Friday, August 9, 2019


For our next inductee as a TV Western Friday Hall of Famer, we’re doing a massive conflation of characters – the many Old West bartenders played by character actor Harry Swoger.

From ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ wiki:
Harry Swoger was an American character actor. He portrayed a Barbershop Customer in Season 2 of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’.  

From the ‘Gilligan’s Island’ wiki

Not much is known about Harry Edward Swoger. He was born on March 6, 1919 in Clinton, Ohio, but there is not much known about his career. He was a character actor in more than a hundred television shows, mostly westerns, through the Sixties. He was a member of the Screen Actors Guild, a past master of the Farmers Lodge #153 and a 32nd Degree Mason at Scioto Consistory in Columbus, Ohio. His TV roles included appearances on "Mike Hammer," "The Texan," "Lawman," "Rawhide," "Maverick," "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" with Dwayne Hickman and Bob Denver, "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "The Twilight Zone," "The Andy Griffith Show," "The Untouchables," "Gunsmoke," "Wagon Train," "The Fugitive," "Bonanza," "Gilligan's Island," "Bewitched," "Wild, Wild West," "Ironsides," "Adam 12," "The Big Valley" and "Mannix." Among his movies are "The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond," "Pocketful of Miracles," "Robin and The 7 Hoods," "The Over-the-Hill Gang" and an uncredited role in "Hello Dolly." He passed away at the age of 51 at the Valley Emergency Hospital in Van Nuys, California. He was buried at Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park in North Hollywood, California.

In many cases, when an actor plays similar characters in a “contemporary” time period, but distant from each other and with different last names, I usually just say that they were either actual twins separated at birth or “identical cousins” whichever meaning for that you prefer.)

And when that situation has occurred in TV Westerns, usually when actors like Morgan Woodward, John Milford, and Jack Elam kept popping up in the same series over and over again as the bad guys, I attributed their new identities to either fake deaths engineered by the sinister undertaker Fabian Lavendor (‘The Wild Wild West’), or rejuvenation due to the magical powers of Jared Garrity (‘The Twilight Zone’). 

But with Harry Swoger’s run of saloon bartenders, the wild, wild West was full of itinerant cowboys who wandered from one cow-town to another.  The Mavericks are the perfect example of that.

So why couldn’t the same have happened with all of these bartenders?  Why can’t they all be the same man and for whatever reason (drunkenness, theft?), he was forced to move on to another establishment throughout the frontier.

It looks as though his longest run in any one place was in Stockton, California, where he served drinks to the Barkley Brothers and other residents of ‘The Big Valley’.  I’m going to assume that Harry Sprague was his real name, but in his travels he took on other aliases – perhaps to avoid recognition for… a past indiscretion.  When he was tending bar in Fort Hayes (as seen in ‘Wagon Train’, he went by the nickname of “Squat”.  And once he used the name of “Charlie”; another time “Mac”.  But that’s the type of nickname you use when you don’t know somebody else’s name.  And how many cowpokes just off the trail are ever going to know a bartender’s name?

Here is a partial list of those Wild West bartenders played by Harry Swoger….

The Big Valley
- The Fallen Hawk

... Bartender
- Explosion!: Part 1 (1967)
... Harry Sprague
- Explosion!: Part 2 (1967)
... Sprague
- A Flock of Trouble (1967)
... Bartender (uncredited)
- Joaquin (1967)
... Bartender (uncredited)
- In Silent Battle (1968)
... Harry the Bartender
- Run of the Savage (1968)
... Harry

The Virginian
- 50 Days to Moose Jaw

... Squat

The Over-the-Hill Gang
(1969 TV Movie) 

Mac (Bartender)

The Guns of Will Sonnett

- Reunion (1968)

... Bartender

- What's in a Name (1968)

... Charlie the Bartender
- The Man Who Killed Jim Sonnett (1969)
... Bartender 

Wagon Train
- The Gus Morgan Story (1963)

The Outcasts
- How Tall Is Blood?

... Bartender

The Wild Wild West
- The Night of the Cut-Throats

... Bartender

- Tigrero (1960)
 ... The Bartender

Now there could have been times during his journeys through the West when Harry Sprague couldn’t find a job as a bartender.  And so he had to take what work he could find.  Working in a stable might have been the best a man could do if he knew nothing else but slinging drinks…..

The Legend of Jesse
- A Burying for Rosey

... Stableman

- Shadow of a Dead Man (1970)
... Liveryman

I’ve added the following shows because I can’t tell from the names of his characters whether or not they were bartenders.  I’m under the impression that almost any character with two names listed probably wasn’t a publican (save for Hank Green).

I’m going to try to track down these episodes and will both update this post with new information as well as update Swoger’s photo gallery in the Facebook page “TVXOHOF”.

- The Boys
... Hank Green

- Milly (1961)
... Sam Lawson

- All That (1961)
... Hank Green

- The Cook (1960)
... Hank Green

- The Badge (1960)
... Ike

- Colleen So Green (1960)
... Bull Reager

- Tail to the Wind (1959)
... Burke

I’m thinking that it could be Hank Green was a resident of Dodge City and therefore employed as a bartender?  These will be the first episodes I’ll be looking for. 

- Song in the Dark

... Felix
- The War Comes to Washoe (1962)
... Charlie
- The Many Faces of Gideon Flinch (1961)
... William 'Bullet Head' Burke
- Silent Thunder (1960)
... Tom
- The Avenger (1960)
... Bert

1]  I’m hoping that Swoger’s role in “The War Comes To Washoe” is as the bartender.  It would mean that the alias of “Charlie” was used by Harry Sprague more than once.  (See ‘The Guns Of Will Sonnett’ – “What’s In A Name”.  What’s in a name, indeed!)

2]  Earlier, Swoger played another character named Burke.  If we can make them the same guy, we now have his full name as well as his nickname. 

3]  If more than one of his characters on 'Bonanza' were bartenders, I've got a splainin for that.  The Ponderosa was near two towns - Carson City and Virginia City - and alternated between the two.  It's pozz'be, just pozz'ble, that he had bartender jobs in both towns and worked one on his days off from the other, using a different name at each.

Hotel de Paree

- Sundance and the Good-Luck Coat

... Moose
- Sundance and the Hostiles (1959)
... Big Huston

"Moose" sounds like a great alias/nickname for a bartender.

Perhaps, at the end of his travels, he found himself in the frozen north of Seward’s Folly…..

The Alaskans 
- The Silent Land
... Morse

It’s a shame Harry Swoger died at such an early age – only 51, in 1970.  It almost has the feel of Fate, in that the TV genre in which he excelled was also nearing its end.

At any rate, this is my small attempt to add to his onscreen immortality.

Welcome to the Hall, Harry the Bartender….

Happy trails!

Thursday, August 8, 2019


One of the earliest - and one of my favorite - TV crossovers was the 'Maverick' episode "Hadley's Hunters".  There were at least five definite crossover characters - 'Cheyenne' Bodie, 'Bronco' Lane, Tom 'Sugarfoot' Brewster, and the 'Lawman', Marshal Dan Troop with his deputy, Johnny McKay.  Technically, one could say that there were five and a half crossovers - Bart Maverick visited the long-deserted office of Christopher Colt, salesman for the 'Colt .45'.  (There was an in-joke appearance by Edd Byrnes as a stable hand who was similar to his role of Gerald Kookson III on '77 Sunset Strip'.  Maybe they were related, but it can't be proven.)

There was one other inferred crossover - Prender the bartender had a sawed off rifle left by a bounty hunter.  The gun had a name like Mule's Foot.  Obviously it was supposed to be Mare's Leg, owned by Josh Randall in 'Wanted: Dead Or Alive'.

All of that information... information... information is a rerun here.  But I went through all of it again because I want to talk about that bartender.

Although we would see Herb Vigran, who played the role, on 'Maverick' again, this was the only time we saw Prender.  But we might have later met one of his descendants.


From the IMDb:
Malloy and Reed help a woman recover an antique when she discovers her husband hid their savings inside.   

Reed and Malloy visited with a used appliance store hoping to find the wood-burning stove.  And the proprietor was Charley Prender.  You can ask anybody - Charley Prender gives a good deal.

Here's my theory of relateeveety - Charley's great grandfather was that bartender who helped Bart Maverick.  

Charley Prender - as if you couldn't tell! - was played by Vito Scotti, calling on all the tics and mannerisms which 'Columbo' fans knew well from his six characters over the years.  

Many of the characters he played over the years in TV shows had various ethnic backgrounds.  It could be the same in this case as well.  Somewhere between Charley and his theoretical great-grandfather, one of the Prender men may have married a lass of Mexican descent anywhere in the wild, wild West from Hadley County, where Prender tended bar at the Hadley Saloon, to Los Angeles where we would find Charley Prender.

Happy trails!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019



Louie Pheeters, distantly related to Doctor MacPheeters and his son Jamie, was the town drunk in Dodge City.  But he did his best to keep himself from being a blot on the town by mopping out the marshal's office and watching over the place whenever Matt Dillon had to go out of town.

One time while he was swabbing the floor, Louie kept things lively for himself by singing "Little Brown Jug", a song made famous by Glen Miller's arrangement of it.  But unlike the time a Hank Williams, Sr. song was performed in an episode of 'The Virginian', this was not a Zonk.

From Wikipedia:

“Little Brown Jug" is a song written in 1869 by Joseph Eastburn Winner, originally published in Philadelphia with the author listed as Winner's middle name "Eastburn."

It was originally a drinking song. It remained well known as a folk song into the early 20th century. Like many songs which make reference to alcohol, it enjoyed new popularity during the Prohibition era.

In 1939, bandleader Glenn Miller recorded and broadcast his swing instrumental arrangement of the tune with great success, and the number became one of the best known orchestrations of the American Big Band era.

The same melody was used for the song "My Ding-a-Ling" written by Dave Bartholomew, which became a Number 1 hit in 1972 for Chuck Berry.

Happy trails!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019



During the episode, we see Bret Harte’s short story of “M’Liss” acted out while Harte wrote it down.  There were four movies made of the story, three in the silent era and the last in 1936.  Unfortunately Harte died thirteen years before the first silent film came out.

Here’s the basic story, edited from the summary of the 1918 silent movie version which starred Mary Pickford as M’Liss.

From Wikipedia:
It takes place in the mining town of Red Gulch in the High Sierra. M'Liss is one of the inhabitants whose father "Bummer" lost his fortune in the gold mines. Now his only investment, which pays a dividend, is his chicken Hildegarde. M'Liss regards herself as a crook and robs Yuba Bill's stage coach. Yuba, however, is fascinated by the young lady and does not mind.

M'Liss is the only person in Bummer's life, since his brother Jonathan, a wealthy pioneer, lives in San Francisco. One day, Jonathan turns his face toward the Sunset Trail. Clara Peterson has been his nurse for over three years and her brother Jim finds out they will receive $500 each for their services after his death. He is outraged they will get only that small amount of money.

Charles Gray is the school teacher who wants M'Liss to go to school as well. M'Liss isn't interested in an education. Charles keeps on pursuing her and she finally decides to go. He demands her to mind her manners when she's at school. She talks back to the boards members and is expelled. Charles, however, is charmed by the brave young girl. That same day, Bummer gets stabbed in the back by an unknown person. The sheriff suspects Charles, since he was the last person to visit Bummer.

When M'Liss is informed, she is crushed. She is invited to visit the murderer in jail and is shocked to find out it's Charles. Three weeks later, a murder trial starts. M'Liss is the only one believing in Charles' innocence. [His] wife Clara reaches town to visit him, only to find out he died. M'Liss refuses to believe she is her mother. Finally, Charles is sent to jail for 60 years. M'Liss helps him escape, but the police follow him. M'Liss witnesses them shooting Charles, but does not know they went after the wrong guy and actually shot Jim. Jim and Mexican Joe, the help of the sheriff, admit they killed Bummer for his will. The fortune is now sent to M'Liss and a hidden Charles is set free and reunites with M'Liss.

The dramatization in that ‘Death Valley Days’ episode was heavily edited and altered.

Happy Trails!



From the IMDb:
The story of Bret Harte and his early time in 1850's California after moving there from the east. He became a stagecoach guard, newspaper editor which almost got him lynched, then a schoolteacher before finding fame as a western writer. 

From Wikipedia:
Francis Brett Hart, known as Bret Harte (August 25, 1836 – May 5, 1902), was an American short-storywriter and poet, best remembered for his short fiction featuring miners, gamblers, and other romantic figures of the California Gold Rush. In a career spanning more than four decades, he wrote poetry, plays, lectures, book reviews, editorials, and magazine sketches in addition to fiction. As he moved from California to the eastern U.S. to Europe, he incorporated new subjects and characters into his stories, but his Gold Rush tales have been most often reprinted, adapted, and admired.

Harte moved to California in 1853, later working there in a number of capacities, including miner, teacher, messenger, and journalist. He spent part of his life in the northern California coastal town of Union (now Arcata), a settlement on Humboldt Bay that was established as a provisioning center for mining camps in the interior.

The Wells Fargo Messenger of July 1916, relates that, after an unsuccessful attempt to make a living in the gold camps, Harte signed on as a messenger with Wells Fargo & Co. Express. He guarded treasure boxes on stagecoaches for a few months, then gave it up to become the schoolmaster at a school near the town of Sonora, in the Sierra foothills. He created his character Yuba Bill from his memory of an old stagecoach driver.

Among Harte's first literary efforts, a poem was published in The Golden Era in 1857, and, in October of that same year, his first prose piece on "A Trip Up the Coast".  He was hired as editor of The Golden Era in the spring of 1860, which he attempted to make into a more literary publication.  Mark Twain later recalled that, as an editor, Harte struck "a new and fresh and spirited note" which "rose above that orchestra's mumbling confusion and was recognizable as music".  Among his writings were parodies and satires of other writers, including “The Stolen Cigar-Case” featuring ace detective "Hemlock Jones", which Ellery Queen praised as "probably the best parody of Sherlock Holmes ever written".

For more on Bret Harte, click here.

Happy Trails! 

Monday, August 5, 2019


I believe this is the first time the Television Crossover Hall of Fame is inducting a composer into the TVXOHOF.  But I can’t think of another composer like Barrington Pheloung who is so indelibly linked with three connected TV series.  Perhaps with one of the sci-fi franchises?  However, I don’t think any of them have been to so insert a piece of his soul into those works like Mr. Pheloung has. 

I’m just sorry that it has taken his death for me to realize he deserves to be in the Crossover Hall.

As with Colin Dexter with his original novels about Morse, and previous Hall of Fame member Russell Lewis with his ‘Endeavour’ scripts, Mr. Pheloung was fond of putting puzzles into his work, as you will see....

From the BBC:
Barrington Pheloung, who composed the haunting theme for TV drama Inspector Morse, has died at the age of 65.
The Australian-born composer shared several interests with Colin Dexter's irascible detective, not least his love of opera and cryptic crosswords.

He became known for hiding clues and red herrings in the score for the TV show, occasionally revealing the killer's identity in morse code.

The hypnotic title song also included a motif based on the letters M.O.R.S.E.

Pheloung died at home in Australia, his agent confirmed to the BBC. No cause of death was given.

When the show's producer Kenny McBain joined forces with Anthony Minghella to adapt ‘Inspector Morse’ for TV in 1987, they approached Pheloung to supply the theme.

The classical-inspired melancholy score earned the musician global acclaim and a Bafta Award nomination for best original music. Pheloung said the success was down to the show's unconventional two-hour time slot, which allowed him to write more intricate musical cues.

"Our incentive was to try and produce a feature film rather than a television episode," he told cultural historian Damian Michael Barcroft in 2014. "Therefore, I was given much more scope to create longer sequences of music."

The theme song was written after studying Dexter's original novels and Minghella's screenplay for the first episode.

"We decided that Morse is a very melancholic character, so the tune had to be melancholic, and he was a lover of classical music, so it should be an orchestral score and not synthesiser," he told Soundtrack magazine in 1994.

"The final thing is that he has a very cryptic mind, he loves doing crosswords; we came up with the obvious idea - his name is Morse and we use morse code in the music.

"It spells out his name in the main theme and that formed the rhythm. It fits nicely in a triple compound time and that suggested a harmonic structure and I picked up my guitar and there was the tune."

Pheloung went on to score ‘Morse’ spin-offs ‘Lewis’ and ‘Endeavour’.

From Wikipedia:

Barrington Somers Pheloung (10 May 1954 – 31 July 2019) was an Australian composer based in England. He composed several television theme tunes and music, particularly for ‘Inspector Morse’ and its follow-up series, ‘Lewis’, and prequel ‘Endeavour’.  

Pheloung is best known for the theme and incidental music to the ‘Inspector Morse’ television series, for which he was nominated for Best Original Television Music at the British Academy Television Awards in 1991; the sequel ‘Lewi’s, and the prequel ‘Endeavour’.   

For the Morse, and Lewis, and Endeavour: The Inspector Morse Universe Facebook page, page owner Christopher Sullivan enlisted a musicologist to provide an appreciation of Pheloung’s work.  I'm including an excerpt which highlights the musical puzzles he provided.

From Professor Helen Roulston:
Pheloung incorporated his own recordings of composers, whose music, whether instrumental, vocal, or operatic, could be judiciously incorporated as themes and clues into the various episodes of the ‘Inspector Morse’, ‘Inspector Lewis’, and the first years of the ‘Endeavour’ series, along with his own original music, especially the opening and closing works of the videos.  

As I said, I’m sorry that Mr. Pheloung’s induction is under these circumstances.  He would have made an excellent showcase for the September theme of Creators/Behind The Scenes.


"Some people just can't help making a difference in our lives by simply being who they are. They make the world a little brighter, a little warmer and a lot funnier. Barrington was one of these people. "
- DNA Music

Welcome to the Hall, Mr. Pheloung....