Saturday, August 21, 2010




Gregory Walcott

As I splained yesterday in the "Bubbly Springs Gang" post, the gang of outlaws who met Bret Maverick at the Bubbly Springs hotel, thinking that he was Foxy Smith, were probably all escaped mental patients from a nearby asylum.

So even if this wasn't the real Cole Younger, he believed that he was, suffering as he was from Famous Impostors Syndrome.

He also had control issues, always insisting that he was in charge; and he had an unhealthy attachment to the woman who called herself Belle Starr and who was just as crazy as he was.

The general rule of thumb is that for any one particular actor to be considered the official portrayal of an historical figure, they have to have done so in their own TV series (for example, Wayne Maunder as Custer), or several times over in any series or in a variety of series (Simon Callow as Charles Dickens), or had a TV movie or mini-series about them (Elizabeth Taylor as Poker Alice). O'Bviously if there is more than one TV movie or mini-series detailing that character's life, then I either go for the most detailed one or the earliest. (One of these days I'll have to do that with a character like John F. Kennedy). All the others would then be banished to alternate TV dimensions, leaving only the guest-starring portrayals to be splained away as to the differences in appearance.

With Cole Younger, I haven't made up my mind yet about who should be the official portrayal. There was no one series, mini-series, or TV movie that focused specifically on him. But I am leaning toward John Milford, who co-starred in the Christopher Jones' series 'The Legend Of Jesse James'.

Here are the other tele-versions of Cole Younger as seen on TV:

The Plot to Kill: Jesse James (2006) Played by Brandon Hylton

"Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman"
- Baby Outlaws (1995) Played by Ian Bohen

"Little House on the Prairie"
- The Older Brothers (1983) Played by Geoffrey Lewis

Belle Starr (1980) Played by Cliff Potts

The Last Ride of the Dalton Gang (1979) Played by Dick Autry

- The Younger Brothers' Younger Brother (1972) Played by Strother Martin

The Intruders (1970) Played by Gene Evans

- Hondo and the Judas (1967) Played by Richard Bakalyan

"The Legend of Jesse James" (1965) Played by John Milford

- One Way Ticket (1962) Played by Philip Carey

"Shirley Temple Theatre"
- Rebel Gun (1961) Played by Robert Sampson

"Overland Trail"
- Perilous Passage (1960) Played by Robert J. Wilke

- Shadow of Jesse James (1960) Played by Richard Coogan

"Tales of Wells Fargo"
- Cole Younger (1960) Played by Royal Dano

- Full House (1959) TV episode, Gregory Walcott

"Stories of the Century"
- The Younger Brothers (1954) Played by George Wallace

As for Gregory Walcott's portrayal, who was he really? Plenty of cowboys in Walcott's resume from the 50's to the early 60's, but many of them were marshalls and sheriffs. Still, they could just as easily lose their minds as much as anybody else, so I wouldn't remove them from consideration. In 'Bonanza' alone, Walcott played 7 characters, so surely one of them - if they survived the episode, that is, - could be spared to later go mad and think that he was actually Cole Younger.....


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