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The Safe Guard
Episode 8
Writer: David Swift
Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Original Air Date 11/18/1958


Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain

Johnny Crawford as Mark McCain

Guest Cast
Claude Akins as Floyd Doniger
Claude Akins

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).

Sidney Blackmer as Judge Hanavan
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.

Mel Carter as Walkerman
Mel Carter

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.

Dennis Cross as Witcherly
Dennis Cross

Dennis Cross made six appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Witcherly in "The Safe Guard" (episode 8), Ned Dunnell in "The Gaucho," (episode 14), Lafe Oberly in "The Patsy" (episode 41), Dorn in "The Hero" (episode 59), Fance Degnan in "The Vision" (episode 66), and Martin in "The Quiet Fear" (episode 127). Cross studied acting on the G. I. bill at the Actors Lab in Hollywood. He later moved to New York, where he appeared in live television programas and commercials. He appeared in the Philco Television Playhouse show, "A Trip To Bountiful," appearing with Lillian Gish, icon of the silent film era.

Fritz Ford as Mr. Jones (stunt double for Chuck Connors) [uncredited]

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).

Marc Lawrence as Gavin

Marc Lawrence was an American actor who appeared in more than 200 films and television shows in a career spanning more than 70 years.  The majority of Lawrence's early roles were uncredited.  He was often typecast as a shady character, playing gangsters and mob bosses.  When he was investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee, Lawrence was blacklisted, so he moved to Europe, where he continued working as an actor.  Eventually, he returned to the United States and resumed playing villains in film and television, including in two James Bond movies, "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971) and "The Man With the Golden Gun" (1974).

Lawrence made his first television appearance as a guest on the western series "Wagon Train" (1957–1965).  He also appeared in "Bonanza" (1959–1973).  Lawrence made two guest appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Gavin in "The Safe Guard" (episode 8) and Cougar in "Trail of Hate" (episode 77).  In 1991, Lawrence published his autobiography, "Long Time No See: Confessions of a Hollywood Gangster."  He was also the subject of a novel by Jonathan Held, "The Beautiful and the Profane," published in 2003, two years before his death.

Hope Summers as Hattie Denton, Owner of the General Store
Hope Summers as Hattie Denton, Owner of the Genera

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).

Harlan Warde as John Hamilton, President of the North Fork Bank
Harlan Warde as John Hamilton, President of the No

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).

A new bank opens in North Fork, and Banker Hamilton hires a brawny, slow-witted gunman to guard the safe.  Complications arise when some old outlaw friends of the gunman arrive in town and propose that he join them in robbing the bank.  Lucas is called upon to prevent the robbery.