CTVA - The Virginian 1.19 "The Man Who Couldn't Die" 30-Jan-1963 NBC

The Classic TV Archive - TV Western series
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1.19 [--]
"The Man Who Couldn't Die"

Original NBC Broadcast - 30 January 1963

Revue Studios Production
Executive Producer Roy Huggins
Produced by Frank Price
Teleplay by Harry Kleiner / Story by John Francis O'Mara
Directed by David Friedkin

(shown on the ride-in)
Lee J. Cobb as Judge Henry Garth
Doug McClure as Trampas
Gary Clarke as Steve Hill
James Drury as The Virginian

Guest Star:
Vera Miles [ Mrs. Wallace]

End Credits (complete)
Roberta Shore as Betsy
Jeff Morrow as William Bradford
David White as Paul J. Willson
Walter Brooke as Lt. Paul Kenner
Pat McCaffrie as Tom Rodell
James Doohan as George Mitchell
Brendon Dillon as Mr. Bemis
E.J. Andre as Alex
Max Slaten as the Cabbie
Anne Loos as Kitty Rodell
Ollie O'Toole as The Ticketman
Virginian Theme - Percy Faith
Director of Photography Benjamin H. Kline, A.S.C.
Art Director - George Patrick
Film Editor - Bud Small
Editorial Dept. Head - David J. O'Connell
Set Decorators - John McCarthy and Ralph Sylos
Musical Supervision - Stanley Wilson
Color Consultant - Alex Quiroga
Color Processing by Consolidated Film Industries
Assistant Director - Edward K. Dodds
Sound - John W. Rixey
Costume Supervisor - Vincent Dee
Makeup - Leo Lotito, Jr,
Hair Stylist - Florence Bush
The title "The Virginain" by permission of EMKA, LTD.

Series regulars in this Episode:
Judge Garth and Betsy, (briefly) Virginian, Trampas, Steve and recurring character Alex the cook

Brief Synopsis:
In San Francisco, Judge Garth is sure he accidentally killed a man who had cheated him on a rail line building contract, but no one will believe his confession because the body has disappeared.  After confiding with a detective friend about a woman who had come to Shiloh to be Betsy's teacher (by means of a flashback), the Judge realizes that perhaps she had covered up for him because she was afraid he had purposefully murdered the man. However, when Garth confronts Mrs. Wallace with this possibility he finds that she actually had a part in the scheme to swindle him.

A few bits from the flashback story:
Convinced that there is more to life for Betsy than what she can learn from a bunch of cowhands, Judge Garth decides to send her away to learn "manners" in Boston.  Betsy, who refuses to go, is relieved when an advertisement for a local girls' school appears in the paper.  Finding the teacher to be quite qualified (as well as beautiful), the Judge advises Mrs. Wallace (Miles) that Medicine Bow might not be ready for the refined education she has to offer. He then proposes that she come to live at Shiloh and tutor Betsy, who is "at the age where she needs feminine influence as well as education."  Mrs. Wallace seems reluctant and has no intention of becoming a "governess," but the Judge suggests that once word gets out that his daughter is receiving instruction the other ranchers may become interested in her school.  When Mrs. Wallace arrives at the ranch Trampas (true to form) flirts with her and asks if the wedding ring on her finger was "real or for protection."  As she replies that it was real but the "man who put it there died," Trampas deflates with, "I could cut my tongue out for that."  Betsy wants to check on her pony and has many things to do outdoors, but Mrs. Wallace informs her that school starts at 8:00 and young ladies must learn to be prompt.  Although the Judge is impressed with her progress, Betsy is intimidated and bored with her piano, dancing, French, and poetry lessons and wonders why she has to learn those things anyway and can't just "grow up and be left alone."  She doesn't see the point of "social decor" and blurts out, "What does it matter what people say or how they say it or what they think about you...What does matter is the way they feel about each other."  Betsy had hoped Mrs. Wallace would be more like "a sister or mother" not just a teacher, but the woman becomes more and more moody and withdrawn.  The Judge is concerned about Mrs. Wallace and asks if something is troubling her. Charmed by her sophistication and loveliness, Garth has begun to have a romantic interest in her, but Mrs. Wallace declares she could never be attracted to him. Garth comments that one "can't live with the dead," but she "can't abandon them either" since "they live in our memories."  The next morning after Betsy apologizes for the remarks she had made the day before, Mrs. Wallace complains of a terrible headache and gives the girl the rest of the day off from her studies.  Betsy is thrilled with her freedom but tears her dress while out riding and returns to the ranch to find Mrs. Wallace going through papers from the Judge's desk.   Knowing her father is attracted to the woman, Betsy doesn't want to face the Judge with the news and asks the Virginian to tell him instead.  The Judge feels this is all nonsense, and Betsy is hurt that he doubts her story.  When confronted, Mrs. Wallace denies the incident telling the Judge, "Children sometimes are vindictive for reasons known only to themselves."  In her room ripping up her school books, Betsy asks angrily what good was all her teaching since Mrs. Wallace had told her a person must have ideals yet then she lied.  The Judge inquires if she couldn't have just been mistaken since the light had been dim in the study. Betsy cries that she wished she had been mistaken but she wasn't.  Her father believes her, and Betsy weeps, "I love you, too, Daddy."

If you're one to try to remember "where were those scenes?", here are two from this episode: As Betsy repeatedly plays one note on the piano, the Judge and Virginian discuss what needs to be fixed around the ranch.  The Virginian suggests they start with the piano since it "sounds stuck to me."   The Judge smiles and tells his foreman it was a beautiful sound because he'd been waiting to hear her fingers on the keyboard ever since she was a little girl.  Then there is the scene where Trampas is put to use helping Betsy learn "the dance."   The Judge enters the room as Trampas is practicing his bow. The embarrassed cowhand says he has to get back to work, but Garth tells him he'll "pass it on to the Virginian."  Trampas' response is that the foreman "wouldn't take kindly" to that--nor would anyone else. Seeing the humor in the situation, the Judge won't let the cowboy off and tells Mrs. Wallace to call on Trampas any time because there was no one better at "dancing chores." (bj)

Vera Miles also appears in 3.13 "Portrait of a Widow" and 9.10 "Experiment at New Life" 

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