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Chuck Connors Man Behind Rifle by David Fury
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The McCain Ranch
About this product. Stock photo. Pre-owned: lowest price The lowest-priced item that has been used or worn previously. Other notes: Artist's Press, Hard cover, first edition. VG condition in VG dust jacket; a nice clean copy. Item SKU 0. In , following his departure from college, Connors played four baseball games with the Brooklyn Dodgers' minor league team, the Newport Dodgers Northeast Arkansas League. Released, he sat out the season, then signed with the New York Yankees' farm team, the Norfolk Tars Piedmont League , where he played 72 games before enlisting in the Army at Fort Knox, Kentucky at the end of the season, on October 10, Following his military discharge in , the 6' 5" Connors joined the newly formed Boston Celtics of the Basketball Association of America.
Connors attended spring training in with Major League Baseball 's Brooklyn Dodgers but did not make the squad  He played two seasons for the Dodgers' AAA team, the Montreal Royals before playing one game with the Dodgers in In , Connors played an off-field role by helping to end the celebrated holdout see reserve clause by Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax when he acted as an intermediary during negotiations between management and the players.
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Notably Connors was the first professional basketball player to be credited with shattering a backboard when he brought down an improperly installed glass backboard with a foot heave as warmups ended before the season opener was to start at the Boston Arena on November 5, Connors realized that he would not make a career in professional sports, so he decided to pursue an acting career.
Playing baseball near Hollywood proved fortunate, as he was spotted by an MGM casting director and subsequently signed for the Tracy — Hepburn film Pat and Mike , performing in the role of a police captain. Connors had a rare comedic role in a episode "Flight to the North" of Adventures of Superman. He portrayed Sylvester J. Superman, a lanky rustic yokel who shared the same name as the title character of the series. Connors was cast as Lou Brissie , a former professional baseball player wounded during World War II, in the episode "The Comeback" of the religion anthology series Crossroads.
Don DeFore portrayed the Reverend C. X Brands is cast as a baseball player. That same year, he co-starred in The Hired Gun. He also became a lovable television character actor , guest-starring in dozens of shows. Other television appearances were on Hey, Jeannie! Connors beat 40 other actors for the lead in The Rifleman , portraying Lucas McCain, a widowed rancher known for his skill with a customized Winchester rifle.
This ABC Western series, which aired from to , was also the first show to feature a widowed father raising a young child.
At the time, the producers offered a certain amount of money to do 39 episodes for the —59 season. The offer turned out to be less than Connors was making doing freelance acting, so he turned it down.
9 insanely true facts about Chuck Connors
A few days later, the producers of The Rifleman took their own children to watch Old Yeller in which Connors played a strong father figure. After the producers watched him in the movie, they decided they should cast Connors in the role of Lucas McCain and make him a better offer, including a five-percent ownership of the show. The Rifleman was an immediate hit, ranking No. Johnny Crawford , an unfamiliar actor at the time, former Mousketeer , baseball fan and Western buff, beat 40 other young stars to play the role of Lucas's son, Mark.
Crawford remained on the series from until its cancellation in The Rifleman landed high in the Nielsen ratings until the last season in —63, when it was opposite the highly rated return to television of Lucille Ball on The Lucy Show and ratings began to drop. The show was canceled in after five seasons and episodes. Crawford said of his relationship with Connors: "I was very fond of Chuck, and we were very good friends right from the start.
I admired him tremendously. I would bring my baseball and a bat and a couple of gloves whenever we went on location, and at lunchtime I would get a baseball game going, hoping that Chuck would join us.
And he did, but after he came to bat, we would always have trouble finding the ball. It would be out in the brush somewhere or in a ravine, and so that would end the game. Crawford stayed in touch with Connors until his death in He was always interested in what I was doing and ready with advice, and anxious to help in any way that he could He was a great guy, a lot of fun, great sense of humor, bigger than life, and he absolutely loved people.
He was very gregarious and friendly, and not at all bashful I learned a great deal from him about acting, and he was a tremendous influence on me. He was just my hero. There were three rifles made for the show: two identical 44—40 Winchester model rifles, one that was used on the show and one for backup, and a Spanish version called an El Tigre used in the saddle holster. Two rifles were made for Chuck Connors personally by Maurice "Moe" Hunt that were never used on the show. He was a fan of the show and gave them to Connors. Arnold Palmer , a friend and Honorary Chairman of the annual Chuck Connors charity golf event, was given one of the personal rifles  by Connors and it was on display at The World Golf Hall of Fame.
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The popularity of the show led to tie-in products, such as toy models of the Rifleman's rifle, with the twirl-around-the-trigger lever-action that made the customized rifle a match for any six-shooter hand-gun used by villains. Also a Milton Bradley board game, called The Rifleman Game, had two players each competing to move their herd of cattle from a Start to a Finish, across a prairie landscape, with a river-crossing and other hazards.
The cattle were represented by die-cut cardboard cattle-pieces mounted in plastic counters, red or blue for either player. In , Connors appeared in the film Flipper.
In and he hosted a television series called Thrill Seekers. He had a key role against type as a slave owner in the miniseries Roots , and was nominated for an Emmy Award for his performance. This series was aimed at promoting prayer as a path to world peace and stronger families, with the motto, "The family which prays together stays together. In , he co-starred in the Fox series Werewolf , as drifter Janos Skorzeny. Connors was married three times.