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"Strange Town"

Episode 81

Writer:  Jack Curtis

Director:  Joseph H. Lewis

Original Air Date:  10/25/1960

 

Cast

Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain

Johnny Crawford as Mark McCain

Paul Fix as Marshal Micah Torrance

Johnny Crawford and Chuck Connors

 

Lucas trails an escaped prisoner to a mountain mining town.  Lucas' quarry is Bletch Droshek, a sadistic coward who is notorious for shooting men in the back.  Finding the town in the absolute control of Bletch's dictatorial brother, Lucas grimly anticipates getting no help in corralling Bletch and no mercy, if he bungles the job.

Guest Cast

Claude Akins as Bletch Droshek

Claude Akins was an American actor of stage, film and television.  He appeared in over 100 movies and 180 television shows in a career spanning more than 40 years.  He served in the US Army Signal Corps during World War II and was stationed in Burma and the Philippines.  Prior to his military service, Akins attended Northwestern University where he studied theater and upon returning home from his last deployment, he rekindled his interest in art and drama, appearing in his first film role in "From Here to Eternity" (1953).  Akins was broad-shouldered and barrel-chested, with a deep baritone voice and dark wavy hair.  Gregarious, likeable and friendly, he was never short of work.  He was equally adept at playing sneering cowardly villains and portraying hard-nosed cops.  Akins is best remembered for his television role as Sheriff Lobo in the 1970's series "B.J. and the Bear" and later a spin-off series, "The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo."

He quickly began notching up roles in TV shows, including "Dragnet," "My Friend Flicka" and "Zane Grey Theatre."  He also turned in several strong cinematic performances, playing Mack in the excellent "The Defiant Ones" (1958), gunfighter Joe Burdette in the landmark western "Rio Bravo" (1959), Sgt. Kolwicz in "Merrill's Marauders" (1962) and Earl Sylvester in the gripping "The Killers" (1964).  In the early 1970's Akins appeared in several supernatural TV films, playing "no-nonsense" sheriffs in both "The Night Stalker" and "The Norliss Tapes."  He was virtually unrecognizable underneath his simian make-up as war-mongering General Aldo in "Battle for the Planet of the Apes" (1973).  Akins continued staring in films and television until the time of his death from cancer in 1994.

Akins appeared in many classic western series, including "The Big Valley," "Gunsmoke," "The Virginian" and "Rawhide."  He also appeared in three episodes of THE RIFLEMAN, playing Floyd Doniger in "The Safe Guard" (episode 8), Tom Benton in "Meeting at Midnight" (episode 74) and Bletch Droshek in "Strange Town" (episode 81).

Joe Higgins as Bartender

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."

Milton Parsons as the Old Man

Milton Parsons, born Ernest Milton Parsons, was an American film and television character actor who tended to be typecast playing macabre eccentrics.  He appeared in more than 150 movies and television shows in a career spanning nearly 40 years.  Many of his early roles were uncredited.  He guest-starred in an eclectic variety of shows, including the crime dramas "77 Sunset Strip" (1958–1964) and "The Untouchables" (1959–1963), the mystery action series "Peter Gunn" (1958–1961), the Boris Karloff 's gothic horror series "Thriller" (1960–1962), Rod Serling's iconic anthology series "The Twilight Zone" (1959–1964), and the action-adventure series "Kung Fu" (1972–1975), starring David Carradine as a Shaolin Monk.  Parsons made two appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying A. Parker in "Letter of the Law" (episode 50) and the old man in "Strange Town" (episode 81).  He also guest-starred in the westerns "Cheyenne" (1955–1963), starring Clint Walker, and "Rawhide" (1959–1966), starring Clint Eastwood.

William Schallert as Marshal Truce

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).

Peter Whitney as Drosheck

Peter Whitney was an American television and film actor whose large frame and heavy-set, swarthy appearance brought him many roles playing villainous characters in his early career.  Later, as a character actor, he made frequent appearances in television series, particularly the western genre.  Among his film credits, he appeared in "In the Heat of the Night" (1967), "The Great Bank Robbery" (1969), and "The Ballad of Cable Hogue" (1970).  Whitney made nine appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Tracey Blanch in "Eddie's Daughter" (episode 46), John Jupiter in "Mail Order Groom" (episode 56), Andrew Bechtel in "Heller" (episode 62), Otto Drosheck in "Strange Town" (episode 81), Vince Fergus in "The Queue" (episode 110), John Holliver in "Long Gun from Tucson" (episode 121), Neb Jackman in 'Lou Mallory" (episode 145) and "Which Way Did They Go?" (episode 167), and Vantine in "Gun Shy" (episode 153).

 

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