Robert F. Simon
|Composers||Richard Markowitz (1.1)|
Leith Stevens (1.1, 1.5, 1.7, 1.13; and theme music)
Robert Drasnin (1.12)
Harry Geller (1.14)
Irving Gertz (1.15)
Joseph Mullendore (1.17, as "MULLENDORE")
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||17|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original release||September 6 –|
December 27, 1967
Custer, also known as The Legend of Custer, is a 17-episode military-western television series which ran on ABC from September 6 to December 27, 1967, with Wayne Maunder in the starring role of then Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer. Criticizing the series as "glamorizing custer," a concerted protest headed by the Tribal Indians Land Rights Association successfully halted broadcast of the series under the FCC fairness doctrine.
Set after the American Civil War, during which Custer had risen to the rank of major general, the youngest in the Union Army. He was demoted after the war during force reductions to the rank of captain, but was reinstated in 1866 as a lieutenant colonel in command of the 7th Cavalry, stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. Many of the soldiers in the regiment were derelicts, former Confederates, or even criminals. The series was cancelled before the script timeline would have reached the Little Big Horn River of southeastern Montana, where all perished on June 25, 1876, in a Sioux Indian ambush.
Robert F. Simon played Custer's commanding officer, U.S. General Alfred H. Terry, who disapproved of Custer's long hair and much of his methodology of fighting Indians. Slim Pickens starred as a scout named California Joe Milner. Michael Dante appeared as Sioux Chief Crazy Horse. Peter Palmer played Sergeant James Bustard, a former Confederate soldier. Grant Woods appeared as Captain Myles Keogh. Read Morgan, formerly a cavalry officer on NBC's The Deputy, appeared in the episode "Spirit Woman" in the role of a medicine man.
A 20th Century Fox Television Production, Custer was created by Samuel A. Peeples and David Weisbart, and is unique in carrying the credit "Series Suggested By Larry Cohen." Leo Penn, the father of Sean Penn, directed some episodes.
Guest stars included Lloyd Bochner (as James Stanhope), Rory Calhoun (as Zebediah Jackson), Philip Carey (as Benton Conant), James Daly (as John Rudford), Alexander Davion (as Capt. Marcus A. Reno), Burr DeBenning (as Uvalde), Yvonne De Carlo (as Vanessa Ravenhill), Gene Evans (as Deedricks), Arthur Franz (as Grey Fox and Bledsoe), Billy Gray (as Billy Nixon), Barbara Hale (as Melinda Terry), Stacy Harris (as John Glixton), Earl Holliman (as Dan Samuels), Robert Loggia (as Lt. Carlos Moreno), Darren McGavin (as Jeb Powell), Ralph Meeker (as Kermit Teller), Mary Ann Mobley (as Ann L'Andry), Agnes Moorehead (as Watoma), Edward Mulhare (as Col. Sean Redmond), Kathleen Nolan (as Nora Moffett), Larry Pennell (as Chief Yellow Hawk), Paul Petersen (as Lieutenant Cox), Donnelly Rhodes (as War Cloud), Chris Robinson (as Lt. Tim Rudford), Ned Romero (as Running Feet), Barbara Rush (as Brigid O'Rourke), Albert Salmi (as Capt. John Mark Charrington), William Smith (as Chief Tall Knife), Dub Taylor (as Trader), Ray Walston (as Ned Quimbo), James Whitmore (as Eldo), Terry Wilson (as Brownsmith), and William Windom (as Clark Samson). In the last episode entitled "The Raiders", Custer enlists the aid of Kiowa Indians to help him to locate the parties responsible for a series of wagon train raids.
Custer faced competition from NBC's long-running 90-minute western The Virginian starring James Drury and Doug McClure and CBS's Lost in Space starring Guy Williams, June Lockhart, and Mark Goddard. Custer had been preceded by the much more successful Sci-Fi series, The Time Tunnel, which was one of the few bright spots on ABCs schedule. Unfortunately, it was a bad decision, as Custer wasn't a ratings winner.
Maunder was twenty-eight when he was cast as the 28-year-old Custer. The show was canceled due to poor reviews and protests by Native American tribes throughout the United States.
|Nº||Title||Directed by||Written by||Air date|
|1||"Sabers in the Sun"||Sam Wanamaker||Samuel A. Peeples||September 6, 1967|
|2||"Accused"||Lawrence Dobkin||Al C. Ward||September 13, 1967|
|3||"Glory Rider"||Lawrence Dobkin||Jack Turley||September 20, 1967|
|4||"To the Death"||Herschel Daugherty||Samuel A. Peeples||September 27, 1967|
|5||"Massacre"||Herschel Daugherty||Daniel Mainwaring||October 4, 1967|
|6||"War Lance and Saber"||Norman Foster||Shimon Wincelberg||October 11, 1967|
|7||"Suspicion"||Alex March||John Dunkel||October 18, 1967|
|8||"Breakout"||László Benedek||Shimon Wincelberg||November 1, 1967|
|9||"Desperate Mission"||László Benedek||Warren Douglas||November 8, 1967|
|10||"Under Fire"||Lawrence Dobkin||Arthur Browne Jr.||November 15, 1967|
|11||"Death Hunt"||Leo Penn||Steve McNeil & Richard Bartlett||November 22, 1967|
|12||"Blazing Arrows"||Christian Nyby||Bob and Wanda Duncan||November 29, 1967|
|13||"Dangerous Prey"||Leo Penn||Richard Sale||December 6, 1967|
|14||"Spirit Woman"||László Benedek||William Blinn||December 13, 1967|
|15||"The Gauntlet"||Don Richardson||Shimon Wincelberg||December 20, 1967|
|16||"The Raiders"||Norman Foster||Shimon Wincelberg||December 27, 1967|
|17||"Pursued"||Leo Penn||John Dunkel||January 3, 1968|