There were four instances during the nine years
of radio Gunsmoke when adult actor Richard Beals
did not perform the boy voices.
Jaliscoe May 10, 1952 3
Quarter-Horse March 28, 1953 49
Wild West July 18, 1953 65
Indian White September 24, 1955 180
It wasn't quite as much of a stretch for McGovern and Ogg
to do boy voices on radio Gunsmoke,
because they were actually... boys.
Or close to being boys, anyway.
Ogg was about 16 when he did Indian White.
On television, Sammy Ogg had a bit role as a delivery boy
in a well written episode of Maverick called 'Day of Reckoning';
and had an excellent scene with Guy Madison at the beginning
of the Wagon Train episode 'The Riley Gratton Story.'
In the radio version of Have Gun Will Travel,
actor Joel Davis was cast as a boy in two episodes--
'The Teacher' and 'Treasure Hunt.'
It is both insult and praise to the radio episodes
'Yorky' and 'Indian White' that the tv adaptations were so disastrous,
and shed much in the translation.
Both originals were excellent explorations
of the emotional confusion experienced by children
who had been been kidnapped by Indians;
after having been brought up by the Indians as one of their own,
each of the 'rescued' boys sees no signs of home in white society.
Alas, in the migration from radio to television,
Indian White's Dennis Cullen was reduced to a brat and a punk.
Yorky's story degenerated into a 1950s teenage angst drama,
and to make things worse, the casting agent chose a teenage actor
who looked older. So much for the boy Yorky.
It is also quite telling of Peckinpah's mentality
that in adapting Meston's thoughtful script to television,
he felt the need to add... baddies.
If you want writing with uncompromising complexity
and acting with emotional depth,
you must return to the source... the radio originals.
August 2, 2007
Copyright © 2007-2013 E. A. Villafranca, Jr.
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