What better TV Western to feature on a day when we showcase an original
member of the Skimmerhorn Trail drive than an episode from the best TV series
about a cattle drive?
"Incident At Paradise"
Written by Charles Larson Directed by Thomas Carr Guest
Cast: Burgess Meredith .............. Matthew Higgins Patty McCormack
............... Sarah Higgins Beau Bridges .................. Billy
Johanson Arch Johnson .................. Harry Johanson Neil Nephew
................... Jess Peter Helm .................... Grover
Yates assumes the role of protector of a stubborn old man who refuses to be
driven from his farm by a cattleman.
This could be the same Paradise as was
featured in the 'Maverick' episode "Cats Of Paradise".....
Upon his arrival in Texas, John [Skimmerhorn] meets a Latino cook by the name of Ignacio "Nacho" Gomez, who recommends that he hire an experienced trail boss named R.J. Poteet to lead the cattle drive to Colorado. "Nacho" Gomez is the only Latino and has to constantly deal with comments about his use of beans in his cooking.
"THE LONGHORNS" R. J. Poteet runs across a Mexican cooking onions for his lunch. He gets off his horse and talks to the fellow. The fellow lets Poteet have a taste of some of his onions. He tastes them and says they are good. Poteet says he has some beef they can share, as long as the fellow cooks it up. The man is very happy to hear about getting a taste of some good beef. They talk and Poteet asks him if he would like a job as a cook on a cattle drive. He is driving the cattle north for a man named Skimmerhorn. The Mexican asks about the massacre of the Indians. Poteet explains that this man is the son of that Skimmerhorn. And he had no part in the massacre at all. This reassures the Mexican. He tells Poteet his name is Ignacio Gomez, but his friends call him Nacho.
"THE STORM" Cartwright’s International Circus has come to Centennial. One of the acts is Daring Dan and the Apaches. John and Jim literally run into their old cook Nacho. Nacho tells the guys that now he works for Daring Dan. And Daring Dan in none other than Mule Canby, the fellow who lost his right arm in the fight with the Comanches.
[After Mule Canby's funeral], Nacho says he’s going home to his small town in Mexico.
"THE CRIME" Jim Lloyd comes to see Hans. He says he heard from Nacho Gomez. Hans says to write Nacho and tell him he will have work for him and others if they come up from Mexico.
Santa Ynez. Nacho is all excited about going back to Colorado and working for Hans Brumbaugh. He tries to get the husband of his niece, Tranquilino, to go with him to Colorado. But Tranquilino is not interested. Nacho virtually pleads with the young man to go with him. Tranquilino works in the mines. Nacho tells him that they have killed all the Indians up in the mines. He goes on to tell him: "Don't let them kill you like a fish in a barrel."
"THE WINDS OF FORTUNE" Chihuahua, Mexico. The priest, accompanied by the soldiers, comes to see Tranquilino. Nacho doesn’t like what he sees. He says civil war is coming to Mexico. The miner’s went on strike and the government strikes back at them. The priest doesn’t want to talk with Nacho. He wants to talk to Tranquilino. The priest is picking six brave men to do a very hard job. Nacho wants to know the job. To be executioners. To execute certain criminals. Nacho says, yeah, certain criminal that are rebels which means silver miners. He tells his nephew-in-law not to do it. Tranguilino tells the Father that he is a farmer. He feeds the miners. He can’t kill them. But it’s not that simple. If he doesn’t do it harm could befall his family and himself. Tranquilino tells Nacho that he’ll go with him to Colorado when he finishes the job.
Tranquilino becomes part of a firing squad. Captain Salcedo is in charge of the squad. The squad executes six men. The Captain finishes them off with a shot to the head of each man. Tranquilino gets through that alright, but then his next assignment is to execute women. He shouts that he will not kill women. The priest complains to the Captain, who says he will have Tranquilino executed for disobeying an order. The priest says that Tranquilino is a very good worker and they need workers. So the Captain commutes his sentence to life at hard labor in the mines. The firing squad, without Tranquilino, executes the women. Tranquilino runs home. The Captain tells his men not to shoot. They will pick him up at his house when they finish.
Nacho tells Tranquilino that he saw it all from the hill. He tells Tranquilino to get on one of the two horses he has prepared and ride to Ciudad Juarez across from El Paso. They will meet in a bar called Kate’s in El Paso. Tranquilino leaves. Nacho stays to misdirect the soldiers. The Captain and two other soldiers come riding up. Nacho shoots one of the soldiers. There is a fire fight. The Captain goes around the building to get behind Nacho. He wounds Nacho, but Nacho also wounds the Captain. Nacho gets on his horse and rides out.
Skimmerhorn Trail. Nacho falls off his horse. Tranquilino calls the land a waste land, but Nacho says: "It’s beautiful to me." Nacho thinks about his favorite time, working on the cattle drive. He tells Tranquilino to go to Colorado to Skimmerhorn and Jim Lloyd. He then says to let him rest here where he was happy.
John goes to the railway station looking for him and finds him. He asks him where is Nacho. He’s dead is the answer. John says: "I’m sorry. How?" Bad times in Chihuahua, says Tranquilino, shootings.
With Curiosity landing on Mars this past Sunday, I thought I might take a look at a Martian who landed on Earth Prime-Time and then tying it into our TV Western theme for August.
No, I'm not talking about Exigius 12½ (aka "Martin O'Hara"), even though he did have several adventures back in the wild, wild West via time travel. (Given Martian longevity, he may have visited that era during the natural progression of his timeline.)
But I believe another inhabitant of the "Red Planet" visited the wild, wild West when she was a young Martian woman (a "Martienne", if you will Or not.). We met her several centuries later when astronaut Sam Conrad crash-landed on Mars and discovered that "People Are Alike All Over".
Her name is Teenya and we may have seen her on "The Night Dr. Loveless Died".......
(Even though a couple of centuries separate these episodes of 'The Twilight Zone' and 'The Wild, Wild West' respectively, Teenya also enjoyed that Martian longevity, just as all Martians do. The nephew of Exigius 12½ looked to be only a pre-teen when he visited Earth Prime-Time, but he was already 400 years old.)
In studying Earth Prime-Time before her visit, Teenya sought the most intelligent man on the planet. Unfortunately, that proved to be Dr. Miguelito Quixote Loveless.....
Rather than go by her Martian name of Teenya, she chose a name she thought would be "nicely inconspicuous" among other Terran names. However, like the alien Praxibetel Ix would do many decades later, she "skimped a bit on her research" and chose the name "Triste"... which is a French word for "sad". (By the way, Praxibetel Ix chose as his name "Ford Prefect" when he was researching 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy'.)
Although she thrilled to the adventure, Teenya/Triste realized her error in allying herself with Dr. Loveless. After her capture by government agents James West and Artemus Gordon, she made good her escape and journeyed back to Mars.
(How did she escape? Perhaps she seduced the deputy assigned to escort her to prison and then used her levitation talents to lift his gun from its holster.)
Back on Mars, Teenya would not encounter another human being for over a century and a half when Sam Conrad arrived on his secret manned mission to the planet.
Or did she return to Toobworld before then? Using other aliases, could Teenya have revisited Earth Prime-Time, especially during the 1960s, only to confirm her disenchantment with the human species? It will take some more research on my part to learn the fates and backgrounds of Susan Oliver's other roles on episodic TV, but it could be Teenya racked up some serious frequent flyer miles.
Believing that all humans were alike after too many disappointments in her contacts with them, Teenya went along with her people's plans for the ill-fated Earthling, although she wasn't happy about it.....
During the month of July, we lost three actors who played roles in James
Michener's 'Centennial'. So each Friday during August we will salute their
characters in the "ASOTV" showcase. Last Friday we had the first one - Philip
Wendell as played by Morgan Paull.
And for this week.......
MAJOR MAXWELL MERCY
AS SEEN IN:
Mercy is an army negotiator sent to forge treaties with the tribes of the
west. He is well-meaning but underestimates the demand Americans have for
western lands and the animosity the plains tribes have for all whites. Mercy is
married to Lisette, Pasquinel's daughter in St. Louis, and unsuccessfully tries
to use this relationship to try to gain the Pasquinel brothers'
Maxwell Mercy invites the Plains tribes to a peace conference at
Fort Laramie. There he forges a treaty guaranteeing safe passage to settlers on
the Oregon Trail in exchange for legal recognition of tribal land claims. Wiser
heads on both sides however know that the treaty will merely delay the
inevitable war between the two sides.
Maxwell Mercy, outraged at his
brothers-in law's murders, challenges Skimmerhorn to a duel and nearly kills him
only to be stopped by Levi Zendt.
Because the mini-series skipped a
generation (at least one!), we don't learn that Paul Garrett can count family
ties to Pasquinel through Lucinda McKeag Zendt as well as through Lisette
For today's episode from a TV Western, I've chosen one from the Gene Barry
classic revision of an historical legend, 'Bat Masterson'.
"No Amnesty For Death" was uploaded because one of the guest stars is
DeForest Kelley who would years later achieve cathode immortality as Dr. Leonard
"Bones" McCoy in the 'Star Trek' franchise. Back in the fifties, however, he
was better known as a heavy and appeared as such in quite a few Westerns.
But I selected this episode over any other 'Bat Masterson' episode online
because "No Amnesty For Death" also has R.G. Armstrong as the main guest star.
This durable, dependable character actor just passed away last month, so this
makes for a nice tribute to him as well as to De Kelley.....
When it came to the 2012 class of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame inductees,
all I knew going in to the year was that certain months had traditions. Usually
I map the whole year out in advance.
February for people of color, April for the Fools, May for the ladies,
October for horror. And August is the month when we salute TV Westerns.
In the past, honorees have included the Maverick brothers, Cheyenne Bodie,
Brady Hawkes, Matt Dillon, Cochise, Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson, James West and
Artemus Gordon, and the Lone Ranger and Tonto.
But for this year? Up until last week, I was still undecided even with the
month under way. I had in mind one option that was a bit too esoteric but quite
Toobworldly. (I will definitely use it next year, Jack Lord willing.....)
But the mail held while I was on vacation was finally delivered and therein
I found the sign from above - there on the cover of Entertainment Weekly was the
perfect choice to be the Western character for the TV Crossover Hall of Fame in
Considering it's J.R. Ewing of 'Dallas', maybe that sign came from another
(If you want to read a thumbnail biography of J.R. Ewing, click here.)
Bobby Ewing or Sue Ellen could have been eligible for the honor, but Larry
Hagman as J.R. Ewing was the face of 'Dallas', as that cover proved. He is so
iconic a figure in Toobworld that he dominated that issue, even with a large
feature on this year's Comic-Con.
If we only dealt with the 350 or so episodes of the original series, J.R.
Ewing would still stride across Toobworld like a modern Texan Colossus. In
1980, there was only one question on the minds of TV viewers from the
Trueniverse that summer - "Who Shot J.R.?" That season-ender for 'Dallas'
ushered in the big, outrageous tradition of cliff-hangers which would hopefully
guarantee that a show's faithful followers would return in the Fall.
This year, 'Dallas' returned to high ratings and a guaranteed second season
with the accent on the next generation of the Ewing clan. But from what I've
read, the show only really comes alive whenever the 80 year old patriarch
appears on screen, sharing co-starring status with his eyebrows. (I know,
everybody is mentioning them. Ho hum. I just want to belong.....)
Between the two series were several reunion movies plus a handful of
appearances by Hagman as J.R. on the show's spin-off, 'Knots Landing'.
"Dallas: War of the Ewings" (1998)
"Dallas: J.R. Returns" (1996)
And we also have to include J.R. as played by Kevin Wixted in the prequel,
"Dallas: The Early Years" from 1986. (Recastaways due to the aging process are
given a pass by Toobworld Central.)
Mule Canby was one of the cowboys hired by John Skimmerhorn and R.J. Poteet
to lead the cattle drive back to Zendt's Farm (Centennial), Colorado. He was
more of a gunslinger, which was a career he lost when he lost his arm. But
after being nursed back to health, he began to practice diligently with his
other arm. Once he was good enough, Canby began a career in the show business
as "Daring Dan", the one-armed trick shooter. (The cattle drive's cook, Nacho
Gomez, worked for him as an assistant.)
Canby returned to Centennial with the circus and was supposed to perform
for his old friends Skimmerhorn, Jim Lloyd, and Amos Calendar that night. But a
fire and explosion in his personal stable burned him to death. (The tent of the stable was
probably treated with parafin like the circus tent in the Hartford circus fire
of the 1940's. If so, Canby never had a chance to get out.)
As I had stated earlier, the character of Mule Canby, last seen wounded and
hauled to a military fort by R.J. Poteet in "The Longhorns". He has
become a trick shot artist for a circus, with Nacho Gomez as his assistant.
Their reunion with former members of the Skimmerhorn drive - Jim Lloyd, John
Skimmerhorn and Amos Calendar - provided the episode with a very warm and
emotional moment before Canby's tragic death in a tent fire.
It was nice to see Greg Mullavey as the always gregarious Mule Canby.
Greg Mullavy guest stars as Mule Canby, a storyteller who can really spin a
web of tales without batting an eye.
I consider 'Centennial' to be one of the top ten TV Westerns, and at 26
hours, it's more of a full-length series rather than a mini-series. But as
indelible as its story and characters are, there were not many opportunities to
link it to other TV Westerns, let alone any other TV shows of any genre.
But Mule Canby does provide for a possible theory of "relateeveety". As a
member of that travelling circus, Canby got the chance to visit locations all
over the country - which might include many of the fictional small towns that
dot the "Telemerica" map. And as one of the country's first "rock stars", Canby
probably was never at a loss for female companionship in those towns, even
though he was missing his arm. (I'm sure the loss of his left arm never stopped
Def Leppard drummer Rick "Thunder God" Allen from such pursuits.)
As such, it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that Mule Canby visited Ohio, if not
Fernwood, Ohio, itself, and could count one of the grandparents of Tom Hartman
as a bastard whelp.
Being such a fanciful storyteller, he may also have published his own spin on his autobiography, perhaps as told to a dime novel writer like Nimrod Bligh.
In their first con back from vacation, after settling in Portland, Oregon,
Eliot Spencer mentioned that he had spent his time off getting together with
some old friends. In a flashback we saw that his reunion was more than just for
a few beers - Eliot and his old buddy blew up an Iranian nuclear missile that
was set to launch.
His old friend? A big bruiser of an operative played by Adam
It was just a quick cameo, and no name was given - Baldwin didn't even get
an on-screen credit for his appearance, if I remember correctly; he's listed at
the IMDb as just "Eliot's Friend".
I'd like to think that he was appearing as John Casey from 'Chuck'.
There was one fly in the ointment, however, for this theoretical link.
When Eliot asked him what's new, Baldwin's character proudly stated that Tommy
made varsity. In 'Chuck', Casey only had one child, a girl named Alex who was
now an adult.
Splainin: Even though they were supposedly friends, they each probably had
secrets they were hiding from each other. Casey made up a cover story about his
private life to protect what little personal life he had. And I'm sure Eliot
wasn't about to tell him about the Leverage crew.
This is all just speculation, of course. Via Google, I found several
pre-publicity articles about the episode which suggested that this cameo
appearance may turn into a recurring gig. If so, there may be more Zonks down
the road that need to be disabled. However, if we can maintain the illusion that he was indeed John Casey, then he would be ⅔ of the way there for membership in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame......
Adrienne La Russa had a supporting role in the miniseries, Centennial. La
Russa played Clemma Zent, the tempestuous daughter of series protagonists Levi
and Lucinda Zent.
Jim Lloyd falls in love with Levi Zendt's beautiful but
wild daughter Clemma (Adrienne Larussa). Clemma however merely toys with Jim.
Clemma leaves town, leaving Jim heartbroken.
The widowed Charlotte
Buckland Seccombe travels to England briefly but returns to Venneford after
inheriting a majority interest in the ranch. She falls in love with Jim Lloyd,
now ranch foreman, but their romance nearly falls apart when Clemma Zendt
returns and Jim breaks off his engagement with Charlotte. Charlotte resolves to
fight for Jim and goes to Clemma and blackmails her into leaving town—or she
will use all her resources to expose Clemma's activities during her time away,
which include alcoholism, prostitution, fraud, and a lengthy prison term. Clemma
gets on the next train to Chicago, and Jim and Charlotte reconcile and
Professor Lew Vernor (Andy Griffith) and writer Sidney Enderman (Sharon
Gless) arrive in town to do research on the history of Centennial. Professor
Vernor and Sidney Enderman write the history of Centennial.
As great as I thought it was, 'Centennial'
was not free of continuity errors. Two of them in the last episode ("The Scream
Of Eagles") featured Sidney Enderman....
As Louis Verner and Sidney
Enderman are driving along in the final episode, the driver's-side rear-view
mirror disappears from their Ford pickup whenever a close-up is called for (the
holes where it has been unscrewed are quite evident) and reappears in the long
Towards the beginning of the final episode of the miniseries,
Louis Verner and Sidney Enderman are walking through the streets of the town of
Centennial. When they first start their journey, it is a nice sunny day. A few
seconds later as they walk past Zendt's old store and behind the hotel to meet
Cisco Calendar, it is suddenly a drab, overcast day and there is a bit of a
dusting of snow and ice on the ground.
Celeste Holm was the first name on my vacation Hat Squad list this summer.....
From The Los Angeles Times:
Celeste Holm, the versatile actress
who achieved fame on Broadway in the original production of Rodgers and
Hammerstein's hit musical "Oklahoma!" in 1943 and five years later won an Oscar
for best supporting actress in the landmark movie-drama "Gentleman's Agreement,"
died Sunday. She was 95.
Holm, whose more than 70-year career in show
business included performing in nightclubs, died in her apartment on Central
Park West in New York City, said her husband, Frank Basile.
The actor Geoffrey Hughes, who has died of prostate
cancer aged 68, played gormless Eddie Yeats in the ITV soap opera 'Coronation Street' from 1974 to 1983, and thereafter was typecast on television as a
Hughes was a more objectionable version of Eddie and Vernon in the sitcom 'Keeping up Appearances' (1990-95), written by Roy Clarke. He played Onslow, the
work-shy, beer-guzzling slob married to the social-climbing Hyacinth Bucket's
sister Daisy and living in a council house.
The vest-wearing Onslow irked
Hyacinth by occasionally leading her husband, Richard, astray and rebuffed his
wife's advances with the excuse: "I've got a headache." Most of the British obituaries for Mr. Hughes seemed to play up his role on
'Coronation Street' the most. But I think for his American fans, it will always
be Onslow who will truly have cathode immortality.....
Gore Vidal, the elegant, acerbic all-around man of letters who presided
with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American
civilization, died on Tuesday at his home in the Hollywood Hills section of Los
Angeles, where he moved in 2003 after years of living in Ravello, Italy. He was
An author, screenwriter and essayist with definite opinions and no
inhibitions about sharing them, he took great pleasure in being one of the
larger-than-life figures of his time.
The cause was complications of
pneumonia, his nephew Burr Steers said.
By CHARLES McGRATH Published: August 1, 2012
I'm planning on the "ASOTV" showcase will feature the League of Themselves
next year. And I already planned on using this clip to illustrate an entry on
From what I remember at the time, Vidal took this role on 'Mary Hartman,
Mary Hartman' to show Truman Capote that he was the better actor.
In St. Louis Levi and Elly Zendt meet English writer Oliver Seccombe
(Timothy Dalton) and Army Captain Maxwell Mercy (Chad Everett). Seccombe is a
romantic looking for adventure and writing a book trying to prove the theory
that the Native American tribes descend from Welshmen.
returns to the area as an agent of several wealthy British investors led by Earl
Venneford of Wye who want to start a cattle ranch. By claiming watering holes
under the Homestead Act and utilizing the open range, they can monopolize
thousands of square miles with a very small investment. The ranch would
eventually control nearly 6,000,000 acres (20,000 km2), an area nearly the size
of Vermont. the new ranch, named Venneford, becomes one of the largest ranches
in the west. Seccombe stays on to manage the ranch and with John Skimmerhorn as
foreman and Jim Lloyd as a regular ranch hand.
A range war develops between
the cattle ranchers led by Seccombe, farmers led by Hans Brumbaugh, and sheep
herders led by new settler Messmore Garrett (Clint Ritchie). New town sheriff
Axel Dumire (Brian Keith) tries to settle the conflict peacefully but it soon
escalates into violence. Oliver Seccombe, angered by threats to his interests,
engages the services of a gang of outlaws to kill Brumbaugh, Garrett and other
leaders of the farmers and shepherds. Jim Lloyd and John Skimmerhorn find
themselves caught between sides in the war. They are cowboys but are also
sympathetic to the plight of the farmers and shepherds and refuse to believe
that Seccombe is behind the cold blooded killings.
Seccombe proves to be a
poor businessman with questionable morals and the finances of the ranch are
eventually called into question by the Venneford's British investors. They
dispatch Finlay Perkin (Clive Revill), a dour Scottish accountant, to audit
Venneford's books. Seccombe has been secretly selling off ranch cattle to fund
his activities. Perkin soon realizes that Seccombe is skimming money after
seeing the combination of thousands of missing cattle and Seccombe's palatial
new ranch house, evidence of his profligate spending. Seccombe's crimes are
covered over however when a terrible blizzard hits the region, killing many of
the ranch's cattle and thereby hiding the losses incurred by Seccombe's
The blizzard saves him from formal legal charges; however he is
still compelled to resign in disgrace and turn over ranch operations to John
Skimmerhorn. The fraud accusations and the large loss of cattle combine to take
a toll on Seccombe's health and he commits suicide leaving Charlotte a
As the Trickster once said, "Reality is boring, that's why I change it whenever I can."
I'm just "The Man Who Viewed Too Much", and "Inner Toob" is a blog exploring and celebrating the 'reality' of an alternate universe in which everything that ever happened on TV actually takes place.
Most of my theories about the TV Universe come from thinking inside the box and thus can't be proven. But I've never been one to shy away from a tall tale.....
Remember: "The more you watch, the more you've seen!"