The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (TV series)
|The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters|
|Theme music composer||Leigh Harline
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||26|
|Executive producer(s)||Boris Sagal|
Robert E. Thompson
|Running time||48 mins.|
|Production company(s)||MGM Television|
|Distributor||MGM Television (original)
Turner Entertainment Company and Warner Bros. Television Distribution (1986-present)
|Original release||September 29, 1963– March 15, 1964|
|Followed by||Guns of Diablo (film)|
The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters is an American western television series based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Robert Lewis Taylor. The show aired on ABC in the 1963-1964 television season and was produced by MGM Television.
The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters was aimed for teenaged boys and young families. The series is remembered for breakthrough performances from the then 12-year-old Kurt Russell in the title role and Charles Bronson, cast as Linc Murdock, the second wagon master, in the last thirteen episodes. Bronson began his role in the episode "The Day of the Toll Takers" (January 5, 1964). Each episode begins with the title "The Day of ..."
Although it started out with an ensemble cast, which included Dan O'Herlihy in the role of Jaimie's father, Sardius "Doc" McPheeters, who often yields to alcohol and gambling, by the end of the run it had largely been reduced to the characters of Jaimie and Linc. The character actress Donna Anderson played Jenny, a young pioneer woman who befriends Jaimie during the perilous journey westward.
Mark Allen was cast in nineteen episodes as Matt Kissel, with Meg Wyllie in eighteen segments as Mrs. Kissel. In nine episodes, four of the The Osmonds were cast as the singing sons of the Kissel family, all with given names of books of the Old Testament, Alan Osmond as Micah Kissel, Merrill Osmond as Deuteronomy Kissel, Jay Osmond as Lamentations Kissel, and Wayne Osmond as Leviticus Kissel.
Michael Witney in fourteen episodes portrayed the first wagon master, Buck Coulter, with his last appearance in "The Day of the Pawnees, Part 2" (December 29, 1963). Witney was replaced by Bronson in the next episode. Hedley Mattingly was cast eight times as Coe, and James Westerfield appeared seven times as John Murrel. Other recurring roles were filled by Sandy Kenyon in five episodes as Shep Baggott, stuntman Paul Baxley four times as Tracey, and Mike DeAnda in five assorted roles. Vernett Allen, III, was cast as Othello in nine episodes.
Guthrie Thomas, the now veteran singer-songwriter, was also included in the cast of character actors as a "double" for Kurt Russell when horses were involved. Thomas and Russell were only months apart in age and the T.V. producers did not want Russell harmed in any way due to insurance liabilities. Thomas was raised on several ranches since childhood, one being owned by the outstanding film actor, Francis Lederer, and fulfilled the age and horse riding requirements of Russell's role as Jaimie McPheeters. Thomas was accustom to acting as several motion pictures, one being John Fords classic, "Sergeant Rutledge," starring Woody Strode and Jeffrey Hunter, was filmed in part at Lederer's Mission Stables, now an historical California landmark. However, it was not Lederer that recommended Thomas and his brother for their character roles in The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters. Veteran western actor, Slim Pickens, a close friend of Thomas' family, was responsible for this screen test and subsequent roles portrayed by the two brothers.
- Ed Ames
- Dehl Berti
- James Brown
- Barry Cahill
- Howard Caine
- Lloyd Corrigan
- Royal Dano
- Leif Erickson
- Carl Esmond
- Kathy Garver
- Mariette Hartley
- George Kennedy
- Martin Landau
- Ruta Lee
- David McCallum
- Burgess Meredith
- Barbara Nichols
- Susan Oliver
- Slim Pickens
- Roy Roberts
- Chris Robinson
- Albert Salmi
- Frank Silvera
- Lee Van Cleef
- Doodles Weaver
- Keenan Wynn
The program faced stiff competition on CBS at 7:30 Eastern on Sundays from My Favorite Martian and the first half of The Ed Sullivan Show. NBC aired Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color in the same time slot.
After the series was canceled, Kurt Russell and Charles Bronson reprised their roles of Jaimie McPheeters and Linc Murdock in the 1964 theatrical movie called Guns of Diablo, an expanded color version of the series' final episode, "The Day of the Reckoning" (March 15, 1964). Russ Conway appeared in the film as "Doc" McPheeters, replacing Dan O'Herlihy in new sequences.
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