The Virginian - behind the scenes?

TV Arts

The TVLand reruns just got up to 'Morgan Starr' where where Starr is 
running the ranch for Judge Garth, who became Governor of Wyoming (off 
screen) and Trampas is missing completely although he's still in the 
open.  This on the heels of Betsy going away (at least she got a send 
off) only to be replaced by Garth's-niece-he-never-knew so they wanted 
to keep the format intact.  But Lee J. Cobb (Garth) is still in the 
series open, with Starr a, er, guest starr.  IIRC Betsy was in the open 
for awhile after the niece came aboard (orginally as a guest star too).  
Cobb continued to work for (a lot) for another 10 years.  Betsy leaving 
was a career ender.  Niece ... this pretty much WAS her whole career.  
Wiki says Starr won't last for long.

So what was going on?  Was there infighting behind the scenes?  Did 
somebody think Cobb was coming back or some reason they had to leave him 
in the credits?  Anybody know?

Okay...  Roberta Shore (Betsy) got married during a summer hiatus, she did not get permission from tptb, and she was "blacklisted" for 3 years from working on television (she also said her husband wouldn't have allowed to work anyway), for being in violation of her contract.

They showed the "twit" (niece) from the beginning of the year (season 4) in the opening creds with Randy Boone, even though she didn't appear until the 4th or 5th episode.

While I really liked John Dehner in general, I *hated* Morgan Starr.  The show went from being The Virginian, to being The Morgan Starr show, and that's probably why they didn't bring him back for the following seasons (in my opinion), his character was the "primary" story for 4 of the 5 episodes he did, rather than having a different character getting the spotlight.

Cobb had begun working on the stage, and had stated many times how much he hated working on television.  He took the job because he'd had some problems due to HUAC (he talked).  He apparently really needed the money.  He was left in the credits because they were contractually obligated (and he was paid for the credit too).
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LOL, really?  A 'no marriage' clause?  Like all the young boys that 
watched The Virginian every week for a glimpse of their beloved Betsy 
would flee and watch Lost In Space or Patty Duke or Gidget instead?

Yeah, I got that backwards.


Very much so.  The one I watched last night - One Spring Like Long Ago - 
had Starr and Randy and Indians and buffalo and no other regulars at 
all.  It rambled on and on and on, like they had a half hour script and 
padded it by stalling to fill the time.

And I still haven't seen Starr and Trampas in the same episode at all.

K, thanks.  The one on right now ... The Return of Golden Tom ... 
doesn't have anything to do with The Virginian AT ALL (so far).
Kind of hard to play "virginal" Betsy Garth if she's sporting baby belly.  Actually, I think issue was she didn't even tell them she was thinking about getting married, she just went and got married.  She had signed (I believe) a 7 year deal, and she had to maintain a certain "look".

They were showing how "Indian friendly" MR. Starr was (or something).  That's when it was becoming ...  expedient for lack of a better word... to appear friendly to the natives.  Of the Starr episodes, that was the weakest.

I believe he was in the first episode (Morgan Starr).  Remember though, McClure was making lots of films then, so he could have been off working on one of those.

I loved that episode (I've always had a soft spot for Victor Jory).  As I recall, we don't see alot of Mr Starr either (TV wasn't in that one, and I always got the impression that Drury had some issues with Dehner, but that could just be me).
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Clu finally showed up, but other than that - and he seemed to be added 
as an afterthought - there wasn't any sign of this being an episode of 
The Virginian at all!

I think they made a big mistake in having TV not like MS - pretty much 
guarantees the audience won't either.  It's the same mistake they made 
with The New/Young Maverick, where they had the real Maverick, Garner, 
not able to wait 'till he got rid of the young jerk, and when they rode 
away down different forks in the road, the audience was yelling NO NO GO 
In Morgan Starr (the first of Dehner's episodes), they showed the clash of wills, but you were supposed to believe that TV at least respected Starr at the end, maybe even liking him a little.  After that, whenever they were on the screen together, it just seemed that Drury (not TV, but Drury) seemed very unimpressed with Dehner.  I don't believe it was the fault of the show, but rather a problem of chemistry between the two actors.

Then, as I said before, the Starr episodes seemed to center on him rather than on others (which could also have caused friction), like the first few years.  You'd have a "Virginian"-centric show, then Trampas, then Steve, then Betsy, then the Judge (while still showing the others in smaller roles).  When Dehner joined, there was one episode (Golden Tom) that highlighted *anyone* besides Dehner.  It was a bad choice of the powers that be.

People liked the chemistry of the "guys in the bunkhouse" with Betsy and the Judge.