Now or never: Remembering ‘Rawhide’ star Eric Fleming

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The final 24 hours of Clint Eastwood’s “Rawhide” costar Eric Fleming are chillingly recalled by Nico Minardos in a vintage interview. Although this Dutch magazine article misspelled Fleming’s “Rawhide” character’s first name, it presents an awesome glimpse of the actor’s winning smile. “Rawhide” was the fifth-longest-running American television Western in prime time, exceeded only by “Gunsmoke,” “Bonanza,” “The Virginian,” and “Wagon Train.” Image Credit: CBS Photo Archive
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Eric Fleming opts for a rare change in costume as he sports city slicker threads during an end-of-the-cattle-drive “Rawhide” episode circa 1962. The cowboy, who spent much of his down time in between scenes sans shoes, appeared in 203 episodes before he was let go in late spring 1965 along with fellow cast mates James Murdock [Mushy], Sheb Wooley [Pete], Rocky Shahan [Joe Scarlet], and Robert Cabal [Hey Soos]. Image Credit: CBS Photo Archive
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Eric Fleming (center) is captured along with the cast and crew of “High Jungle,” intended as a two-part episode of the ABC family adventure series “Off to See the Wizard.” Image Credit: Rawhide.ws / The Debra Hamel Collection
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Eric Fleming on location alongside the Huallaga River in Peru while filming “High Jungle,” intended as a two-part episode of the ABC family adventure series “Off to See the Wizard.” Image Credit: Rawhide.ws / The Debra Hamel Collection
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Eric Fleming and costar Nico Minardos prepare to depart in the canoe that claimed the former’s life on September 28, 1966. The longtime bachelor was set to marry sweetheart Lynne Garber just two days later. Image Credit: Rawhide.ws / The Debra Hamel Collection
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A pensive still of Eric Fleming as crotchety, yet perpetually fair-minded “Rawhide” trail boss Gil Favor circa June 22, 1962. Fleming imbued his role with an air of command, a booming baritone voice and the ability, which Clint Eastwood envied, to memorize a page of dialogue at a glance and rattle it off without hesitation. Image Credit: CBS Photo Archive
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The shit’s about to hit the fan! Doris Day, Eric Fleming, and Dom DeLuise are captured in the romantic spy caper comedy “The Glass Bottom Boat,” released theatrically by MGM on June 9, 1966. Fleming was cast in “High Jungle” based upon his sophisticated, gun toting portrayal of CIA agent Edgar Hill. Image Credit: Flickr user Joseph Black / Warner Bros.
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Head ’em up! Move ’em out! Eric Fleming as “Rawhide” trail boss Gil Favor poses for a portrait circa 1959 at CBS Studio Center in Los Angeles. As a World War II Seabee, a 200-pound block of steel slipped from a hoist and shattered his face, requiring extensive plastic surgery which seemed to leave him with a permanently frozen expression. Image Credit: CBS Photo Archive
Airing on September 25, 1964, is “The Race,” the debut episode of “Rawhide’s” seventh season. In a synopsis borrowed from IMDB user David Stevens, Rowdy Yates vows to beat Gil Favor’s herd to Abilene in his first shot as trail boss. The ramrod quits because he opposed Gil’s not letting their crew party down, before hitting the trail with a fresh herd. Gil recommends Rowdy for a trail boss job, and lets Rowdy take on Wishbone as cook, rather than bid up wages. When Gil sees the dirty tactics Rowdy uses, he’s determined not to let his protégé beat him to the railhead, thus getting the better prices for his owner’s steers. Video Credit: CBS / Paramount
“Rawhide:” Click to watch the complete October 16, 1964, episode entitled “The Lost Herd.” In a synopsis borrowed from IMDB user David Stevens, Gil Favor loses almost all of his herd when he dashes through the dangerous Devil’s Patch Quilt Pass in a fierce storm. He was racing trail boss Tom Bickle to the depot because there’s not enough rail-cars for both herds. The winner gets top dollar, the loser would have to spend money penning up his steers, till a long enough train comes running in. Gil’s trail-bossing career may be over, and he hasn’t enough cash to pay his beat-up cowpunchers. Shipping agent Brock Dillman takes a financial beating too, so the reptilian middle man oils up his prize Navy pistol to take it out on Gil. Video Credit: CBS / Paramount
Video Credit: CBS / Paramount

*****************DON’T GO ANYWHERE YET!*****************

Exclusive Interview: Late character actor Gregg Palmer appeared in an impressive six films with John Wayne. By far, “Big Jake” contains Palmer’s best work with the towering legend. In it, the 6'4", 300-pound burly muscle man memorably plays a vicious machete-brandishing villain who threatens his grandson’s life with near deadly results. In the words of fan Tom Horton, Palmer was one of the nastiest bastards to ever fight the Duke. Incidentally, “Big Jake’s” grandson was portrayed by Ethan Wayne in his debut screen appearance. In the just released “The Man Who Killed John Wayne’s Dog: Remembering Gregg ‘Grizzly’ Palmer’s Classic Movie Memories,” the bearded outlaw relives his friendship with the Duke and remembers his 30-year career alongside some of the greatest actors in Hollywood.

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Retro pop culture interviews & lovin’ someone fierce sustain this University of Georgia Master of Agricultural Leadership alum. Email: jeremylr@windstream.net

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