28 October 2010 | bkoganbing
The Hanging That Didn't Take
The title role of The Hanged Man is played by Steve Forrest who plays a notorious gunfighter who was duly hanged for a crime he committed and declared dead. But the only problem was the report of his demise was greatly exaggerated. Whether he was cut down too soon or the rope wasn't tight enough or some unseen power intervened, point is that Forrest is still walking around and breathing. And he's reflecting on a new chance at life because his old life had led him up thirteen steps to the hangman's noose. And he's legally dead.
His first chance at redemption comes in helping widow Sharon Acker and her little boy Bobby Eilbacher fight off the designs of mining tycoon Cameron Mitchell. He's not too squeamish about his methods and has young gunslinger Brendon Boone on his payroll who despite the mystique surrounding Forrest is eager for showdown.
This unsold TV pilot which was produced by Bing Crosby didn't break any new ground and westerns on television were getting scarce. Around this time Bonanza and Gunsmoke ended their runs and the few that have succeeded them up to this time haven't had their staying power. Speaking of Bonanza this was Ray Teal's farewell role and Bonanza fans will remember his semi-regular presence as sheriff Roy Coffey of Virginia City.
The Hanged Man might have been picked up for a television series fifteen years earlier when westerns were a glut on the market. As it is western fans will have little reason to complain.