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Does Anybody Else Remember Laredo?

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:26 pm
by RedShirt
Neville Brand was the "name" star, in the role of Texas Ranger Sgt Reese Bennett. He has a connection to Bonanza in that he played Hoss's uncle, Gunnar Borgstrom, and also played Pepper Shannon, and Doyle, as a guest star. An avid reader, he had served in WW2, receiving a Silver Star for gallantry in action; other awards and decorations were the Purple Heart, the Good Conduct Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three Battle Stars, one Overseas Service Bar, one Service Stripe and the Combat Infantryman Badge. In a 1966 interview he explained the Silver Star, stating that withering fire from German machine guns in a hunting lodge kept him and his unit pinned down. “I must have flipped my lid,” he said. “I decided to go into that lodge.” He was discharged from service in October 1945. The next year he worked on his first film project, for the US Army Signal Corps, along with Charlton Heston.
By Source, Fair use,
Rangers Chad Smith (Peter Brown) and Joe Riley (William Smith) often teased their sergeant about his age (he was in his forties). Captain Parmalee (Philip Carey) often had trouble with Ranger Bennett's somewhat unorthodox reporting style. "Died good. What does that mean?" "Well, Cap'n, he ... he hollered good."

Peter Brown had prior TV success in The Lawman. Ranger Chad Smith hailed from New Orleans originally, and was fond of games of chance. He became involved with writing, directing and acting while stationed in Alaska with the 2nd infantry. He got his big break when, while working at a gas station, he met Jack Warner, who invited him the next day for a screen test. He became a contract player for Warner Brothers Studios. "The Fastest Gun in Hollywood," his biography, gets its title from his championship in an early 1960s magazine-sponsored contest. With TV-western mania at its peak, one American magazine sponsored a contest for actors who portrayed western heroes and villains, who needed the quick-draw skill for the climactic scenes in so many such shows. The magazine held a competiton among some of the stars, firing blanks, aiming not at each other but downrange, and using an electronic timer. Quite a number of cowboy stars showed up to "slap leather." Brown beat them all and won the title of the fastest gun in Hollywood. For the series Laredo, Peter Brown used his real-life horse, Amigo (1965).

Philip Carey (not unlike Bonanza's David Canary) had a long career in soap opera after the show finished its run. He served in the United States Marine Corps, was wounded as part of the ship's detachment of the USS Franklin during World War II, and served again in the Korean War. From 1965 to 1967, Carey played Captain Edward Parmalee on the NBC western television series Laredo. His co-stars included William Smith, Peter Brown and Neville Brand. After Laredo, Carey guest-starred in an episode of ABC's military-western Custer starring Wayne Maunder in the title role. Carey had played Custer himself in The Great Sioux Massacre (1965) and played Captain Myles Keogh at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in Walt Disney's Tonka in 1959. From 1979 until late 2007, he played the protective Texan patriarch Asa Buchanan on the ABC soap opera, One Life to Live.

William Smith played the shy giant, Ranger Joe Riley, who joined up for protection from a sheriff -- his previous work had been as a gunfighter. The actor is a lifelong bodybuilder; he wasthe final Marlboro Man before cigarette advertising was discontinued on television. Smith served in the United States Air Force, where he won the 200 pound arm-wrestling championship of the world multiple times as well as the United States Air Force weightlifting championship. Smith is a record holder for reverse-curling his own bodyweight. His trademark arms measured 18½ inches. Smith held a 31-1 record as an amateur boxer and studied martial arts with kenpo instructor Ed Parker for several years. He also played semi-pro football in Germany and competed in motocross and downhill skiing events. One of his earliest leading roles was as Joe Riley, a Texas Ranger on the NBC western series Laredo (1965–1967). Smith's character was good-natured with muscles of steel. In 1967, Smith guest starred as Jude Bonner on James Arness's long-lived western Gunsmoke. Smith was cast as John Richard Parker, brother of Cynthia Ann Parker, both taken hostage in Texas by the Comanche, in the 1969 episode "The Understanding" of the syndicated television series Death Valley Days, which was hosted by Robert Taylor.

Re: Does Anybody Else Remember Laredo?

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:33 pm
by ellen
When I was about 13, Larado was on after school and I loved it! It was really the only western I watched before getting hooked on Bonanza about 15 years ago. I had HUGE crushes on Peter Brown and William Smith, who were good looking, nice, and funny to boot. And of course Reese (Neville Brand) was such a character!

Looking back, I'm a little surprised they showed the reruns daily; there weren't that many episodes. (Looking at IMDB.COM, there were only 56.) Too bad it didn't last longer than it did.

Re: Does Anybody Else Remember Laredo?

Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:58 am
by Tracy
I remember it well.

Redshirt, we have a whole index of "featured" westerns: ... 74&t=30428

These posts were created by Boomers. It would be great if you'd add a few photos from "Laredo" and post them, along with this information. Just title the post "Laredo" and I'll gladly add it to our index list. It is one western that hasn't yet been done. Just a suggestion, of course.