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Civil War vet Sam Best picks up and moves out West to Copper Creek with his wife Elvira and son Daniel. Best, who is not handy with a gun and would rather talk than fight, then becomes the town marshal, much to the chagrin of shady town boss Parker Tillman and his dumb sidekick Frog. Written by
Marty McKee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
So pleased to track down this James Burrows-directed, Earl Pomerantz-scripted spoof Western comedy from the early 80's. For some reason, unlike their other ventures "Taxi" and "Cheers", this series didn't take off, got cancelled and has remained a distant but happy memory ever since.
I can't think why it failed. Even in the pilot, which I've just watched, there are laughs a plenty, as we're introduced to former Yankee soldier Sam Best, his dispossessed dim-but-dotty Southern wife Elvira and his (not her) bratty son as they relocate from civilised Philadelphia to the wild west where they encounter a motley crew of local townsfolk and a whole different outlook on life.
Best, played by Joel Higgins, is the central character, the typical honest, law-abiding citizen, a new-to-town shop-owner pressed into the vacant town-marshal job by dint of standing up to the town's big-shot kingpin, the disdainful and vaguely foppish Tilman, the latter with a wonderful line in sardonic put-downs. The laughs indeed mostly come from the eccentrics gathered around straight-arrow Best, especially Leonard Frey as Tilman, but also Carlene Watkins as Best's wife and Tom Ewell as the town's drunken doctor. The great Christopher Lloyd also moonlights from "Taxi" in this episode as a slow-witted hired gun.
The writing is sharp and funny, turning old-style Western clichés and stereotypes into humorous situations and likable characters. I'll certainly be moseying on down to view all the episodes I can, confident they'll all be as funny as this hilarious taster.
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