1 9 6 6 (USA)
17 x 30 minute episodes
The Rounders was a fantastic western comedy of 1965 that paired Glenn Ford with Henry Fonda. That film is a classic of the period and remains a favourite of western fans. This TV series was a poor attempt to reignite the chemistry of the film.
The series co-starred Ron Hayes as cowhand Ben Jones, who remarked sagely, “It strikes me we ain’t the smartest cowboys that ever lived” and Patrick Wayne (son of John Wayne), as Ben’s buddy Howdy Lewis, who kept repeating, “Whatever suits you just tickles me plumb to death”.
The two rowdy, fun-loving, skirt-chasing cowpokes found themselves hog-tied and in debt to unscrupulous Jim Ed Love (Chill Wills), the tyrannical owner of the vast J.L. ranch and reputedly the second richest man in Texas.
Jim Ed, a devious fast-talking wheeler-dealer who dressed in custom-tailored white cowboy suits and rode the range in a souped-up station wagon, tried to hornswoggle the two bird-brained cowhands each week.
Ben and Howdy, meanwhile, had to put up with Old Fooler, a mean old roan horse with a mind of his own who stole every scene he was in (his favourite trick was to sit down sedately when someone wanted him to buck).
Ben and Howdy got some relief at the Longhorn Cafe in the nearby town of Hi-Lo, which they tore up every Saturday night, with the assistance of their girlfriends, Ada (Bobbi Jordan) and Sally (Janis Hansen).
Also in the cast on a recurring basis were Jay Silverheels as Wall Street Journal subscribing Native American John Tallgrass, Andy Devine as the richest man in Texas, Honest John Denton; and J. Pat O’Malley
The series aired on Tuesday nights on ABC, up against the still-popular Red Skelton Show on CBS. Sponsors included R.J. Reynolds Tobacco.
Jim Ed Love
J. Pat O’Malley
Honest John Denton