When I was growing up, there were numerous Westerns on television. Being raised by TV, I was familiar with most. One of them was The Rifleman (1958-1963).
The Rifleman, aka Lucas McCain, was played to his macho hilt by Chuck Connors, a 6’5″ athlete (from Wikipedia, in part):
Kevin Joseph Aloysius “Chuck” Connors (April 10, 1921 – November 10, 1992) was an American actor, writer and professional basketball and baseball player. He is one of only 12 athletes in the history of American professional sports to have played both Major League Baseball and in the National Basketball Association. With a 40-year film and television career, he is best known for his five-year role as Lucas McCain in the highly rated ABC series The Rifleman (1958–63).
There was a book, first published in 1965, entitled Hollywood Babylon. There have been two subsequent printings. The book went out of it’s way to defame the famous in Hollywood, mentioning the scandals, the rumors, the crime, the ‘dirt’ for which the public was so hungry. Sal Mineo, Sharon Tate, Jayne Mansfield et al.
I don’t believe Chuck was mentioned in any of them.
The theme of the TV show was almost always (TV violence aside), a lesson which Lucas (a widower) would impart to his young son, Mark. I remember one particular episode wherein the lecture was (at the end of the show after much gunfighting) regarding people who are different. And just because they are different, doesn’t automatically make them BAD. And how we, as honest human beings should strive to be accepting of such folk.
Of course, I was a kid, so this message went over my head. When I saw the show again years later, some additional context was added.
An acquaintance, who has been a professional gun writer for many years, happened to see Chuck Connors at a large California gun show. IN FULL DRAG! – complete with a wig and makeup! This was a short time before he passed away.
This is not to defame Mr. Connors, but to suggest perhaps he and the TV show writers had a meeting-of-the-minds (?)
There are further rumors regarding Mr. Connors behavior all over the Internet. As there are with pretty much anyone regarded as ‘famous’.
Just because it says so on the Internet doesn’t make it true! – Abraham Lincoln
I remember sharing this tale with a collections manager @ TMCCC* (my last workplace). He ran away from me, covering his ears as though he were five years old! Obviously, I had been messing with a macho hero of his!
Be judicious with whom you share this tale.
*That Major Credit Card Company