A Forgotten Credit on Tim Conway's Road to Success
After he was Ensign Parker, the bumbling assistant to Lt. McHale on MCHALE'S NAVY, Tim Conway found his television career hitting one of those troughs. A highly gifted comic, his first starring part was this series, RANGO, about a bungling Texas Ranger, who constantly got into the hair of his commanding officer Captain Horton (Norman Alden), and was accompanied by his assistant Pink Cloud (the native American played by Guy Marks). He usually bungled his way to beating the bad guys (just barely).
The name of Conway's character, Rango Starr, was (or course) a hit at the Beatle's drummer Ringo Starr. But there had been a popular "western" tune that was a best selling single (spoke-sung by Lorne Greene of BONANZA) called "RINGO". This explains the theme song of the show that was about this man who faced "danger", "this Texas Ranger, Rango, Rango, Rangooo!" But it was a poorly written series, despite the work of Conway, Marks, and Horton. None of the episodes are memorable at all (as compared to F-TROOP, BEST OF THE WEST, or even PISTOLS 'N' PETTICOATS). Interestingly Conway was to be luckier in Disney films in this period, frequently teamed with Don Knotts in movies like THE APPLE DUMPLING GANG. It was not until he became a regular with Carol Burnett (especially when teamed with fellow comic Harvey Korman, or when playing with Burnett as Miss Wiggins' boss, Tugboll) that Conway demonstrated his real gifts as a comic. RANGO, which I recall as a summer replacement show only, was just a brief side trip to real success.
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