The Rifleman: Original Star Johnny Crawford on New Series Plans

Rifleman new cbs seriesEarlier today, we reported that CBS wants to revive the classic Western series, The Rifleman. They’ve signed Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier to a script deal and Harry Potter director Chris Columbus is on board to direct the pilot episode if the project gets that far.

As fans of the old ABC TV series know, the original Western is set in New Mexico and stars former pro-baseball player Chuck Connors as tough rancher named Lucas McCain. A widower, he’s a single dad to his only son, Mark (Johnny Crawford). Lucas is also a crack shot with a Winchester rifle but uses it only when necessary.

Connors died from lung cancer in 1992 but Crawford is still active in the industry. He continued to act when the show went off the air in 1963 and currently focuses on music. He’s a singer and leads the California-based Johnny Crawford Orchestra which specializes in vintage dance music.

Crawford tells us that he finds the possibility of a new Rifleman series “intriguing.” We asked if he’d be interested in being connected with a new show in some way and Crawford said, “I would love to be involved as an actor, director or music supervisor. I’ve always loved Westerns and I loved working on the original series.” He noted, “It was a great childhood.”

Crawford kept in touch with Connors up until the latter’s demise. They actually reprised their beloved roles not long before Connors died, in a 1991 Kenny Rogers TV movie called The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw.

What do you think? If the new Rifleman series gets made, would you like to see Crawford involved somehow? In a cameo role or something more permanent?

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108 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Sue North says

    I grew up watching The Rifleman and still watch reruns every Saturday morning. I would love to see a remake with Johnny playing the sheriff. he was an awesome child actor.

  2. Debra says

    i would love to see The Rifleman revised. Of course it won’t be the same, but if Johnny Crawford is involved it’s bound to be good. Johnny will make sure of that..

    • john y says

      From what I gather this has been scrapped about a year or so ago. Which is a damm shame. It would be a quality show…naming better than 99% of the crap on tv now.

  3. Pierce Moran says

    Johnny Crawford was an amazing child actor and I would love to see more of his adult work. I believe it would be most interesting to see his take on playing Micah Torrance. That character was a critical part of the Rifleman story and Crawford’s interpretation of the character would help he reboot stay true to the world of Mark and Lucas McCain.

    I would also insist that another tall athletic Irish actor play Lucas McCain, the Rifleman and a small blonde kid, his son. Stay true to the creator’s work.

      • Roger Treistman says

        I have watched every episode of the Rifleman and I would like it to continue! Chuck Connors is my favorite actor! I am now 65 years old and Chuck Connors is almost the same age as my father. I would very much like this show to continue of course with new actors but I think Johnny Crawford could still play the part of Chuck Connors son.

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