Reviewer Dr. Wesley Britton: Dr. Britton is the author of four non-fiction books on espionage in literature and the media. Starting in fall 2015, his new six-book science fiction series, The Beta-Earth Chronicles, debuted via BearManor Media. For seven years, he was co-host of online radio’s Dave White Presents where he contributed interviews with a host of entertainment insiders. Before his retirement in 2016, Dr. Britton taught English at Harrisburg Area Community College. Learn more about Dr. Britton at his WEBSITE
Author: Glenn A. Mosley
Publisher: BearManor Media (October 20, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1593936133: ISBN-13: 978-1593936136
As author Glenn Mosley addresses in the first pages of his anatomy of a largely forgotten TV Western, few television or film fans know Henry Fonda starred in the 1959 The Deputy. Even fewer recall that The Deputy was something of a controversial show for two seasons. On those grounds alone, Glenn Mosley offers both Fonda and television watchers a very readable and needed exploration into a neglected chapter of entertainment history.
Many factors made The Deputy historic. One of its co-creators was Norman Lear, his first series. While film stars had moved from the large to small screens before, none had been close to Hank Fonda’s league. Why would the star of Mr. Roberts stoop to a weekly series set in Arizona during the 1880s? Not surprisingly, the answer was simply a paycheck, and Fonda hoped the paychecks would keep coming in the form of residuals. But Fonda only wanted to work on the show for a few weeks a year to continue his beloved stage work, so while his name topped the credits, he was only the “star” in eight of the first season’s episodes. In others, he provided a framing narration and only appeared in opening and closing scenes. That’s where the controversy began—Henry Fonda fans didn’t get all the Fonda they expected. After two seasons, he pulled the plug partly because he had other projects that interested him, partly because he didn’t want to invest the time needed to turn a half-hour show into a full 60 minute drama.
But, of course, there’s much more to the story and Glenn Mosley argues more to the series itself, claiming it was a quality production even when Fonda wasn’t on-screen. In particular, the real star was Allen Case as Clay McCord, the title character mentored by
Fonda’s Marshall Simon Fry. Mosley also gives high marks to Reed Morgan who joined the series in its second year as Sergeant Hapgood Tasker. For this history, Morgan provides insights never presented before as does Norman Lear—Fonda and Case having both died in the 1980s. So virtually every page of this book provides new information for viewers who likely haven’t seen a single episode in decades.
Fortunately, The Deputy became available on DVD earlier this year, so the timing of this book couldn’t have been better. Fonda and Western lovers can both see the series anew and then go behind-the-scenes with new interviews, a detailed episode guide, production background, and an objective analysis of both the Fonda and non-Fonda shows. Putting the two together—the DVD and book—should make for many a happy Dad’s Christmas list.
Listen To Dr.Wes Britton’s audio interview with author Glenn Mosley for the “Dave White Presents” radio program posted HERE: