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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FIGHT DISEASE WITH CLEANLINESS: 1936

The Rifleman: 1960

The Rifleman: 1960

"Merry Christmas from the family." Actor Chuck Connors, his wife Betty and their sons Jeffrey, Steven, Michael and Kevin circa 1960 at their home in Los Angeles. 4x5 inch Ektachrome transparency. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Chuck Connors

"Branded" was one of my favorite shows with Chuck.

The First American Show...

That I watched in the UK.

My parents had just purchased our first TV that was "the new Larger Screen".

I remember that opening sequence and got chills when Chuck looked at the camera. It was almost as if he was staring straight at me.

Oooooo!

Dubious Honor

He also was the first basketball player ever to shatter a glass backboard when he took a two-handed shot in a pregame warmup in Boston Arena when playing one of his 53 games for the Celtics in 1946—their first year—where he averaged 4.5 points and shot 25.2 percent from the field. A worker had not installed a piece of protective rubber between the rim and the backboard. At 6-foot-6½ inches, Connors was the center, having played that position at Seton Hall. This particular game was against the Chicago Stags (1946-1950), and it was delayed an hour while a truck was sent to pick up another glass backboard from Boston Garden, interrupting Gene Autry's rodeo which was appearing there at the time.

He played only one game for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949, but in 1951 tallied 66 games for the Chicago Cubs where he hit .238. After that show business called. His first credit was as a police captain in the 1952 production of "Pat and Mike," although his first role actually pre-dated his sports career when he appeared uncredited as a soldier in a meal line in the 1942 movie "Wake Island."

And not only that . . .

Mr. Connors played Superman in an episode of the original TV series, though in an unusual and amusing way!

The rifle

Yes, I became the proud recipient of one on one Christmas morning. Sadly, the metal loop was rather brittle and mine broke before very long (OK, I dropped it on the concrete walk and it broke), rendering it somewhat difficult to emulate the famous opening scene from TV.

I still managed to burn through the rolls of caps with it as fast as I could save up to buy them.

Chuck's shoes are

Triple threat

Chuck Connors was no mere "actor." He was also a major-league baseball player (with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Chicago Cubs) and an NBA player (with the Boston Celtics).

I'm pretty sure I owned a "Rifleman" rifle when I was a lad.

re: On Paper

Why is "The Rifleman" in quotes?

Interesting.

[Because it's the title of a TV show. -tterrace]

On Paper

If you didn't have a television, you could spend 15 cents for the comic book version.

The Rifleman

I haven't seen that show for very many years, but I remember well the opening sequence (which I just watched again on YouTube) where Chuck Connors fires off a number of shots in quick succession, then spins the rifle around and gives you a serious don't-mess-with-me look. Took me right back to being a little kid.

The kids

Of the four, only Steven & Michael are left.
Kevin passed in 2005 and Jeff in 2014.

One Might Say

This was the high-water mark of Chuck Connors' career.

Where I got my name

When my brother was little, he loved watching The Rifleman and the actor Johnny Crawford who played Chuck Connors' son Mark McCain. So when I came along and after much persistence from my brother to name me Mark, my parents agreed and so it was!

Most likely

this was their last happy Christmas together, as the couple were to divorce in 1961.

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