There was nothing more popular in the 1950’s and early 1960’s than a good old fashion Western TV show. There was something about seeing the way life was in the previous generations. When talking about the Westerns of that time period, there’s one show that’s destined to come up, and that’s The Rifleman. Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford won the hearts of families all over the country as Lucas and Mark McCain. The show was on for a total of 5 seasons, and we wanted to bring you some of the best behind-the-scenes moments that might’ve led to the shows ultimate demise.
Show Me the Money
Lucas McCain was the lead role in Rifleman and most actors would do just short of anything to land something like that. But there was one problem, and that was money. According to reports, Connors first turned down the role when he learned of the low salary being offered. The show’s producer, Levy Gardner Laven, apparently offered the part to John Anderson and James Whitmore before eventually coming back to Connors. You won’t believe what changed his mind.
Worth the Money
Connors was already a semi-accomplished actor before the premiere of The Rifleman in late 1958. He had a role in the Walt Disney film Old Yeller, and it was that performance that ended up swaying the decision in his favor on The Rifleman. What happened was, the producer saw how well Connors interacted with the young child actors and how he treated them with respect and understanding. Because of that, the executives of the show decided to ante up more money and Connors later accepted the role.