Not long ago I did a sit-down interview with Arthur Gardner, the producer who — with partners Jules Levy and Arthur Laven — gave us such memorable series as “The Rifleman” and “The Big Valley.”
I’m happy to report that Gardner has hit and passed the age 100 milestone, and that his son Steven passes along the introduction of a website, http://therifleman.net/, commemorating the 52nd anniversary of the premiere of that series. The site goes live today.
As I’ve stated before, “The Rifleman” occupies a special place in my heart, one of my favorite of the half-hour westerns that used to populate TV. The show also reran on KTLA when I was a kid — conveniently right around the time I got home from school — which allowed me to watch all of the episodes after the program had finished its original run from 1958-63.
Chuck Connors starred as the lanky farmer with the trick repeating rifle, with Johnny Crawford as his son Mark. I was particularly fond of Connors as a leading man, including “Branded,” another western that, like “The Rifleman,” boasted a terrific opening-title sequence. (Connors also made a terrific bad guy, by the way, playing a heavy in “Roots” as well as the movies “Soylent Green” and “The Big Country.”)
At any rate, I’m happy to pass along the link, with the hope that I’m not the only one who will be hearing “The Rifleman” theme — dun-dun-DUN-da-dun-dun… — in my head the rest of the day.