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"Tension"
Episode 45
Writer: David Lang
Director: Ted Post
Original Air Date 10/27/1959

Cast

Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain

Johnny Crawford as Mark McCain

Paul Fix as Marshal Micah Torrance



Guest Cast
Jeff Connors as Toby Halpern
Jeff Connors as Toby Halpern

Jeff Connors is one of four sons of THE RIFLEMAN's star, Chuck Connors.  He and his three brothers, together with Steven Gardner, son of the show's executive producer Arthur Gardner, appeared in "The Schoolteacher" (episode 86) as schoolchildren.  Jeff also appeared in "Tension" (episode) as Toby Halpern, and with his brother Mike as two boys going fishing in "First Wages" (episode 112).

Jack Elam as Gavin Martin
Jack Elam

Jack Elam was an American film and television actor whose career spanned more than 40 years.  He grew up in difficult circumstances, moving from the households of relatives and father, stepmother and siblings after his mother passed away.  He attended Santa Monica Junior College in California, then worked as an accountant and later, he briefly was manager of the Bel Air Hotel.  Purportedly, he got his first movie job by trading his accounting services for a role.  His film debut was a role in "She Shoulda Said No!" (1949), an exploitation film about the vices of marijuana.  Elam quickly became one of the most memorable supporting players in Hollywood and became well-known for playing villains in western genre and gangster films.   He played up a near-demented screen persona, which was enhanced by a wandering left eye rendered sightless from a childhood fight.  Although he was a highly recognizable villain throughout most of his acting career, in later years he played more comedic roles, becoming more winsome, if still grizzled and slightly crazed.

Elam made five guest appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying different characters in each episode.  He played Sim Groder in "Duel of Honor" (episode 7), Gavin Martin in "Tension" (episode 45), Gus Smith in "Shotgun Man" (episode 69), Gates in "The Knight Errant" (episode 117) and Russell, the Pool Shark, in "Shattered Idol" (episode 120).   In 1994, Elam was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

Robert H. Harris as Ezra Martin

Robert H. Harris, born Robert H. Hurwitz, was an American actor who appeared in more than 100 roles for television, film and theater in a career spanning nearly three decades.  Harris was primarily a television actor, more often than not playing the villain.   Among his many television credits, he appeared eight times in "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1956–1961) and six times in "Perry Mason"( 1958—1965).

Prior to his first appearance on THE RIFLEMAN, Harris was a guest star on other western series, including "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975), "The Rough Riders" (1958–1959), "The Restless Gun" (1957–1959) and "Wanted: Dead of Alive" (1958–1961).  Harris made two appearances on THE RIFLEMAN.  In "The Wrong Man" (episode 27), the plot revolved around a case of mistaken identity in the characters he portrayed—Col. Beauregard 'Curly' Smith, Frank Hardy, Pete Dawson.  He also played Ezra Martin in "Tension" (episode 45).

Sydna Scott as Mary Halpern

Sydna Scott, born Sydna MacFetridge, was an American film, stage and television actress.  On Broadway, she appeared in "The Man Who Came to Dinner," "He Who Gets Slapped" and "The Native Son," which was directed by Orson Welles. She appeared in just 12 movies and television shows in a career spanning more than four decades.  Her film roles included Angela in the sci-fi film "Crack in the World" (1965), starring Dana Andrews; Mrs. Johnson in the action film "10 to Midnight" (1983), starring Charles Bronson; Sara Beecham in the action film "Messenger of Death" (1988), starring Charles Bronson; and a bit part (the second woman in the shelter) in the comedy "Scrooged" (1988), starring Bill Murray.  In television, she guest-starred in the crime drama "M Squad" (1957–1960) and the murder mystery "Danger" (1950–1955); however, she is best remembered for portraying Helen Davis opposite husband Jerome Thor in the detective series "Foreign Intrigue" (1951–1955).  They are credited with having been the first trench-coat wearing detectives on television, and one of their signature macs is preserved in the Smithsonian Institution.   Scott made one appearance in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Mary Halpern in "Tension" (episode 45).

Ted Stanhope as the Grave Digger

Ted Stanhope was an American film and television actor who appeared in more than 130 movies and television shows during his 35-year career.  He had minor parts in many memorable films, including the dramatic comedy "State of the Union" (1948), starring Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Van Johnson and Angela Lansbury; the western drama "High Noon" (1952), starring Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly and Lloyd Bridges; the noir film "The Big Heat" (1953), starring Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame; the crime thriller "Suddenly" (1954), starring Frank Sinatra and Sterling Hayden; and the film adaptation of Jacqueline Susann's "Valley of the Dolls" (1967), starring Barbara Perkins, Patty Duke and Sharon Tate.

Stanhope guest-starred in many popular television shows of the 1950s and 60s, including the superhero series "Adventures of Superman" (1952–1958), the suspense anthology series "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1955–1962), the mystery action series "Peter Gunn" (1958–1961), Rod Serling's anthology series "The Twilight Zone" (1959–1964), the family drama "Lassie" (1954–1974), the legal drama "Perry Mason" (1957–1966), the western action adventure "The Wild Wild West" (1965–1969) and the police drama "Mod Squad" (1968–1973).  Stanhope made one appearance in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying the grave digger in "Tension" (episode 45).  He guest-starred in several other westerns, including "Zane Grey Theater" (1956–1961), starring Dick Powell; "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" (1955–1961), starring Hugh O'Brian; and "Rawhide" (1959–1966), starring Clint Eastwood.

Harry Dean Stanton as Clemmie

Harry Dean Stanton is a prolific American character actor of stage, film and television, as well as a musician.  He has appeared in more than 180 movies and television shows during an illustrious career spanning more than six decades.  He studied journalism and radio arts in Lexington at the University of Kentucky.  Later he relocated to California and studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse.  He also served in the Navy during World War II.  Stanton has been a very successful character actor, distinguished by his drooping, weather-beaten appearance.  He has garnered accolades from critics, notably Roger Ebert, who observed, "no movie featuring Harry Dean Stanton… in a supporting role can be altogether bad."

Stanton has had numerous film roles, including an uncredited role in the adventure drama "How the West Was Won" (1962), starring James Stewart, John Wayne and Gregory Peck; Tramp in the crime drama "Cool Hand Luke" (1967), starring Paul Newman; Pvt. Willard in the action comedy "Kelly's Heroes" (1970), starring Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles, Carroll O'Connor and Donald Sutherland; Homer Van Meter in the biographical gangster film "Dillinger" (1973), starring Warren Oates; an F.B.I. agent in the Francis Ford Coppola classic "The Godfather: Part II" (1974), starring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Robert Duvall; Brett in the horror sci-fi film "Alien" (1979), starring Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skeritt and John Hurt; Detective Rudolph Junkins in the film adaptation of Stephen King's "Christine" (1983); Jack Walsh in the dramatic comedy "Pretty in Pink" (1986), co-starring Molly Ringwald and John Cryer; Saul/Paul in the drama "The Last Temptation of Christ" (1988), starring Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel and Barbara Hershey; the judge in the film adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" (1998), starring Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro; and the voice of Balthazar in the animated comedy "Rango" (2011), starring Johnny Depp.

Stanton has guest-starred in many television shows from the 1950s through the present day, including the suspense series "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1955–1962), the crime drama "The Untouchables" (1959–1963), the war drama "Combat!" (1962–1967), the adventure drama "The Fugitive" (1963–1967), the family comedy "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960–1968), the crime drama "Mannix" (1967–1975) and the comedy "Petticoat Junction" (1963–1970).  More recently, Stanton had a recurring role as Roman Grant in the HBO drama "Big Love" (2006–2011).

Stanton made one appearance in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Clemmie in "Tension" (episode 45).  He has guest-starred in many other westerns, including "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin" (1954–1959), "Bat Masterson" (1958–1961), "Zane Grey Theater" (1956–1961), "Have Gun – Will Travel" (1957–1963), "Laramie" (1959–1963), "Bonanza" (1959–1973), "Rawhide" (1959–1966), "The Big Valley" (1965–1969), "Gunsmoke" (1955–1975) and "Daniel Boone" (1964–1970).

Gregory Walcott as Sid Halpern aka Roy Coleman

Gregory Walcott, born Bernard Mattox, is an American television and film actor.  He has appeared in more than 100 movies and television shows during a career spanning 40 years.  After serving in the U.S. Army in the immediate aftermath of World War II, Walcott abandoned his home on the east coast to pursue an acting career in the west.  He made his film debut in "The Red Skies of Montana" (1952), playing a minor part.  His appearance portraying a Marine Corps drill instructor in "Battle Cry" (1955) landed him a contract with Warner Bros., and his portrayal of Sgt. Kiley in another Marine Corp film, "The Outsider" (1961), earned him a contract with Universal and a recurring leading role as Det. Roger Havilland in the crime drama "87th Precinct" (1961–1962).

Walcott appeared in numerous films.  He starred as Jeff Trent in Ed Wood's infamous B-movie "Plan 9 from Outer Space" (1959), Mitchell in the western "Joe Kidd" (1972), starring Clint Eastwood and Robert Duvall; a used car salesman in the crime caper "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" (1974), starring Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges; and he made a cameo appearance as a potential film backer in the biographical comedy "Ed Wood" (1994), starring Johnny Depp, Martin Landau and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Walcott guest-starred in several popular television shows, including the legal drama "Perry Mason" (1957–1966), the anthology series "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" (1954–1990), the police drama "Mod Squad" (1968–1973), the crime drama anthology series "Police Story" (1973–1977), the crime drama "Kojak" (1973–1978), the murder mystery "Murder, She Wrote" (1984–1996) and the primetime drama "Dallas" (1978–1991).  He made two appearances in THE RIFLEMAN, portraying Blade Kelly in "The Angry Gun" (episode 13) and Sid Halpern in "Tension" (episode 43).  He guest-starred in several other westerns, including "Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater" (1956–1961); "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" (1955–1961), starring Hugh O'Brian; "Bat Masterson" (1958–1961), starring Gene Barry; and "Rawhide" (1959–1966), starring Clint Eastwood.


Lucas and Mark are helping a neighbor, Mr. Halpern, on a cattle drive.  A young bounty hunter, Clemmie Martin, accosts them with a "wanted" poster in hand.  Mr. Halpern turns out to be the wanted criminal and a gunfight occurs in which both Halpern and Clemmie are killed.  For the sake of Halpern's widow and son, who know nothing of his previous criminal life, Lucas and Mark tell everyone that Halpern's death was an accident.  The incident rests until Clemmie's father and older brother come searching for the man who killed him, find the "Wanted" poster, and mistaking Lucas for the wanted man, then go hunting for him.

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