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"The Challenge"

Episode 28

Writer:  David Victor and Herbert Little

Director:  Lewis Allen

Original Air Date:  4/7/1959

 

Cast

Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain

Johnny Crawford as Mark McCain

Paul Fix as Marshal Micah Torrance

Johnny Crawford and Chuck Connors

 

An escaped killer, who is anxious to prove he hasn't lost his nerve or his prowess with a gun, barricades himself with his two companions in North Fork's General Store, holding the Marshal as prisoner and challenging the town to try and face him.  In the entire population of North Fork, only Lucas is strong enough to challenge the reputation of the desperate killer, but he is wise enough to see that the man's hysterical insistence that he can take on the whole town may mask a coward beneath his bravado.  Lucas plays his hunch and stands up to the killer alone.

Guest Cast

Mel Carter as Cowhand

Mel Carter made eight guest appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying different characters in each episode.  He played an outlaw on "End of a Young Gun" (episode 3), Walkerman in "The Safe Guard" (episode 8), a cowhand in "The Challenge" (episode 28), Jed Healy in "The Woman" (episode 32), Arnie Grady in "The Journey Back" (episode 115), Jeems in "Outlaw's Shoes" (episode 141), George Vale's partner Bo Jackman in "Lou Mallory" (episode 145), and Mark Jones in "Death Never Rides Alone" (episode 147).  Carter appeared in many television shows from the late 1950's through late 1980's.  In 1987, he co-starred with Chuck Connors in "Werewolf," an episode of the "Father Jude" series.

John Durren as Davey Pardee

John Durren is an American film and television actor.  He has appeared in more than 50 movies and television shows in a career spanning nearly 40 years.  He has guest-starred in many of the popular shows of the 1950s through the 90s, including the courtroom crime drama "Perry Mason" (1957–1966), starring Raymond Burr; the family comedy "Dennis the Menace" (1959–1963), starring Jay North in the title role; the action-adventure series "The Fugitive" (1963–1967), starring David Janssen as a wrongly convicted doctor on the run; the detective drama "Kojak" (1973–1978), starring Telly Savalas in the title role; the war satire "M*A*S*H*" (1972–1983), starring an ensemble cast led by Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swit, Larry Linville, Harry Morgan and MacLean Stevenson; and the action-adventure series "The New Adventures of Wonder Woman" (1975–1979), starring Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman.  Durren made his first television appearance in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Davey Pardee in "The Challenge" (episode 28) and Stump Malakie in "Bloodlines" (episode 42).  He also guest-starred in the westerns "Rawhide" (1959–1966), starring Clint Eastwood, and "Cheyenne" (1955–1963), starring Clint Walker.

Michael Harris as Cowhand

Michael Harris was an American actor whose filmography was limited to performances in THE RIFLEMAN.  He appeared in an uncredited role in "The Sister" (episode 9), played a cowhand in "The Challenge" (episode 28) and portrayed Ed Bundy in "The Anvil Chorus" (episode 154).

John Maxwell as Sam Weltz

John Maxwell was an American actor who worked primarily in film.  He appeared in nearly 150 movies and television shows during his two-decade career.  Most of his roles were uncredited, but he appeared in many notable films, including the Warner Brothers romantic comedy "The Male Animal" (1942), starring Henry Fonda, Olivia de Havilland and Joan Leslie; the romantic adventure fantasy "Kismet" (1944), starring Ronald Colman and Marlene Dietrich; the comedy "Monsieur Beaucaire" (1946), starring Bob Hope and Joan Caulfield; the romantic drama "The Girl Who Had Everything" (1953), starring Elizabeth Taylor, Fernando Lamas and William Powell; the science fiction classic "The War of the Worlds" (1953), starring Gene Barry and Ann Robinson; "Johnny Guitar" (1954), starring Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden; the science fiction cult classic "Them!" (1954), starring James Whitemore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon and James Arness; and the western "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" (1957), starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas.  He also played the role of Dr. Swanson in the John Huston noir film "The Asphalt Jungle" (1950), starring Sterling Hayden, Jean Hagen, Sam Jaffe, Louis Calhern and James Whitmore.

Maxwell guest-starred in several popular television shows of the 1950s and 60s, including the action series "Adventures of Superman" (1952–1958), the family drama "Lassie" (1954–1974) and the Disney anthology series "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" (1954–1990).  Maxwell also had a recurring role playing Alex Gregory in the crime drama "The Court of Last Resort" (1957–1958).  He made two appearance in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Sam Weltz in "The Challenge" (episode 28) and the card dealer in "Lariat" (episode 67).  He also guest-starred in the westerns "The Lone Ranger" (1949–1957), starring Clayton Moore, "Zane Grey Theater" (1956–1961), starring Dick Powell, "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" (1955–1961), starring Hugh O'Brian, and "Bonanza" (1959–1973), starring Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker and Pernell Roberts.

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" (episode 74), and "The Illustrator" (episode 88).  He played a Townsman in "The Hangman" (episode 76).

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.

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).

Les Tremayne as Professor

Les Tremayne was a British-born radio, film and television actor whose career spanned nearly 70 years.  He immigrated to the United States as a small child and grew up in Chicago.  He began his career working in community theater, dancing in vaudeville shows and playing the role of barker at amusement parks.  Tremayne landed his first radio job in 1930 and went on to appear in numerous serials and shows.  In 1936, he became famous after replacing actor Don Ameche as the leading man on "The First Nighter," a weekly program of radio dramas.  The repertoire of voices and accents he cultivated working in radio garnered him many voice assignments throughout his career and eventually, in 1995, induction into the Radio Hall of Fame. It has been estimated that Lee worked on more than 30,000 broadcasts, performing in as many as 45 radio shows every week in the 1930's and '40's.

In 1943, Tremayne left the Chicago area and moved to Los Angeles and later to New York.  Before serving in the military, he starred with Bob Crosby on the "Old Gold Show" (beginning 1943).  In New York, he starred in the popular "Thin Man" and "Falcon" mystery thrillers and later co-starred with second wife, Alice Reinhardt in "The Tremaynes," a breakfast talk show.  In 1947, he appeared on stage in "Heads or Tails" and for 18 months performed on Broadway in "Detective Story," beginning in 1949.

In the 1950's, he was a durable player in film and TV dramas.  His filmography includes "The Racket" (1951), the sci-fi classic "War of the Worlds" (1953), "A Man Called Peter" (1955) and "North by Northwest" (1959).  Typically cast in roles playing shifty executives, errant husbands and unctuous, non-nonsense professionals in scores of TV dramas, he appeared in numerous shows, including "Perry Mason," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," and "77 Sunset Strip."  Tremayne appeared in one episode of THE RIFLEMAN, playing Professor in "The Challenge" (episode 28).  Tremayne went on to play one of the longest-lived and oldest characters in daytime television, Edward L. Quartermaine, the scion of the wealthy Port Charles family in ABC's "General Hospital."

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).

Adam Williams as Jake Pardee

Adam Williams was an American actor with over 120 television credits in the 1950s through the 1970s.  He made six guest appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying different characters in each episode.  He played Jake Pardee in "The Challenge" (episode 28), Corporal Troc in "The Prisoner" (episode 101), Jax in "The Score is Even" (episode 105), Russell Ganaway in "The Executioner" (episode 142), which he also wrote, Platt in "The Anvil Chorus" (episode 154), and Jeb Sherman in "Old Man Running" (episode 166).

 

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