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Two former movie stars and two future movie stars
30 October 2006
This ambitious modern day western starred 41-year old Richard Egan ("A
Summer Place", "The View from Pompey's Head", "Gog") as Jim Redigo, the
hyper masculine, totally decent general manager of the huge Garrett
ranch of New Mexico. Redigo was meant to be a mythic character, sort of
Matt Dillon with an MBA, and over the run of the show Egan convinced
you that Redigo had greatness in him. "Empire" was filmed on location
in New Mexico.
Egan was asked if he regretted being tied down to playing the same role
over and over, rather than having the variety of going from role to
role in films. Egan said the people who became big stars, like Bogart,
Cooper, and Gable, all essentially played the same part over and over
again. That is how a star's persona is created.
Fifty-three year old Anne Seymour played the elegant owner of the
Garret ranch, the widow of the man who built the empire from nothing-
with Jim Redigo's help.
Thirty-three year old Terry Moore ("Mighty Joe Young") was Seymour's
luscious, curvaceous daughter, who could get any man she wanted-except
Twenty-two year old Ryan O'Neal was Seymour's son, who was trying to
prove to Redigo that he was a man.
The great Kathleen Hite created this series. She was a terrific writer
who did many superb character studies on "Gunsmoke". Hite came up with
four good characters here, and they were well cast. Terry Moore was a
warm, sexy presence, although she wasn't given anywhere near enough
screen time. Ryan O'Neal was extremely vital and likable as Tal
Garrett. O'Neal gave the stand out performance of the series.
The producers were Hal Hudson ("Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater") and
the great William Sackheim ("The Law").
Each episode had a well written and cast guest star role. Robert Vaughn
and Inger Stevens were superb in two separate episodes as paraplegics.
Jeremy Slate was also terrific as a likable but mysterious new ranch
hand whose competition with Ryan O'Neal ends in a deadly boxing match.
Robert Culp played an ambitious man who schemes to marry Terry Moore
and fire Redigo. Other guest stars included Richard Jordan, Claude
Akins, Ralph Meeker, Telly Savalas, Ray Danton, Joanne Linville and
The delightful Joanna Moore also trekked out to New Mexico to be a
guest star. It must have been lonely on location. In a blink, she was
married in real life to the charming Ryan O'Neal and was the mother of
The ratings were mediocre, and Terry Moore and Anne Seymour were fired
in the middle of the first season. (Seymour's character was said to
die.) The show was still good, but it became much more ordinary without
women. Forty-one year old Charles Bronson ("Man With a Camera","The
Magnificent Seven") was brought in as tough ranch hand Paul Moreno.
This was already Bronson's third series.
For the second season the title was changed to "Redigo", and the length
was reduced from 60 minutes to 30 minutes. Ryan O'Neal and Charles
Bronson were gone. Jim Redigo bought his own small place. Appealing
young Roger Davis ("The Gallant Men") played his ranch hand. The
30-minute format left little time to develop complex characters and
stories, and what was once a fine show became unwatchable. "Redigo" was
canceled in mid-season.
Richard Egan signed on for a new pilot called "Stryker", produced by
the brilliant Leslie Stevens ("Stoney Burke", "The Outer Limits"). Egan
played a business tycoon who doubles as a crack American spy. The
concept was fine but the tongue in cheek approach was off-putting. It
should have been played straight, using the noir approach that Stevens
did so well.
Egan then made another interesting pilot called "Stranded". Egan was
the captain of an airliner that crashes in the jungle. The survivors
have no idea where they are or how to get out. One of the passengers is
a fugitive who was being taken back to prison. Peter Graves, Julie
Adams and Lois Nettleton also would have starred in the series.
Richard Egan is a fictional character in the short story "The Films of
Richard Egan" by Anthony Giardina. The story is on the Internet. Read
it if you have time. It is at:
Graduate study at Stanford, an army captain during World War ll, a
movie star, dated Susan Hayward, married to the same woman for almost
30 years. Richard Egan did all right.
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