Thursday, December 15, 2016

What Might've Been: Stoney Burke (1962)

Six years before achieving icon status with the original Hawaii Five-O, Jack Lord tried his hand as a rodeo cowboy in the short-lived ABC series, Stoney Burke. Apparently, audiences just weren't ready for this sort of drama, hence its cancellation after 1 season.

Never saw the show, so there won't be a rating. However, we can offer a sample episode, "The Weapons Man". Guest stars include Philip Ahn, later of Kung Fu, and Frank DeKova. Yes, three years before F-Troop, DeKova plays a Native American.

Musical director Dominic Frontiere doubled as an executive producer for his production company, Daystar. I have to assume writer-producer Leslie Stevens was Frontiere's business partner. The two would replace Burke on the ABC schedule the next year with The Outer Limits, which fared slightly better, running for 2 seasons. However, Daystar was dissolved after Limits ended its initial run in 1965.


Mike Doran said...

This was a "backdoor pilot" for a prospective J.D. Cannon series that didn't sell (note Leslie Stevens's mega-involvement).
In the regular Burke series, Warren Oates and Bob Dowdell were more prominently featured, along with Bruce Dern (with an appearance by Cloris Leachman as his "Cousin Eunice"; this was also a backdoor pilot).

Leslie Stevens was trying to be a mogul of sorts with his Daystar Productions deal with ABC.
Dominic Frontiere, an old friend, was there to do the music, and had equity in Daystar.
If all had gone as planned, Stoney Burke, The Weapons Man, and The Outer Limits would have all had prime-time slots on ABC in '63.
But Burke was a "bubble" show, Weapons didn't sell, and Outer Limits was all that was left.
After Outer Limits's first season, ABC forced Stevens and Frontiere out and took over production itself; Daystar was reduced to collecting a weekly royalty check, and the company folded along with the series not long thereafter.

"More Than You Wanted To Know" will return ...

hobbyfan said...

"More Than You Wanted To Know" sounds like a good title for a blog, Mike. Of course, Dowdell is better known for his work on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Cannon was destined to be a supporting player for the rest of his career (i.e. McCloud).