Monday, August 1, 2011


With a month of posts dedicated to 'The Rifleman', the August induction into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame would have been the perfect time for Lucas and Mark McCain... if it weren't for the fact that they both are members of the Hall already.

Back in 2002, during the online hiatus between the Tubeworld Dynamic website and the Inner Toob blog, Lucas and Mark McCain were inducted together that summer. They were the Western pair in that year-long salute to TV duos. (Even though I didn't have an online presence from April 2002 until August 2004, I at least kept inducting new members into the TVXOHOF.)

The McCains were inducted along with Andy and Opie Taylor, with a hypothetical "Born To Re-Run" suggestion that the Mayberry sheriff and his son were the reincarnations of Lucas and Mark.
Lucas and Mark McCain easily filled the requirements to become members of the Hall, as they each had three separate appearances on TV. (They were the same three programs for both, but they didn't appear together in the third.)

"The Sharpshooter" episode is now shown as the first episode of the series, but it was originally broadcast in 1958 during the second season of 'Zane Grey Theatre', serving as a pilot for 'The Rifleman'. Then the actual show was launched and ran for five seasons.

Their third TV appearance is in one of the great hubs for Toobworld - the TV movie "Gambler IV - Luck Of The Draw". In it, gambler Brady Hawkes made a cross-country trek to San Francisco in 1906 for a big poker game. Along the way he ran into many of the greatest TV Western characters of all time, from shows like 'Cheyenne', 'The Virginian', 'Maverick', 'Wyatt Earp', 'Bat Masterson', 'Kung Fu', and 'The Westerner'.

(About the only ones missing were Matt Dillon, James West, the 'Sugarfoot', 'Hondo', 'Bronco', anybody from the 'High Chaparral' and Kid Curry and Hannibal Heyes, 'Alias Smith and Jones'. Of course, for Toobworld purposes, it's a good thing those last two didn't appear, due to recastaway problems.)

Hawkes was rescued by Lucas McCain when he was ambushed near the McCain ranch in New Mexico. Since McCain was well-known as "The Rifleman" more than twenty years earlier (as often depicted in the series), it's not surprising that Brady Hawkes knew who he was.
Later in Colorado, Mark McCain was seen working on the set of a silent movie. He was drafted into performing as a stunt man for a scene and inadvertantly created the first fictional portrayal of the Lone Ranger. (Here's hoping that Mark McCain would have a bright future as a silent movie cowboy star in Toobworld.)

So there's the three requirements:

'Zane Grey Theatre'
'The Rifleman'
"The Gambler IV: Luck Of The Draw"

Chuck Connors died in 1992, not long after the "Gambler" TV movie, but John Ernest Crawford is still going strong as an actor and musician in the Los Angeles area. (I follow him as a Facebook friend.) So there's always a chance that Mark McCain might one day re-appear in Toobworld. It may seem like a long shot, given the status of TV Westerns in today's television landscape, but who knows?

After all, 'Cheyenne' Bodie showed up in an episode of 'Kung Fu: The Legend Continues'!


1 comment:

PDXWiz said...

Another show fate has conspired to keep me away from (born after it aired, no reruns here in my area, and not seeing it on cable in the 90s when I had it). I did see Gambler IV, but I don't recall either of these two scenes. Love the idea of the show, though, it seems really cool. And I love the idea that Lucas and Mark reincarnated as Andy and Opie. Interesting thing, though, Mark might have still been alive when Andy was born--Andy Griffith was born in 1926, so Andy Taylor is probably born then as well. As such, Mark would be in his 50s or 60s or 70s, if he was still alive--a possibility.

Fun post!

Gordon Long