Original air date Sep 29, 1957
Directed by Budd Boetticher
Teleplay by Roy Huggins
James Garner as Bret Maverick
Jack Kelly as Bart Maverick
Karen Steele as Molly Gleason
Michael Connors as Ralph Jordan
Richard Garland as Wes Corwin
Benny Baker as Mike Brill
Robert Foulk as Moose
Peter Brown as Chris Semple
Zon Murray as Fletcher
Mitchell Kowal as Callahan
This episode of Maverick has a convoluted and interesting history. For the full, entertaining account see Ed Robertson's excellent book Maverick, Legend of the West. Briefly, "Point Blank" was created by Roy Huggins as the pilot episode of Maverick. However, a Writer's Guild contract clause granted "created by" royalties on every episode of a series based on a writer's characters and original story. Warner Bros, known as an extremely parsimonious company at the time, never paid such royalties. Huggins was forced to produce a second pilot very loosely based on an incident in a non-fiction book owned by Warners so they could claim Huggins did not create the series.
Peter Brown's part in this episode is very small.
He had only two scenes as the deputy sheriff. His main function was to react to what was to become a standard Maverick ploy, one of the Mavericks pinning a thousand dollar bill inside his jacket.
"Point Blank" establishes the character of Bret Maverick, "the gentle grafter." It starts with a broke Bret using an ancient bar trick to win $5 from Moose, a gullible but beefy cowboy. He uses the $5 to get a good meal and gain entrance to a poker game with some unsophisticated cowhands. In the meantime, he flirts with Molly, a waitress who is also the object of the sheriff's admiration. Bret is locked up for running a confidence game (Molly brings him his supper) but is bailed out by Molly's boss who wants him to ferret out poker cheats when the town is flooded with cowhands.
Unknown to both her admirers, Molly is in cahoots with Ralph, a bank teller (Mike Connors of Mannix while he was still Michael). She is looking for a man the size and coloring of Ralph whose death will cover up a planned embezzlement. Bret ultimately ruins their plot and recovers the money. Before returning the money to the bank, he makes sure they offer a $3000 reward.
NiteOwl Review: We have to admit, we rarely saw a James Garner episode of Maverick we didn't like. We liked this one. Peter Brown was just window dressing here, but attractive window dressing.
He pins $1000 inside his jacket, gives the remainder to Molly in jail while urging her to give the sheriff a chance to give her a respectable life.
"Point Blank" was aired as the second episode of Maverick. During the later Hollywood writers strike, "Point Blank" was rewritten as an episode of 77 Sunset Strip, "Perfect Setup" starring Roger Smith. Robertson points out in his book that when Warners Maverick movie was released, Roy Huggins was prominently listed as the original creator of the Maverick series, showing that Warners is a different company than it was in the 1950s.
Official Peter Brown Fan Site