Sunday, July 1, 2007


For the July ceremonies of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame, we're going to veer off from the mini-theme of celebrating 'Doctor Who' in order to mark a long-standing tradition of the old Toobworld Dynamic - honoring the TV Western in July.

I could have kept the 'Who' theme running anyway by inducting an historical figure of the Wild, Wild West - the televersion of Doc Holliday. (Wyatt Earp - in the guise of Hugh O'Brian - entered the Hall back in 2002.) But that would have been a cheat, because in the Toobworld design of the TV Universe, the Doctor didn't actually visit the OK Corral on that fateful day of the Shootout.

I'll splain further later in the month....

Instead, it's my pleasure to announce that my favorite TV "cowboy", one of my Top Ten favorite TV characters no matter the genre, is finally being allowed to join the pantheon of crossover legends.


The strange thing is that even though he turned the Western genre on its head, and the character was the jump-start to James Garner's career in movies and TV, Bret was not the first character from 'Maverick' to be inducted into the Crossover Hall of Fame. His brother Bart made it in first, and even recurring character Samantha Crawford found her way into the Hall as one of the year-long Honors List from 2005, when I was celebrating my fiftieth birthday.

Bart entered first because at the time, 2001, he had a wider variety of actual Television crossovers to his credit:

"Young Maverick"
'Bret Maverick'
"Gambler 4: Luck Of The Draw"

Add to that, one of his episodes from the original series, "Hadley's Hunters", featured appearances by characters, locations, or props from 'Cheyenne', 'Sugarfoot', 'The Lawman', 'Bronco', 'Colt .45', and 'Wanted: Dead Or Alive'. (Plus an earlier incarnation of the soul of Kookie Kookson from '77 Sunset Strip'.)

Bret only had those first three appearances, even if he did make the franchise possible.


But he also had a theatrical release which gets the kind of consideration reserved for the Honors List, in that it could be seen as theoretical. James Garner played the role of Zane Cooper in the movie version of "Maverick", which also starred Mel Gibson as Bret, Jodie Foster, and James Coburn. (This was the third movie Garner and Coburn appeared in together, and they worked together in an episode of 'Maverick'.)

He may have been Zane Cooper through most of the movie, but it turns out in the end that he's Bret's father.

Well then! Zane Cooper was just an alias. O'Bviously he must have been Bret Maverick, Sr. and thus, the Maverick we knew from the TV show.

Whether you want to consider that addition to be legit or not, Bret still has enough credits, three of a kind you might say, to guarantee him entry.

So, riverboat, ring your bell and welcome the gentleman gambler as our July 2007 representative from the Wild, Wild West in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame!

'Bret Maverick'
"Young Maverick"

Toby OB


Anonymous said...

Hey Toby. What is the actual connection from "Hadley's Hunters" for Wanted: Dead or Alive? I ask because I've just posted this over at the Tommy Westphall site:

**1. The gun used by Josh Randall (Steve McQueen) on Wanted: Dead or Alive was custom made for the show and referred to as the "Mare's Leg." So far as I can tell, the only references to such a gun now are from collectors who will custom make such a special weapon (a sort of "sawed-off Winchester"), and the gun was made just for that series (that is, it's not historical, like the Buntline used by Wyatt Earp). In fact, the gun is one way the film Wanted: Dead or Alive with Rutger Hauer linked to the series (Hauer's character was Randall's grandson and kept the original Mare's Leg). However, two other series have used a Mare's Leg: Lord Bowler carried one on The Adventures of Brisco County, and Zoe did the same on Firefly (and in Serenity). In fact, the identical prop made for Bowler is the prop used for Zoe. Using this connection, the Tommy-verse can branch from Firefly to Brisco County and Wanted: Dead or Alive (which was a spinoff of Trackdown, so that would be part of it as well). Even if there's a hesitation about the original Steve McQueen series, then surely the fact the same physical gun was used for Bowler & Zoe is a link (it's the same principle as using Weyland-Utani guns as a conduit).

I figure having some more concrete "connections" help. This might allow them to bring in all of the WB westerns. Did you see the suggestion that a Mako role--Li Sung--allowed a connection from Incredible Hulk to Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (which seems like a great opening to further programs)?


Toby said...

Hi Hugh!
It was indeed the Mare's Leg that was the link between 'Maverick' and 'Wanted: Dead Or Alive'!

In the episode of "Hadley's Hunters", Bart sneaked back into town and sought some help from the only friendly person he knew there - Pender the bartender, played by one of my favorite TV character actors, Herb Vigran.

The best Pender could do was give him a sawed off gun that some really small bounty hunter left behind. He mentioned that it had a name like "Mule's Leg" or something.

So it wasn't official, but the inference was pretty specific to my way of thinking.

Hope that helps with your presentation to the Westphallians!


Anonymous said...

Hi: I really have always enjoyed the show Maverick and stumbled into your blog. The character of Bret Maverick showed up in a "Sugarfoot" episode called, "Misfire." Also, James Garner appeared as Bret Maverick in a Bob Hope movie called, "Alias Jesse James." The movie came out while Garner was still in the TV series. This is my crossover contributions. Take care.