Yesterday, we took a look at Screen Gems & ABC's 1969 adaptation of Frank Capra's Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and how that ended up losing viewers from its' lead-in, The Brady Bunch. As noted, this wasn't the first time a Capra film had been adapted for television.
Seven years earlier, the same two, Screen Gems & ABC, brought Mr. Smith Goes to Washington to the small screen. This one aired on Saturday nights, with Fess Parker trading in the coonskin cap of Davy Crockett for sharp suits and a seat in Congress.
There was one problem. CBS had Jackie Gleason on at the same time, and he'd already run off Western icons Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, whose variety show bombed out. Ballgame over.
For what it's worth, when those Crockett reruns were replayed on The Wonderful World of Disney, I seem to recall Crockett also going to Congress. Hmmmm.
By the way, in the 1939 film that inspired the series, Smith's first name was actually Jefferson. Why it was changed to Eugene 23 years later, I'll never know. If they thought Parker could fill Jimmy Stewart's shoes and do a sitcom, well, scope the sample video with musical guest Kay Starr, and see for yourself.
Of course, two years later, Parker would bounce back, pull the coonskin cap out of storage, and spend the rest of the 60's as Daniel Boone.