Alias Smith and Jones was 1 of my favorite Tv shows and it still is. It’s a comic western in a sense, full of drama and humor both. It was great natured and a definite copy of the movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Pete Duel was the original ‘Butch’, named Hannibal Heyes for the Tv series. Co-starring in the Sundance Kid role was Ben Murphy. His character was named Kid Curry. Early in season two, Duel committed suicide and the network decided to continue on, hiring Roger Davis to take over the Heyes role.
I liked Duel a lot. He had been in one more comedy I liked named Enjoy on the Rooftop where he was married to Judy Carne. I’d seen him in so a lot of things and he was a favorite of mine. He was so well suited to the Heyes role, but Duel was 1 of those serious types who wants to having meaning to every little thing. It is really possible he was manic depressive or something comparable and by no means diagnosed.
Duel was upset soon after losing an election with the Screen Actors Guild. He also wasn’t pleased to be obligated to a fluffy show like Alias Smith and Jones, which he actually had hoped would be a short gig. He had no thought would be so well-known, which it was. He apparently felt he was stuck in a assortment of techniques and over the holidays, he shot himself.
I will in no way forget a news story that showed Ben Murphy acquiring out of a automobile after studying the news. He looked pale and grief stricken beyond belief. That image has stayed with me for decades.
I hadn’t observed Murphy until this show, but I quickly became a fan and have followed his career. He had a Television series or two, like Gemini Man, and did a lot of guest shots on shows of the day. I’ve tried to catch them all. The only poor factor is that he disappeared from the scene. I’ve heard it was due to some illness, but I genuinely don’t know. What I do know is that his work has given me joy and brought me smiles. He has a fantastic smile of his own.
I felt so bad for Ben Murphy when Duel died. He in fact had to reshoot the incomplete episode that Duel had partially filmed. Why they didn’t junk it, I do not know, but to this day, all you have to do is appear at his face to know what episode it was. It is written all over him.
As a lot as I liked Duel and Murphy, I also usually liked Roger Davis, and from way before this western show. He had been in the gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows, and I loved him on that. He may have been one of the couple of who got a happy sendoff. In a quirk of irony, Davis actually read the opening narration for the theme of Alias Smith and Jones, so becoming cast in the Heyes component had to be fateful in a sense. He is nothing like Duel, though, and it totally changed the role and the show dynamics.
Davis was married to Jaclyn Smith back in those early days, and I enjoy her, so I was intrigued by their marriage and saddened when it didn’t function out. Like Murphy did for a time, Davis also faded away from Hollywood right after a even though, showing up here and there, but by no means actually catching that elusive star status. He is apparently extremely profitable in the genuine estate market nowadays. Like Jaclyn, he’s on marriage number four, which is interesting.
I genuinely do like these three performers. To this day, I pay attention to anything I see or hear about them and constantly look for their Television and movie appearances on television.