Today marks the fiftieth Anniversary of “Lancer”, created by the award winning western author, Sam Peeples.
On this date in 1968, CBS premiered the series on national TV. It was a hopeful beginning; something very different from the westerns that had proceeded the show in the late 1950’s and early sixties.
“Lancer” was darker than the others, featuring a fractured family that found themselves coming together under extreme difficulties. Andrew Duggan starred as Murdoch Lancer, the stoic and seemingly distant patriarch. Wayne Maunder starred as Scott Lancer, Boston raised Civil war veteran and elder son. James Stacy starred in what would become his signature role, younger son, Johnny Madrid Lancer; the wild card. Teresa Baur co-starred as Murdoch’s young ward, who told the “boys” to just think of her as their sister.
The show lasted only two years on screen; the original concept of a continuing drama focusing on the reunification of a family struggling to hold on to their Legacy turned into “stand alone” episodes. Some good; some not so good. The episode “Zee”, featuring Wayne Maunder, Stephanie Powers and Jack Elam, won the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award for Best Script.
And now, fifty years later the show still exists in the mind and the hearts of countless fans. Facebook and Yahoo abound with sites featuring the show and the stars. All fans living in the hope that someday, “Lancer” will be given its due; either in a new incarnation, or with remastered episodes available on disk.
We live in that hope.