CTV Television Network LTD
CTV Release

The TVA Network began operation at the first private station in Montreal - October 1, 1961. The Canadian Television Network (CTN) debuts as a second national network. Its name would change to CTV in 1962.

Everything you need to know about The Rifleman

The CBC had objected to the network's initial name, apparently claiming it had exclusive rights to the term "Canadian," and therefore the letters "CTV" had no official expanded meaning. The CTV Network's first night on-air began with Harry Rasky's promotional documentary on the new network. That was followed by a fall season preview program.
CTV's initial 1961— 1962 season began with the following programs, five of which were Canadian Productions:
The Andy Griffith Show (United States, CBS)
Checkmate (United States, CBS)
Cross Canada Barndance (Canada)
Maigret (United Kingdom, BBC)
The Rifleman (United States, ABC)
Showdown (Canada)
Sing Along with Mitch (United States, NBC)
Take a Chance, A Quiz Show by Roy Ward Dickson adapted from radio (Canada)
Top Cat (United States, ABC)
Twenty Questions (Canada)
West Coast (Canada)
Whiplash (Australia)

The Rifleman Press Kit
Rifleman Continues

Rancher Lucas McCain, the 6 foot 5 inch protagonist of the Rifleman, will continue his exploits of western derring-do during the 1961-1962 television season. Starting Monday, October 9, the series will be presented in Canada over the stations of the new CTV network.

As before, the part of McCain will be played by Chuck Connors, the Brooklyn born athlete who, before turning to acting, was familiar to many Canadians as a star player with the Montreal Royals baseball team.

In his television role McCain searchers out and puts a stop to injustice. He also continually seeks a home for his motherless son, Mark. In real life Connors is the father of four sons and their mother id Elizabeth Jane Riddell, whom Connors married in 1948 while he was with the Royals.

Recognition of his athletic ability came in 1942 when he signed his first professional contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers. War service in the Army followed, after which he returned to professional baseball, with stints in professional basketball as well. However, in 1950, when he had finished his third season with the Royals, his interest in acting had come to a fore. He won a bit part in the motion picture Pat and Mike and was soon playing parts in other movies and conducting his own television sports show in Los Angeles. By the time he was selected for the lead in The Rifleman he had chalked up over fifty major dramatic credits is television.

Mark, the motherless son in this western series, is played by Johnny Crawford, a boy whose ambitions for manhood include directing as well as acting. Even now, when he is not on location with Chuck Connors, he is busy with his older brother Bobby running "BJ Productions." The two lads, son of a veteran Hollywood film editor, have assembled an impressive array of film production equipment. They produce their own films in what they call their "backyard Desilu" and have set up a laboratory where they can develop and edit their celluloid presentations.

The Rifleman, now in it's third year of production, will again by sponsored in Canada by Proctor and Gamble


Chuck Connors

Chuck Connors, an established performer on The Rifleman series, appearing this season on the CTV Television Network, has a many-faceted personality, at variance with the popular conception if a western TV star.

A background of baseball (with the Nontreal Royals) and Army service preceded his acting career in television. Winning of the lead role in The Rifleman has made Connors' face a familiar one in living rooms all over Canada and the U.S.

However if he has his way, he'll be moving on to other things in the world of entertainment when his work in The Rifleman ends. Already he has made tentative moves in the direction of appearing in a Broadway play. While he refuses to make specific comments, he is know to be involved in the selection of a specific play -- in fact, the play has already been read and approved for production on Broadway, and Connors hopes that the actual production will await his availability. In the meantime, he is doing a picture, Geronimo.

Is Connors worried about the differences in style in acting for television, the stage and motion pictures? Not at all. He says, "If a man is intrinsically an actor he can learn to work in the modern mediums." He points out that such technical problems of the stage, like projecting character across the footlights, would be compensated for by the absence of television problems such as always being aware of cameras and the eccentric lighting problems. "It's all evens out in the long run," he maintains.

While Connors is an actor through and through, he is not blind to the problems presented by some types of television entertainment. He is, for intense, very concerned about the prevalence of violence on TV. Death has become far too casual, he feels, and he abhors the quantity of corpses cluttering the nation's living rooms. In this he is at one with the producers if the Rifleman series, and many of the episodes have no violent deaths in them at all. His comment is simply, "Indiscriminate killing is no substitute for entertainment."

That Connors has become much more than just another face on the screen is evident from the phone calls and letters he receives from troubled people across the country. He is very much moved by the fact that people ask his advice on very important personal problems, although he feels presumptuous in attempting to help them solve their dilemmas. However, he is aware that "I did create this heroic image of Lucas McCain on television, and if it's realistic image of Lucas McCain on television, and if it's realistic enough for people to take seriously, I feel obliged to help them."

Although he feel incapable of doing much to help others in their problems, he tries to live up to the image he has built on the screen by being a good family man and father to his four sons.


Johnny Crawford

Johnny Crawford is a young man with no doubts at all about what he wants to do when he grows up. In fact, he's not waiting until he grows up to follow his hearts desire. Already a veteran of three seasons as the son of Chuck Connors in The Rifleman, Johnny is filling his spare hours directing his own movies.

Together with is older brother, Bobby, who is also a TV actor, Johnny has formed BJ Productions, a film making organization which they described as " a backyard Desilu." They own standard making equipment and what's more, know how to use it. Most of the movies they make are shot "on location" -- that is, on family vacation trips, out at the beach, or on the personal appearance tours Johnny has made with Connors over the past several seasons.

Johnny know that directing is a serious and important job, and is prepared to work his way into it gradually. That's why he is quite content to learn the trade as an actor first, since he feels that he is learning a great deal about direction at the same time. He plans tot go to college, and then return to acting and eventually move on to direction.
Even his leisure hours are devoted to the entertainment field. His pride and joy is a silent movie collection dating back to the earliest days of Hollywood. He is trying to acquire at least one movie featuring each of the great old-time movie stars like Charlie Chaplin, Marie Dressler, and William S. Hart.
It should surprise no one --least of all Johnny Crawford-- if. one day, films are produced which bear the proud credits "Directed by Johnny Crawford."


The Western, Television, Film, and National Identity or Film and Television as a Mirror of Culture
 by Ronald Helfrich

One of the most prominent genres in American television and film from almost the beginnings of cinema in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to the 1970s was the Western. The Western was to some extent a historical genre since Westerns purported to tell part of the history of the United States. Westerns centered on the American frontier, its settlement, and the lone men, good and bad, and to a lesser extent, the women who settled there and eventually brought “civilisation” to a savage land populated by First Peoples, outlaws, and natural dangers.

Some analysts of the Western have seen the genre, since it is a genre in which history and ideas about the West and its settlement that have been prominent almost from the beginning of American history, as a mirror which reflects Americans ideas and ideals about itself since the advent of the serial dime novel, with its heroes and villains, in the late 19th century. Dime novels, at first, were largely set on the American frontier and in the American West. Their heroes were often real people like Kit Carson, though these real heroes were often fictionalized and their actions dramatized in order to sell product. These fictionalized dramas proved incredibly popular.

Westerns played a prominent role in Hollywood films from the beginning. The Western genre became dominant in late 1950s American television. In 1958 and 1959 alone there were 28 Westerns on primetime network TV. There were, in fact, about as many westerns as there were sitcoms on American TV during the period, 30 alone in 1959-1960.

Westerns made their appearance on US TV almost as soon as it began. Westerns on American TV included The Lone Ranger (ABC, 1949-1957), Sky King (NBC, 1951-1952, ABC, 1952-1959) starring Kirby Grant as Sky King and Gloria Winters as his niece Penny whose Cessna helped them capture bad guys in the wild contemporary West of Arizona, The Roy Rogers Show starring Roy Rogers, his wife Dale Evans, and his horse Trigger (NBC, 1951-1957, ABC, 1962), Annie Oakley (syndication, 1954-1957), Western with a feminist twist, Gunsmoke (CBS, 1955-1975), the granddaddy of all TV Westerns, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (ABC, 1955-1961), Cheyenne (ABC, 1955-1963), Wagon Train (NBC, 1957-1962, ABC, 1962-1965)—one of the top rated programmes on US TV in the late 1950s and early 1960s—Roy Huggins’s Maverick (ABC, 1957-1962) starring James Garner, The Rifleman (ABC, 1958-1963), Bonanza (NBC, 1959-1973), The Virginian (NBC, 1962-1971), Bat Masterson starring Gene Berry (NBC, 1958-1961), Rawhide (CBS, 1959-1966)—one of whose stars was Clint Eastwood—Have Gun-Will Travel (CBS, 1957-1963) starring Richard Boone, and The Big Valley (ABC, 1965-1969).

Maverick, Have Gun Will Travel, and The Big Valley were atypical westerns. Maverick turned the clichés of the Western genre upside down by, for example, making “hero “Brett Maverick (James Garner) somewhat less than your standard Western gunfighter hero (Huggins, Cannell and Garner would do the same thing for the detective genre with The Rockford Files, NBC, 1974-1980). Have Gun Will Travel starred method actor Richard Boone as a San Francisco dandy who make a living by selling his gun. The Big Valley starred one of Hollywood’s greatest actors of the 1930s and 1940s Barbara Stanwyck as the matriarch of a ranch near Stockton, California.

The 1960s and the Vietnam War discredited Westerns By 1965 there were 12 Westerns on American TV. By 1980 the Western was gone from network television. At lesson one of the reasons is because both the 1960s and the Vietnam War raised questions about the colonial, imperialist, ideological, and gender mentalities inherent in most Westerns. The Western may have disappeared but they were not forgotten. The 1970s saw the rise in popularity of the Action-Adventure film and TV programmes which heavily borrowed Western motifs. The Action-Adventure loner tough guy no longer fought off Indians or Western outlaws. Instead they fought off terrorists (Die Hard, The Unit), megalomaniacs (virtually any Bond film), foreign spies (It Takes a Thief), supernatural villains (The Mummy franchise), or badass road racers (Fast and Furious) among other assorted and sundry nasties.

A special thank you to Ronald Helfrich for his History of Television.

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