Friday, March 6, 2009


While doing the research for the theoretical connection between 'Lost' and 'Kevin Hill', I stumbled on some video for the old Western, 'Wanted: Dead Or Alive'. (The reason being the name "Josh Randall" as the search term.) This is the gist of an episode of 'Trackdown' which launched that show as a spin-off. Robert Culp starred as a Texas Ranger named Hoby Gilman, and Steve McQueen guest-starred as Josh Randall. If I had known about the connection, I had totally forgotten it before today. But it serves as a reminder that Josh Randall should one day be inducted into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame, at the very least on the special birthday honors list.

Here's how it works: a TV character needs three appearances, three bona fide links, between different TV shows, mini-series, TV movies, or even commercials. So for Josh Randall, he's got two definite ones in 'Trackdown' and his own series, 'Wanted: Dead Or Alive'. We can add to that an "appearance" he made in a small scene from 'Walker, Texas Ranger' which was shown one time only in connection with a big CBS anniversary celebration. In the scene, Cordell Walker had a conversation with Josh Randall who was sitting across from him at his desk. (Chuck Norris was just responding to the dialogue McQueen spouted over thirty years earlier.) As it turned out, Walker was just having a daydream after falling asleep while reading old Texas Ranger files which probably had to do with the legendary bounty hunter. (And more than likely they were written by Hoby Gilman!)

But wait! There's more! (I feel like I'm selling Ginsu Knives!) In one of the greatest examples of TV crossovers ever - the 'Maverick' episode "Hadley's Hunters" - a bartender offered Bart Maverick the use of Josh Randall's sawed-off shotgun "Mare's Laig". He didn't mention the bounty hunter by name, but did say the gun had a nickname - something along the lines of "Mule's Leg" or something to that effect. The inference had to be that it had been Josh Randall of that show from a rival network.
In-jokes like that are acceptable by the Toobworld rules.

Finally, another quasi-legit connection: a 1987 theatrically released film entitled "Wanted: Dead Or Alive" that could be dragged into the TV Universe like the 1966 "Batman" movie and the films of the 'Star Trek' franchise.
Rutger Hauer played Nick Randall, a former CIA agent turned bounty hunter who is descended from Josh Randall. It was actually stated as such in the movie.

So with his own series, the spin-off launch, a recycled appearance, an implied reference and an escapee from the "Cineverse", Josh Randall could definitely find his way someday into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame. BCnU!
Toby O'B


Anonymous said...

The Mare's Leg shotgun also appeared in The Adventures of Brisco County and one of my favorit shows Firefly adding them to the crossover list


Anonymous said...

RAF beat me to the punch, but I definitely feel this is a legit connection (or two).