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Part 3

Johnny tells of the reunion movie that never happened.

Q: We've heard about the plans for a "Rifleman" movie. Tell us about it.

JC: Producers Jules Levy and Arthur Gardner had been talking to some different writers and were planning a feature film on "The Rifleman" within the near future and that's all I know. I've spoken to them occasionally and I saw the producers about a month ago when Chuck threw a suprise party for his secretary and they were all there and we were talking about it then. They really seem to want to do it, so I think it will probably be done.

Q: What's been holding it up?

JC: A number of things have kept it from happening in the past, but Levy-Gardner-Laven, the three men who produced "The Rifleman", have control over the show. They made the show in partnership with Four Star and then they bought out Four Star's piece of the action. When they've been approached by the networks, supposedly they had been reluctant to make deals with them because the networks were always asking for certain conditions that the producers just didn't feel they had to submit to. So they were always involved with other projects and never gave it a total commitment of their time. "The Rifleman" has just continued showing on TV all over the country, which I think is kinda nice. I think that probably what's giving it its longevity is the father and son relationship and the timeless appeal of that sort of thing. Now, because so many people have expressed interest in it and because I've seen other shows coming back, I would like to do it especially as a movie rather than another TV series. If they get a good script and it all depends on that, I hope they don't make the mistake like they did with the "Lone Ranger" movie. They missed an opportunity in not picking it up twenty years later and to just continue with Clayton Moore as an older person. I already know they are not going to make that mistake with "The Rifleman" because they are going with Chuck and myself as we are today. I would look pretty ridiculous saying 'Pa' and running and jumping into his arms, so they don't really have a choice. Originally it was supposed to take place in the 1880s, and now they'll have it taking place around the turn of the century, and the locale will probably be the same. As far as the premise of the story, there are so many ways it could go.

Q: A possible plot has you coming back from a big metropolis as a doctor or lawyer, or coming back due to your father's poor health.

JC: That seems like a logical course. After all, I was always going off to school and I think that he would have pushed me to get a higher education. And also at the turn of the century, the New Mexico territory was becoming a state, I think something that was overlooked in the series. What I would like to see them do is actually examine New Mexico's history at that time and deal with some of the actual facts of that period. In 168 episodes that we did, they never touched upon the fact that in the 1880s, it was the time of "Billy The Kid". That was very big news all over the state and I don't think that it was ever mentioned. There is so much interesting history for that region dealing with the Indians and the conflicts there, and possibly I could come back working for the arm of the law that deals with Indian affairs, and there could be a conflict there between Pa and myself. Or we could go another way, maybe I could come back and open up the first hair salon in North Fork...

Q: Will Paul Fix(Micah) be in the movie?

JC: Paul Fix is semi-retired. He's 82 years-old now and I visit him occasionally and he's not in the best of health. Maybe he will feel like doing it. He's not really interested in working anymore. He's on dialysis twice a week now and so he's having some rough times physically.

(Excerpts from an interview from 1982. Lucas and Mark McCain had minor roles in "The Gambler IV: The Luck Of The Draw" in 1991 with other past TV Western stars.)

Who would you like to see starring as Lucas McCain if the movie were to be done today? Leave your choice in the guestbook.

PART FOUR: THE CONCLUSION


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