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. Sprite says

    Johnny Crawford was the biggest teen star in America when the Rifleman originally aired. The equivalent of Justin Bieber and on the cover of all the teen magazines! Jeff, back in the day it was Johnny Crawford with the ‘stature’ (grin). There are millions of women who would love to see him on the screen again. I am glad to hear he continues to have a good life, and hope he participates either in front of or behind the camera.

    The values the show represented and the relationship between father and son are still meaningful today. I hope the new one can retain that flavor.

  2. derek says

    Yeah I could see him playing Micah.Chuck Connors role as Lucas McCain wouldn’t be a good fit cause even though Johnny Crawford’s a grown man he certainly isn’t 6’6″.

  3. derek says

    I would love to see the original.characters have some part in the remake I just hope that Johnny Crawford goes through with it cause it would be awesome. I loved him as Marc McCain.

  4. says

    It would be really nice if Johnny Crawford could be in the new Rifleman. He’d probably be good as Micah==or Sweeney, Nils, Doc Burrage, or the banker. He’d be a little too old to play Lucas==George Strait (yes, the country singer) would be good for that role, while other country stars can play outlaws (Toby Keith, Trace Adkins, and Phil Vassar have the right look for that).

  5. Vida says

    I would love to see Johnny in the remake. Dh and I watch the Rifleman reruns all the time. I hope they put some of Johnny,s music on the show too. He is an amazing artist in music and acting. . I think he would be excellent playing the role of a writer, or a newspaper man, writing the weekly news, or a school teacher, and I would love to see him with grown kids, and a wife. Maybe a grandkid or two. That would be awsome.

  6. Rita Wood says

    Cant wait to see this! I loved Mark on Rifleman. Hope he will be on this new one,but I cant find out when it is coming on. Does anyone know?


    I am a through and through devoted fan of the series, and very excited about the remake. We also need more westerns in prime TV!

  8. elaine says

    Did Lucas and Milly ever get married?? If, series should continue where it left off and include they getting together.

  9. Jeff says

    While I love Johnny and would love to see him in the new show I’m not sure he has the stature of Chuck Conners. But I could see him as Micah or as someone else commented Johnny playing Mark. Picking up the rifle as his dad did. Several great possibilities. Hurry up and get er done!

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