When making these connections between the riverboat poker players of "Maverick" to characters to be found in other TV Westerns, it's all fun and games until somebody gets killed.
It is the Wild, Wild West, after all.
When it comes to death in the movie, many might only remember the big shoot-out on board the Lauren Belle, in which Angel and his two henchmen were gunned down by Maverick and Son. But there was another death earlier in the movie, one that brought an end to the life of a beloved old character - George Washington Wishbone of 'Rawhide'.
Wishbone was the trail cook on the cattle drives run by Gil Favor and Rowdy Yates back in the 1860s. But at some point soon after 'Rawhide' ended its run on TV (on the Toobworld timeline it would be 1869.), Wishbone had to go on the run and so he left his life on the cattle drive behind. (Perhaps he killed a man on the drive at some point?)
Taking the alias of Jellifer B. Hoskins, Wishbone had a streak of bad luck: he took money that was stolen by bank robbers, he stole food from the Lancer family, as well as the pearls belonging to one of my televersion's distant relatives, Teresa O'Brien. The Lancers quickly tracked him down, but then found out he was only doing it to help the orphans he was taking care of.
Taking pity on him, the Lancers hired him on at their cattle ranch. Wishbone never disabused the Lancers that his name wasn't Jelly Hoskins and he stayed on the job for several decades.
As an elderly man, "Jelly" was insulted when the Lancer brothers (their own father long since dead) offered him a pension and the chance to retire and live out his years in comfort on the ranch. Instead, he struck off again to prove that he was still capable of working for a living.
By 1906, Wishbone was back on the trail again, working as a trail cook under the alias of "Cookie", and he was not too pleased about it (as seen in "Gambler Four: Luck Of The Draw".) He was probably so pissed off by the experience that he quit to take up a new occupation - that of a stagecoach driver. He worked the route that led from Crystal River to somewhere in the East, although I don't think it would take the Mavericks and Mrs. Bransford all the way to St. Louis from where the Lauren Belle would set sail.
By the time the Mavericks met up with him, G.W. Wishbone aka Jelly Hoskins aka Cookie was about 95 years old... and still too stubborn to retire.
That trip proved to be Wishbone/Jelly's last one as he died with his boots on as the stagecoach hurtled along towards certain doom over a cliff. Bret Junior was able to halt the horses in time and they buried Wishbone there at the edge of the cliff, not knowing what his name actually was. (Mrs. Bransford found that his wallet contained nothing but the calling cards for whorehouses throughout the West - good for you, Wishbone!)
This year the Television Crossover Hall Of Fame is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary. As such, the motto is the same as when I celebrated a milestone birthday - "What I say, goes."
So even though none of these connections for Paul Brinegar's Western avatar are not official, I am declaring them to be so for Toobworld purposes.
- "The Gambler IV: Luck Of The Draw"
For all of those productions, no matter what his name was in each, Paul Brinegar was playing George Washington Wishbone. And so we are inducting him into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame along with Sam Buckhart.
Rest in peace, George Washington Wishbone aka Jelly Hoskins. As Red Skelton would say:
"Good night and may God bless....."