Sunday, March 25, 2007


Here's an interesting Toobworldian news item from (and thanks to TVSquad for passing it along):

"Producers of 'Boston Legal' plan to use footage from a 1957 Studio One drama, "The Defenders," featuring William Shatner, for an April 3 episode. In the old-time episode Shatner's character Denny Crane comes face-to-face with a hostage taker, who has nursed a grudge against him stemming from a court case 50 years earlier."

Here's the ABC press release re: the episode:

Son of the Defender
A man with a decades-long grudge against Denny Crane and his late attorney father takes the firm hostage, forcing staff at Crane, Poole & Schmidt to re-try a murder case in which a young Denny ensured the defendant's acquittal. Scenes from a 50-year-old television pilot, "The Defender" featuring a young William Shatner are incorporated into the episode to show what transpired during the original case that led to the modern day hostage taking.

TUESDAY, APRIL 3(10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

'Boston Legal' stars James Spader as Alan Shore, Julie Bowen as Denise Bauer, Mark Valley as Brad Chase, Rene Auberjonois as Paul Lewiston, Constance Zimmer as Claire Simms and Gary Anthony Williams as Clarence/Clarice Bell, with Candice Bergen as Shirley Schmidt and William Shatner as Denny Crane.

Guest starring are Meredith Eaton-Gilden as Bethany Horowitz, Stephen Lee as Aaron Sears, James Keane as Joe Gordon, Billy Mayo as Detective Sean Wilkins, Lawrence Pressman as Judge Floyd Hurwitz, Jackie Debatin as Jenna Aesop, Mike Hagerty as Wally Bird, Bonnie Bailey-Reed as Harriet Bird and Mark L. Taylor as Attorney Adam Jovanka.

"Son of the Defender" was written by Phoef Sutton & David E. Kelley and directed by Bill DElia.

Here's the plot summary for the two-part episode of 'Studio One':

"A young criminal attorney and his firm-owning father defend a 19 year-old on trial for a murder that he swears he did not commit. Personal conflicts arise with the attorney and his father while the prosecution puts on a dramatic and convincing argument of guilt."
(Summary written by "Flotis")

My guess is that Stephen Lee is playing the son of the murder victim, and if his character is the same age as he is, Aaron Sears was two years old at the time of the original trial.

The client in 1957 was Joseph Gordon and was played by Steve McQueen. We'll never know if McQueen would have agreed to play the role as he died more than twenty-five years ago. So they've cast James Keane in the role of a Joe Gordon. However, Keane is only three years older than Lee is, so unless he's made up to look like he's in his late sixties/early seventies, he could be playing the son of the acquitted murderer.

Sins of the father are visited upon the son.....

O'Bviously, none of the scenes from "The Defenders" will contain references to Shatner's character as "Kenneth Preston", who is the character he played in that pilot for the later series. (He would later play a recurring role on the actual series as ADA Earl Rhodes.)
When 'The Defenders' became a series, Robert Reed took on the role of Kenneth Preston. His father, played by Ralph Bellamy in the pilot, was played by EG Marshall in the series.

I'll have more on how this all affects Toobworld after the broadcast, but I can tell you now that this will more than likely garner at least one Toobit Award by the end of the year!

By the way, while watching the episode on April 3rd, pay close attention to the jury in that 1957 case - if they happen to show any scenes of them, that is. Uncredited amongst them would be Ed Asner as a 27 year old juror. (Right now I'm leaning towards him being Joe Danzig, who would one day become the principal of Benjamin Harrison High School, aka 'The Bronx Zoo'....)

I've just ordered the DVD of that 'Studio One' production and it should be arriving here at Toobworld Central with more than enough time for me to watch it before the 'Boston Legal' episode!


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