In 2011 I wrote a post called “Gunsmoke’s Last Survivors”. Those three actors are still surviving. The response to that post has been overwhelming, mostly from fans of Roger Ewing who played deputy marshal Thad Greenwood for two seasons from 10/02/1965 to 09/25/1967. So, when Michael Richardson from Kansas commented on my post called “Louie Pheeters – Gunsmoke’s Town Drunk” saying that he knows Roger and is in contact with him, I wrote Michael to find out more. What follows comes from Michael, from Roger through Michael, and from the book “Gunsmoke – A Complete History” by Barabas. Michael Richardson comments on a fanboard at http://gunsmokegang.proboards.com/ and Roger sees everything that is posted there.
6’4″ Roger Ewing was born Jan. 12, 1942 in L.A. He went to grade school with Kathy Garver (Cissy from “Family Affair”). Since Gunsmoke and Family Affair were filmed on the same lot, Michael asked Kathy if she’d ever tried to get a part on Gunsmoke. She said that she would bring her small dog onto the set and, one day the dog got loose, found his way onto the Gunsmoke set and peed on James Arness’ boot. Kathy said that might be why she was never asked to be on Gunsmoke.
Roger’s first TV appearance was in 1964 as Marvin Grogan on ABC’s sitcom “Bewitched” in an episode entitled “The Girl Reporter”. Oddly, his first Gunsmoke appearance was not as Thad, but as Ben Lukens in an episode entitled “Song For Dying” (02/13/1965). After the departure of Burt Reynolds (Quint Asper), the producers were looking for an actor to fill that “younger actor” slot. They liked what Roger did in that first episode and asked him to appear as a regular. After Roger’s 51 episodes over two seasons (11 and 12), Gunsmoke was briefly cancelled in 1967. When it returned, Thad no longer appeared. Sometime later, the younger actor slot was filled by Buck Taylor as Newly O’Brien.
Upon his cancellation from Gunsmoke, Roger pursued his love of photography. He wanted to put show business behind him but he did appear in two films: as Donald Maxwell in the western “Smith!” (1969), and as Nelson in “Play It As It Lays” (1972). Also in 1969, Ewing was a celebrity contestant on an episode of “The Dating Game” in which the eligible bachelorette was future actress Lindsay Wagner.
Michael explains: “After Roger left acting, he took up photography full time. Later he moved to Morro Bay, CA. He ran for a city council seat there, but lost the election. He has never been married, but almost got married once. He doesn’t have any kids, but he has brothers and sisters scattered around the country that he visits regularly. He travels by train and bus. He’s not afraid of flying but the planes don’t have sufficient leg room, so he gets a sleeper car on the train. He follows California and Indiana sports teams. He had ridden horses prior to being on Gunsmoke, but he does not currently own or ride horses. He was on an episode of Rawhide (“The Calf Women” – 04/30/1965) when Clint Eastwood taught him how to fast-draw while sitting on a horse. It’s quite different than standing.”
Roger is a very private person, hasn’t made public appearances in many years, but plans to attend the 60-year reunion tentatively scheduled for September 2015 – possibly at the Autry Museum in Newhall, or a hotel in the L.A. area. It might be the last chance for fans to see both Roger Ewing and Buck Taylor together.
Michael Richardson and Roger Ewing in Buellton, Ca. on Sept 28, 2012
The 2014 State of the Union Address began with its usual pomp, bluster and glad-handing as the priniciples entered the chamber. Then, Speaker of the House John Boehner gave an unusually fervent introduction of the President. I think he must have popped a vein as he choked on his words. For the rest of the hour, Boehner sat red-faced as if he’d eaten a bucket of bad clams. He only stood when he needed to stretch his legs and fart, and only applauded when he wanted to feign support for the military.
Jovial Joe Biden played his role of administration cheerleader with his usual verve. I hope he didn’t wear out his knees or hands as he constantly rose to his feet and clapped. What I found unusual was the majority of people in the audience who seemed to share Joe’s enthusiasm for the President’s rhetoric. Could it be that a lot of republicans liked what they were hearing, or did many of them just not even show up?
We saw a Barack Obama that we hadn’t seen in a while. He was upbeat, strong, somewhat combative, oratorical and very presidential. My least favorite part was when he touted our energy independence due to domestic production of natural gas. We all know that this means “fracking” and that fracking is a highly risky process that contaminates groundwater and causes earthquakes. No mention was made of the disastrous Keystone XL pipeline. My favorite proposition was that of revising the tax code to close loopholes and reward corporations who bring their operations back to the U.S., rather than rewarding those who send jobs overseas. That’s an idea I’ve heard for a decade now but nothing has been done in that area yet.
Income inequality was an underlying theme in the SOTU address and highly discussed in the media lately, but all politicians want to attack it from the bottom up through education of the workforce, etcetera. That’s all well and good and prohibitively expensive, but until they address the fact that the real problem is the unabashed greed, corruption and hubris at the top of the food chain, nothing will change.
We saw a good speech full of lofty goals, but Obama’s time for making a positive difference is getting short. The 2014 mid-term election will determine whether America will acheive positive, progressive changes or descend further into a negative, conservative quagmire during Obama’s final two years and beyond.
It’s a wonderful thing to finally see the legalization of marijuana that is creeping across America. I was beginning to think I wouldn’t live to witness it. But, knowing how you humans ruin everything you touch and that you can even fuck up a wet dream, I worry that ya’ll will screw this up too. Remember that Washington and the anti-marijuana boneheads are watching this experiment and hoping for its failure. Don’t give them that satisfaction.
To the users in these legalized jurisdictions, I beg you… Don’t be stupid. Abide by the laws and regulations. Don’t buy weed legally and sell it to minors or transport it to states that haven’t yet legalized. And, just because it’s legal, you don’t have to be wasted all the time. Use responsibly.
To the bureaucrats and merchants in these legalized jurisdictions… don’t be your usual greedy selves. Remember that if legal marijuana costs more than on the black market, then that’s where many users will continue to buy it. You will have defeated the whole purpose of legalization. You are in competition with the illegal drug dealers so set the tax policy and prices accordingly.
Successful legalization will be measured by putting the drug dealers out of the marijuana business so that kids can’t get their hands on it. Only cheap, regulated and readily-available pot, used responsibly, will do that. I want legalization to come soon to my red state. If you screw this up now, not only will the legalization wave come to an end, but you people in Washington, Colorado and California will lose this hard-won freedom that has taken eight decades to achieve. If you ruin this for me, you’ll have one angry gray alien to contend with.
If the thought of this demonic senator from Texas becoming our next president doesn’t scare the hell out of you, then nothing will. That is where his aspirations lie and there are a lot of stupid people who support him. The republic of Texas has become known for producing the most evil, idiotic idealogues ever to set foot on the national political stage. Remember George W. Bush and Rick Perry? If Texas wants to secede from the Union, I say “Good riddance!”
Ted Cruz, the love-child of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, came from relative Texan obscurity and, in just two short years, became the most controversial figure on Capitol Hill. Tea Party morons love him while everyone else hates and/or fears him. Only a junior senator with the backing of the Dark One could cause the federal government to shut down, costing America at least $24-billion in the process and, at the same time threaten the entire world with American insolvency.
Any intelligent American knows that Cruz is wrong for this country, but how to get rid of him is a problem exacerbated by the process of gerrymandering. Only the Texans who elected him can vote him out of the Senate, and that can’t happen until 2016. Cruz has received death threats via Twitter since the shutdown, but no one has yet attempted to take him out physically.
Ted Cruz and his followers are terrorists who have managed to do what Al Qaeda couldn’t… bring America to her economic knees. How do we deal with terrorists? We use drones to blow them to bits. So, when you wake up screaming from this nightmare – on Halloween and beyond – only thoughts of total annihilation of the tea party will allow sugarplums to once again dance in your dreams. Does anyone out there have a spell that would send these demons back to hell and seal the door shut for all time?
I’m a fiscal conservative but, if Cruz showed us anything, it’s that his way is the highway to oblivion. There are a lot of ways to cut federal spending that wouldn’t hurt us average Americans, but they never appear on the table. As for his cruz-sade against Obamacare, he should allow this law of the land to be implemented and play itself out before deciding that it’s wrong for the rest of us.
Happy Halloween, Everybody!
Florida: White man George Zimmerman was found NOT guilty of killing black teen Trayvon Martin AND he will get his gun back. Black woman Marissa Alexander gets 20 years for firing a warning shot toward her abusive ex-husband. What’s wrong with this red state? Asked and answered.
Egypt: After one year in office the first democratically-elected President, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood Party, was ousted in a popular/military coup. The country is now on the brink of a civil war. This is what happens when you mix religion with politics.
Texas: Women seeking entrance to the state legislature were searched before being allowed to witness the re-vote of the anti-abortion bill. Their tampons, maxipads and condoms were confiscated but it’s okay to carry a gun into the chamber. Another wacky red state.
New York: Disgraced former state Attorney General and patron of elite escorts Eliot Spitzer is running for NYC comptroller. Flasher and former 9th district congressman, Anthony Weiner, is running for NYC Mayor. Obviously they have no shame.
Canada: 31-year-old Cory Monteith who played “Finn Hudson” on the hit show “Glee” was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room. Sad.
Canada: A train hauling 70 tankers of crude oil derailed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, destroying the town and killing over 60 of its residents. This disaster is brought to you by the same people who insist that their proposed XL pipeline through the heartland of America can safely transport the dirtiest of all crude oil from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico without leaking a drop.
Spain: A 23-year-old woman was gored in the back and suffered multiple rib fractures and damage to her right lung that left her in “very grave” condition during the annual “Running of the Bulls”. Four other runners were hospitalized with cuts and bruises. I wonder if they have health insurance. What a bunch of morons!
California: An anchor for KTVU-TV read the names of the pilots of Asiana Flight 214 that crash-landed in San Francisco. The NTSB had confirmed these names. Unfortunately for KTVU, it was a hoax. Try not to laugh too hard while reading the names out loud:
Captain Sum Ting Wong
Wi Tu Lo
Ho Lee Fuk
Bang Ding Ow
Brazil: 45-year-old Joao de Souza was killed when a 3,000 pound cow crashed through the roof and landed on the man while he and his wife slept. The cow had wandered away from her farm and walked onto the roof which abuts a steep hillside. The wife and the cow were unharmed.
News Note: Since Colorado and Washington State legalized marijuana eight months ago, the world hasn’t come to an end.