Intro--Gil Favor: "Riding herd over a long trail may be a headache. I can tell you that it's never boresome, even when it's going smooth. There's plenty of sweet grass, blue skies, clear spring water. You ride lazy thinking of what you left behind and dreaming of what's ahead. But riding easy doesn't come often on the drive. When you're pushing 3,000 head and 20 hands, there's always something about to happen. Whatever it is and whenever it comes up, I got to meet it. That's my job. I'm Gil Favor, Trail Boss."
When Rowdy and a couple of cows come down with what appears to be anthrax, the residents of a nearby town through which the herd has to pass turn into a frightened and violent mob. A courageous pharmacist and his daughter nurse Rowdy back to health.
This Friday we'll watch the ninth episode of Rawhide, which was "Incident of the Town in Terror." After some beeves show signs of anthrax and have to be shot, Rowdy starts showing symptoms of the disease. Favor brings a nurse from a nearby town to examine Rowdy. Meanwhile, the locals arm themselves to prevent the infected drovers from entering the town.
Nurse Betsy Stauffer is played by Margaret O'Brien. Angela Maxine O'Brien was born January 15, 1937 in San Diego, California. She took the name Margaret because it was common in the 1940s for child stars to adopt the name of the first character they played. After an uncredited role in Babes on Broadway (1941), she played the title character in Journey for Margaret in 1942. That made her an immediate star. She followed that up by winning an Oscar for "Outstanding Child Actress" in her role as Tootie in the 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis. Not bad for a seven-year-old!
I thought this was remarkably cute: When she was six years old, she asked the director "When I cry, do you want the tears to run all the way or shall I stop halfway down?" Hey, I realize most women can cry on cue but this one could control gravity!
Riding her success through the 1940s, O'Brien received acclaim in films such as The Canterville Ghost (1944), Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945), The Secret Garden (1949) and Little Women (1949). But as is often the problem for child stars, she was unable to make the transition into teen roles. Fortunately, her movie career had made her wealthy so she was not forced to take any role that came along. She retired from movies in 1951 and eased into television roles.
Regarding that Oscar she won in 1944, that particular statuette went on a mysterious adventure. At the O'Brien house, her awards were kept in a special room. Previously, the family's maid had taken the awards home with her for polishing. So the family thought nothing of it when the maid asked to take the Oscar and two other awards home to polish. Y'all can probably guess what happened: That was the last they saw of that maid. O'Brien's mother wrote a letter to the maid, telling her she was fired and asking her to return the awards.
O'Brien's mother had a history of heart trouble, and soon after that, she suffered a fatal heart attack. Mourning the loss of her mother, Margaret curtailed her quest to regain her awards. By the time she attempted to contact the maid some months later, the maid had moved and left no forwarding address. Years later, the Motion Picture Academy found out about the stolen Oscar and provided O'Brien with a replacement. But of course, for sentimental reasons she hoped to get the original back. Over the years, O'Brien searched antique shops and memorabilia shows, looking for it but with no luck.
In 1995, two memorabilia collectors at a flea market bought the stolen Oscar for $500, hoping to re-sell it for a profit. They listed it in an auction catalogue, and someone alerted Bruce Davis, who was executive director of the Academy at the time. Davis contacted the men and told them the award's story. They agreed to return the Oscar to its rightful owner. So on February 7, 1995, a special ceremony was held in Beverly Hills to return the award to O'Brien, almost 50 years after it was presented to her the first time.
And we still haven't heard from the maid.
days, O'Brien has her own website where one can purchase autographed
photos for $25 or $30. An autographed photo of her Academy Award will
run you 30 smackers.
O'Brien has one daughter from her second (and current) marriage to Roy Thorsen. She is still with us, and has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for movies and one for TV.
Don C. Harvey makes his first of 15 Rawhide appearances in this one, but not in his familiar role of the griping drover Collins. In this one, he plays an outspoken townsman named Joe Greevey. In Season 2, he begins his 14-episode stint as Collins.
I thought this was cool: Harvey and his wife Jean owned a horse named Goldie that was used as Kit Carson's horse in the TV series The Adventures of Kit Carson (1951-1955).
Harvey was born December 12, 1911 in Council Grove, Kansas. He performed in tent shows and vaudeville before acting in various low-budget movies. Aside from his Rawhide days, he also appeared on Death Valley Days, The Lone Ranger, Laramie, Dragnet, 77 Sunset Strip, Bonanza, Maverick and Wagon Train. His last onscreen appearance was as a policeman in a helicopter in the 1963 comedy movie It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
Harvey succumbed to a heart attack on April 23, 1963. He was 51.
Making his first of two Rawhide visits is Dan White as a drover named Windy. I'm glad I'm looking at the cast of characters in writing. Viewers who saw this episode when it first aired probably wondered why a male character was named "Wendy."
White was born March 25, 1908 in Falmouth, Florida, not far from Suwannee River. His family moved to Lakeland around the time World War I started. White found work performing in tent shows and loved it so much that he ran away from home and went with the show when it left town. Years later, White performed in some stock theater in Tampa, Florida, where he met Matilda Mae Spivey. They married on February 25, 1933.
Matilda had a two-year-old son from a previous marriage, and times were tough. But White was convinced he could make it in Hollywood. So in 1935, the family packed their car and headed west, a trip that would take two years. Money was tight, but White was an expert auto mechanic. The family would stop for months at a time while he worked as a mechanic. After he earned a little money, the family would resume their trek to California.
Matilda's sister lived in Texarkana, Arkansas, and they stopped there in January 1937 because Matilda was about to give birth to their first child together. Their daughter was born in February and the Whites made it to California in April. They rented a house not far from the famous "HOLLYWOOD" sign.
The Whites continued to rent that house for 23 years, where White made a few movie deals and even some scripts were written there. During his long career, White appeared in such notable movies as The Yearling (1946), Red River (1948), Giant (1956), Touch of Evil (1958) and To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). In radio, he created the role of Red Ryder. He also made appearances on Laramie, Bonanza and Gunsmoke.
Speaking of Gunsmoke, White was offered the role of Sam the bartender in the show. However, he didn't want to commit to doing a weekly series, so he told his pal Glenn Strange to try out for the part. Strange would become a fixture on the series, playing Sam the bartender for 13 seasons.
White retired from acting in 1975 and returned to Tampa, not far from his birthplace. He passed away July 7, 1980 at the age of 72.
We'll also see Harry Townes as pharmacist Amos Stauffer. This is his first of four Rawhide visits, but I'll always remember him best as attorney Lewis Lewis in "Incident of the Night on the Town" from Season 3.
The Terrified Town:
Margaret O’Brien ………………. Betsy Stauffer (nurse)
Harry Townes …………………… Amos Stauffer (pharmacist)
Russ Conway……………………… Josh Miller (selectman)
Don C. Harvey …………………… Joe Greevey (selectman)
Pat O’Moore ……………………… Matt Novak (selectman)
Dan White ………………………… Townsman
On the drive:
James Gavin ……………………… Windy
Kem Dibbs ……………………...... Yaeger
Gary Walberg …………………… Yaeger’s Pal
Please note all episode threads may contain spoilers without warnings. Read at your own risk!