A couple of years ago I had the chance to go interview producer Arthur Gardner — whose company gave us such memorable shows as “The Rifleman” and “The Big Valley” — as he approached his 100th birthday.
I’m happy to report Gardner is about to mark birthday No. 102, an event he’ll celebrate with a group of western aficionados known as the Algonquin Cowboys.
As I note in my latest column, the relationship between TV and the western has become somewhat complicated, even with the occasional hit like “Hatfields & McCoys.” Don’t expect people to fall over themselves trying to replicate that success, although I suspect a few more oaters will be put into development. (There was talk earlier, by the way, of CBS doing a “The Rifleman” revival.)
Still, when it comes to sheer longevity, Gardner is pretty good evidence mommas should let their babies grow up to be cowboys — or TV producers.