Thursday, September 4, 2014

This 'n That Thursdays: "The Rogues" Television Series (1964-1965)

Cast of "The Rogues"
(from Wikipedia)

I am a baby boomer.  I was born in the mid-1950s, and grew up with the then-newfangled contraption known as the black-and-white television set.  These sets were substantial pieces of furniture, encased in wood and requiring two grown men to move.  Channels were few and viewing options limited back then.  Being so young at the time, I have few clear recollections, just a jumbled mix of tidbits floating around in my brain from the era: "20 Mule Team Borax" and Alka-Seltzer's "Speedy"; Mighty Mouse and Captain Kangaroo; "The Guiding Light" and "Search for Tomorrow" (back-to-back soap operas and each only 15 minutes long, shown at noon and watched religiously five days a week by my mother); Laurence Welk, Ed SullivanDavid Susskind, and the inimitable Walter Cronkite; and of course the captivating shows from Walt Disney every Sunday night when we were allowed to stay up an hour past our usual bedtime.  My parents even watched the original "Star Trek" which we were not allowed to stay up for, even though I was old enough by then to be aware of the show's popularity and wanted desperately to see it.

One show I do not remember from that time period, however, is "The Rogues", which aired for one season from 1964-1965 and starred David Niven, Charles Boyer, and Gig Young as cosmopolitan con artist cousins.  I recently discovered the series on YouTube, and quickly realized that I had found a real gem!  I cannot believe that I have never seen this show before, but apparently there were some production problems (some of the actors had many other commitments and one of the co-producers died the year before show debuted), so the series did not get the exposure and promotion it needed to garner a wider audience at the time of its release.  However, now that I've found the complete collection I intend to make up for lost time by watching one of the 30 hour-long episodes every day until I've seen them all.  Here is Episode One from the YouTube link, which features David Niven:

How could you not love a show that introduces a family bulldog named Pertwee, and briefly features a British race horse named Crumpet?  In addition to the three excellent actors playing the leads (all popular and well known at the time), the cast includes Gladys Cooper and Robert Coote, both respected British actors of stage and screen, as well as Larry Hagman in some of the later episodes.  "The Rogues" actually won the 1965 Golden Globe Award for Best TV Show, and deserved to have a longer run, but alas, this was not to be.  This series deserves more recognition, and I for one am delighted to have finally found it!

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