THE 'ALIAS SMITH & JONES' STORY,
Superstar Magazine, October 1972
Now that the show is back on Television we will very shortly be able to give a definite Yes! And, judging by reports from Hollywood Roger has certainly stepped into the role very easily and he's fast building his own fan following. What is really great is that there has been no animosity about Roger stepping in. The other odd fact is that during the series with Pete and Ben Murphy, you actually did hear Roger Davis in the show every week.
BEATEN BY PETE
He was also among the finalists in the very beginning for the part of Hannibal Heyes, but Pete Duel eventually came out top! [CJC's Note: Roger has said in at least two interviews that he was NOT originally in consideration for the role of Heyes.] However, Roger did stay with the show as the voice you hear over the opening credits of the series every Monday evening.
So, it was natural for the studios to think of Roger Davis as Pete's replacement. But Roger was a bit worried about stepping into a role that had been fantastically played and established by someone else. He knew it would be a big challenge for him. But everybody encouraged him--particularly co-star Ben Murphy. All that Roger asked at the start was for everyone to give him a fair chance and not compare him with Peter.
The very first show in the series that Ben and Roger made together was called "The Biggest Game In the West" and, as it already has been televised over in the States, we can tell you that everyone thought that Roger and Ben were just great together.
There were of course strange rumours at the beginning of shooting, that Ben was being uncooperative. But they were all totally untrue. Ben was still stunned with shock at the death of his friend, and he admits that at the time, it did seem pretty cold hearted bringing in a replacement for Peter so quickly. But that's show business as they say, and it had to be done. Don't forget, he was used to having Pete alongside him and, as they had been very good friends as well, it made it a tough ordeal for Ben.
Roger Davis is not, of course, a completely new face on American TV. Five years ago, the blond-haired blue-eyed actor got tired of teaching English--can you just imagine him as your English teacher? So he went after a part in the "Gallant Men" series. Next he played in the "Dark Shadows" series in which he had a chance to show his versatility by playing eight different parts although he was generally cast as the handsome blond young knight in shining armour. After that, Roger headed for Hollywood where he made many guest appearances in TV shows, and of course, even appeared in Alias Smith & Jones.
Another strange co-incidence we've mentioned before is the fact that Roger was the only person Ben Murphy ever killed in the old series. Roger played a bit of a baddie who went off with the boys and an old prospector to dig for gold in the hills.
Just when they'd got thousands of dollars of gold together they decided to have a few bottles to celebrate. Roger Davis carefully didn't get drunk, and while Pete, Ben and the old prospector slept it off, Roger rode off with the gold, the mules and all the water. Unfortunately, the old prospector died in the desert in their search for help, but as fate has it, Ben and Pete run across Roger again, and he got his dues as they say.
Roger already has built up a reputation for being a lovable romantic rogue with the parts he has already played. So, it seems it won't take him long to win new fans as Joshua Smith. When the first episode is shown here, no explanation will be given as to why Roger Davis has replaced Pete. The series in fact will sort of carry on as though nothing had happened, and I'm sure that's the way Peter would have liked it to be, being the professional he was.
Roger is a Kentucky boy. and was born on April 5th, which makes him an Arian. People born under this sign are self-assured, have abundant vitality and are found by females to be very dashing, and are often able to win hearts by the very strength and force of their strong personalities. They have a proud bearing and their natural good looks make them very attractive men. They are ambitious and their energy and vitality are a great asset in helping them become successful in whatever profession they choose. Well, from what we've already heard of Roger, he's certainly a heart winner--he's already captured the heart of a certain beautiful model-actress Jaclyn Ellen Smith, his wife.
Roger and Ben Murphy now get along like a house on fire. Of course, the first few weeks must have been a little difficult for both of them, but Ben was tremendously helpful and gave Roger that little bit of assurance and confidence he needed.
The fiery, vital personality of Roger seems to complement the sensitive, romantic Ben Murphy perfectly.
Anyone knowing Ben's sensitive nature
would know that he would never show any ill feelings to Roger
despite having to play the same scenes and saying the same words
to someone dressed as your friend.
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