The Rifleman 51st Anniversary

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The Rifleman 51st Anniversary

Post by cowgirl » Sat May 20, 2017 12:27 pm

Dianna:10470 wrote:---images broken---


    Article- Television Chronicals


   Initially hesitant to become involved in television, due to its lingering status as a poor cousin to motion pictures, the team of Jules Levy, Arthur Gardner and Arnold Laven [L-G-L-] collectively known as Levy-Gardner-Laven Productions, undertook with some trepidation a project which would nevertheless ensure their legacy in the history of television, The Rifleman.

   It was while discarding a batch of scripts that the eye of Jules Levy was caught by one in particular. The script in question was a retitled adaptation of a book that L-G-L had optioned, then decided not to produce as a feature. Though the script itself ended up in the trash, it occurred to Levy that the new title would be a good concept around which to craft a television series. The Rifleman.

   Determined that whatever property they offered to the still-young medium would be unique, L-G-L hired writer David P. Harmon to compose the story on which the series would be based. The original story, "The Shooting Match", involved a bounty hunter, but it lacked the hook that the producers were looking for. Then Arnold Laven hit upon the idea of making the central character a widower with a young son. Sam Peckinpah was brought onboard to adapt Harmon's story into a pilot script.

   At about the same time, Gardner happened to see Old Yeller and was impressed by the actor Chuck Connors. Gardner felt that Connors had exactly the screen presence required for the title role of the new series. After consultation with the other partners, it was agreed that Connors was the only man for the job.


---image broken---


   Unfortunately, despite Connors previous appearances in television roles, his agent was attempting to move him in the direction of movie stardom, and effectively blocked attempts by L-G-L to land the star that they wanted.

   With their own agents and the prospective sponsors eager to get the project rolling, the producers unenthusiastically interviewed a number of other actors for the part, including the future Adam Cartwright, Pernell Roberts. Eventually, however a chance meeting at the Roach Studios brought the producers into contact with Connors, who was accompanied by Charles Bronson. Connors had heard about the project and asked to see the script. He departed to read it and returned 20 minutes later to lay claim to the starring role of Lucas McCain.

   With Connors onboard as Lucas, it was now possible to fill out the rest of the cast. McCain's son, Mark, was played by Johnny Crawford. Completing the series central cast was veteran Paul Fix, as Marshal Micah Torrance.


---images broken---
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"The Rifleman hits the 'Mark' every week on abc."
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Re: The Rifleman 51st Anniversary

Post by cowgirl » Sat May 20, 2017 12:30 pm

Dianna:10486 wrote:In the fall of 1958, there were some 25 westerns or variations thereof. ABC's Sunday night block was almost entirely stocked with this genre. Of this number, 11 programs would not survive the season. The odds of failure, then for The Rifleman were fairly high. Also going against it was the fact that , unlike most westerns of its day, the lead was neither a lawman nor a drifter out to right wrongs wherever he may find them, which were the two dominant themes. Having a family man as a lead was a pretty novel prospect., though would become prevalent following the debut of Bonanza a season later.

      The half-hour format forces writers, directors and editors to move their stories along at a quick pace, but often this occurs at a cost of credibility or character development. It was evident that early on L-G-L- would not allow this to happen, as demonstrated by the fact that the show's formula was not fully set in the pilot episode, but rather established over the course of the first four episodes.

       The concept of The Rifleman revolves around the unique weapon wielded by the title character and his proficiency of it. Lucas's modified Winchester '92.

        Unique weaponry became a kind of mini-trend within the western genre for a time. Examples were the LeMat Special of Johnny Ringo and the Mare's Laig carried by Steve McQueen in Wanted Dead or Alive.

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     Throughout the series Lucas was the moral compass of North Fork. In addition to dealing with the difficulties of single parenthood, Lucas would fill in for Micah, when he was otherwise occupied. The father-son bond between Lucas and Mark was always strong, though tested more frequently as Mark grew older. Through it all the reputation of McCain remained untarnished and it is no doubt this protrayal of unapologetic virtue and steadfastness and the nifty rifle of course, that made The Rifleman one of the most popular and beloved westerns to have ever graced the small screen.


---images broken---
"Keep your 'sites' on The Rifleman"
"The Rifleman hits the 'Mark' every week on abc."
A cowgirl's work is never done.

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Re: The Rifleman 51st Anniversary

Post by cowgirl » Sat May 20, 2017 12:30 pm

Matthew:10506 wrote:Great article! You did a really nice job with this! The article and pictures are awesome. I believe this is my favorite article yet! :cool:
"Keep your 'sites' on The Rifleman"
"The Rifleman hits the 'Mark' every week on abc."
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Re: The Rifleman 51st Anniversary

Post by cowgirl » Sat May 20, 2017 12:30 pm

Stargazer:10524 wrote:Very interesting Dianna.  Thanks for including all the pics too.

I am so very glad that CC decided to be the Rifleman...
"Keep your 'sites' on The Rifleman"
"The Rifleman hits the 'Mark' every week on abc."
A cowgirl's work is never done.

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Re: The Rifleman 51st Anniversary

Post by cowgirl » Sat May 20, 2017 12:31 pm

Michelle P.:10526 wrote:Awesome pictures!  I've never even seen some of these before!  Thanks for sharing this awesome article and pics!
"Keep your 'sites' on The Rifleman"
"The Rifleman hits the 'Mark' every week on abc."
A cowgirl's work is never done.

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Re: The Rifleman 51st Anniversary

Post by cowgirl » Sat May 20, 2017 12:31 pm

Dianna:10535 wrote:You are very welcome.
"Keep your 'sites' on The Rifleman"
"The Rifleman hits the 'Mark' every week on abc."
A cowgirl's work is never done.

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