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"The Apprentice Sheriff"

Episode 11

Writer:  Barney Slater

Director:  Arthur Hiller

Original Air Date:  12/9/1958

 

Cast

Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain

Johnny Crawford as Mark McCain

 

Marshal Torrance has to go out of town on business and appoints the young son of the local storekeeper as his deputy in his absence.  The boy is anxious to prove his manhood but is doubly sensitive because wearing glasses has made him the butt of many local jokes.   Consequently, he becomes a martinet when hes wearing the badge.  The young drillmaster provokes gunfire among some cowhands who ride into town on a spree.  Lucas has to step in to protect the young deputy, when the cowhands come gunning for revenge.

Guest Cast

Edward Binns as Keely Thompson

Edward Binns was an American television and film actor.  He appeared in more than 160 TV shows and movies over 40 years.  He made his acting debut on Broadway and appeared in half dozen plays during his long career, including "Detective Story" (1949–1950) and "Ghosts" (1982).  His film credits include playing Captain Junket in "North by Northwest" (1959), Juror #6 in "Twelve Angry Men" (1957), Sen. Burkette in "Judgment at Nuremberg" (1961) and Maj. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith in "Patton" (1970).  He guest–starred in many popular series of the late 1950s and early 1960s, including "Perry Mason" (1957–1966), "The Untouchables" (1959–1963) and "Twilight Zone" (1959–1964) and several westerns, including "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975), "Have Gun – Will Travel" (1957–1963) and "Bonanza" (1959–1973).  Binns also played the title character in the crime drama series "Brenner" (1959).  He made one appearance in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Kealy Thompson in "The Apprentice Sheriff" (episode 11).

William Bryant as Sandy Dixon

William Bryant was an American actor who appeared in over 200 film and television roles in a career spanning 45 years.  He made four guest appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying different characters in each episode.  He played Sandy in "The Apprentice Sheriff" (episode 11), Jerry in "Shivaree" (episode 19), Karl Hollis in "Gunfire" (episode 126), and Trooper Coley in "The Assailants" (episode 149).

Fritz Ford as uncredited stunt double for Chuck Connors

Fritz Ford, born Fred Apking, was an American stuntman and actor.  Between his stunt work and acting credits, Ford appeared in nearly 70 movies and television shows during a career spanning 30 years.  He provided stunt work for several films, including the war drama "The Desert Rats" (1953), starring Richard Burton, James Mason and Robert Newton; the sci-fi adventure film "Planet of the Apes" (1962), starring Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans; and the sci-fi drama "Soylent Green" (1973), starring Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe and Leigh Taylor-Young.  He also appeared in several films as an actor, including minor parts in the noir film "The Big Heat" (1953), starring Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame; and the sci-fi thriller "Seconds" (1966), starring Rock Hudson; as well as the role of Murray in the horror film "Damien: Omen II" (1975), starring William Holden and Lee Grant.

Ford guest-starred in a variety of popular television shows of the 1960s, including the crime drama "Arrest and Trial" (1963–1964), the espionage thriller "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." (1964–1968), the superhero parody "Batman" (1966–1968), the espionage series "I Spy" (1965–1968) and the sci-fi series "V" (1984–1985).

Ford made six appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Mr. Jones [stunt double for Chuck Connors; uncredited] in "The Safeguard" (episode 8), Deputy Carl [uncredited] in "The Second Witness" (episode 23), Townsman in "The Angry Man" (episode 31), and Second Cowboy in "Ordeal" (episode 48).  He made uncredited appearances in "The Apprentice Sheriff" (episode 11) and "The Sheridan Story" (episode 16).

Fritz Ford as Cowhand

Fritz Ford, born Fred Apking, was an American stuntman and actor.  Between his stunt work and acting credits, Ford appeared in nearly 70 movies and television shows during a career spanning 30 years.  He provided stunt work for several films, including the war drama "The Desert Rats" (1953), starring Richard Burton, James Mason and Robert Newton; the sci-fi adventure film "Planet of the Apes" (1962), starring Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans; and the sci-fi drama "Soylent Green" (1973), starring Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe and Leigh Taylor-Young.  He also appeared in several films as an actor, including minor parts in the noir film "The Big Heat" (1953), starring Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame; and the sci-fi thriller "Seconds" (1966), starring Rock Hudson; as well as the role of Murray in the horror film "Damien: Omen II" (1975), starring William Holden and Lee Grant.

Ford guest-starred in a variety of popular television shows of the 1960s, including the crime drama "Arrest and Trial" (1963–1964), the espionage thriller "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." (1964–1968), the superhero parody "Batman" (1966–1968), the espionage series "I Spy" (1965–1968) and the sci-fi series "V" (1984–1985).

Ford made six appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Mr. Jones [stunt double for Chuck Connors; uncredited] in "The Safeguard" (episode 8), Deputy Carl [uncredited] in "The Second Witness" (episode 23), Townsman in "The Angry Man" (episode 31), and Second Cowboy in "Ordeal" (episode 48).  He made uncredited appearances in "The Apprentice Sheriff" (episode 11) and "The Sheridan Story" (episode 16).

Steven Gardner as Schoolboy

Steve Gardner is the son of THE RIFLEMAN executive producer, Arthur Gardner.  He appeared in two episodes as schoolboys, "The Apprentice Sheriff" (episode 11) and "The Schoolteacher" (episode 86).  Gardner currently is an attorney practicing in Los Angeles.

Elyse Gordon as Schoolgirl

Elyse Gordon was an American actress whose filmography is a single guest appearance in THE RIFLEMAN, in which she played a schoolgirl in "The Apprentice Sheriff" (episode 11).

Grant Richards as Reed Barns

Grant Richards was an American actor whose career spanned the 1930's through the early 1960's.  He had numerous television credits and was a voice-over regular on the popular 1930's radio series "Gangbusters," which featured weekly episodes based on actual crime incidents.  Each program ended with various descriptions of wanted criminals, many of whom were later arrested due to avid listener participation.   Richards appeared in three episodes of THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Reed Barns in "The Apprentice Sheriff" (episode 11), Dave Chester in "Gunfire" (episode 126), and John Keeler in "Tinhorn" (episode 134).

Robert Vaughn as Don Willard

Robert Francis Vaughn was an American actor born in New York to show-business parents: his father Walter was a radio actor and his mother, Marcella, was a stage actress.  He had a prolific career in film and television spanning more than 55 years.  Vaughn came to public attention with his Oscar-nominated role in "The Young Philadelphians," in 1959.  The following year he was one of the seven in the Western classic, "The Magnificent Seven."  Despite the popularity of the films in which he appeared, Vaughn found steady work on television and had more than 200 guest roles in the late 1950's through early 1960's. It was during this period that he appeared in one episode of THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Don Willard in the title role of "The Apprentice Sheriff" (episode 11).

Vaughn's first major television role was in the 1963 Gene Roddenbury series, "The Lieutenant."  He took the part intending to segue from being a guest star into a co-star on TV, which apparently worked, because after seeing him, producer Norman Felton offered him the role of Napoleon Solo in "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." (1964–1968).  His portrayal of the ultra-cool spy is his best-remembered role—one that established his enduring signature suave personae.

The successful spy series made Vaughn an international TV star, but he wanted to return to film, which he did in 1968, in "Bullitt," starring Steve McQueen.  His portrayal as an ambitious California politician earned him a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.  He began working in film full-time, starring in "The Bridge of Remagen" (1969) and "The Mind of Mr. Soams" (1970).  In the 1970's, he went to England, taking the lead role in the television series, "The Protectors" (1972–1973), but by the mid-70's, he returned to the US and embarked on a very successful run of TV mini-series roles which garnered him an Emmy award in 1978 for "Washington: Behind Closed Doors" and a nomination the following year for "Backstairs at the White House."

Vaughn continued to work on television, film and stage projects throughout the 1980's, 90's and into the 2000's.  He maintained lifelong interests in politics and literary pursuits, completing a thesis on Hollywood blacklisting during the McCarthy "Red Scare" era, which was published in 1972 as "Only Victims: A Study of Show Business Blacklisting."  His published a memoir, "A Fortunate Life" (St. Martin's Griffin), in 2009.

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