POPSWOP Annual, 1973

At a rough guess, we'd say that Ben Murphy's just about the cutest cowboy we've ever goggled at on the box...or anywhere else, for that matter! And you've got to admit he IS gorgeous! Even Glen, who's pretty cool about competition, doesn't mind staying in with his girl, when Ben's on telly!

Truth is though that, although he looks as if he could tame the Wild Wild West single-handed, he lacks one thing that all cowboys have just got to have...and that's a love of horses! 'Course, he's a brave lad and definitely not one to admit when summat's got 'im worried, but even HE admits that there ARE moments when he'd rather be poundin' the beat on Softly Softly!

You see, it all started when the telly producers were casting the parts for Alias Smith 'n' Jones. Ben's girlfriend at the time was not only terrific-looking (grrr!) but she was pretty smart with it! She suggested earlier that Ben should learn to do a bit of riding. It wouldn't do any harm...and it just could come in handy some day. (Believe it or not, some telly and film producers ask you to do the strangest things!)

Anyway, Ben went along with the idea, although he wasn't too happy about it and two weeks and ten lessons later, he was hurting in places that he hadn't known existed! He was just about to call it a day, when he got a whiff of the part. He went along for the auditions and it didn't take people long to realise just how much he could brighten up the screens! Only thing was--could he ride? 'Course he could, he said--and got the part! Then came the first day on the set and Ben came face to face with his partner in crime. No, not Pete Duel--Midnight, a lovely BIG horse...with a film star's temper! Being a horse, of course, she wasn't quite as impressed with those lovely eyes and that gorgeous smile as we were.

Like we said, her name was Midnight but, by the end of the first week, Ben had got into the habit of calling her Pig! And no wonder! As you probably already know, it's hard enough staying on a horse when it's walking! But the Alias Smith And Jones series starts off with our boys being chased by a posse--and they had to do the take about a dozen times! By the end of the first day, Ben had to be helped out of the saddle! Not only that, but Midnight had a fancy for grass and she had a habit of chewing when she should have been moving!

Tough work, huh?! But Ben said he enjoyed it just the same and he'd even come to quite like Midnight, by the time the series was finished!

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