Even though there is one more blog post to run before my August showcase on TV Westerns finishes, this is the last one I'm actually writing this year. With it, I'm taking another look at 'The Twilight Zone' with a theoretical link to another Western series... by way of 'Doctor Who'.
I've written about Jerry Hearndan in the past. He was the former movie co-star of Barbara Jean Trenton whom she rebuffed when she saw how old he had become over the years. In that previous blog post, I did a theory of relateeveety on him, making him the brother of a symphony conductor found in an episode of the original 'Ellery Queen'. (Both roles were played by Jerome Cowan.)
But this time, I want to take a look at what happened to Jerry Hearndan that night after he left Barbara Jean's mansion of faded dreams.
Jerry drove away from her home and decided to check one of his grocery stores in the neighborhood which was about to close up shop for the evening. The parking lot was deserted save for the cars belonging to the employees still on duty. As per his habit, Hearndan parked far away from them all. (This was mostly due to his fading eyesight - he didn't want to risk bumping any vehicles which might be parked next to him,)
As he crossed the darkened lot, He thought he heard a hardened flutter of wings. He turned to look behind him and there was a statue of a winged angel taking up a parking space.
Strange... he didn't remember noticing it as he passed that spot a moment before.
Figuring that some teenaged delinquents had stolen it from the nearby garden supply store and left it there as a prank, Jerry Hearndan made a mental note to have the stockboys return it in the morning. And then he turned back towards the store.
And the next thing he knew, it was broad daylight and he was standing at the train station in Ellwood, Kansas. Oddly enough, it appeared to be Frontier Days or some such re-enactment, as everyone was dressed in Old West garb.
As the day progressed, Jerry Hearndan was able to piece together the details of his situation from his own observations and from conversations with the local townsfolk. He was no longer in the 1960s; it was the 1870s!
Jerry Hearndan was not one to panic. Having assessed the situation, he realized he was now trapped in that time period and was resigned to such a fate. He had led a long, good life, had made his mark in the world as a matinee idol in his younger days..... But truth be told, he had become a bit bored with it all in his elder years. Not that he ever contemplated bringing his personal story to a close by his own means, but even though it was a comfortable living, managing a chain of grocery stores was not exactly a challenge.
But to now be living in the wild, wild West? No phone, no lights, no motor car, Not a single luxury.... Now there was a challenge!
It was difficult adjusting in those first few days - he knew the money in his wallet would be worthless because of its design. So that meant he needed to find a job... and fast, if he was to pay for lodgings and meals.
Despite the ordeal of traveling back in Time, Hearndan's clothing was still impeccable. In fact, a woman whom he passed in the main street remarked on the sharpness of his suit's cut; that it was nothing she had ever seen there in Ellwood. Thinking quickly on his feet and calling on improvisational skills from his earlier career as an actor, Hearndan told her that it was one of the latest styles to come out of New York City.
"New York City?" she exclaimed, aghast. She hastily blessed herself and hurried away.
Hearndan had already forgotten about her though. On the other side of the street he saw the town bank and in its iron-barred window there was a sign: "HELP WANTED."
By the end of the day, Jerry Hearndan had become a citizen of Ellwood and an employee of the bank. But he was no longer known as Jerry Hearndan. That had always been a manufactured moniker foisted on him by the Powers That Be at Mammoth Pictures. (He always thought it should have been spelled "Herndon" anyway.) He wasn't sure what might happen in his own revised future, but should he bring some kind of notoriety to his name, it might jeopardize his past career as an actor by that name. Instead he used an alias which had been the name of a character he once played in a movie with his former co-star Barbara Jean Trenton.
From that day forward, he would be known as Waldo Hennessey.
Several years passed and "Waldo Hennessey" acclimated easily to his new life. It underwent a seismic shift one day when the bank was held up by a notorious gang of thieves led by Sam Belden. During the raid, the sheriff was killed, as was the bank manager.
Waldo Hennessey was pressed into carrying on as an interim bank manager until the bank trustees could choose a replacement. As it turned out, they decided there was no better choice for the job than Hennessey. (As for the sheriff, a new lawman named Brewster - no relation to a lawyer named Tom Brewster - eventually was hired to take over. In the meantime, at least Ellwood had a federal marshal named Mort Dooley.)
Eventually Bank Manager Waldo Hennessey crossed paths with two outlaws also notorious at that time (but eventually their legend faded in history.) Instead of trying to take money out of the bank, they were bringing back a shipment that had been stolen during a stagecoach robbery. The two men, Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones (but in reality, Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry) inquired after a reward for returning all of the money. But "Waldo" demurred - he agreed that they were entitled to a reward, but as the money had been under the aegis of the United States Postal Service, they would have to deal with them in getting that reward.
And that wasn't likely to happen with the walls of post offices festooned with Wanted posters for Heyes and Curry!
And that was the last time we saw Jerry Hearndan in Toobworld - at least on his personal timeline. In the greater Toobworld timeline, he was yet to be born (which would happen in 1897, as "Thierry Roussel" to French immigrant parents on the lower East Side of New York City.)
That Weeping Angel which sent Jerry Hearndan into the past? We've met it before and it has been inducted into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame. When I wanted to find a theory of relateeveety between a character in "modern" times and a character from TV Westerns, I usually went the route of children (with saloon girls as the mothers.) But when the Western character is older than the modern character, sometimes I claim that the Westerner was that character from the 20th Century, sent back by that Weeping Angel.
Each angel has a set time period to which it can transport its victims. For instance, the Angel that sent the Doctor and Martha Jones back in Time to the middle of the 1960s from 2007 was the same one which sent Detective Billy Shipton to the same time. However, another Angel sent Cathy Nightingale back to Hull in 1920.
So this particular Angel would send TV characters from "modern times" back to the Old West. We detailed a lot of these when we inducted this Weeping Angel into the TVXOHOF one October......
- 'The Twilight Zone' - "The Sixteen Millimeter Shrine"
- 'Alias Smith And Jones' - "The Root Of It All"
- 'Doctor Who' - "Blink"
- 'Maverick' - "Gun Shy"
- 'The Big Valley' - "Teacher Of Outlaws"