Crossroads (TV series)

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Crossroads is a half-hour American television series which aired from 1955 to 1957, first on ABC and then in syndication, a total of seventy-eight episodes, many with spiritual themes based on the lives of ministers.

Actors and episodes

Numerous actors had multiple roles on Crossroads; many are now deceased. The episodes were usually set in the 1950s, but some were framed for an earlier era.

Stephen McNally (1911-1994), prior to his starring role on ABC's Target: The Corruptors, played Monsignor Harold Engle in "Ringside Padre" (1956) and Father Edward J. Flanagan of the Boys Town orphanage in Omaha, Nebraska, in the episode, "Convict 1321, Age 21" (1957). In between, he was cast as United States Army General George S. Patton, Jr., in "The Patton Prayer" (1957).[1]

Robert Carson (1909-1979) appeared five times: as a police lieutenant in "The Unholy Trio" (1955), "The Two-Fisted Saint" (1956), and "False Prophet" (1956); as a baseball coach in "The Comeback" (1956), and as Senator Crocker in the episode, "In God We Trust" (1957).[2]

Richard Denning (1914-1998), formerly of the crime drama, Mr. and Mrs. North, and later the governor on Jack Lord's original Hawaii Five-O, appeared on three Crossroads episodes: as Dr. Ira Langston in "Chinese Checkers" (1955), as the Reverend George Bolton in "The Bowery Bishop" (1956), and as the Reverend Lloyd E. Williams in "The Pure White Orchid" ( 1956).[3]

Among several appearances, Dick Foran (1910-1979) played the Reverend John Evans in "The Singing Preacher" (1956), with John Smith (1931-1995), later the co-star of NBC's Laramie, as Steve Maguire and Gloria Talbott as Margaret Whaley.[4]

Jeff Morrow (1907-1993), prior to his syndicated western series, Union Pacific, was cast in six episodes, including the roles of the Reverend M. R. Watkinson in "In God We Trust" and as the Reverend Richard C. Smith in the series finale, "Half Mile Down" (both 1957).[5]

Douglass Dumbrille (1889-1974) was also cast in six episodes. He played Senator Bates in "Thanksgiving Prayer" (1956), which also features Ron Hagerthy, who played the nephew on Kirby Grant's Sky King. Dumbrille thereafter portrayed Mr. Willoughby in "Big Sombrero" (1957).[6]

Pat O'Brien (1899-1983) appeared in four episodes of Crossroads in 1956 and 1957: "The Strange Bequest", as the lead character Father Jim in "A Holiday for Father Jim", as Father Edward Sullivan in "Circus Priest" and as Father Patrick O'Neil in "Benediction of Blood".[7]

Vincent Price (1911-1993) was cast as the Reverend Robert Russell in "Cleanup" (1955), as Rabbi Gershom Mendes Seixas (1745-1816), the first native born Jewish religious leader in what became the United States, in the episode, "The Rebel" (1956), and as the Reverend Alfred W. Price in "God's Healing" (also 1956).[8]

Hugh Marlowe (1911-1982) plays a real person, the Reverend William Hyde, in the 1956 episode "Dig or Die, Brother Hyde", the story of an itinerant prairie preacher who employs psychology in an effort to restore a woman's faith and to save the life of her child. The episode also stars Alan Hale, Jr., Denver Pyle, and Ray Teal.[9]

In the unusually titled 1957 episode, "Jhonakehunkga Called Jim", set in 1883, Hugh Marlowe plays the Reverend Jacob Stucki, who is dispatched to the mission at the Winnebago Indian reservation. The Indians, however, scorn the clergyman, who befriends a boy on the reservation to prove his sincerity. Pat Hogan, formerly of the CBS Brave Eagle series, plays Jhonakehunkga, and Frank de Kova was cast as Black Hawk.[10]

In "Broadway Trust" (1955), James Dean appears osthumously. The episode also features Lloyd Bridges (1913-1998) and Mary Treen (1907-1989). Dean was killed in an automobile crash five weeks before this episode aired.[11]

"The White Carnation" (1956) features James Best (1926-2015), Elinor Donahue, Ann Doran (1911-2000), and J. Carrol Naish (1896-1973), who all subsequently had recurring roles in other television series.[12]

In "The Comeback" (1956), Don DeFore (1913-1993), a Hollywood conservative who played George Baxter from 1961 to 1966 in the situation comedy Hazel, portrays the Reverend C. E. "Stoney" Jackson, who offers the spiritual insight to assist Lou Brissie, a former professional baseball player wounded during World War II, in returning to the game. Brissie is played by Chuck Connors (1921-1992), a former professional baseball player who subsequently rocketed to fame in ABC's The Rifleman. Grant Withers was cast as Coach Whitey Martin, and Robert Carson also plays a coach in this episode. Edd Byrnes, Rhys Williams, and Robert Fuller, later with John Smith on Laramie, play former soldiers; X Brands (1927-2000), another baseball player.[13]

Victor Jory (1902-1982) was cast in the 1957 episode "Lone Star Preacher", a dramatization of the Texas Southern Baptist pastor George Washington Truett, with Barbara Eiler as Truett's, Jo Truett.[14]

Michael Landon (1936-1991) long before Little House on the Prairie, appeared three times on Crossroads as Danny in "St. George and the Dragon" and Johnny Rico in "Ringside Padre" (both 1956) and as Race Stevens in "Call for Help" (1957).[15]

In the first season on ABC, Crossroads, which followed The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet on the Friday evening schedule, faced the competition of two situation comedies, Eve Arden's Our Miss Brooks on CBS and William Bendix's The Life of Riley on NBC.

References

  1. Stephen McNally. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on February 15, 2013.
  2. Robert Carson. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on February 15, 2013.
  3. Richard Denning. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on February 15, 2013.
  4. The Singing Preacher. Internet Movie Data Base (June 15, 1956). Retrieved on March 18, 2018.
  5. Jeff Morrow. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on February 15, 2013.
  6. Douglass Dumbrille. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on February 15, 2013.
  7. Pat O'Brien. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on February 15, 2013.
  8. Vincent Price. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on February 15, 2013.
  9. "Dig or Die, Brother Hyde", 1956. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on February 15, 2013.
  10. Jhonakehunkga Called Jim", April 26, 1957. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on February 15, 2013.
  11. "Broadway Trust", November 11, 1955. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on February 15, 2013.
  12. "The White Carnation", April 27, 1956. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on February 15, 2013.
  13. "The Comeback", October 5, 1956. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on February 15, 2013.
  14. "Lone Star Preacher", March 15, 1957. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on June 14, 2013.
  15. Michael Landon. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on March 19, 2018.