3 January 2010 | Cheyenne-Bodie
Tab Hunter in fine form with two excellent supporting actors
Twenty-nine year old Tab Hunter was quite engaging in his only series role. He played a cartoonist who wrote a comic strip called "Bachelor at Large". The comic strip drew from the cartoonist's own romantic exploits. Tab's character lived in and worked out of a very cool beach house in Malibu.
Tab's suave boss was Jerome Cowan ("The Maltese Falcon"). His best friend was wealthy playboy Richard Erdman ("Cry Danger", "The Men", "Stalag 17"). Tab Hunter, Jerome Cowan, and Richard Erdman were real pros who had fun with this light material. They seemed to be having a good time together and it was infectious.
There were always beautiful woman around to keep Tab on his toes. Some of the beauties Tab encountered were Gena Rowlands, Elizabeth Montgomery, Tuesday Weld, Suzanne Pleshette, Mary Tyler Moore, Joanna Barnes, Patricia Crowley, Diana Millay, Linda Cristal, Mary Murphy, Joan Staley, and Lori Nelson.
Alex Gotlieb, who wrote the terrific "Susan Slept Here", is credited as one of the writers of the pilot. I wonder if he was one of the producers.
"The Tab Hunter Show" (1960-61) was on NBC on Sunday nights at 8:30 eastern time. It was on opposite "Lawman" and the second half of "The Ed Sullivan Show".
Director Arthur Penn ("Bonnie and Clyde") used to tell a great Tab Hunter story. Hunter was starring in a live "Playhouse 90" directed by Penn. Hunter played a psychotic serial murderer. In one scene Hunter had to run to escape the police. Hunter ran into a table and tipped it over. All the table contents fell to the floor. Penn thought his live play was dead. But Hunter, staying in character, picked up the fallen items and prissily put them back on the table. Penn said Hunter not only saved the show but made it better.
Jerome Cowan and Richard Erdman had been under contract to Warner Brothers in the 1940's. They both appeared in the movie "Mr. Skeffington" (1944). Erdman and Cowan also worked together in a 1959 episode of "Perry Mason".
I recently saw the terrific Erdman in a bit on a new comedy show called "Community". That's what brought "The Tab Hunter Show" to mind. Erdman was 35 when he did the Hunter show and he's now 84 and still working. Very encouraging.