Yesterday, on the American Life TV Network, they showed episodes of 'The Lawman' and 'I Spy' back to back.
Nothing really odd in that; both shows have been on that "network" for a long time on Sundays. But only recently have they been joined at the hip to be broadcast beginning at 5:30 pm EST on Sundays.
It's an odd fit. 'The Lawman' was an ABC half-hour Western filmed in black and white on the backlot of Warner Brothers in the 1950s. Prosducer Sheldon Leonard treated 'I Spy' like a feature film production, shooting episodes in color all over the world, which proved to be a big hit for NBC during the 1960s.
But it's the combo of episodes from yesterday that once again showed me there was always some higher power guiding what I saw on TV.
No, reallly! I believe that! I can't tell you how often I've turned on the TV and/or flipped to a new channel just in time to discover a new crossover or link between shows, found a new TV quote for my collection, or just learned something new in general.
For instance, I never check out Discovery on a whim. And yet this past week I decided to do so and found a show called 'Craftiest Animals', just in time to see an hour dedicatd to the cunning strategy shown by squirrels. And everything I learned in that show backed up my Toobworld claim that squirrels are among the top ten most intelligent species on Earth.
As for the 'Lawman'/'I Spy' combination this week, here are the plots for the episodes shown:
'The Lawman' - "The Outsider"
Rene LeBeau is a half-breed Indian woman who lives on a ranch with her Sioux mother after her father dies, and the cattlemen in the area are trying to run her off. Intolerance causes a host of problems for the woman, but especially a group who keep running off her help. One of the cattlemen's employees, however, disagrees with the treatment, and is shot for it. Dan must fight the small group of hate-mongers, as well as one who secretly lusts after Rene.
'I Spy' - "The Time Of The Knife"
Kelly walks into a murder frame when he looks into what happened to an old friend who was apparently killed while holding information on a remote control missile guidance system sought by several parties.
It all looks like two random episodes lumped together.
But while checking out the credits for the names of the actors at the end of the episode of 'The Lawman' (I recognized one actor as the voice of Race Bannon of 'Jonny Quest'!), I saw Earl Hodgins listed as "Fane".
From the IMDb:
"Lawman" playing "Fane" in episode: "The Outsider" (episode # 1.14) 4 January 1959
Less than two minutes later, after 'I Spy' had established the episode's location with stock footage of Japan's back streets and markets, there was a close-up of a sign outside an office door which announced the inhabitant to be "Michael Fane".
Also from the IMDb:
"I Spy" playing "Michael Fane" in episode: "The Time of the Knife" (episode # 1.8) 3 November 1965
Truth be told, I've seen the name of Hodgins' character listed as "Pane" in several sites, including one dedicated to 'The Lawman'. And I can't remember hearing it one way or the other during the episode.
But there's no denying what I saw printed in the credits or on that sign - both men were named "Fane". And it's not that common a name.
I don't know whether some programmin' Suit at American Life noticed this and deliberately arranged for both episodes to be shown in tandem. But as far as I'm concerned, it was a sign from some Powers That Be that both shows were now linked by a family tie.
So I'm making that declaration now - Earl Hodgson's character of Fane in 'The Lawman' was the great-grandfather for Michael Fane as played by Warren Stevens on 'I Spy'.
And Great Grandpappy would have been ashamed to see how Mikey turned out.....