Friday, January 27, 2012

MAVERICK: "The Third Rider"

Maverick has always been a favorite of cowboy fans, especially for those who believe James Garner was the only true Maverick, regardless of the others that followed. Regardless of what most reference books and web-sites claim, the rumor claims Jack Kelly's role as Bart Maverick was originally supposed to be just a one-shot deal. However, the producers saw the chemistry he had with James Garner, and decided to keep him on as a series regular. This however, in inaccurate. From the first day Roy Huggins created Maverick, he wanted two Mavericks in the series -- it gave the series something fresh and original. After all, the television viewers would not come to expect same thing every week. Huggins did the same for another of his television series, 77 Sunset Strip: sometimes only one cast member was the star, others were paired and on a number occasions, the entire detective team was in full force.

For the first season, James Garner played Bret Maverick in the majority of the stories. On July 29 and August 6, 1957, before the series went went before the camera, the studio had produced screen tests with the intention of hiring someone to play the role of Bart Maverick, Bret's brother. In the screen tests, James Garner played the role of Bret Maverick and Don Durant as Bart Maverick. (Rod Taylor also played the role of Bart Maverick for the August 6, 1957 screen tests.) Les Martinson was the director. Jack Kelly ended up getting the role, not Durant or Taylor.

Actor Jack Kelly
In September of 1957, it was Jack Kelly (not James Garner) who was filmed for a promotional film for Kaiser Motors, the sponsor of the television series. Many years later, when Jack Kelly ran for mayor of Huntington Beach, California, he used the slogan: "Let Maverick solve your problems!"

I asked a friend (Bill Wright) what his favorite Jack Kelly episode was and he chose "The Third Rider," from the first season, in which Bart Maverick must clear his name of a murder charge, and smooth-talking every approach just doesn't work. As my gift to Bill, here are some details (including a blooper) that won't be found in any reference book.

And in case anyone is wondering where this information came from, stay tuned for a Christmas 2012 surprise!

Episode #15, “THE THIRD RIDER”
Production #6375
Filming Locations: The Jungle, Stage 19, Stage 23, Stage 24 and the Western Street
Total Production Cost: $54,484
Dates of Production: November 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 18, 1957
Initial Telecast: January 5, 1958
Cast: William Boyett (Deputy Collins, un-credited); Fred Coby (train passenger #2 and man in saloon, un-credited); Robert Contreras (Jose, un-credited); Michael Dante (Turk Mason); Frank Faylen (Red Harrison); Dick Foran (Sheriff Edwards); James Garner (Bret Maverick, un-credited); Charles Kane (the conductor, un-credited); Jack Kelly (Bart Maverick, un-credited); Morris Lippert (Jimmy Ellis, un-credited); Dennis McCarthy (train passenger #1, un-credited); Tom Monroe (train passenger #1 and man in saloon, un-credited); Barbara Nichols (Blanche); Felice Richmond (the female passenger, un-credited); Kasey Rogers (Dolly); and Dan White (the cowboy outside the blacksmith shop).
Script/Story: Teleplay by George Slavin.
Directed by Franklin Adreon.
Plot: A pair of fleeing bank-robbers from Elm City overtake Bart Maverick on the trail just as the pursuing posse shows up. A rifle-shot kills one of the robbers. The second, Red Harrison, rides off and escapes. The posse, led by Sheriff Edwards, arrests Maverick, mistaking him as one of the gang. The Sheriff admits there is insufficient evidence against Maverick, and strikes a bargain with his jail bird: if he will help hunt down Red, they’ll split the reward. Maverick agrees, only to discover the whereabouts of Red and the third member of the gang, Turk Mason. Tied to a bed in Turk’s cabin, Bart convinces Blanche, Turk’s girlfriend, to let him go. Following a trail that might lead to the stolen loot, Bart meets up again with Red and his girlfriend, Dolly, and Turk shoots Red. Sheriff Edwards shows up and suspects Bart tricked him, until Turk accidentally shows his hand.

Music Cues
Vignette (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, :14 and :15);  Maverick (by David Buttolph, :17); Fanfare (by Mac Gregor, :05);  Maverick (by David Buttolph, :34);  Anita’s Woes (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter,:12);  Ready Now (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, :12);  Footprints In The Sand (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, :12);  Raven’s Dirge (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, : 12); Be True (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, 1:05); Fight On (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, :46); Interlude (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, :26);  Bart’s Advice (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, :50);  Subway Caverns(by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, 1:00); Untamed (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, 1:27); Watch That Man (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, :14);  Funny Story (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, :24 and :11); Wah Wah (Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, :07);  Maverick (by David Buttolph, :05 and :07); Drackola (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, 1 :11) ; Waltz Time (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, :46);  Poisoned Dart (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, : 16); Geri’s Woes (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter,  :55);  Bart’s Mistake (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, 1:06);  Interlude (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, :10);  Dark Clouds (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, :09); Sad Affair (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter,:50); Who’s There? (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, :06); Poisoned Dart (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, :07); Maverick (by David Buttolph, :05 and :05); Echoes (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, 1:46); The Skeleton (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, :24); Interlude (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, :15 and :15); Dark Night (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, 1:58); He Likes It (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, 1:58); Svengali (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, 1:58);  The Refuge (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, :15); Maverick (by David Buttolph, :21); Meadow Lark (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, :41);  Interlude (by Paul Sawtell-Bert Shefter, :46);  Maverick (by David Buttolph, 1:10); and Fanfare (by Mac Gregor, :05).

Production Credits
Produced by Roy Huggins
Director of Photography: Harold Stine, a.s.c.
Art Director: Howard Campbell
Supervising Film Editor: James Moore
Film Editors: Elbert K. Hollingsworth
Production Manager: Oren W. Haglund
Sound: Stanley Jones
Set Decorator: Ralph S. Hurst
Makeup Supervisor: Gordon Bau, s.m.a.
Assistant Director: Rusty Meek
Executive Producer: William T. Orr

Production Credits (un-credited)
Best Boy: Harold Sherman
Grip: Weldon Gilbert
Set Dresser: Frank Miller
Prop Man: John Moore
Mixer: Stanley Jones
Wardrobe: Claude Barie
Hairdresser: Ann Saunders
Makeup: Jack O’Bringer

Actor James Garner
When Bart Maverick leaps from the baggage car, he's wearing a different suit and hat than the stunt double (tho it’s possible the stunt double was nothing more than stock footage from a different movie). Either way, the editors hoped the television audience would not notice the difference in such a short time.

Barbara Nichols, whose last role at Warner Bros. was in The Pajama Game, agreed to play this role if she would not be involved in much physical labor. As it turns out, it was her first appearance in a Warner Bros. television drama and her first acting chore since being seriously injured in an automobile accident in New York last summer.

James Garner is not credited on screen but still appears in this episode in the opening narration.

The blacksmith sign hanging outside the horse shop is the same featured in the previous episode (the scene where Ruta Lee and James Garner are escorted into a building so the hired gun can shoot them).

Special thanks to Steven Thompson (who writes the BookSteve Rarities blog).