29 June 2013 | biggm
Skip "The Argonauts"
The word "Argonaut" might not be on the tip of many tongues, but long time movie fans won't have to strain their brains very hard to identify the origins of this episode.
TV audiences in 1955 didn't have the ability to watch the iconic Treasure of Sierra Madre on home video from their easy chair, so instead, they had to settle for this cringe worthy Warner TV retread of their own movie property. The series producers must have counted on the audience's short memory too, as the movie was less than seven years old at the time of this broadcast.
The Warner Westerns and detective shows of the 50's notoriously recycled Warner's own big screen scripts, and it was an unabashed part of their TV show production formula. Usually though, they did a much better job of finessing and concealing the re-write than this half-baked, paint-by-numbers Cliff Notes version of a first-rate movie. Edward Andrews was a decent TV actor, but he's unintentionally comical impersonating Humphrey Bogart's memorable "Fred C. Dobbs". Rod Taylor listlessly goes through the motions in the Tim Holt role, and Clint Walker, as the affably heroic Cheyenne, is simply a foil here, and hardly a substitute for Walter Huston's amazing Treasure of Sierra Madre performance. The actors looked self-conscious and embarrassed by this assignment, and rightly so.
I'm a big fan of the Cheyenne series, particularly the first season, and the show regularly offered superior scripting and rousing entertainment. Cheyenne moseyed down the wrong trail for "The Argonauts" though, which is a particularly painful-to-watch small screen adaptation of a peerless classic.