Correspondence-school law graduate Tom Brewster travels west to seek his fortune. Unfortunately, his "cowboy" abilities leave a lot to be desired and earn him the nickname "Sugarfoot" which... See full summary »
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Efrem Zimbalist Jr.,
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Correspondence-school law graduate Tom Brewster travels west to seek his fortune. Unfortunately, his "cowboy" abilities leave a lot to be desired and earn him the nickname "Sugarfoot" which is one step lower than a "Tenderfoot." Written by
For the first time in decades, as far as I know, "Sugarfoot" is being rerun in rotation with "Cheyenne" and "Bronco," just as it did when the show originally aired. "Maverick" is also being rerun in the preceding slot. Of the four, "Maverick" is clearly the superior series, deserving to have won the only Emmy Award in the category of "Best Western." Do not be fooled by the Mel Gibson movie of the same name; in comparison to the original it fails almost as badly to capture the magic of the series as Will Smith's "Wild, Wild West" failed to capture the magic of television's "The Wild, Wild West."
Of the three remaining series, "Cheyenne" and "Bronco" are almost interchangeable, which as I'll explain below, makes sense. "Sugarfoot" stands out because of the protagonist's, Tom Brewster, aversion to carrying a gun and his lackadaisical desire to avoid trouble; "Sugarfoot" is "Destry Rides Again" brought to television unfortunately without James Stewart. Will Hutchins isn't bad in the role, but he just isn't dynamic enough, in my opinion, to carry what essentially is an anthology series, the location and supporting cast changing with every episode. Had Warner Bros. allowed Brewster to have stayed in one place and cultivated a supporting cast around him, the show could have easily lasted longer than four seasons.
Regarding the earlier post's statement of how "Sugarfoot," "Maverick," et al. originally aired, here's the correct version (all of the on the U.S. network, ABC):
1955-1956: "Cheyenne" premieres on Tuesday at 7:30 (EST) (and where it will stay until 1959) as one of three series in rotation under the umbrella title, "Warner Bros. Presents." The other series were "King's Row" and "Casablanca"; all three were based on earlier Warner films. "Cheyenne" was the most popular and avoided the cancellation the other two received at season's end.
1956-1957: "Cheyenne" runs in rotation with "Conflict." This new show was a true anthology, with cast and setting different each episode. It was canceled at the end of the season.
1957-1958: "Sugarfoot" premieres in rotation with "Cheyenne."
"Maverick" premieres on Sunday at 7:30 (EST). After a few episodes, production of "Maverick" fell behind schedule; it took eight days to produce an episode when, I believe, each was supposed to take six. Westerns just took longer to produce which is why "Cheyenne" ran in rotation in the first place. To compensate for the slow delivery of "Maverick" episodes, a new character, Bret Maverick's brother, Bart, was added and episodes centering on him were rotated with Bret episodes.
1958-1959: "Cheyenne"/"Sugarfoot" in rotation on Tuesday, "Maverick" continues on Sunday. Maverick will win the "Best Western Series" for this season of shows.
There is a big change regarding "Cheyenne" this season. The star, Clint Walker, refused to work because of the unfavorable terms of his contract, which among other things required Warner to pay him only scale, while Walker was required to give Warner 50 percent of all personal-appearance fees he received. Warner was not ready to give up a hit series and replaced Walker with Ty Hardin, who played Bronco Layne, who was essentially the Cheyenne character with a different name.
1959-1960: Walker returns and "Cheyenne" moves to Monday at 7:30 (EST) where it rotates with "Shirley Temple's Storybook."
Hardin is rewarded for being a team player and stars in "Bronco," which rotates with "Sugarfoot" in the Tuesday at 7:30 slot.
"Maverick" remains on at 7:30 on Sunday.
1960-1961 "Cheyenne" is joined by "Sugarfoot" and "Bronco" at 7:30 on Mondays. However, now instead of each being individual series, all are listed under the umbrella title of "Cheyenne." If you watch any of these programs in syndication, you can tell when the "Cheyenne" umbrella starts: Rather than each having an individualized end card over which the credits ran, there is a unifying one showing full figure silhouettes of the three leads sitting on horses. "Sugarfoot" is canceled at the end of the season.
"Maverick" continues Sunday at 7:30. However, James Garner, Bret Maverick, refused to work for the reasons Clint Walker had a few seasons earlier, but unlike Walker, Garner didn't return (though he would return to the character in 1978 and 1981). Jack Kelly, playing Bart, did stay as replacements for Bret were tried, including Roger Moore as cousin Beau and Robert Colbert (who resembled Garner from a distance) as never-before-mentioned brother Brent.
1961-1962 "Cheyenne"/"Bronco" at Monday, 7:30. (End card altered to reflect just the two programs.)
"Maverick" remains on Sunday, but airs an hour earlier at 6:30 (EST). A handful of new Bart episodes aired along with reruns of episodes featuring Bart or Bart & Bret. The show was canceled at the end of the season.
1962: "Cheyenne" returns alone for the fall and then is canceled in December.
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