Rod Serling Does Westerns – The Loner 1965

Rod Serlings’ The Loner

Rod Serling, the guy who took us into the Twilght Zone and Night Gallery, had a soft spot for Westerns. Of course, he put his usual twist to it resulting in a very innovative and short lived TV series from 1965 called The Loner starring Lloyd Bridges. It’ impossible to find and will likely never be released on DVD. You might try looking for it in The Twilight Zone.

James Garner as Nichols – A Country State of Mind

Country is more than music. It’s a state of mind and a way of life, or perhaps more accurately in this modern age, a way of preserving the mythology we inherited from our parents and grandparents.

James Garner’s classic, short lived TV Series Nichols 1971 is a classic example. It was offbeat, innovative and sometimes off target, a part of the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid updating of the Western myth that was prevalent in that era. Garner was the ultimate anti-hero, the sheriff who hid his badge inside his vest and preferred to gamble to having a shootout on Main Street.

My family had just moved to Arizona when it came on the air and as the series was set in Arizona of 1912, I felt an odd kinship with it.  Garner always said it was his favorite series. As I said, there are some real clinkers among the episodes, but others play like mini-movies. If you’re a James Garner fan, you’ve got to try it.

FYI, Garner was a huge Country fan. He made singer Ed Bruce a regular on his Maverick revival in 1981 and produced a Country album by his Nichols and Rockford Files co-star Stuart Margolin.