"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
"The Deputy" is another of those assembly-line half-hour Revue Studio westerns that were pretty popular during the late fifties and early sixties. This one stood out from the rest for several reasons: It was co-created by, of all people, the future Mr. Relevant Sitcom King himself, Norman Lear.
The sprightly jazz theme by Jack Marshall, of "The Munsters" fame.
And of course, the main drawing attraction of Academy Award winner Henry Fonda, who incidentally, despite being top billed, basically just makes a few cameos during some of the episodes, and not even showing up at all in a few of them. The "Deputy" of the show, the reluctant Clay McCord, is portrayed by the late stage actor Allen Case, with Read Morgan joining in later in the run as the eye-patch wearing Sarge Tasker.
Basically, the premise of the show is that Clay McCord, a storekeeper who's quiet by nature, is suckered into becoming the deputy of Fonda's Marshal Simon Fry, based on McCord's ability to handle a weapon. That's basically the show in a nutshell, since the plots are the cookie-cutter type you'd come to expect from Revue. After viewing a couple episodes (which last aired a few years ago on TV Land), you can understand why Norman Lear made the jump to revolutionizing the sitcom. Can you imagine Archie Bunker or George Jefferson in the Old West? My rating: ***** stars out of 10
"The Deputy" is a Top Gun Production from Revue Studios, Hollywood. 76 episodes were filmed between 1959 and 1961.
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