Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Forgotten TV: The Texas Wheelers (1974)

Mary Tyler Moore's production company made its first sale to a network other than CBS in 1974. Unfortunately for ABC, The Texas Wheelers turned out to be a total bomb.

The problem was the Wheelers were slotted opposite NBC's Rockford Files, at least the 2nd half. Like, would any self-respecting fan of that show cut out at the halfway station to scope a sitcom? Nope, but looking back, they could've seen two future movie icons appearing in their first series.

Western vet Jack Elam top-lined as Zack Wheeler, not to be confused, of course with a modern day pitcher for the Mets. Gary Busey and Mark Hamill played his sons. Hamill had gotten his feet wet in television doing some voice work a year earlier (CBS' animated adaptation/reboot of Jeannie, which also lasted a season).

Since my folks watched Rockford, we never gave Wheelers a look, even when ABC brought it back in reruns the following summer. Hence, no rating. We'll leave you with the intro. The theme song is performed by John Prine.

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