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'The Rogues' was my favorite television series, the season it was on the
air. From the opening strains of Nelson Riddle's bouncy, hummable theme, and
the introductory credits of stars Charles Boyer, David Niven, Gig Young,
Robert Coote, and Gladys Cooper, I would be enthralled!
Certainly the program had faults; as with most television programs of that period, the sets tended to look sparse and generic, and the 'European' locales were all done on the studio backlot (it was amazing how often the same 'Town Square' would appear!), but plot-wise, the weekly 'sting', carried out by the St. Clair/Fleming clans against some nasty villain, were a joy (Picture 'Mission Impossible' with humor), and the appearances of Young (usually), Niven (occasionally), and Boyer (rarely) made each new episode a much-anticipated 'event'.
Some of the comments posted for this show have bemoaned how shallow American audiences were, in allowing this series to be canceled after a single season, while 'The Beverly Hillbillies' would run 'forever'. While I agree that 'The Rogues' was a far better program, the fault wasn't entirely because of audience's tastes. NBC placed the series in a 'suicide' timeslot, where it competed against a long-established 'hit' (much as ABC and CBS did to series on Thursdays in the 80s and 90s, when NBC dominated the evening with 'Cosby', 'Cheers', 'Friends', and 'ER'). Also, Four Star Productions (whose bosses included Niven, Boyer, and Dick Powell) created the series around the availability of the actors, between film assignments (none of the leads wanted to commit themselves 'exclusively' to television, which was still considered a 'step down' for an actor, despite the participation of Fred MacMurray, Robert Young, Donna Reed, and Loretta Young on the small screen), and scheduling conflicts were a problem, even during the single season 'run' (which was why a young Larry Hagman appeared, in place of Gig Young, for one 'caper'). Had 'The Rogues' been a 'hit', the series would have seen major changes in casting in subsequent seasons!
There was a loyal fan base for the series during it's run; the summer after it's cancellation, Gig Young toured the country in a 'road' production of 'The Music Man', which I had the good fortune to see. At one point in the show, a character pointed at 'Professor' Harold Hill (Young), and sputtered, "You...you...ROGUE!", which literally brought the house down, and caused Young to break character, momentarily, to take a bow, and flash his famous crooked grin. After the performance, I had an opportunity to meet the actor (whose later life would include an Oscar for THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY?, yet, ultimately, end in tragedy, when, in a fit of depression, he would murder his wife, then commit suicide, in 1978), and Young expressed amazement at how popular the series was, and how gratifying the audience response to the 'Rogue' line was, each performance.
'The Rogues' had a glorious 'moment in the sun', and will always be cherished by those of us who loved it!
David Niven and Charles Boyer were two of the stars who formed FOUR
STARS in the 1950s, and did many television programs as stars or
producers. THE ROGUES was to be a series for them and Gig Young to
alternate the leading role each week as the hero/anti-hero of the
episode. Gig Young joined them to do the episodes, but as time passed
he was the lead in most of the episodes (occasionally Boyer would
appear). Larry Hagman (not yet on I DREAM OF JEANNIE, and decades from
DALLAS and "J.R.Ewing") substituted for Young on several later
episodes. And Dame Gladys Cooper and Robert Coote rounded out the
family of regulars - the Fleming/St.Claire clan - who took on the
greedy and cruel of the world.
They had great villains: Walter Matthau (before his "Whiplash Willy" performance catapulted him to stardom), George Sanders, John McGiver, Robert Webber, Everett Sloane, Telly Savalas (before THE DIRTY DOZEN and before he discovered lollipops in Kojack), J.D.Cannon, and others. In every episode the clan would manipulate the antagonist at his weak spot and remove a sizable amount of his (occasionally her) cash. Webber is a pretentious sex-magazine publisher (actually it is not fair to Bob Guiccione or Hugh Hefner to compare him to them - they have more class), who they convince to buy the original "Shakespearean" manuscript of THE AWFUL TRAGEDY OF KING HAROLD THE FAIR. It is neatly denounced as a forgery by Shakespearean critic and expert John Abbott at the episode's end.
Sanders is left with the ruins of his couturier business (based on stolen fashion ideas) when he is manipulated into cornering the marabou market. Before he does he has a choice moment of near apoplexy dealing with a call from an hysterical woman (Dame Gladys, trying to slow down Sanders for the plot) demanding he produce her philandering husband "Harry". Sanders ends up telling her he fully sympathizes with "Harry" for his philandering before slamming the phone down. Coote scares the hell out of selfish Horatio T. White (John McGiver), shipping tycoon, by dressing up as McGiver's dead partner appearing at a window on a stormy night. Young tells a corrupt Arab sheik that he has the weapons he ordered (and gives the "ace of spades" as his calling card. The sheik turns red in the face claiming he has no knowledge of the man. The memories of the bits from the shows warm me...I wish the shows would be revived one day. Or put on DVD
This was one of our favorite shows during the one brief season it was on. I've taken every opportunity to watch reruns, but they are almost never available. I would watch every episode many times over again, and hope to be able to at some time. The writing was clever and sharply witty, delivered by actors who knew exactly how to speak the lines and how to fit their expressions and actions to the words. I could take each one and say his or her performance was priceless. It's sad that it did not receive the audience in the U.S. to keep it running for many seasons.
This was a great series. I was so disappointed when it canceled so prematurely. There just is no accounting for American tastes (the Osbournes, etc.). Anyways, I'd enjoy watching them again.. altho it occurs to me that in so doing I might have to relive my disappointment over the limited number of episodes. Oh well..
The Rogues was one of the best comedy series ever to appear on US television, being a blend (in spirit) of a good Blake Edwards comedy film, "The Avengers," and any number of David Niven's 1950s comedies ("Bedtime Story" with Marlon Brando of course comes to mind). It's a great shame we can't have TV like this today, with actors the caliber of Charles Boyer, David Niven and Dame Gladys Cooper, supported by the fine skills of Gig Young and the always fine John Williams. The only series later to attempt a simulation of the jet-setting, witty skulduggery of "The Rogues" was perhaps "The Persuaders" (Roger Moore, Tony Curtis). It's a great disappointment that as of this revised comment (December 2005) this fine series isn't even available on VHS, let alone DVD. If you ever have a chance to see it in rerun somewhere, don't miss it.
I have been looking for DVD's of The Rogues for several years now. I am happy to hear that at least someone has begun the process of making them available but only in Europe - I assume in PAL format. What a shame it's not available in the US. Hopefully the light will dawn that a small bit of money could be made by releasing the series US format. It was one of the truly great series broadcast during a time when prime time TV was not 90% mindless junk. Please someone bring back a most memorable series which featured imaginative writing and excellent acting. I would add in order to have the requisite number of lines that I suspect there are a great number of people who would jump from the woodwork to buy or rent The Rogues DVDs
My brothers and I used to watch this show religiously during it's one and only season on the air. The three of us still consider it our favorite television show of all time. Does anyone even have a clue as to who one would beg to release this show onto DVD? Does it ever appear anymore on television? I consider this show to have had more top acting talent then any other show I can think of. I'm not sure there is even a close second. All three stars-- Charles Boyer, Gig Young, and David Niven were highly successful screen actors--Academy Award caliber performers. Most contemporary TV shows don't have even one established big screen star. The supporting cast alone would have made a great show.
Obviously a show as deliciously witty and as sparklingly clever as this, with such a magnificent cast - David Niven, Gladys Cooper, Charles Boyer, Robert Coote, Gig Young, Larry Hagman, and John Williams - was too good for the tastes of the American public. It lasted just one season. On the other hand, the execrable "Beverly Hillbillies" - a more accurate barometer of the American public's sense of humor - marched on in glory for nine tedious years.
As the comments indicate, a terrific show. But has anyone under the age
of 50 seen it? I don't think it has ever been released on video or DVD
or shown on US cable channels. I happened to catch a few episodes on a
European cable channel in the late 90s, and it was just as good as I
Considering all of the lame nonsense being released on DVD, surely they could bring this one out. There were actually about 30 episodes made, which is almost two seasons worth in today's terms.
(Why do we have to put in ten lines of text? Is IMDb trying to encourage verbosity?)
To all those people that continually ask The wonderful series The Rogues has been released on DVD but only in Germany. You can obtain 20 of the 30 episodes. The picture quality is excellent and you can hear the soundtrack in English.But beware the region coding is fine for any DVD players in Europe but not USA players. This was a wonderful show with a sparkle that is missing from shows today.The whole cast was perfection itself. I have just viewed the episode Mr. White's Christmas and it was superb. A wonderful re working of Dicken's A Christmas Carol, therefore perfect Christmas viewing.I thought the 3 leads were brilliant but the series was made so special by the excellent playing of Gladys Cooper and Robert Coote in almost every episode.The Real Russian Caviar stands as a highlight of the series.
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