Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, June 26, 2023


John Paye played Vint Bonner, a wandering cowboy, in NBC's The Restless Gun, which ran for 78 episodes over two seasons from 1957 to 1959.   The easy-going Bonner is always looking for a peaceful resolution to problems but somehow that always doesn't happen.

As a special treat, we get to hear John  Payne start off the episode singing "Swanee River" as he cooks up a mess of grub over a campfire.  Then we move on to the actual story.

Vint Bonner meets a young woman (Abigail Garrick, played by Mary Webster) on the rail and she hires him to guide her to Abilene.  When they men up with her husband Peter (John Lupton) and two other men, she changes her her mind when they threaten Bonner.  Seems the two men with her husband are killers and hubby has joined up with them to rob a bank.  Look closely and you'll see stuntman and western action star Kermit Maynard in an uncredited role as the Stagecoach Driver.

"Ricochet" was directed by Justis Addiss, from a script by Frank Burt, Fanya Foss, and Ted Thomas. 

John Payne (1912-1989) is best remembered for his classic role in Miracle on 34th Street.  The actor was named after an ancestor, John Howard Payne, who wrote the song "Home Sweet Home" in 1823.  After the death of his father, Payne found work as a radio singer, augmenting his income with wrestling and boxing.   He eventually found his way the stage and films nin the late 1930s, but his acting career did not really take off until the 1940s with Tin Pan Alley and Week-End in Havana, both with Alice Faye and with Sonja Henie in Serenade and Iceland.  1941's Remember the Day with Claudette Colbert secured his place as a dramitic actor.  After a two-hitch in the Army in World War II, Payne returned to Hollywood, appearing in such films as The Dolly Sisters, Sentimental Journey, The Razor's Edge, and Miracle on 34th Street.  The 50s saw Payne acting in more standard fare -- westerns, crimne dramas, and the like; a shrewd businessman, Payne negotiated profitable terms for these fims and later bought the rights to a number of them.  Later in the decade he returned to showroom singing engagements, as well as starring in The Restless Gun.  In 1961 he was hit by a car in New York City and the recovery from that accident took two years,   He returned to acting but the residual pain from the accident curtailed much of his stage work; he then appeared on numerous television episodes, retiring completely from acting in 1975.  He died fourteen years later at age 77.

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