This forgotten and never aired television pilot for radio's popular THE LIFE OF RILEY was one of three trial balloons from 1948 to cast the right actor in place of the unavailable William Bendix, contractually obligated only to repeat the role for the 1949 feature film version. Herb Vigran and Buddy Gray took turns as Chester A. Riley in two broadcasts a week apart in April 1948, while this third attempt never reached the airwaves and was long thought lost until turning up with other neglected pilots on DVD in 2018. It must have been a genuine coup for Lon Chaney to play his only lead in a TV pilot, certainly an unusual selection by writer/director Irving Brecher, a solid actor with some experience in movie comedies but not a natural funnyman like eventual choice Jackie Gleason, in what would be his first of many series. The plot is identical to "Five Dollar Bill," the final Gleason telecast from March 1950, in which Riley insists that a single $5 is missing from the $20 he gave wife Peg (Rosemary De Camp) some weeks earlier, and when son Junior (Lanny Rees) turns up with a new basketball for that night's championship game, costing exactly $4.95, his father naturally jumps to the wrong conclusion despite the boy's denials. Unable to use his belt for some physical discipline, Riley finally decides to punish the youth by forbidding him from playing in the big game. An impromptu visit from neighboring undertaker Digger O'Dell (John Brown) provides the necessary tip leading to a happy ending that serves to remind us 'Like Father, Like Son.' Rosemary De Camp, John Brown, and Lanny Rees all returned when the full season started production for NBC in 1949, Barbara Logan replaced by Gloria Winters as daughter Babs. Lon Chaney can't be faulted for giving it his all, his material offering much amusement, but so many of his mannerisms recall Lennie from 1939's "Of Mice and Men," too many recent roles repeating the same schtick to detrimental effect. It was a lean period for the former Universal star since his 1945 departure, finally shaking the halting speech with more diverse roles after 1950. William Bendix, originator of the role of Chester A. Riley on radio, would finally star in the long running TV version that premiered in January 1953 and lasted for six seasons (he and Chaney did share the screen in a pair of A.C. Lyles Westerns, "Law of the Lawless" and "Young Fury").