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 What if the Heyes roles were reversed?

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Penski
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PostSubject: What if the Heyes roles were reversed?   Mon May 12, 2014 12:45 pm

What if Roger Davis and Ben Murphy were cast for the pilot of Alias Smith and Jones.  Do you think the show would have been picked up?  For a second season?

Now imagine Pete Duel playing the role of Smiler.  Could he have pulled it off?  

What if Pete Duel had to replace Roger Davis later on... Would the fans have accepted Heyes' replacement better?  Why or why not?  ("because he's Pete" is not a good answer)

Just wondering...
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PostSubject: Re: What if the Heyes roles were reversed?   Mon May 12, 2014 3:00 pm


What a great question! I'm going to have to ponder for a while... :-)

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PostSubject: Re: What if the Heyes roles were reversed?   Mon May 12, 2014 4:23 pm

Okay - so after 30 seconds of thinking about this... I think Pete could have pulled off the role in Smiler - he was great as Jim Dewey. All smiles and charm but pretty nasty too.

I also don't think I would ever have watch the show if Roger started out as Heyes. Well I may have tried to watch it but I don't think I would have continued. I didn't like the chemistry between Roger and Ben shows - still don't though I have tried to watch because people tell me Ben is great in some of them. I just don't think the chemistry needed for basically a two actor central show was there. I think there was a lot more sniping at each other and not in a nice way. Was it that the scripts or perhaps some animosity over Roger (not his fault) taking over the role caused this. Anger at Pete. Not sure but only being able to know the two Heyes' as they were portrayed, I would have to say the show would have died after the first season. Let's face it other actors, in other shows were dumped and switched and those shows continued. It has to do with the relationship with the other actors. I think the relationship between the Heyes and Kid with Roger and Ben just wasn't enjoyable.
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PostSubject: Re: What if the Heyes roles were reversed?   Tue May 13, 2014 8:40 am

This is an unanswerable question, so it's a good one to ask. We cannot reverse time and forget our memories of one of the most uncomfortable and poorly-handled hires in the history of television. The way that ABC handled Pete's death could and should be a case study of how to do everything wrong. Not only did ABC ignore the fans of the show, and the feelings of everyone on the show who knew Pete, they played on Roger Davis' feelings and shoehorned him into the role of Hannibal Heyes without adequate preparation. It's amazing to me that the show limped into a third season.

The oft-mentioned tension between Roger and Ben probably wouldn't have existed, had they begun the series together. I probably would have watched the show. I can't remember why I watched AS&J in the first place because it was so long ago. It wasn't because I was a Pete Duel fan.

Would fans have accepted Pete as Roger's replacement? If it had been handled the same way as it was in 1971, maybe not. There have been shows since where an actor died, was replaced, and the show went on. I'm thinking of "Gladiator" most recently. And "Glee" is still on the air, despite the tragic death of a young male lead. There must be others that aren't coming to mind right now. In those cases, the production company acknowledged the deaths and tried to memorialize the actors. That sure wasn't done in 1971.

Could Pete handled the role as Danny in "Smiler With A Gun?" I agree with Storm's observation. Pete was alternately charming and menacing as Jim Dewey in "The Virginian." No problem for him.

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PostSubject: Re: What if the Heyes roles were reversed?   Tue May 13, 2014 8:55 am

Hmm? scratch 
If Roger had been offered the part initially then perhaps the show may have had a very different feel - and not necessarily as it was when he stepped in for the third series. He would have had more time to prepare and develop the character and make it his own.

Saying that, if Roger had been cast then perhaps Ben wouldn't have been as another actor may have had a better chemistry with Roger. Ben was chosen as he worked so well with Pete in the audition stages.

And of course Pete could have played Danny Bilson and done it darn well I suspect! sm   Very Happy 

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PostSubject: Re: What if the Heyes roles were reversed?   Tue May 13, 2014 11:50 am

What if Roger Davis and Ben Murphy were cast for the pilot of Alias Smith and Jones. . .
Do you think the show would have been picked up? For a second season?

The writing on the show was good and the actors made it work. Ben Murphy and Pete Duel had a great working chemistry however; Roger Davis has proved his ability too. With this in mind, I do believe being a Western in the early 70s and one which was different from its processors, it would have been picked up for another season. The fact that it survived after Duel’s death shows it had a good deal of followers, more than likely because of its good scripts more than the looks of the actors.

Now imagine Pete Duel playing the role of Smiler.
Could he have pulled it off?

Ick this image is almost as bad as having to picture him never playing Heyes. Yet, I believe he would have done an excellent job. He was a versatile actor who liked difficult parts. I am betting he would have excelled at playing this dark character.

What if Pete Duel had to replace Roger Davis later on...
Would the fans have accepted Heyes' replacement better?
Why or why not? ("because he's Pete" is not a good answer)

Boy howdy, you are going for the hard bantering today. I do think the fans would have accepted Pete Duel. Why, you ask? Because, they accepted Roger Davis.
Western fans are kind of die hard on their genre primarily because we don’t have as much to choose from as other genres. As I stated above, ASJ had a different concept for a western. . it wasn’t a family, a Marshal, or set in one small town. It had guest appearances, of what were considered sizable stars for their time, and it had a good following overall. So, due to this reason, I think the viewers would have just as likely accepted Pete Duel. On the other hand, their Nielson Ratings may have risen with Pete Duel taking Roger Davis’ place. And, not just because he is Pete; but because he was a brunette, to keep the ratio easy ½ the females like brunettes & the other ½ like blondes. . . we won’t figure out ratios for the other hair colors just keep with generics. But, by having a dark haired dark eyed star and a fair haired blue eyed star you cover more options for catching the fancy of a female viewer and thus raise the ratings. Don’t believe me. . . look back at how many shows had one of each and still do as their leading men.


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PostSubject: Re: What if the Heyes roles were reversed?   Tue May 13, 2014 3:32 pm

I find myself agreeing with Frankie. A good person to ask about the fans accepting Pete after Roger is radiogaga; I believe she saw the series episodes with Roger and Ben first and then saw episodes with Pete. Oh, radio??

I do think if Roger had been working for Universal at the beginning of the series and had been cast Ben would NOT have been cast because the chemistry isn't there.

However, here is something for you to ponder over. What if Roger and Pete had been cast? Huggins had cast them together before and was happy with their performances. How do you think the series would have faired with them as the leads? Who would have been Heyes and who would have been the Kid?

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PostSubject: Re: What if the Heyes roles were reversed?   Tue May 13, 2014 6:15 pm

I'd LOVE to hear radiogaga's opinion knowing the Roger Heyes first!

My biggest problem with Roger is that he was so darn good in Smiler! When I see or hear him as Heyes, I keep thinking back to him being the bad guy that the Kid killed. That's why I wrote that challenge about the Kid dreaming Roger was Heyes.

If Heyes had played Smiler and then took the part of Heyes, would I have had as big of a problem? I'm think Pete and Ben's chemistry would have won me over to accept Pete as the new Heyes.

Interesting but probably true is what Frankie said - if Roger was pinned to be Heyes, Ben would not have gotten the role.

So what if Roger and Pete had the ASJ roles and acted together like in Young Country, which I recently saw for the first time? (Good question, BeeJay!) I didn't see a lot of chemistry between them in that show, but can definitely see Pete still as the "con / idea man" Heyes and Roger / Smiler as the "gunslinger" Kid Curry.

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PostSubject: Re: What if the Heyes roles were reversed?   Wed May 14, 2014 12:52 am

*wakes up out of lurkdom* Did anyone call?  Very Happy 

My situation is a bit different than that of most fans and it influences my attitude towards the show. I first saw AS&J in the early 1990s (can't quite remember when we first got cable) as an 11-12 year old Dutch girl who barely understood English and the show wasn't subtitled. I saw a couple of Pete episodes, maybe 2-3, and then I saw the Roger episodes. At the time, I thought of the sudden switch "Huh, that's odd. Oh well, the other guy probably got another job." and shrugged it off.

When I saw the show again years later, it was odd to see Pete as Heyes because I couldn't remember him at all. It wasn't until I saw The Biggest Game in the West that everything made sense. THIS was the Hannibal Heyes I remembered - I actually could quote entire scenes. As a result, I have a big soft spot for Roger/Heyes and I will probably always slightly prefer him over Pete/Heyes because it was Roger/Heyes that got me back into the series and its fandom. I like that Roger/Heyes and Kid are more equal in the partnership. Kid does not as easily accept Heyes' judgment and challenges it. I do enjoy the bickering between his Heyes and Kid Curry because it made sense to me: if you're condemned to be stuck with each other, you will get on each other's nerves. The same goes for Heyes' slipping and making errors.

What turned me off was the change in the show itself. What initially got me hooked as an 11-12 year old was that, although I couldn't make much sense of the dialog, I liked the episodes because I knew the boys would get into trouble and would have to wriggle their way out again. In the later Roger episodes, that changed and the humor left. With the exception of McGuffin, I don't think I ever watched any of the final episodes completely.

As for Pete as Danny Bilson... I haven't seen much of Pete other than AS&J. I think he could have pulled it off but I'm not sure he would have been as memorable to me.
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PostSubject: Re: What if the Heyes roles were reversed?   Wed May 14, 2014 7:17 am

What if Roger Davis and Ben Murphy were cast for the pilot of Alias Smith and Jones.  Do you think the show would have been picked up?  For a second season?

I think it would've based on the fact that it survived for a third season with Roger and he had a horrible challenge in replacing Pete.  I think he proved what a good actor he was in the role of Bilson and he had to display some Heyesian qualities in that character: cunning, deceit, and the ability to hide behind his smile. I do agree that the chemistry wasn't there with him and Ben and, as others have already said, I doubt Ben would've been cast with him.

Now imagine Pete Duel playing the role of Smiler.  Could he have pulled it off?

I think he could've, he's a great actor, but Roger was so darn brilliant in that role I'd have as hard a time accepting Pete as Bilson, if I'd seen Roger first, as I did accepting Roger as Heyes (never happened for me; I lost all interest in the show after that).

What if Pete Duel had to replace Roger Davis later on... Would the fans have accepted Heyes' replacement better?  Why or why not?  ("because he's Pete" is not a good answer)

I know I would've.  Pete's Heyes is cunning and deceitful as well as funny, but his Heyes makes me believe that he's a sweet man under it all, a truly good bad man.  Roger's Heyes seemed more one dimensional to me.  Based on his great performance in Smiler, I can't help but feel that Roger never really got a feel for his role.  It's sad to think that the ASJ fiasco probably cost him his career, too.  I'm not a Davis fan, but he didn't deserve what he got.

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PostSubject: Re: What if the Heyes roles were reversed?   Sun May 25, 2014 4:49 pm

Perhaps it makes a difference if you saw Roger's ASJ episodes first and got used to those, but for me, the thing that made ASJ special was the chemistry  between Pete and Ben. Ben didn't have it with Roger and nor did Pete when he worked with Roger in other things.  As Ben himself has commented in the past, that kind of chemistry is a once-in-a-lifetime thing that he has admitted trying, and failing, to find again in his career.  

I don't think, had Roger taken the part first, that the show would have been picked up, because that special 'spark' wouldn't have been there,  but if by some chance it had been picked up it's impossible to say whether, had Pete taken over from Roger's Heyes later on, fans would have accepted his version.  As a Pete-fan I'd advocate that his personality would have won everyone over, but who knows.  Roger was a competent actor, as his role as Danny Bilson in the show displayed, but, as others have said, Pete could have played that character just as well, if not better.  Roger played the role of Heyes adequately, but Pete brought something unique to the role, his own unique charismatic personality.  Often people with charismatic personas aren't aware of the effect they have on people, so Pete himself may not have been aware of what he was creating in his portrayal of Heyes, but just concentrating on creating what he thought was the right character. I've never been able to get into Roger's episodes. For me the whole feel of the show changed and there was nothing of the original ASJ left because that charisma between Pete's Heyes and Ben's Curry was no longer there. Roger did his best with the role but had an impossible task because of the impact that Pete's personality had on the role and the fans who watched it. Pete's Heyes is so much more complex than Roger's somewhat  one-dimensional version (to me anyway) by comparison, with many layers that we only got glimpses of in certain situations. I'd be willing to bet that the vast majority of ASJ fanfiction writers are fans of the original series rather than Roger's version because the depths of feelings/emotions that were hinted at if not openly spoken about in Pete/Ben's episodes were what drove the imaginations of those young writers and continues to inspire us today.

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