1 9 7 9 – 1 9 8 0 (USA)
Revivals have had a generally dismal record on network television, and this one – airing on CBS between 28 November 1979 and 16 January 1980 – was no exception.
The original Maverick was one of the biggest hits of the late 1950s and widely remembered for its laid-back, easygoing sense of humour.
The secret of its success was James Garner, a magnetic personality with just the right sardonic touch, and when CBS tried to bring it all back without him 20 years later the effect was like sarsaparilla gone flat.
Garner did appear briefly in the opening scene of the first episode, meeting his successor on the trail, but it was Charles Frank who had the unenviable task of trying to fill his boots as the permanent lead.
Ben Maverick was Bret’s cousin (which brought the number of Maverick kin appearing on the two series up to five: Ben, Beau, Bart, Bret, and Brent). He was Harvard-educated and inheritor of the Maverick family traditions of gambling artistry, disarming good looks, a willingness to bend the law wherever profitable, and an abiding belief in cowardice as the best way to avoid getting killed on the rough frontier.
He was a little more of a dandy than Bret, having learned much from his father Beau.
Ben’s nemesis, partner, and romantic interest was Nell McGarrahan (Susan Blanchard), a pretty slick operator in her own right, who hoped to marry him someday.
Marshal Edge Troy (John Dehner) always seemed to arrive on the scene just in time to save Ben from bodily harm. He never quite understood Ben’s sense of humour, or anybody else’s for that matter. He was all business.
Marshal Troy’s territory was the area of Idaho where Ben and Nell did their gambling and ran an occasional con game.
Series stars Charles Frank and Susan Blanchard were already well acquainted before this series premiered. They had spent several years playing husband and wife on the ABC daytime soap opera All My Children and were married in real life as well.
Marshal Edge Troy