Chaos reigned this past week as my vacation came to an end, and that's why I'm late in announcing the August induction into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame. Sorry about that, Chief.
(No, Max and 99 are already inducted, so don't take the two references in that paragraph as a clue!)
As I previously stated, this year I'm celebrating the milestone (millstone?) of my 50th birthday by inducting those who might not ordinarily have made it in on their own accord without my use of pretzel logic. And our candidate for August is no exception.
Keeping to the tradition of using the summer months to induct characters from Westerns, I have also decided this year's roster needed more petticoats than pistols. And so I'm tipping my hat to a lady - Samantha Crawford.
Samantha was a card sharp, a confidence trickster with whom Bret Maverick had a love/hate relationship. As played by Diane Brewster, she made several appearances in the series over the years.
And despite the protests of the show's creator Roy Huggins, I believe she also appeared in the episode "Dark Rider" on the TV series 'Cheyenne'. Same name, same actress, same good little bad girl quality to her character. In that show, Samantha tried to fleece a cattle drive of their money, but still was able to make off with Cheyenne Bodie's money at least by the end of the episode.
But even though Roy Huggins once made that suggestion in a 1959 issue of TV Guide that both roles were one and the same, he later contradicted that sentiment.
"'Maverick' did not start with Samantha, even if I said that in TV Guide, and "The Dark Rider" was not a forerunner of 'Maverick'."
I think his biggest complaint was that he didn't like the idea of 'Maverick' as being a spin-off from 'Cheyenne'. And because the character of Bret Maverick was such a fantastic and original creation, I don't blame him. But we don't have to think of one show being a derivative from the other in order to consider Diane Brewster's roles as being one and the same.
It would be like Mandy Patinkin's Dr. Jeffrey Geiger of 'Chicago Hope' appearing in a cameo on 'Homicide: Life On The Street'. His appearance shouldn't connote that one series was a spin-off from the other.
Toobworld is a concept that I treat like a sandbox, in which I borrow the toy soldiers from others so that I can play with them. And that's why Mr. Huggins protestations are falling on deaf ears when it comes to Samantha Crawford's appearances on 'Cheyenne' and 'Maverick'.
But that's still only two shows and it's rare when we bend the rules so much that we don't get the minimum of three series for qualification. Off hand, I can only think of one exception - Suzie MacNamara of 'Private Secretary' who was involved in the very first crossover, on 'The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour'.
So where else did Samantha Crawford appear back in the wild, wild West?
"Wagon Train" (1957) playing "Bea" in episode: "The Echo Pass Story" (episode # 8.14) 3 January 1965
"Death Valley Days" (1952) in episode: "The $25,000 Wager" (episode # 13.10) 24 December 1964
"Dakotas, The" (1963) playing "Jody" in episode: "Fargo" (episode # 1.8) 25 February 1963
"Rifleman, The" (1958) playing "Fay Owens" in episode: "Jealous Man" (episode # 4.26) 26 March 1962
"Wagon Train" (1957) playing "Lita Foladaire" in episode: "The Lita Foladaire Story" (episode # 3.14) 6 January 1960
"Bat Masterson" (1958) playing "Lynn Harrison" in episode: "The Conspiracy: Part 2" (episode # 1.32) 24 June 1959
"Bat Masterson" (1958) playing "Lynn Harrison" in episode: "The Conspiracy: Part 1" (episode # 1.31) 17 June 1959
"Wanted: Dead or Alive" (1958) playing "Amy Winter" in episode: "Double Fee" (episode # 1.29) 21 March 1959
"Frontier Doctor" (1958) in episode: "Law of the Badlands" (episode # 1.23) 28 February 1959
"Cimarron City" (1958) playing "Lisa Caldwell" in episode: "Runaway Train" (episode # 1.17) 31 January 1959
"Trackdown" (1957) in episode: "Outlaw's Wife" (episode # 2.2) 12 September 1958
"Tombstone Territory" (1957) playing "Julie Dixon" in episode: "The Lady Gambler" (episode # 1.33) 28 May 1958
"Restless Gun, The" (1957) playing "Helen Bricker" in episode: "The Whip" (episode # 1.28) 31 March 1958
"Tales of Wells Fargo" (1957) playing "Dr. Alice MacCauley" in episode: "Dr. Alice" (episode # 2.25) 23 February 1958
"Wagon Train" (1957) playing "Julie Wharton" in episode: "The Honorable Don Charlie Story" (episode # 1.19) 22 January 1958
"Zane Grey Theater" (1956) playing "Mrs. Lester" in episode: "A Man to Look Up To" (episode # 2.9) 29 November 1957
"Tales of Wells Fargo" (1957) playing "Lillian Barkley" in episode: "Rio Grande" (episode # 1.9) 3 June 1957
"Zane Grey Theater" (1956) playing "Nancy Tapper" in episode: "Time of Decision" (episode # 1.16) 18 January 1957
"Death Valley Days" (1952) in episode: "Faro Bill's Layout" (episode # 5.1) 14 September 1956
Any one of those characters could be her; maybe even all of them! Remember, Samantha Crawford was a con artiste. She could have appeared in any one of those shows as Samantha Crawford, but under an assumed alias.
I'm especially tempted by her role as Julie Dixon in that episode of 'Tombstone Territory', "The Lady Gambler". Seems like a gimmee, although I don't think the appearance of Peter Breck as Sam Dixon helps my argument much. (I doubt it was really Nick Barkley of 'The Big Valley' using an alias as well!)
Maybe 'Julie' was an alias with which she was comfortable, and so had used it earlier while traveling with Major Seth Adams on the 'Wagon Train'. Only she was then known by the last name of 'Wharton' in the episode "The Honorable Don Charlie Story".
(I'm not including any other episodes of 'Cheyenne', however, like "The Mustang Trail" from November of 1956. No matter by what name she was known, I'm fairly certain Bodie would have remembered the woman who scammed him of his money. Besides, 'Cheyenne' is already part of the equation and so doesn't count for the third entry.)
Remember the 2005 mantra: "What I say, goes."
And that's the way I want to play that hand: a big hand for a little lady.