The Deputy (TV series)
Allen Case as McCord on the set with guest star Vivian Vance, 1959
|Created by||Roland Kibbee
Betty Lou Keim
|Narrated by||Henry Fonda|
|Theme music composer||Jack Marshall|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||76|
|Executive producer(s)||Henry Fonda
|Running time||30 mins.|
|Production company(s)||Top Gun Productions|
|Original run||September 12, 1959– July 1, 1961|
The Deputy is an American western series that aired on NBC from September 1959, to July 1961. The series stars Henry Fonda as Chief Marshal Simon Fry of the Arizona Territory and Allen Case as Deputy Clay McCord, a storekeeper who tried to avoid using a gun.
Fonda narrated most episodes and appeared briefly at the beginning and ending of most segments. He played the lead in only six episodes in the first season and thirteen in the second. Usually he would give his deputy the assignment and, on rare occasions, would thank him at the conclusion of the episode. As Fred MacMurray later did while shooting the sitcom series My Three Sons, Fonda performed all of his work on The Deputy in several lengthy sessions so as to leave himself free for other projects. The difference in quality between Fonda's episodes and Case's was often cited by both critics at the time and Fonda himself in later interviews. Fonda wore a growth of stubble on his face as Fry.
Though based in Silver City, the marshal's district also covered several nearby towns. Deputy McCord was a storekeeper who bore arms with great reluctance. Wallace Ford starred as the elderly Marshal, Herk Lamson, with Betty Lou Keim as McCord's sister, Fran, in the first season. Read Morgan joined the show in the second season as Sergeant Hapgood Tasker, known as "Sarge", a one-eyed United States Army cavalry enlisted man stationed in town.
Guest stars included DeForest Kelley, Lon Chaney, Jr., Wallace Ford, Vivian Vance, Richard Chamberlain, child actor Gary Hunley, Ann McCrea, Denver Pyle, and Billy Gray of Father Knows Best and the original The Day the Earth Stood Still. On April 30, 1960, Robert Redford made his television debut on The Deputy in the episode "The Last Gunfight".
The Deputy aired at 9 p.m. Eastern on Saturday. In its first year, it followed NBC's short-lived adventure series, The Man and the Challenge. It faced competition from Mr. Lucky on CBS and from The Lawrence Welk Show on ABC. In the second season, CBS dropped Mr. Lucky, and The Deputy faced competition from the second half of Checkmate.
On October 26, 2010, Timeless Media Group released the complete series on DVD in Region 1. The 12-disc set features all 76 episodes of the series.
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, pp. 212-213