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Short-Timers Revisited


Most series seen in reruns originally had a healthy long life on network television. But sprinkled in Rerun Land among such classics as "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," "Leave it to Beaver" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show," are series that only lasted a season or two. Some barely made it 13 weeks.

TNT's lineup includes some interesting obscurities. There's Then Came Bronson, a one-hour drama which aired on NBC September 1969-September 1970. Michael Parks starred as Jim Bronson, a big-city reporter who quits his job and sets out across America on a motorcycle after his best friend commits suicide.

Does anybody remember The Rounders? That Western comedy, based on the 1965 film starring Henry Fonda and Glenn Ford, premiered on ABC in September 1967 and was history by January. Ron Hayes and Patrick Wayne, the Duke's son, starred as two rowdy cowboys who found themselves in debt to the second richest man in Texas (Chill Wills, reprising his film role).

No more successful was Logan's Run, adapted from the hit 1976 sci-fi flick, which debuted on CBS in September 1977 and was canceled less than four months later. A pre-"Trapper John, M.D." Gregory Harrison and Heather Menzies from "The Sound of Music" starred in the futuristic action-adventure.

USA Network is airing such short-lived series as Crime Story, Square Pegs, My Sister Sam and The New Mike Hammer. Though currently on hiatus, keep an eye out on USA for Land of the Giants, an Irwin Allen-sci-fi thriller which aired on ABC September 1968-September 1970 and starred Gary Conway of "I Was a Teen-age Frankenstein" fame.

Other USA gems: Tales of the Gold Monkey, ABC's 1982 "Raiders of the Lost Ark" rip-off starring Stephen Collins and a Jack Russell terrier with an eye-patch, and It's Your Move, a 1984-85 NBC situation comedy starring a pre-teen Jason Batemen and pre-". . . Married With Children" David Garrison.

Lifetime's lineup includes the short-lived 1989 NBC comedy Sister Kate, starring Stephanie Beacham as a nun assigned to a small orphanage in upstate New York, and CBS' 1984-85 medical comedy "E.R.," starring Elliott Gould and Mary McDonnell of "Dances With Wolves."

"That's My Mama" occasionally pops up in the wee hours of the morning on KTLA. The sitcom has surprisingly longevity considering it only aired one season, 1974-1975, on ABC. Clifton Davis of "Amen" starred as a hip black barber and Theresa Merritt was his "Mama," who wanted him to settle down and marry.

"Branded" and "The Guns of Will Sonnett," two rather offbeat Westerns from the 1960s, frequently air after KCOP's late-late movie.

Set in the 1880s, "Branded" made its debut as a mid-season replacement on NBC in January, 1965, and ended its run 20 months later. Chuck Connors starred as Jason McCord, a distinguished soldier who was dismissed from the service after being unjustly accused of cowardice.

Walter Brennan and Dack Rambo headline "The Guns of Will Sonnett," which aired from 1967-69 on ABC. Brennan played an old Calvary scout who headed West with his grandson (Rambo) to find the boy's father who had disappeared 19 years before.

Every Sunday afternoon, the Disney Channel airs "Swiss Family Robinson," Irwin Allen's version of the Johann Wyss classic tale of a family shipwrecked on a desert island. Martin Milner, Willie Aames and Helen Hunt were the Robinsons. The series began in September, 1975, and was canceled the following April.

Joining the Arts and Entertainment Network lineup this month is "Call to Glory," a drama about a military family set in America during the Cold War of the 1960s. Craig T. Nelson ("Coach"), Cindy Pickett ("St. Elsewhere") and Elisabeth Shue ("Adventures in Babysitting") starred. The series aired on ABC in August 1984 and had disappeared beyond the blue horizon by February. "Call to Glory" premieres May 17.

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