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. Carolyn says

    I would love to see Johnny appear in the new Riffleman. I get up early every Saturday morning to watch Riffleman. My husband and I don’t share many T.V. programs but we watch the Riffleman together. It a great story with valuable moral lessons..

  2. Ken Durkee says

    I have been watching the rifleman mostly everyday that it is on if I am available, I watched it as a boy it was one of the shows my father watched and I am now 52 years old, it is my most watched show on TV. There is always something to look for that you have not recognized before on the episodes. It is too bad that he died so young. Was Chuck married at the end of his life. I was wanting to know if there is a museum and if the rifle is still around. One thing that you did not see was the wall on the left when you would walk in the front door where the camera’s were located maybe in one or two episodes. Thank You
    Ken Durkee

  3. says

    I would love to see Johnny Crawford carrying on the the legacy of the McCain family. But I prefer to see him with a spouse and a son name Lucas Mark McCain. I loved anything with Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford.

  4. Jeff says

    I would love to see the rifleman reborn. It is one of my childhoods greatest memories and I watch it every night in reruns. Yes include Johnny in any way you can. Maybe as Micah. He isn’t that old probably but he would sure know him inside and out.

    • Lauren says

      I agree. I know if I were casting, I’d ask Johnny to portray Micah. Sadly, I was born a few decades late to watch the show when it aired, but I watch every episode I can get at now that it’s in reruns. It’s a great show and modern television sure could afford to take a few notes from it and others like it.

  5. Bob Aiello says

    I’d love to act in it!!! I watched it when it was on and am a loyal fan now that its being re run.
    I always thought I could pull off the Johnny Crawford part, but at this point I’d have a better chance at Micah! LOL
    I hope they make it and Johnny is in it.

  6. Mark says

    How about Johnny AS the Rifleman. Avenging his father’s murder. Picking up his father’s rifle in the first episode. Then taking up where the series left off, him being a rancher and protecting North Fork with the sherriff.

  7. Anonymous says

    Yes, Johnny Crawford should be a part, a huge part of the return of “Rifleman”. Why Not? Even though he was a child star, he was skill at a very young age – I take my hat off to him!!!

  8. Marianne says

    Yes, yes and yes to Johnny Crawford being involved in a remake as a preacher (singing) and spiritual advisor to the community ! Wish they would do a remake of Gunsmoke, too !

  9. Lorrie says

    Absolutely would LOVE to see Johnny Crawford star in a new series, following in his father’s (Lucas) footsteps. I’d saw a Lawman…married with children to continue to values and morals taught on the original show.

  10. Bill says

    I would love to see a Rifleman series with Johnny square in the middle sharing his wisdom with the younger folk. “His” son is the current, “Rifleman” and Johnny tempers him with his wisdom.

  11. Eileen says

    I’d love to see a revival of the Rifleman, but only if Johnny Crawford is involved. Johnny Crawford and I are the same age, and I remember him when he was a mouseketeer on the old Micky Mouse Club back in 1955.

  12. says

    If they’re going to remake The Rifleman, they really need to include Johnny Crawford somehow. I’m not sure how a “sequel” with McCain descendants would work, with the fast changing history of the west. (It would be weird to see Lucas’ grandkids fighting in WWI.) I hope they find a way of making it without upping the darkness and violence that so many recent westerns feature.

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