"That was the Arizona territory in 1880, and I was its chief marshal." So began this western series starring Henry Fonda as Simon Fry. Unfortunately, Fonda's character was fully integrated ... See full summary »
"That was the Arizona territory in 1880, and I was its chief marshal." So began this western series starring Henry Fonda as Simon Fry. Unfortunately, Fonda's character was fully integrated into the plot in only six of the episodes of the first season and thirteen in season two. In all other episodes he appeared only briefly, generally at the start of the episode and again at the close. Fonda did narrate most episodes. Fonda worked for ten weeks on season one, for example, shooting all of his scenes during that time, which left the rest of the year free for film and theater work. While Allen Case tried hard as the title character, Clay McCord, the series is well- known for the substantial differences in quality between what the series producers (and Fonda himself) came to call the "Fonda" and "Non- Fonda" episodes. Written by
Routine Western spiced up by occasional appearance by film actor
There's a sleigh of hand in the very title of this show. Note that the name of the show is "The Deputy". This conveniently allowed Fonda to not have to be a major player in all the episodes. Fonda appears in some episodes throughout the show but more likely than not you'll see him only at the beginning and end (usually this is explained by Fonda's Simon Fry character being "out of town")...and I've even seen a few episodes where Fonda doesn't appear at all! Really, the show's more about Allen Case than Fonda, but the Fonda name was there to draw viewers. Other than Fonda's needing money, I doubt there was any reason he'd do TV...particularly in a stock Western like this one. Don't get me wrong: the show's pleasant in a Revue Studios crank-em-out-cookie-cutter way (guess who produced the show?) and the jazz guitar that's going on in the background (sounds like Barney Kessel! cool!) is nice, but the plots are pretty clichéd and you've been there before. I wouldn't call it on the level of Wagon Train, Laramie, Gunsmoke, or The Rifleman, but it's a pleasant show. Just don't expect to see a lot of Fonda in it.
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