by C. R. de Sepulveda
Spanish article, early 1972
On the 31st December 1971, New Year's Eve, a young man, who still had not reached his thirtieth birthday, took his own life in his apartment in the city of Los Angeles. He had been born in Rochester, New York State, and was the son of Dr Ellsworth Deuel and of Lillian Ellstrom. What was the cause of his death? Loneliness? Weariness? Anxiety? Perhaps a little of all of them. He had a wife, a brilliant career ahead of him and at the time when he fired the shot which ended his young life, he was known over more than half the globe, thanks to his original portrayal of the character, Hannibal Heyes in the TV series, 'Alias Smith and Jones', known to us under the title of "Los Dos Mosqueteros!" Duel's funeral service took place the day following his death and to this ceremony came the young Hollywood actors, a generation that knows that the era of big Hollywood stars is over and for such reasons, prefers to be actors, men who complete a job, rather than golden pawns, knocked about by the TV industry for as long and as much as they are attracting good money. And then there was the sad notice that moved everyone at the funeral, that the interment was for the following day and - as the series was in the middle of a shoot- on that afternoon, a new actor was in place as a substitute for Peter Duel. An actor who, perhaps, without this unfortunate accident would never have achieved the principal role in such a cast. But as they say in America, "Business is business!" and they couldn't afford to lose time and money. The show would go on, but for the rest of the season, with a new principal actor however. And so, as life goes on and as the episodes that we are seeing now on "Siempre es Domingo/(It's always Sunday)" feature Peter Duel, we are going to review the series in this report and forget the sad event which has filled pages of special magazines. Pages in which in the end, there remained only one unanswered question, "Why?"

Two young men, who can't be bad.

Towards the end of the last century, there were two young men - whose story fills the episodes for this series, which is set in that time period - called Hannibal Heyes and Jed 'Kid' Curry, who made a name for themselves as dangerous men, drunkards, thieves, quarrelsome characters and if the situation was extreme, also killers. Heyes was the brains and Curry handled a revolver almost as well as "Billy the Kid". But it was an era of great change, technological innovations were becoming dominant throughout the world and the frightful 'Rule by the strongest' which in this case was 'Rule by the best gun-slinger' was becoming less prevalent. All of these circumstances made the profession of bank- and train-robber less profitable. "What to do next?" It was necessary to establish another way of life and this is the way what Hannibal Heyes and Jed 'Kid' Curry did it. They discussed their wish to make peace with the law with the 'sheriff and proposed reforming their ways. As the past histories of our two friends weren't exactly faultless, the governor in his role as upholder of the law imposed a severe condition on them. They were never to use weapons to solve any of their problems. So it was at that moment, on changing their names and being determined thenceforth to become honest cowboys, that the real adventures of 'Smith and Jones' began.

It is not however a 'western', neither is it a detective series, nevertheless it succeeds in meeting the most difficult requirements of the Hollywood industry as a product that meets market demand and is of interest to the audience. Smith and Jones don't shoot anyone and they don't kill anybody: they are two rogues who have to resolve their problems using their wits and this is precisely the greatest attraction of the series - the avoidance of violence through action and humour. It is, in truth an intelligent production, of which its creator, Roy Huggins says "It's a series about people who lived in the West and set in the West, but it's not a western; it's more a series of comic adventures , which take place in saloons between cowboys, bandits, gunmen and it could very well have happened... Why not? I'm one of those people who believe that it wasn't all bad and bloody, even in those difficult days of the conquest of the West." And he added, "This is the reason why we chose to depict a man who had an influential role in this way; the governor. This man, of progressive ideas, learns of the case of our two friends and decides to help them to rebuild their lives (something that is being tried with hundreds and hundreds of young men all over the world these days) leaving them at liberty, on condition that, for a reasonable probationary period, (probably the duration of the series) they don't get into further trouble. If everything goes well, the Amnesty Law will apply to them, so that they will have succeeded in earning the honorary title of 'decent citizens'."

Besides Peter Duel, who also appeared in the big-screen production, 'Cannon for Cordoba', the audience have also identified Ben Murphy, Kid Curry in the series, as the personal assistant, a sort of secretary and confidant to Dan Farrell and Robert Stack in the series "The Name of the Game."

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