Eddie Quillan as Angus Evans, the Gunsmith
Eddie Quillan was an American actor whose career as a performer spanned more than 70 years. Born in Philadelphia, his career began at age seven, first appearing in a vaudeville act, "The Rising Generation," with his siblings and later playing in a succession of silent films. He had a natural gift for comedy and his vibrant personality and expressive face garnered Quillan mostly comedic parts and supporting roles.
Quillan's early film credits include "Big Money" (1930), "Girl Crazy" (1932), "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1935), "Young Mr. Lincoln" (1939) and "The Grapes of Wrath" (1940). His later comedic turns included "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" (1965) and "How to Frame a Figg" (1971), both starring Don Knotts, and "Angel in My Pocket" (1969), starring Andy Griffith. He appeared in scores of television shows, including "The Real McCoy," "Perry Mason," "The Addams Family," "Julia," "Mannix," "Lucas Tanner," "Here's Lucy," "Police Story," "Baretta," "Little House on the Prairie" and "Highway to Heaven."
Quillan appeared in THE RIFLEMAN twice in the fourth season playing Angus Evans, the Gunsmith—first in "Mark's Rifle" (episode 150), then in "Conflict" (episode 155). He guest-starred in numerous other Westerns throughout much of his long career, including "Death Valley Days," "Gunsmoke," "The Guns of Will Sonnet," "Daniel Boone," "The Virginian," and "The Wild, Wild West." Quillan made his last television appearance in Andy Griffith's show, "Matlock" in 1987. He passed away in 1990.
Edgar Buchanan as Doc Burrage
Edgar Buchanan was an American character actor who appeared in over 100 films and dozens of television series, including several long-lived sitcoms. In a career spanning four decades, he played grizzled, gravelly-voiced characters and was frequently cast in westerns. His most well-known and lovable character was Uncle Joe Carson, who appeared in all 222 episodes of "Petticoat Junction," (1963-1970), 17 episodes of "Green Acres" (1965-1969), and, in 1968, three episodes of "The Beverly Hillbillies" (1962-1971). In his last role, the 1974 film "Benji," he co-starred with the dog (Higgins) from his stint on "Petticoat Junction." Buchanan made six appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Grandpa Fogerty in "The Long Goodbye" (Episode 119) and the recurring character of Doc Burrage in five, including "The Pet" (episode 15), "The Second Witness" (episode 23), "The Trade" (episode 24), "The Deadly Wait" (episode 26), and "The Angry Man" (episode 31).
Robert Burton as Doc Burrage
Robert Burton was an American actor of television and film in the 1950s and early 60s. His first major screen credit was playing Wayne Langmuir in "Desperate Search" (1952), starring Howard Keel and featuring Keenan Wynn. Appearing mostly in forgettable pictures such as "I Was a Teenage Frankenstein" (1957), "Invasion of the Animal People" (1962), "The Slime People" (1963), his most noteworthy films include "The Bad and the Beautiful" (1952), "The Big Heat" (1953), "Compulsion" (1959) and "The Manchurian Candidate" (1962). He appeared in numerous television shows, including "You Are There," "The Lone Ranger," "Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre," "The Californians," "The Texan," "Tales of Wells Fargo," "Dennis the Menace," "Wagon Train," "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," and "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color." Burton was one of six actors to play the semi-regular character Doc Burrage in THE RIFLEMAN. He played the role in just one episode, "The Princess" (episode 127).
Jack Kruschen as Doc Burrage
Jack Kruschen was a Canadian actor whose career began on stage, but he became a character actor in both movies and television. In his 50-year career, with more than 200 screen credits, he played virtually every kind of role. Often cast in comedic ethnic roles, Kruschen occasionally landed a role as a villain, but more often was cast as the volatile, emotional Italian or Jewish neighbor patriarch. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in "The Apartment" (1960). Kruschen appeared in four episodes of THE RIFLEMAN, portraying the Clyde Bailey in "The Retired Gun" (episode 17), Sammy in "One Went to Denver" (episode 25). He was one of six actors to play Doc Burrage, appearing in "Trail of Hate" (episode 77) and "Baranca" (episode 82).
Ralph Moody as Doc Burrage
Ralph Moody was an American actor who appeared in over 50 movies and 100 television shows. Often cast in Westerns as indians, his many television credits include "The Lone Ranger" (1949 1950), "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin" (1955–1959), "Dragnet" (1952 1959), "The Texan" (1959), "Have Gun – Will Travel" (1958–1961), "Perry Mason" (1958–1964), "Gunsmoke" (1959–1966), "Dragnet 1967" (1967–1970) and "Bonanza" (1960 1971).
Moody appeared in 12 episodes of THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Jonathan Dodd in "The Visitor" (episode 58), Roy Merrick in "The Spoiler" (episode 61), and Eban Muchen in "The Hangman" (episode 76). Moody also played the recurring character of Doc Burrage in nine episodes, including "Six Years and a Day" (episode 91), "The Actress" (episode 94), "Dark Day at North Fork" (episode 100), "The Mescalero Curse" (episode 106), "Man From Salinas" (episode 130), "Quiet Night, Deadly Night" (episode 146), "Mark's Rifle" (episode 150), "Conflict" (episode 155), "Requiem at Mission Springs" (episode 164).
Fay Roope as Doc Burrage
Fay Roope was an American character actor, born Winfield Harding Roope. Beginning in the 1920's he was primarily a stage actor, appearing both off and on Broadway for nearly 30 years. In the 1950's until his death in 1961, he worked primarily in film and television. His film credits include roles in "From Here To Eternity" (1953, uncredited), the Gary Cooper comedy "You're in the Navy Now" (1951, uncredited), and the original version of the science-fiction classic film "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951, uncredited) and "Viva Zapata" (1952) and "Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki" (1955). Roope also guest-starred in numerous television series, including "Mr. & Mrs. North" (1952–1953), "Dragnet" (1958), "Perry Mason" (1958) and "Twilight Zone" (1960). He also appeared in many of the drama anthology shows during the Golden Age of television.
Roope made four appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Jeff Stacey in "The Brother-In-Law" (episode 5), Baynes Barton in "The Spiked Rifle" (episode 49), and he was one of six actors to play the recurring character of Doc Burrage—Roope portrayed Doc Burrage in "Panic" (episode 47) and "The Legacy" (episode 51). He was a recognizable veteran actor in Westerns, including "The Lone Ranger" (1954), "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" (1955–1958), "The Adventures of Jim Bowie" (1957–1958), "Gunsmoke" (1959), in which he played the recurring character Mr. Botkin, "Bonanza" (1959), "The Texan" (1958–1960), "Rawhide" (1959) and "Cheyenne" (1960).
Rhys Williams as Doc Burrage
Rhys Williams was a Welsh character actor in movies and television, whose career spanned the 1940's through 1970. He made his film debut in "How Green Was My Valley" (1941). Rural Wales was the setting of this John Ford classic film, and it featured a large cast of Welsh characters; although, it was actually filmed in Hollywood with American, Irish and Scottish actors. Williams, who was the only genuine Welshman in the cast, originally was hired as a dialect coach for the other actors, but director John Ford gave Williams a role in the film.
Williams is recognizable to fans of the television series "Adventures of Superman," in which he played a sadistic character in one of the show's early episodes, "The Evil Three." Other television appearances included CBS's anthology series, "The DuPont Show with June Allyson," co-starring Steve Allen in the 1960 episode "Play Acting," and five episodes of General Electric Theater between 1956 and 1961. Williams also appeared in "The Donna Reed Show" (1958), "Temple Houston" (1963), "77 Sunset Strip" (1964), "Twelve O'Clock High" (1964-1966), "The F.B.I." (1966), "The Wild Wild West" (1966), "Mission Impossible" (1967), the "Andy Griffith Show" (1967), "Mannix" (1969), "Here Comes the Brides" (1969), among many other shows. Williams appeared in six episodes of THE RIFLEMAN, one of six actors to portray the regular character, Doc Burrage. He appeared in "Blood Brothers" (episode 35), "Bloodlines" (episode 42), "Letter of the Law" (episode 50), "A Case of Identity" (episode 57), "Sins of the Father" (episode 70), and "The Prodigal" (episode 71).
Hope Summers as Hattie Denton, Owner of the General Store
Hope Summers was an American actress of the stage, radio, film and television. Her acting career began in the 1930's, when she worked primarily in community and stock theater and radio. Her career was most active in the 1950's and 1960's, when she appeared in numerous films and television shows. Her film credits include "Zero Hour!" (1957), "Inherit the Wind" (1960), "Spencer's Mountain" (1963), "The Hallelujah Trail" (1965), "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" (1966), "The Shakiest Gun in the West" (1968), "Rosemary's Baby" (1968), "Charley Varrick" (1973) and her last movie, "Foul Play" (1978).
Summers began working in television in the 1950's, guest-starring in a wide variety of genres, but especially Westerns. Her television credits include "The Loretta Young Show" (1956–1959), "Maverick" (1957) and "Wagon Train" (1957), "Gunsmoke" (1958–1963), "Dennis the Menace" (1959), "Petticoat Junction" (1963) and "The Phyllis Diller Show" (1966). She played numerous memorable recurring roles in many hit television series, including "Hawkins Falls: A Television Novel" (1950). Her best-known role was Clara Edwards, Aunt Bee's gossipy neighbor, in "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960-1968) and its spin-off, "Mayberry R.F.D." (1968–1971). Summers appeared in 16 episodes of THE RIFLEMAN as Hattie Denton, owner of the General Store. Hattie was first introduced in "Eight Hours to Die" (episode 6). Her last regular television role was playing Olive in "Another Day" (1978).
Joe Higgins as Nils Swenson
Joe Higgins was an American actor working primarily in television and commercials from the 1960's through the 1980's. His acting career began at age nine and while attending the University of Dayton in Ohio, he worked in radio. He became a prolific character actor who often portrayed a sheriff in commercials, public service announcements and in print ads. He won the CLIO award on two occasions for his acting in commercials. His portrayal as a sheriff, "You in a heap o' trouble, boy!," in a series of memorable Dodge car commercials in the 1970's became his iconic signature role.
Higgins appeared in four episodes of THE RIFLEMAN playing different characters, and he played the semi-regular character, Nils Swenson, the Blacksmith, in 17 episodes. He played recurring roles on other television series in addition to THE RIFLEMAN, including "Arrest and Trial" and later, he co-starred again with Chuck Connors in "Flipper" and "Geronimo."
Richard Alexander as Nels/Nils Swenson/Swensen/Svenson, the Blacksmith
Richard Alexander was an American actor who worked in film and television for nearly 50 years. Most of his roles were uncredited, but he appeared in numerous films, including "All Quiet on the Western Front" (1930), "Flash Gordon" (1936, 1938), "Zorro Rides Again" (1937) and "Requiem for a Gunfighter" (1965). He also made numerous television appearances, frequently in Westerns, including "The Lone Ranger" (1950–1953), "The Gene Autry Show" (1950), "Dick Tracy (1950), "Hopalong Cassidy" (1952), "Death Valley Days" (1952) and his final role in "Petrocelli" (1971).
Alexander appeared in four episodes of THE RIFLEMAN and was one of seven actors to play Nels/Nils Swenson/Swensen/Svenson, usually also listed in the credits as the Blacksmith. He appeared in "The Deserter" (episode 65), "Smoke Screen" (episode 68), "Meeting at Midnight" (episode 74) and "The Martinet" (episode 83).
John Dierkes as Nels Svenson
John Dierkes was an American actor who appeared in numerous films and television shows in a career spanning 25 years. Previously, he worked in the United States Department of State and later joined the Red Cross, serving in Great Britain during World War II, where he met film Director, John Huston, who encouraged him to become an actor. After the war, however, he returned to government work, but eventually his employer, this time the US Treasury Department, sent him to Hollywood to be a technical consultant on the 1948 film, "The Day the Earth Stood Still." In the same year, Orson Welles cast him in his adaptation of Shakespeare's "Macbeth." Dierkes returned to his Treasury Department job, but John Huston coaxed him back to Hollywood to appear in his film, "The Red Badge of Courage" (1951). Among his numerous film credits, Dierkes portrayed Morgan Ryker in the western classic "Shane" (1053); and he appeared in the Yul Brynner film, "The Buccaneer" (1958);the film adaptation of Gore Vidal's "The Left Handed Gun" (1958), starring Paul Newman; "The Hanging Tree" (1959), starring Gary Cooper; John Wayne's "The Alamo" (1960); and "Oklahoma Crude" (1973), starring George C. Scott and Faye Dunaway.
Dierkes made two guest appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, playing the semi-regular character, Nels Svenson (variously Swenson, Swensen). One of seven actors to play the role of the blacksmith, he appeared in "Duel of Honor" (episode 7) and "The Sister" (episode 9). Dierkes appeared in many other television shows, including numerous Westerns, including "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin" (1955), "Wagon Train" (1957–1959), "Bonanza" (1959), "Peter Gunn" (1961), "Rawhide" (1962–1964) and "Gunsmoke" (1956–1973).
Henry Rowland as Nels the Blacksmith
Henry Rowland was an American actor who appeared in more than 175 films and television shows, frequently appearing in uncredited roles. Among the many films in which he appeared, Rowland had small parts in the Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Berman classic film, "Casablanca" (1942, uncredited), John Huston's "The Asphalt Jungle" (1950, uncredited), Lew Landers' "Captain John Smith and Pocahontas" (1953), the Gore Vidal film adaptation starring Paul Newman, "The Left Handed Gun" (1958, uncredited), the film adaptations of bestselling novels by Jacqueline Susann, "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" (1970), and Irving Wallace, "The Seven Minutes" (1971), and he appeared in the James Bond franchise feature film, "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971, uncredited). The Harrison Ford and Gene Wilder comedy "The Frisco Kid" (1979), was Rowland's last film.
Rowland appeared in just one episode of THE RIFLEMAN, "The Babysitter" (episode 52), in which he played Nels (Swenson/Svenson), the Blacksmith. He was one of seven actors to play the recurring character. He also appeared in numerous other television shows, especially Westerns, including multiple guest spots in "The Cisco Kid" (1952–1955), "Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok" (1952–1955), "The Roy Rogers Show" (1953–1957), "Annie Oakley" (1954–1956) and "Buffalo Bill, Jr." (1955–1956), "Zorro" (1958), and "Gunsmoke" (1962–1964).
Karl Swenson as Nils Svenson
Karl Swenson was an American actor of theater, radio, film and television whose career spanned more than 35 years. He met his second wife, stage and radio actress Joan Tompkins, while working in radio, and they performed together in various media, including film and television, throughout their careers. Swenson's long career began on the stage and in radio, appearing in numerous serials, including "Inner Sanctum Mysteries" (1941–1952), and the title roles in "Lorenzo Jones" (1937–1949) and the detective serials, "The Adventures of Father Brown" (1945) and "Mr. Chameleon" (1948–1953).
Beginning in the 1950's, Swenson guest-starred in 160 films and television shows. A fair-haired, strapping man of Swedish ancestry, Swenson was frequently typecast in roles playing Scandinavian characters. Usually appearing in minor parts, his film credits include "Kings Go Forth" (1958), "North to Alaska" (1960), Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" (1963) and "The Sons of Katie Elder" (1965). He had a prolific career in television, frequently appearing in Westerns; his many TV credits include "Gunsmoke" (1957–1971), "The Texan" (1958–1959), "Zane Grey Theater" (1958–1959), "Bachelor Father" (1958–1960), "Laramie" (1959–1963), "77 Sunset Strip" (1958–1963), "Bonanza" (1959–1967), "Perry Mason" (1962–1965), "The Virginian" (1962–1969), "Lassie" (1962–1972), "Dr. Kildaire" (1965), "The Big Valley" (1965–1967) and "The Mod Squad" (1970–1972).
Swenson appeared in two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN, playing the recurring character of Nils Svenson (variously Swenson, Swensen), the Blacksmith in "The Vision" (episode 66) and Chris Manse in "The Jailbird" (episode 73). Swenson is probably best remembered for his role playing lumber mill owner Lars Hanson in "Little House on the Prairie" (1974–1978). He had met actor/writer/producer/director Michael Landon on the set of "Bonanza" (1959), and remembering him when casting his successful "Little House" franchise, Landon gave Swenson a recurring role, which the veteran actor played until his death in 1978.
John Harmon as Eddie Halstead, Hotel Clerk at the Hotel Madera/California House
John Harmon was an American actor who appeared in over 250 roles in film and television from the 1930's through the 1970's. His early roles were mostly uncredited, but he was cast in a wide variety of genres and played many different kinds of characters. Harmon appeared in 15 episodes of THE RIFLEMAN as Eddie Halstead Hotel Clerk at the Hotel Madera. The character of Halstead was first introduced in episode 7, "Duel of Honor."
Charles La Franchise as Eddie Halstead, former Owner of Madera House
Charlie La Franchise made one appearance in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying the regular character of Eddie Halstead, former owner of Madera House, who sells his business to the new owner played by Patricia Blair in the title role as "Lou Mallory" (episode 145). Previously, La Franchise performed in a children's television show, playing "Uncle Charlie" on Portland, Oregon station KPTV.
Harlan Warde as John Hamilton, President of the North Fork Bank
Harlan Warde was an American actor who appeared in 180 films and television series over a 40 year career. Most of his early film roles were uncredited. He appeared in 18 episodes of THE RIFLEMAN, portraying John Hamilton, President of the North Fork Bank. His character debuted in "The Safeguard" (episode 8). Warde had recurring roles in other television series, many in the Western genre. Among his many other TV credits, he also appeared in "Dragnet" ( 1954), "You Are There" (1953–1956), "Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre" (1955 1957), "Perry Mason" (1958–1966), "The Virginian" (1962–1971), "Bonanza" (1962–1972), "The Big Valley" (1965–1969) and "The Fugitive" (1966 1967).
Patricia Blair as Lou Mallory, Owner of the General Store and the Madera House Hotel
Patricia Blair was an American television actress whose career was active primarily in the 1950s and 1960s. The Texas-born beauty began her career as a teenage model who went on to apprentice in summer stock before being discovered by Warner Bros. She began acting in films under the names Patricia Blake and Pat Blake. She appeared in a few films, including "Jump Into Hell" (1955), "Crime Against Joe" (1956) and "The Black Sleep" (1956), which reunited screen icons of the horror film genre Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., Basil Rathbone and John Carradine. She also appeared in the suspense thriller "City of Fear" (1959), starring Vince Edwards. She portrayed the Fashion Narrator in the Robert Redford romantic western "The Electric Horseman" (1979), co-starring Jane Fonda.
In 1962, Blair replaced actress Joan Taylor in a semi-regular role as Lou Mallory, Chuck Connor's love interest in the last season of THE RIFLEMAN. Blair played the attractive red-haired, fiery Irish businesswoman, whose character was savvy Landowner and Owner of the General Store and the Madera House Hotel. Blair's character of Lou Mallory appeared in 17 episodes of THE RIFLEMAN; she debuted in the title role of episode 145. Blair also made guest television appearances on "The Bob Cummings Show" (1955–1959), "The Virginian" (1962–1971), "Perry Mason" (1957–1966), "Bonanza" (1959–1973), and she co-starred in "Daniel Boone" (1964–1970), playing wife Rebecca Boone opposite Fess Parker. She also had a recurring role as Goldy in the western adventure series "Yancy Derringer" (1958–1959).
Bill Quinn as Sweeney, the Bartender
Bill Quinn was an American actor whose early career began in the 1920's in silent films and ended with the 1989 science fiction film, "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier." Perhaps, his best-known role was Mr. Ranseleer, Archie Bunker's blind friend in "All In The Family" (1971-1978). He also was a regular character in the Carroll O'Connor spin-off, "Archie Bunker's Place." Quinn's other television credits include roles in "The Odd Couple" (1970-1975), "McHale's Navy" (1962-1966), and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (1970-1977), in which he play Mary Richard's father. In 1971, he appeared in Universal Pictures' "How to Frame a Figg" starring Don Knotts. Quinn was a regular character in THE RIFLEMAN, appearing in 40 episodes as Sweeney, the Owner/Bartender of the North Fork Saloon.
Joan Taylor as Milly Scott, Owner of the General Store
Joan Taylor was an American actress born to a family in the entertainment business. Her mother, Amelia Berky, was a vaudeville dancer and singer in the 1920s. Her father operated a movie theater, which inspired in her an abiding interest in the movies from an early age. Taylor came to Hollywood in 1946 and worked on the stage at the Pasadena Playhouse for four years. Discovered by Victor Jory when she played Regina in "Another Part of the Forest," she was contracted to Paramount Studios where she appeared in several Western pictures. She guest-starred in numerous television series in the 1950s and early 60s, retiring from acting in 1962.
Taylor appeared in 18 episodes of THE RIFLEMAN between 1960 and 1962, playing Milly Scott, Owner of the General Store, which she bought from Hattie Denton. An attractive young woman who figured as a love interest for Lucas McCain, her character was introduced in "Miss Milly" (episode 84).
Ian Murray as Harley Hannabury
Ian Murray made appearances in seven episodes of THE RIFLEMAN, playing the recurring character of Harley Hannabury in six, including "The Challenge" (episode 28), "Blood Brothers" (episode 35), "Obituary" (episode 44), "The Fourflusher" (episode 72), "Meeting at Midnight" (credited as "Old Man")(episode 74), and "The Illustrator" (episode 88). He played a Townsman in "The Hangman" (episode 76).
Hal K. Dawson as Harley Hannabury
Hal K. Dawson was an American actor whose career spanned almost 50 years. He appeared in more than 250 films and television shows, playing mostly uncredited or small roles. While appearing in the stage production of "Machinal," which opened on Broadway in 1928, he roomed with Clark Gable, who played the leading role. Later, when Gable's career flourished, he recommended Dawson for many parts, includinng roles in "Libeled Lady" (1936) and "To Please a Lady" (1950). Other film credits include "Easy Livin" (1937), "The Great Victor Herbert" (1939), "Song of the Island" (1942), "The Captive City" (1952), "The Glenn Miller Story" (1954), "The Country Girl" (1954), "The Girl Rush" (1955), "Three For the Show" (1955), "Foxfire" (1955), "The Tin Star" (1957), "Loving You" (1957),"The Last Hurrah" (1958), "Cattle Empire" (1958), "Face of a Fugitive" (1959), "The Rat Race" (1960).
Dawson appeared in one episode of THE RIFLEMAN, "Six Days and A Year" (episode 91). He portrayed Harley Hannabury, a recurring character played by Ian Murray in six other episodes. Dawson made appearances on many television shows throughout the 1950's, 60's and 70's.
Dawson was a lifelong member of the Masquers Club, and later in life was made an honorary member of the Pioneers of Radio Club. He made his last television appearance in "What's Happening!!" in 1979 and passed away in 1987.
Glenn Strange as Stagecoach Driver
Glenn Strange was an American actor most well known for playing roles in the Western and Horror genres. Growing up in New Mexico, he had been a rancher, cowboy and rodeo performer—a background that lent authenticity to the Western characters he played. In the 1920's he learned to play the fiddle and guitar, and toured the country with a radio singing group, the Arizona Wranglers. He came to Hollywood in 1930 with the ensemble and began landing small parts in "B" Westerns. At 6' 5" tall, he had a large, rugged frame and heavy features—attributes that tended to typecast him as villainous and nefarious characters. Later, a different Western characterization would supplant the archetypal villains he portrayed earlier in his career—Sam Noonan, the bartender on CBS's "Gunsmoke" (1961–1973) television series would become his most enduring TV personae. He appeared in 215 episodes of "Gunsmoke."
Boris Karloff, the quintessential Horror genre star, portrayed Frankenstein's monster in three films, but in 1944 passed the baton to Strange, who played the monster role in three Universal films, "House of Frankenstein" (1944), "House of Dracula" (1945) and the camp horror-comedy film, "Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein" (1948). Ironically, in "House of Frankenstein" Karloff was cast as the villainous Dr. Niemann opposite Strange as the monster, formerly Karloff's signature character.
Beginning in the late 1940's, Strange segued into television and for the rest of his career appeared in numerous shows, again, frequently appearing in Westerns. He guest-starred in six episodes of THE RIFLEMAN, playing variations of the same character in each outing. He was Cole, the stagecoach driver, in "Duel of Honor" (episode 7) and a shotgun guard on the stagecoach in "The Dead-eye Kid" (episode 20), then Joey, the stagecoach driver, in "The Woman" (episode 32), followed by appearances as an unnamed stagecoach driver in "The Blowout" (episode 43), "The Spiked Rifle" (episode 49) and "Miss Bertie" (episode 90). Among the many television shows in which he appeared, Strange guest-starred in "Annie Oakley" (1954–1956), "Death Valley Days" (1954 1958), "The Adventures of Champion" (1955–1956), "The Cisco Kid" (1955–1956) and "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" (1955 1960). He passed away in 1973, ending his career playing Sam Noonan, the bartender on "Gunsmoke," whom he played for 12 years.
Robert Foulk as Toomey the Blacksmith
Robert Foulk was an American actor who made over 200 appearances in film and television in the 1950's through the 1970's. He also worked as a dialogue coach in his early career. He was frequently cast in Westerns, including "Last of the Badmen" (1957), "The Tall Stranger" (1957), "The Left-Handed Gun" (1958), and "Cast a Long Shadow" (1958). He played the recurring role of the Bartender in Joel McCrea's "Witchita Man" (1959) and the next door neighbor in "Father Knows Best" (1955-1959). Foulk made five appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Toomey the Blacksmith in "The Second Witness" (episode 23), "Three Legged Terror" (episode 30) and "Outlaw's Inheritance" (episode 38). He played two different characters, Johannson in "The Raid" (episode 37) and Herbert Newman in "The Lost Treasure of Canyon Town" (episode 99).
Sidney Blackmer as Judge Hanavan
Sidney Blackmer was an American theater, film and television actor. His career spanned 57 years, beginning in the silent film era. He appeared in an uncredited role in "Perils of Pauline" (1914) and went on to spend the 1920s playing on Broadway, eventually debuting in talkies in 1929, in "The Love Racket." In his prolific career, Blackmer appeared in scores of motion pictures—appearing in 12 movies in 1937 alone. His film credits include two Edward G. Robinson classics, "Little Caesar" (1931) and "The Last Gangster" (1937), "Duel in the Sun" (1946), "High Society" (1956), "Tammy and the Bachelor" (1957) and "How to Murder Your Wife"(1965). He co-starred with THE RIFLEMAN's Paul Fix in "The High and The Mighty" (1954), playing the gun-toting idiot. His best-remembered film role was playing Roman Castevet in Roman Polanski's "Rosemary's Baby" (1968).
Beginnning in the 1930's, Blackmer portrayed President Theodore Roosevelt, a historical figure he played seven times in films and teleplays, including "This Is My Affair" (1937) , "The Monroe Doctrine" (1939), "Teddy the Rough Rider" (1940) and "My Girl Tisa" (1948). In 1950, Blackmer won a Tony Award as Best Actor in a dramatic role for the Broadway production of "Come Back, Little Sheba."
Blackmer appeared in three episodes of THE RIFLEMAN, playing the recurring character of Judge Hanavan, who first appeared in the pilot episode, "The Sharpshooter." He reprised the role of Judge Hanavan in "The Safe Guard" (episode 8) and "The Photographer" (episode 18). Blackmer's numerous television credits include guest-starring roles in "The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse" (1949–1951), "Robert Montgomery Presents" (1952–1956), "Hallmark Hall of Fame" (1952–1956), "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1955–1962), "Bonanza" (1961–1968), "Dr. Kildare" (1962–1966), "Ben Casey" (1966), "The Name of the Game" (1968–1969). Blackmer's last appearance on the Broadway stage was the 1963–64 production of "A Case of Libel," and his last acting role was in "Do You Take This Stranger? (1971). Blackmer passed away two years later.
Kathleen Mulqueen as Judge Hanavan's (Nancy) wife/sister/daughter
Kathleen Mulqueen was an American character actress, working primarily in film and television in the 1950's and 60's. Her film appearances include the Paddy Chayefsky film, "Marty" (1955), "Texas Lady" (1955), "These Wilder Years" (1956), "The Outsider" (1962) and "The Night Walker" (1965). She appeared in four episodes of THE RIFLEMAN—"The Sharpshooter" (the pilot episode) as Nancy Hanavan, "The Angry Gun" (episode 12) as Mrs. Peterson, "Eddie's Daughter" (episode 46) as Woman and "The Actress" (episode 94) as Judge Hanavan's wife/sister/daughter. She appeared in dozens of television series of different genres, notably, playing the semi-regular character, Grandma Wilson, in "Dennis the Menace" (1959–1963).
R. G. Armstrong as Sheriff Fred Tomlinson
R. G. Armstrong was an American playwright and film and television actor. Trained at the Actors Studio in New York, his filmography lists more than 180 credits spanning 50 years. Armstrong made his first film appearance in "Garden of Eden" (1954). While working on the television show "The Westerner," he met writer/director Sam Peckinpah, who cast him in several of his films, including "Ride the High Country" (1962), "Major Dundee" (1965), "The Ballad of Cable Hogue" (1970) and "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid" (1973). Armstrong was also cast in three Warren Beatty films, including "Heaven Can Wait" (1978), "Reds" (1981) and "Dick Tracy" (1990), in which he played the villain Pruneface. Other film credits include the role of Cap'n Dan in "The Great White Hope" (1970) and General Phillips "Predator" (1987).
Armstrong was best-known as a character actor in television Westerns. He appeared in two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN, playing Sheriff Tomlinson in the pilot episode "The Sharpshooter," which was written by Sam Peckinpah, and episode 4, "The Marshal," which was both written and directed by Peckinpah. "The Marshal" introduced the title character played by Paul Fix after Armstrong's sheriff was killed by marauding outlaws. Other TV series in which he guest-starred include "The Texan" (1958–1959), "Lawman" (1959), "Maverick" (1959–1960), "Bonanza" (1959–1966), "Cheyenne" (1960–1961), "Perry Mason" (1958–1962), "Laramie" (1960–1962), "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1960–1962), "Gunsmoke" (1961–1967), "Wagon Train" (1962), "The Virginian" (1963–1967), "The F.B.I." (1965–1967), "T.H.E. Cat" (1966), "The Dukes of Hazzard" (1979–1983), "Dynasty" (1982), "Friday the 13th" (1987–1989) and "L. A. Law" (1992–1993). R. G. Armstrong passed away on July 27, 2012 at age 95.