Sunday, July 29, 2018

"SUGARFOOT" - TV THEME with LYRICS - Good Will Hutchins


Here's a shout-out to Will Hutchins, who is now 88. It's taken a while, but his legendary series "Sugarfoot" is now out via legit box sets. These sets are "print on demand," meaning they're a little more expensive on eBay than some other TV season sets. We're fortunate they exist at all, since piracy has led many companies to simply forget about releasing stuff that's "all over YouTube and blogs and torrents and hidden forums." Since everybody likes "free," it's up to fans to step up and buy, and cut out the "my old man's a Dutchman" snickering excuse for "sharing." While Uncle Putin leads some to think that Capitalism is a bad idea, buying and selling is important, and the only way that the studios will offer us pristine digital quality re-issues, or even bother to go into their vaults at all.

Funny thing, Will had a perfect real first name for a western hero: Marshall. He was born Marshall Lowell Hutchason. He was born as far West as you could get at the time: California. His first movie role was as an extra in the W.C. Fields comedy "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break." 

Born at the right time, he was in his 20's when a talent scout at Warner Bros., hungry for handsome guys to star in their burgeoning collection of westerns, signed him up. The same thing happened to James "Maverick" Garner and many others. In the case of the newly re-named Will Hutchins, the slant was to cast him as a brainy version of a western hero. Why not? Will was a cryptographer during the Korean War.

As Tom Brewster, he was the "Sugarfoot," a greenhorn who wandered the territory getting into problem situations and hoping to get out of them with reason and logic...and a knowledge of the Good Book and law books. Brewster, you see was studying to become a lawyer. In fact, he could defend somebody better than shoot somebody. Of course on "Greenhorn," that show about a sugarfoot...oh...my error...things could reverse. Not THAT often though, because Warner Bros. had plenty of other cowboys who were brawnier and quicker on the draw:


That's Will on the left. This is only SOME of the Warners stable (and there was also competition from other studios during the extreme era where DOZENS of westerns dominated prime time TV). 

Oh. You don't recognize all of the guys? It's Will, Peter Brown, Jack Kelly, Ty Hardin, James Garner, Wayde Preston and John Russell. I know, they missed Clint Walker, among many others. (Parenthetically, John Russell and Peter Brown's "Lawman," also finally on DVD or DVD-R, holds up excellently. Russell is even more intense than Clint Eastwood, and troubled Peggie Castle was an alluring saloon girl on the show.) 

"Sugarfoot" lasted for three long hot seasons (69 episodes in all) and they still hold up very well, thanks to Will's unique all-American personality. You'll also find all kinds of soon-to-be stars turning up in guest roles including Adam West, Charles Bronson and Martin Landau). All kinds of cult favorites turn up as well, including the oh-so-delightful Venetia Stevenson, consistently creepy Ray Danton, and "Plan 9" stalwart Gregory Walcott. This was, and is, a somewhat underrated show, and Hutchins was absolutely perfect as the idealistic young lawyer with a slight Will Rogers touch (not much, since it isn't easy to write Rogers-type one-liners). 

Will's versatility, post-"Sugarfoot," included everything from "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "Perry Mason" to the Elvis Presley film "Spinout" and "The Shooting" co-starring Jack Nicholson. He also starred in two short-lived sitcoms, "Hey Landlord" and "Blondie." The good-natured star was less active in the mean-spirited late 70's and 80's, when many nice-looking blond guys (Troy Donahue, Doug McClure, Tab Hunter) likewise had trouble finding suitable roles in middle-age. 

Fans of the classic westerns have been very loyal, and have supported various cowboy-themed memorabilia shows around the country. Will has always been known as one of the really "good guys," just like his "Sugarfoot" image, willing to listen to fanboy babble, and glad to personalize an autographed photo. 

While "Sugarfoot" remains one of the more original Warner Bros. western concoctions, in one way it was just like the rest: a stupid theme song. At best, the theme song simply and ridiculously explained the show's premise ("The Lawman came with the sun. There was a job to be done.") At worst, the lyrics had idiot repetition ("Riverboat ring your bell, fare thee well Annabelle") and things you could easily misunderstand (Maverick didn't live in Jackson Heights, Queens, he lived on Jacks and Queens, because he was a gambler.) As for "Sugarfoot," you get to hear all about the "easy lopin' cattle ropin'" Sugarfoot, thanks to, of all people, Lawrence Welk, his bubbly band, and his sappy vocalists....

SUGARFOOT TV THEME SONG (instant download or listen online...no passwords, Russian spyware or obnoxious demands for a Paypal tip)

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