Sunday, September 18, 2016

What Might've Been: The Rounders (1966)

MGM took a chance in continuing their 1965 feature film, "The Rounders", as a half-hour sitcom a year later, sold to ABC. Unfortunately, it didn't work.

Chill Wills continued his movie role as ranch owner Jim Ed Love, and would be the only one crossing over from the movie. Patrick Wayne, son of John, co-starred as Howdy, assuming the role portrayed by Henry Fonda in the movie.

The Rounders lasted not quite 4 months, as it lost viewers from its lead-in, Combat!. On the other hand, it was airing opposite Red Skelton's CBS show. Ballgame over.

The next year, MGM sold ABC two more short-lived series, Hondo (previously reviewed), and Off to See The Wizard, both of which deserved better fates. Then again, so did The Rounders, as the third strike against it was the Western theme. Folks weren't warming up to a Western-themed comedy, as Universal & CBS found out with Pistols & Petticoats.

Here's the open.

No rating.


Hal Horn said...

One connection with HONDO: Ralph Taeger's contract was initially purchased by MGM from Paramount in late 1965 with an eye towards casting him in the role eventually filled by Ron Hayes in THE ROUNDERS. Instead, he made a different pilot in which he would have played a private investigator. (Taeger sounded a lot like Humphrey Bogart, something mentioned in the press frequently, and he did play a Bogart-like 'tough guy' on DOBIE GILLIS once.) That PI pilot didn't sell, but HONDO did. Unfortunately it was Taeger's last shot at TV stardom.

hobbyfan said...

Any idea what the title of that unsold pilot was?

Hal Horn said...

Sorry, no idea. Taeger's interview with Richard Lamparski (for the ninth edition of his "Whatever became of..." series) is all I've heard of it. Since the HONDO pilot started filming in fall of 1966, and this came before it, it must have been made for the 1966-67 season shortly after MGM picked up his contract.

hobbyfan said...

And, so, said pilot has been lost to the mists of time. Thanks, Hal.