Alias Smith and Jones

This television show only last three seasons from 1971-1973 and from reading the reviews of the day it attracted young viewers because of the young male leads Pete Duel and Ben Murphy. It’s a western comedy about two reformed non-violent bank robbers who are trying to go straight.

The Governor has promised them amnesty if they stay out of trouble for a while but no one can know so, they are still wanted. The episodes are humorous and different from the two big westerns at the time…Gunsmoke and Bonanza. The episodes tended to be uneven though but overall it was a good show.

Pete Duel was going through problems in his life at the time. During the first season, he was driving drunk and pulled into the path of an oncoming car. Two people were injured and one hospitalized. This would haunt him till his death and he would fight a drinking problem to the end.

Pete and Ben are in about every shot of the series. They both worked 12-14 hour days 6-7 days a week. Pete was never happy with the show. He was restless and wanted to do different things. When the second season started he was put on 2-year probation for the accident and lost his drivers license.

One quote from him around this time about being in a TV series was “It’s a big fat drag to any actor with interest in his work. It’s the ultimate trap.” He was very environmentally conscious and often spoke out on issues like pollution.

After being driven home from the set on December 30, 1971, he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the early hours of December 31, 1971.

The show continued on with Roger Davis taking over Duel’s character in the series. It lasted only 17 episodes after Duel’s departure.

This is from Wikipedia… it’s a sad commentary

Upon learning of Duel’s death, executive producer Jo Swerling, Jr., initially wanted to end the series, but ABC refused.  Swerling later stated:

ABC said, “No way!” They said, “You have a contract to deliver this show to us, and you will continue to deliver the show as best you can on schedule or we will sue you.” Hearing those words, Universal didn’t hesitate for a second to instruct us to stay in production. We were already a little bit behind the eight ball on airdates. So, we contacted everybody, including Ben (Murphy), and told them to come back in. The entire company was reassembled and back in production by one o’clock that day shooting scenes that did not involve Peter — only 12 hours after his death.

The Intro

Narrator: Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry – the two most successful outlaws in the history of the West. And in all the trains and banks they robbed, they never shot anyone. This made our two latter-day Robin Hoods very popular – with everyone but the railroads and the banks.

Jed ‘Kid’ Curry: There’s one we thing we gotta get, Heyes.

Hannibal Heyes: What’s that?

Jed ‘Kid’ Curry: Out of this business!

Sheriff Lom Trevors: The governor can’t come flat out and give you amnesty now. First you have to prove you deserve it.

Hannibal Heyes: Ah. So all we have to do is just stay out of trouble till the governor figures we deserve amnesty.

Jed ‘Kid’ Curry: But in the mean time, we’ll still be wanted.

Sheriff Lom Trevors: Well, that’s true. Till then only you, me and the Governor will know about it. It’ll be our little secret.

Hannibal Heyes: That’s a good deal?

Jed ‘Kid’ Curry: I sure wish the governor’d let a few more people in on our secret!

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

11 thoughts on “Alias Smith and Jones”

  1. Hmmm.. I remember this show as far as knowing that it existed but I don’t think I ever saw a single episode. That is odd because back in the ‘ we have three stations to watch’ days I tended to have watched anything that came on at least a few times. What time/ day was it on?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was 5 when it was on and barely remember it. I remember Pete Duel being funny and that is about it. I’ve watched some episodes since then. You had me interested so I looked it up. Thursday nights at 8pm-9pm on ABC

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the info…I think I now know why I never saw it- the ABC channel didn’t come in well during those years in the early 70’s- we got CBS and NBC strong–I think around 1972 cable came to my little town and then I got to watch MNF!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s funny because here ABC was and is channel 2 and it was the worse reception also. We didn’t get cable here until the 80s! Nashville got it earlier of course but not the surrounding areas.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I can even remember the DAY that I heard we were getting cable. My mom’s had a friend who told her she got a job as the receptionist at this cable operation that was coming into town- and we would have like a dozen channels! It was like Christmas in April. …. Now I wake up in the middle of the night with a few hundred stations and can’t find anything to watch… Not 57 Channels and nothing on Bruce but 300 channels or whatever and nothing on…. I am hoping the library gets some of my orders in today- the status says online– in transit! I want to read that Harpo book!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I remember the day it came…I was in my teens but yes it was Christmas… Bruce did have it right… I really think you will like it. Just great stories of a great time. I’ll just open it at any page now and start from there.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a big crush on Pete Duel when this show was on in the UK, so obviously I never missed an episode and was very upset when it ended. It was a very funny series, but I got the DVDs a few years ago and I didn’t enjoy them as much… though I wonder if that had something to do no longer feeling that strange attraction anymore…!

    There was a series of four films that were meant to have been made into a show, in the 80s, that I think must’ve been based on Smith and Jones (even down to the character looking a bit like and having the surname ‘Duell’ – one letter different from Pete’s) – called Desperado. Don’t know if you saw it, but it was also quite entertaining.

    There are a few bits of it on Youtube.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember it as a kid and I got all of them a few years ago. Since I didn’t know what was going on as much as I did as a kid…I enjoyed them but the episodes were spotty. It was a fun premise as a show. It was so sad what happened to Duel. He seemed like a great guy that cared about people and his environment.

      I will have to look Desperado up that sounds really cool. I must have missed that when it came on. Since I’ve gotten into Westerns it’s right up my alley.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great show and hugely popular in the uk. The only other tv western that was repeated as much was The High Chaparal. Both were classy with great guest stars, but Alias Smith & jones had teen appeal. Such a tragedy, it was such a sad shock when the news ran the story on pete duel. I enjoyed the 2nd series but it was never quite the same. They should have made roger davis character a new one with the same name, it would have been less grating than a recast.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It may have been more remembered in the UK than over here which is a shame. Yea I was only around 5 when he passed away but it seems like I remember some news about it.

      Liked by 1 person

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