Saturday, January 21, 2006


In my early teens, Friday night was an elusive opportunity for TV viewing, as I was in Boy Scouts and we held our weekly meetings on that night. For a tele-enthusiast like myself, it was torture knowing that I was missing out on shows like 'The Odd Couple', 'The Wild, Wild West', and 'The Name Of The Game'.

'The Name Of The Game' was an intriguing novelty to me - a 90 minute show (We never watched 'The Virginian' in my family.) with the stars rotating as the lead character each week: Gene Barry as Publisher Glenn Howard, Robert Stack as senior editor Dan Farrell (a former FBI man), and lead investigative reporter Jeff Dillon was played by Tony Franciosa. (The one constant was Susan St. James as Gal Friday Peggy Maxwell.)

I initiallly wanted to watch 'The Name Of The Game' for Gene Barry, because I was such a big fan of 'Burke's Law'. But after awhile it was for the more action-packed episodes with Franciosa that I'd be checking the TV Guide.

And when he showed up in 'Search', a spy show with a similar format, (This time the rotation was Hugh O'Brian, Doug McClure, and Franciosa.), I followed along.

It's a shame that TV Land can't tear itself away from its endless block of 'Bonanza' and 'Gunsmoke' episodes on the weekends to give us a showcase for 'The Name Of The Game' (and for the old ABC movies of the week while they're at it). It would give the younger generation a chance to see Franciosa's urban cool for themselves.

Tony Franciosa passed away the other day at the age of 77, just days after the death of his ex-wife Shelley Winters.

So this tip o' the Toob topper is for him, Jeff Dillon, Nick Bianco, Valentine Farrow, Cary Maxwell, and all the other TV characters he gave us over the years.......

"Finder of Lost Loves" (1984) TV Series (as Tony Franciosa) .... Cary Maxwell
"Matt Helm" (1975) TV Series .... Matt Helm (1975-76)
"Search" (1972) TV Series (as Tony Franciosa) .... Nick Bianco (1972-1973)
"The Name of the Game" (1968) TV Series .... Jeff Dillon
"Valentine's Day" (1964) TV Series (as Tony Franciosa) .... Valentine Farrow

"Wheels" (1978) (mini) TV Series .... Smokey Stevenson
"Aspen" (1977) (mini) TV Series .... Alex Budde

Finder of Lost Loves (1984) (TV) .... Cary Maxwell
Matt Helm (1975) (TV) .... Matt Helm
Earth II (1971) (TV) .... Frank Karger
Fame Is the Name of the Game (1966) (TV) .... Jeff Dillon

Ghost Writer (1989) (TV) .... Vincent Carbone
Blood Vows: The Story of a Mafia Wife (1987) (TV) .... Lou Di Luca
Stagecoach (1986) (TV) (as Tony Franciosa) .... Henry Gatewood (Tonto Banker)
Side Show (1981) (TV) .... Zaranov
Curse of the Black Widow (1977) (TV) .... Mark Higbie
This Is the West That Was (1974) (TV) .... J.W. McCanles
The Catcher (1972) (TV) .... Joe Cade
The Deadly Hunt (1971) (TV) .... Ryab

"The Twilight Zone" playing "Nino Lancaster" in episode: "Crazy as a Soup Sandwich" (episode # 3.29) 1 April 1989
"Alfred Hitchcock Presents" playing "Morris Conrad" in episode: "The 13th Floor" (episode # 3.19) 16 July 1988
"Jake and the Fatman" in episode: "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plans" (episode # 1.22) 30 March 1988
"Hotel" playing "Drew Fletcher" (as Tony Franciosa) in episode: "Pressure Points" (episode # 4.8) 3 December 1986
"Masquerade" in episode: "The French Connection" (episode # 1.8) 30 March 1984
"Tales of the Unexpected" in episode: "A Woman's Help" (episode # 4.5) 3 May 1981
"The Virginian" playing "Ritter" in episode: "Follow the Leader" (episode # 9.11) 2 December 1970
"The Virginian" playing "Kordick" in episode: "The Shiloh Years" (episode # 8.17) 28 January 1970
"Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre" playing "Jack Montrose" in episode: "A Case of Armed Robbery" (episode # 1.23) 3 April 1964
"The Greatest Show on Earth" playing "Warren Duval" in episode: "An Echo of Faded Velvet" (episode # 1.9) 12 November 1963
"Breaking Point" in episode: "Last Summer We Didn't Go Away" (episode # 1.2) 23 September 1963
"Arrest and Trial" playing "Steve Jared" (as Tony Franciosa) in episode: "Call It a Lifetime" (episode # 1.1) 15 September 1963
"Naked City" playing "Gorilla" in episode: "One, Two, Three, Rita Rakahowski" (episode # 4.32) 15 May 1963
"The DuPont Show of the Week" playing "Fred Russo" in episode: "The Shark" (episode # 2.14) 7 April 1963
"The Dick Powell Show" playing "Charlie Harris" in episode: "Charlie's Duet" (episode # 2.25) 19 March 1963
"The DuPont Show of the Month" in episode: "Heaven Can Wait" (episode # 4.3) 16 November 1960
"Goodyear Television Playhouse" in episode: "Country Fair Time" (episode # 5.15) 15 July 1956
"Hallmark Hall of Fame" playing "Antonio" in episode: "Cradle Song" 6 May 1956
"Ford Star Jubilee" in episode: "This Happy Breed" (episode # 1.9) 5 May 1956
"Kraft Television Theatre" in episode: "Whim of Iron" (episode # 8.28) 6 April 1955
"Studio One" playing "Charles Egan" in episode: "It Might Happen Tomorrow" (episode # 7.19) 24 January 1955
"Goodyear Television Playhouse" in episode: "The Arena" (episode # 3.22) 1 August 1954



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