16 Magazine, February 1972


Working with Ben Murphy on Alias Smith And Jones makes work fun! Since the show started, we've become great friends, but sometimes Ben goes off on his own during lunch or a break--and he never tells me where he's going. My curiosity got the best of me a few times, and I decided to play "secret agent." I got out my Scotland Yard trench coot and dark glasses and followed Ben to his private--and no longer secret--hideaways!

Ben's first stop was the studio cafeteria, where he ordered some of his favorite health food--to take out. From there, he started a long journey, greeting some of his friends along the way. Fortunately, my disguise worked perfectly, cos these same people didn't notice me and give me away to unsuspecting Ben. Finally, Ben reached an empty set decorated with trees and houses with white picket fences--and there he stopped. He sat on the porch of one of the houses, unwrapped his lunch, took out a book he was carrying--and relaxed for an hour. It wasn't unusual for Ben to want to be alone, but I was curious why he chose this particular location. I went back to where we were shooting Alias Smith And Jones, satisfied that I had accomplished my mission yet still wanting to know more! When Ben got back, I waited for him to change costumes for the next scene--and I went to check the book he had been reading. It turned out to be a travel book about Australia, and I was able to put the pieces of my puzzle together. You see, Ben once told me that when he was a little guy and lived in a small town in the South, he would sometimes go off by himself and read about faraway places--and dream about going there someday. Now--to escape--he'd do the same thing. I think that's great! It proves what a sentimental and sensitive guy Ben is!


Now that I had found out so much about Ben's secret life, I wanted to learn even more! So, after work one night, I waited outside his house--to see how he spends his evenings. The shades were open, so I could see into his apartment. It was a good thing I had brought along binoculars! Ben is a great guitar player--and now I know why. He was strumming those strings for over an hour! Ben always says that when he does something, he likes to do it right. When Ben finished playing the guitar, he took out the same travel book and read for almost two and a half hours! He seemed to he enjoying the book, but it sure got boring for me. When he finally put the telly on, I figured that was it for the night.

When I got home, I thought of what I had learned about Ben from all my undercover work. Ben is everything I always thought him to be--bright, honest and sincere. I just hope he never finds out that I spied on him! You see, I didn't do it to find out if Ben was hiding something from me--but rather to know him better. And he's still number one on my list of friends!!


Pete doesn't know it, and I won't tell if you don't--but I knew he was playing detective and sleuthing after me! I don 't mind, cos we're good friends--and I'm sure it was all in fun. But I figured, "Why should Pete have all the fun?" And so I decided to become a private eye too! I could have just asked Pete what he does on his lunch breaks, but it seemed more exciting to lurk behind corners and try not to be discovered! So off I went--trying to keep a large distance between us.

Pete went off to one of our nearby Universal sets, where there was a bunch of kids doing a show. When the kids saw him they ran to him shouting greetings--and soon they all found a quiet place to have lunch together. Pete was telling stories to the kids and before long he surprised them with a special dessert he had brought for everyone--a big box of chocolate fudge! After lunch there was still time left, so Pete and his new friends sat around and played word games. When it was time for Pete to leave, those kids were truly sad to see him go and they made him promise to return the next day.

When Pete was on the way back to our set, I went over to him--as if I met him by accident. I said, "Hey, Pete--where did you wander off to for so long?" All he said was that he had walked around and visited some friends. I'm sure that if I'd asked him who his friends were, he'd have told me--but I decided to let Pete keep his little secret. Sometimes Pete gives the impression of being rough and tough--which he is--but he's also a guy who really cares about people! He likes to spend a lot of time alone, but when he's with people he sure knows how to make them laugh and let them know he cares. I guess that's why I like working with him. He's really a human guy and a good friend. But now I wanted to see if there were any other secrets Pete had that I could uncover!


The other night I saw a weird character outside my house who looked like a foreign agent! It's a good thing Pete's an actor, cos he'd never make it as a detective! So the following night I decided it was my turn. In my detective garb, I waited outside his house, hoping he would have a more exciting evening than I'd had the other night. Soon I saw some friends of his go up to his house, so I figured he was having a party. Only five or six people were there. Actually, Pete likes to have a few friends over to talk and listen to records. Several hours later, when they were leaving, I noticed that they were each carrying a book--and it looked like they were all copies of the same book! The next day at work, Pete came over to me and handed me a book of poetry. He said that he had just read this book and thought it was great, so he got extra copies to give to some friends.

But that's the way Pete is-all the time! If he enjoys something, he wants to share it with others. It's also his way of letting his friends know more about him. I think I now know quite a bit about this guy, and all I can say is that he's really human. He cares about people--and that's why people care about him. Me included!!

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