Jack Elam, a character actor whose misaligned eyes helped make him memorable in many westerns, has passed away. Initially established as a villain, I remember his fine comedic presence best from the James Garner films Support Your Local Sheriff! and Support Your Local Gunfighter (not, by the way, a sequel, but merely a wise packaging for a second film with some of the same stars and the same director) and from a short-lived sitcom called Easy Street. That amiable show featured Loni Anderson (late of The Mullets) as a Vegas showgirl who marries into money, only to have her husband die. She brings two old poor men into the mansion, much to the revulsion of her rich in-laws who live there (well-played by Dana Ivey and James Cromwell.) This isn’t a lost masterpiece, but it was a nice little show. Its one season was rerun on Lifetime (I believe it was) a few years back, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it popped up from time to time. The series was created by Hugh Wilson, best known for WKRP in Cincinatti. Hugh’s work is rarely perfect (once you get past WKRP, The Famous Teddy Z, and the movie Guarding Tess, you’ll find works with some serious bald spots to balance their charms), but it always has a lot of heart.
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