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  • It began as a unique series: a Western set totally in San Francisco and starring not yet another lawman but a newspaper man. Engrossing and different in its first year with the heavy set McClory doing an intelligent and fine job. I gather the ratings were disappointing because as the second year dawned Richard Coogan appeared as a better dressed version of Matt Dillon. (There was quite a height and facial resemblance between Coogan and James Arness.) Suddenly "The Californians" was little more than a clone Western not as well done as those from the Warner Brothers' staple stable. And then it was gone. Yet that theme song echos yet in what passes for my mind; fine tune although lyrics that rhyme "poor" with "cure" must be questioned.
  • Back in 1850 Los Angeles was a small city not worth much of anything and that year that California was admitted as a state the action was up north. San Francisco was where the action was. Blessed with one of the finest natural harbors in the world, it was the Pacific gate way for people going around Cape Horn to get to the gold fields. San Francisco was as sleepy a place as Los Angeles was then until gold was discovered. The population grew exponentially so much so California achieved statehood in what was then record time.

    I would think that a series about those brawling times in San Francisco was a natural. But the Californians failed after two seasons. The hero protagonist was Richard Coogan as upright marshal Matt Wayne who brought law and order to the place where vigilantism was perfected.

    Sean McClory was in the series also as a newspaper editor and his Irish brogue fit right in because many a soul from Ireland was going there. The two were a good team.

    Sad to say The Californians failed to find an audience. It debuted at a time when the three networks were deluged with westerns.

    It got lost in the shuffle and it wasn't the best series, but not bad.
  • According to the reliable "David Janssen Archives", Janssen was offered the lead in three series in 1957: "The Californians", "Pony Express", and "Richard Diamond".

    Janssen would have apparently played the Adam Kennedy role of crusading Irish newspaper editor Dion Patrick on "The Californians". When the format of the show was revised, Kennedy was replaced by Richard Coogan as San Francisco's top cop. Art Fleming (the original "Jeopardy") co-starred in the Coogan episodes.

    Adam Kennedy later got one of the starring roles on the entertaining daytime soap opera "The Doctors" in 1965. Kennedy played dynamic inventor-entrepreneur Brock Hayden. Hayden was eventually killed off on screen, perhaps because he wasn't a doctor and was difficult to fit into the stories. I remember I was shocked when Brock died on the operating table after being shot. Kennedy played opposite Ellen Burstyn on "The Doctors".

    Kennedy had studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York with Sanford Meisner.

    Adam Kennedy later wrote 20 novels. One of the novels was made into a move by Stanley Kramer: "The Domino Principle" starring Gene Hackman, Candice Bergen, and Richard Widmark. Kennedy wrote the screenplay for that film as well as a couple of other films.

    Kennedy was also an oil painter. Quite a guy.

    James Best got the lead in "Pony Express" after Janssen turned that down, but it didn't sell in 1957. In 1959 it sold in syndication with Grant Sullivan in the lead.

    Janssen wisely chose to become Richard Diamond. It was his first starring role and it made him a star. Janssen was recommended for Richard Diamond by the great film director William "Wild Bill" Wellman. Wellman had just finished directing Janssen (and Clint Eastwood) a few months before in "Lafayette Escadrille").
  • I remember the theme song. I have almost no memory of the show. Just as well. So much, so bad. Adam Kennedy is a pretty boy with zero acting ability playing a largely unsympathetic character. Good concept but poor writing. Wicked city. Corrupt cops and politicians. Honest citizens organize as vigilantes - until the second season. Sean McClory in the lead might have pulled it off. Instead, the first season cast gets fired and an honest cop fights the vigilantes who have taken the law into their own hands. Even if the show had been better, it was up against "The $64,000 Question" and didn't stand a chance with either cast or concept. But there's still the theme song.
  • The Category: 1950's Television Westerns

    The Answer: He played crusading attorney Jeremy Pitt on "The Californians."

    There was a deathly silence when the answer was revealed.

    No one buzzed in.

    Finally one brave contestant took a chance.

    "Who was Richard Coogan?" he guessed.

    Host Art Fleming was much amused.

    Fleming said Richard Coogan was going to get a big laugh out of this.

    Of course the question should have been "Who is Art Fleming?".