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"Short Rope for a Tall Man"

Episode 103

Writer:  Tom Gries

Director:  Paul Landres

Original Air Date:  3/28/1961

 

Cast

Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain

Johnny Crawford as Mark McCain

Paul Fix as Marshal Micah Torrance

Johnny Crawford and Chuck Connors

 

Lucas is threatened with hanging by a lynching party after some horses he has purchased in a neighboring town turn out to be stolen.

Guest Cast

Hal Baylor as Charlie Crown

Hal Baylor was an American television and film actor, as well as a heavyweight boxing champion.  He appeared in 500 television shows and 70 movies in a career spanning 40 years.  Taking advantage of his athletic abilities, Baylor attended Washington State University on a scholarship.  Most of his early film roles were either uncredited or attributed to Hal Fieberling, including "The Set-Up" (1949), in which he appeared opposite Robert Ryan.  "The Set-Up" is still regarded as one of the best boxing films in movie history.  Tall and heavy-set, Baylor was dubbed "the Last of the Bigtime Bad Guys" and was frequently cast in tough guy roles.  He played in a range of genres, from crime dramas, such as "Perry Mason" (1957–1966), to superhero, such as "Batman" (1967), in which he played the character Mercury, and the science fiction cult classic movie, "A Boy and His Dog" (1975).  He also appeared in several war movies, including "The Sands of Iwo Jima" (1949), starring John Wayne.

Baylor was perhaps most familiar in TV westerns, appearing in many of the classic shows of the 1950s and 60s, including "The Lone Ranger" (1949–1957), "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" (1955–1961), "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975), "Cheyenne" (1956–1960), "Rawhide" (1959–1965), "Bonanza" (1959–1973), "The Virginian" (1963–1967) and "Death Valley Days" (1962–1968).  Baylor made one appearance in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Charlie Crown in "Short Rope for a Tall Man" (episode 103).

Charles Briggs as Artie Quint

Charlie Briggs was an American actor who worked primarily in television, particularly in the western genre.  He appeared in more than 60 television shows and movies in a career spanning 25 years.  He made his debut as an actor in the western series "Maverick" (1957–1962), playing the role of Little Jeb Plummer.   He appeared in the Disney film, "The Absent-Minded Professor" (1963), Clint Eastwood's Civil War Southern Gothic, "The Beguiled" (1971), the Charles Bronson crime drama, "Charley Varrick" (1973), Natalie Wood's last film, "Brainstorm" (1983) and the oscar-winning film, "Norma Rae" (1973).  Briggs made two appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Eli Manse in "The Jailbird" (episode 73) and Artie Quint in "Short Rope for a Tall Man" (episode 103).  Other western series in which he guest-starred include "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975), "The Virginian" (1962–1971) and "Bonanza" (1959–1973).

Bert Freed as Ben Crown

Bert Freed was an American actor whose career spanned nearly 40 years.  Born and raised in the Bronx, he began his acting career while attending Penn State University, making his Broadway debut in the 1942 production, "Johnny Two by Four."  His film debut was an uncredited role in the musical "Carnegie Hall" (1947).

Freed was a versatile actor who appeared in more than 75 films and 200 television shows.  He played a wide range of characters—from villains and criminals to their law and order counterparts and the occasional avuncular, good-natured family man.  Whether portraying a gangster or a detective, Freed elicited his character's sympathic or detestable qualities with equal persuasiveness.

His films credits include "Halls of Montezuma" (1950), "Where the Sidewalk Ends" (1950), "The Desperate Hours" (1955), "Paths of Glory" (1957), "Fate Is the Hunter" (1964), "Detective Story" (1951), "Wild in the Streets" (1968), "Billy Jack" (1971) and "Norma Rae" (1979).

Freed made numerous television appearances from the 1950's until his death in 1986.  He guest starred in shows of almost every genre, but was seen with most frequently in detective shows and westerns, including "Gunsmoke" (1959–1965), "Perry Mason (1960–1964), 15 episodes of "Shane" (1966), "The Big Valley" (1966–1968), "The Virginian" (1973–1971), "The Streets of San Francisco" (1976–1977) and "Charlies's Angels" (1978).   Freed appeared in two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Oat Jackford in "The Money Gun" (episode 33) and Ben Crown in "Short Rope for a Tall Man" (episode 103).

Eileen Harley (Wallace Earl Sparks Laven) as Joe Lovering's wife

Born Amanda Foulger, Wallace Earl Sparks was an American film and television actress.  She appeared in nearly 40 movies and television shows in a career spanning almost four decades.  Her filmography lists credits under various stage names, including Eileen Harley and Amanda Ames.  According to Laven's daughter Barbara, she took the stage name Eileen from a childhood friend and put it together with Harley, which was a family name.  She borrowed the stage name Amanda from another friend who was a professional dancer and with whom she appeared in several musicals.  According to her daughter, Laven thought Amanda sounded well with Ames.  She was married to Arnold Laven, late co-founder of Levy-Gardner-Laven Productions and creator, producer and director of THE RIFLEMAN.  They sometimes worked together.  Harley guest-starred in many popular television shows, especially crime dramas, including "Arrest and Trial" (1963–1964), which starred Chuck Connors, Ben Gazarra and Roger Perry; "Ironside" (1967–1975), starring Raymond Burr; "Police Woman" (1974–1978), starring Angie Dickenson and Earl Holliman; "The Rockford Files" (1974–1980), starring James Garner; and "Hardcastle and McCormick" (1983–1986), starring Brian Keith; as well as the family comedy "The Donna Reed Show" (1958–1966) and the medical dramas "Dr. Kildare" (1961–1966), starring Richard Chamberlain, and "Marcus Welby, M.D." (1969–1976), starring Robert Young and James Brolin.

Wallace Earl appeared in several films, playing an uncredited part in the dramatic comedy "Blue Astaire" (1946), starring Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby; Sally in the sci-fi film "The Monster That Challenged the World" (1957), directed by Arnold Laven; an uncredited role in the biographical action film "Geronimo" (1962), starring Chuck Connors and directed by Arnold Laven; and Ellie in the musical comedy "Clambake" (1967), starring Elvis Presley.

Wallace Earl made five appearances (under several different stage names) in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Clair Wheatley Carney in "The Retired Gun" (episode 17), Myrtle in "The Hangman" (episode 76) and "The Silent Knife" (episode 89), Mrs. Lovering in "Short Rope for a Tall Man" (episode 103), and Ruth in "The Executioner" (episode 142).  She also guest-starred in several other westerns of the 1960s and 70s, including "The Big Valley" (1965–1969), starring Barbara Stanwyck, and "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975), starring James Arness.  Wallace Earl Laven passed away February 27, 2012 after a long illness.

Joe Higgins as Henry Schneider

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."

Norman Leavitt as Jeptha Docking

Normal Leavitt, born Norman Turner Leavitt, was an American film and television actor.  He appeared in more than 200 movies and television shows during his 30-year career.  Although the majority of his early work was in film, he segued into television in the 1950s.  He had numerous uncredited roles in major films, appearing in the musical comedy "Two Sisters from Boston" (1946), starring Kathryn Grayson and June Allyson; the dramatic comedy "A Foreign Affair" (1948), starring Marlene Dietrich and Jean Arthur; the film adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' "The Three Musketeers" (1948), starring Lana Turner, Gene Kelly and June Allyson; the war drama "The Red Badge of Courage" (1951), starring Audie Murphy; the drama "Full House" (1952), featuring a star-studded ensemble cast; and the adventure drama "The Ten Commandments" (1956), also starring an ensemble cast headed by Yul Brynner and Charlton Heston.  In television, he played several recurring roles, including Ralph in the western "Trackdown" (1957–1959); Wally in the family comedy "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960–1968); the telegrapher in "Bonanza" (1959–1973); and Mr. Felton in the family comedy "Mayberry R.F.D." (1968–1971).

Leavitt also guest-starred in a numerous television shows between the 1950s and 70s, including the mystery action series "Peter Gunn" (1958–1961), the family comedies "The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour" (1957–1960) and "Dennis the Menace" (1959–1963), the suspense series "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1955–1962), Rod Serling's iconic anthology series, "The Twilight Zone" (1959–1964), the comedy "The Beverly Hillbillies" (1962–1971), the western action adventures "The Wild Wild West" (1965–1969), and "Kung Fu" (1972–1975), as well as the crime dramas, "M Squad" (1957–1960), "The Untouchables" (1959–1963), "Perry Mason" (1957–1966) and "Arrest and Trial" (1963–1964).

Leavitt made two appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Jeptha Docking in "Short Rope for a Tall Man" (episode 103) and the hotel clerk in "The Bullet" (episode 163).  He guest-starred in many other westerns, including "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin" (1954–1959), "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" (1955–1961), "Maverick" (1957–1962), "Tales of Wells Fargo" (1957–1962), "Cheyenne" (1955–1963), "Laramie" (1959–1963), "Rawhide" (1959–1966), "Wagon Train" (1957–1965), "Death Valley Days" (1952–1975), "The Big Valley" (1965–1969), and "The Virginian" (1962–1971).

William Schallert as Joe Lovering

William Schallert is a prolific American film, television and voice actor.  He has appeared in 360 movies and television shows during a career spanning more than 60 years.  He is the son of the late Edwin Schallert, a former drama editor of the "Los Angeles Times" and the dean of West Coast critics.  After graduating from UCLA, Schallert began working with the Circle Theater, where he would eventually become one of the owners.  He was also the president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1979 to 1981.  He remains actively involved the Guild and has said that he has no plans to retire.  He is best known for his portrayal of Martin Lane in the family comedy "The Patty Duke Show" (1963–1966).

Schallert has appeared in numerous films, including playing several uncredited parts in classic films, including a gas station attendent in the adventure drama "Mighty Joe Young" (1949), starring Terry Moore and Ben Johnson; a Union soldier in the war drama "The Red Badge of Courage" (1951), starring Audie Murphy and Bill Mauldin; a messenger on screen in the musical comedy "Singin' in the Rain" (1952), starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds; an ambulance attendant in the sci-fi horror "Them!" (1954), starring James Whitmore and Edmund Gwenn; a Union lieutenant in the romantic drama "Band of Angels" (1957), starring Clark Gable and Yvonne De Carlo; Doctor Arthur Bramson in the sci-fi thriller "The Incredible Shrinking Man" (1957), starring Grant Williams; Harry in the western drama "Lonely Are the Brave" (1962), starring Kirk Douglas; Judge Herman Spicer in the western "Hour of the Gun" (1967), starring James Garner, Jason Robards and Robert Ryan; and Horn in the dramatic comedy "Teachers" (1984), starring Nick Nolte.

Schallert has guest-starred in many popular television shows in virtually every major genre, including the family comedies "Leave It to Beaver" (1957–1963), "Father Knows Best" (1954–1960), "The Donna Reed Show" (1958–1966) and "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960–1968), the Disney adventure series "Zorro" (1957–1959), the mystery action series "Peter Gunn" (1958–1961), the crime dramas "Richard Diamond: Private Detective" (1957–1960), "The Untouchables" (1959–1963) and "77 Sunset Strip" (1958–1964), Rod Serling's iconic anthology series, "The Twilight Zone" (1959–1964), the nautical adventure series "Sea Hunt" (1958–1961), the horror series "Thriller" (1960–1962), the suspense series "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1955–1962), the medical drama "Dr. Kildare" (1961–1966), the legal dramas "Perry Mason" (1957–1966) and "Ironside" (1967–1975), the family dramas "Lassie" (1954–1974) and "Little House on the Prairie" (1974–1983), the war drama "Combat!" (1962–1967), the espionage thriller "Mission: Impossible" (1966–1973), the iconic sci-fi series "Star Trek" (1966–1969), the western action adventure series "The Wild Wild West" (1965–1969) and "Kung Fu" (1972–1975), the comedy "Maude" (1972–1978), the crime action adventure "Magnum, P.I." (1980–1988), and most recently, the romantic comedy "How I Met Your Mother" (2005–present) and the dramatic comedy "Desperate Housewives" (2004–present).  His credits as a voice actor include the animated series "Smurfs" (1981–1990) and "What's New, Scooby-Doo?" (2002–present).

Schallert has also played many recurring roles, including Herbert in the comedy "Hey, Jeannie!" (1956–1957), Justinian Tebbs in the western "The Adventures of Jim Bowie" (1956–1958), Major Karl Richmond in the adventure series "Steve Canyon" (1958–1960), Lieutenant Manny Harris in the Raymond Chandler crime drama "Phillip Marlowe" (1959–1960), Mr. Leander Pomfritt in the family comedy "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" (1959–1963), Admiral Hargade in the Buck Henry spy spoof, "Get Smart" (1965–1970), Carson Drew in the family mystery series "The Nancy Drew Mysteries" (1977–1979), Stanley Perkins in the long-running family drama "The Waltons" (1971–1981), Russell "Russ" Lawrence in the comedy "The New Gidget" (1986–1988), and Mayor Norris in the fantasy drama "True Blood" (2008–present).  He made three appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Fogarty in "The Mind Reader" (episode 40), Marshal Truce in "Strange Town" (episode 81), and Joe Lovering in "Short Rope for a Tall Man" (episode 103).  He has guest-starred in many other classic westerns, including "The Lone Ranger" (1949–1957), "Maverick" (1957–1962), "Wanted: Dead or Alive" (1958–1961), "Wagon Train" (1957–1965), "Bat Masterson" (1958–1961), "Death Valley Days" (1952–1975), "Bonanza" (1959–1973), "Rawhide" (1959–1966), "The Virginian" (1962–1971) and "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975).

 

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