Original air date Sep 25, 1960
Directed by Leslie H. Martinson
Written by Jeanne Nolan
& William Henderson
James Garner as Bret Maverick
Jack Kelly as Bart Maverick
Edgar Buchanan as Sheriff Hadley
Robert Colbert as Don Evans
James Gavin as Deputy Smith
John Russell as Marshall Troop
Peter Brown as Deputy McKay
Will Hutchins as Tom Brewster
Clint Walker as Cheyenne Bodie
Ty Hardin as Bronco Layne
Edd Byrnes as stableboy
This fourth season Maverick episode featured the kind of cross-over guest/cameo casting common in the Warner's western and detective shows which dominated ABC in the late 1950s through mid-1960s. In this episode, Bart Maverick is the victim of corrupt Sheriff Hadley who has built a reputation as a lawman by framing innocent victims for crimes committed by his deputies. When Hadley's latest victim, to whom he has given the colorful moniker "Cherokee" Dan Evans escapes, Hadley gives Bart "Mangler Maverick" the choice of bringing him to justice or hanging himself. In the course of hunting for Evans, Bart seeks the help of some other Warner's stars who make very brief appearances in character. They played a bit from each show's theme to further enhance the connection.
John Russell and Peter Brown were first up, starting with the opening from Lawman in which Dan tosses a rifle to Johnny. Johnny then checks and sights it. Only this time Bart is approaching the window and fears Johnny is aiming at him.
The two lawmen are uncharacteristically suspicious toward a harmless stranger. It was apparently humourous to have Dan look exasperated after they disclaimed any acquaintance with Evans.
Next up was Sugarfoot's Tom Brewster, reading a
law book and having no knowledge of Evans.
Clint Walker as Cheyenne simply races by on his horse as Bart yells at him to wait. If Warner Brothers had a sense of humor about its labor troubles (and there's no evidence that at that time they did), this fleeting glance of Clint Walker could have been viewed as a commentary on their trouble keeping this actor on the screen.
Bart catches Bronco Layne in the middle of a saloon brawl. Warners,
never a generous employer, probably saved some bucks on salaries here.
Like Clint Walker, Ty Hardin had no lines, just a shake of the head.
Wayde Preston from Colt .45 doesn't appear at all. Bart simply walks into a dusty, cobweb filled office and finds a Colt company brief case and a pair of revolvers like those worn by Chris Colt.
We received what is probably the correct explanation from Arthur Lortie who is a big Warners westerns fan. He informed us lightheartedly, "Awww ... shame on you. Colt .45 was just cancelled, which is why it was represented by a cobwebbed brief case and revolver. In fact, it's last airing was on 09/20/1960, just 5 days before. The last original episode was aired 06/21/1960." Thanks Arthur, we think you're right.
Comments: We've heard it suggested that Wayde Preston's own job actions against Warners were to account for the "abandoned" condition of Colt .45 in this episode of Maverick. Our theory was that this was due to the fact that Colt .45 was set a couple of decades before Maverick. Of course, adherance to accurate timelines was never a long suit in tv westerns. Preston as Chris Colt made several appearances in Sugarfoot which was contemporaneous with Maverick. In fact, in "The Trial of the Canary Kid" episode of Sugarfoot, Chris Colt appeared with Lawman's Johnny McKay. Lawman's first episode took place in 1879, but later episodes were set in 1876 and 1884. So go figure, but don't try figuring historical dates by western tv scripts.
The final cameo was a trick to get the non-westerns fans to tune in. Edd Byrnes as Kookie in 77 Sunset Strip had a healthy following of teen and pre-teen girls. It must have been a real disappointment that he didn't have any lines, just an elaborate bit with a horse comb as a nod to his popular hair combing bits in his regular role. (Every baby boomer is familiar with the hit song sung by Connie Stevens with slang interludes from Eddy Byrnes, "Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb.")
NiteOwl Review: This is the kind of show kids anticipate. We especially wanted to see the Kookie character in a western (Edd Byrnes, of course, had been a villain in a number of westerns, including Maverick and Lawman prior to being cast in 77 Sunset Strip). These fleeting glimpses were unsatisfying. They would have been a cute bit had they not been promoted ahead of time in a way that promised more than was delivered.
Cast Notes: According to the highly recommended book by Ed Robertson Maverick, Legend of the West, the ratings stayed up for the first few months of the fourth season when Roger Moore was added as cousin Beau Maverick. Moore, like James Garner, brought some real grifter personality to the role. In Moore's prior stint as costar of The Alaskans, he had been the one to get the lines written for James Garner as Bret Maverick when Warners recycled old Maverick scripts for The Alaskans. According to Robertson, fans also stayed with the show in anticipation that James Garner might come back. His contract lawsuit with Warners started that same autumn. Garner won the suit, Warners having violated his contract, but he never came back. At least not until 1981-1982, when he filmed 17 episodes of the underrated Bret Maverick series.
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