by Linda Darwood
TV Family, June 1971
In January of 1971 two new and very handsome faces made their premiere on television. It was a premiere in the sense that Pete Duel and Ben Murphy are starring together for the first time in a brand new TV series. These two aren't completely new to television--they have made various appearances in various shows--but they are new to co-starring roles.

Both Pete and Ben can be classified with the new breed of actors who realize that the real world is not in and around the studio. They know that they are in the real world when they leave the studio. Because they are aware of this, they don't place undue importance on stardom. Of course, acting is important to them, but making a cult of themselves is not up their alley. They are concerned about issues in the real world--things like pollution and what it's doing to the land.

Their show, Alias Smith and Jones, is a western-adventure series somewhat reminiscent of the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Unlike the movie, however, Smith and Jones are outlaws trying to go straight. In the movie, the stars were doing their best to be outlaws. In the series, Hannibal Heyes (alias Smith) and Jed "Kid" Curry (alias Jones) have decided that the lawmen in the old West have became too good at their jobs.

For them crime no longer seems to pay--so, they give it up. Through a special grant from the governor, the two former outlaws have been granted full amnesty for their past crimes if they promise to stay out of trouble.

Although Smith and Jones try their best to live up to this, things are made difficult for them by a number of parties. It is made difficult for them even by themselves--this is their first attempt at making their way in what you could call the straight world. For these two, crime was a way of life, and a way of life they enjoyed plenty!

For another thing, whenever there is any trouble they are immediately blamed. Even though they have turned honest, the crimes of other outlaws are immediately pinned on them. To further complicate matters, bounty hunters are constantly after them for the reward they will get for turning in this daring duo. The two are always followed and bothered as they are forced to move from place to place--seeking honest employment.

Moving around from place to place being involved with various occupations and pastimes is nothing new either to Pete Duel or Ben Murphy. Pete, who was born in Rochester, N.Y. and grew up in the nearby town of Penfield, enrolled at St. Lawrence University after high school. Pete admits that even during his two years at the University, he was often diverted from his studies by becoming involved in theatrical productions.

When the two years were up, Pete moved to New York and enrolled at the American Theatre Wing. Pete stayed there for two years landing a job at the Shakespeare Wrights Repertory Company as assistant stage manager and performer. Following this job, Pete worked with the Family Service Group which produced shows for schools, service clubs and PTA groups.

All these jobs gave Pete tremendously valuable experience and Pete doesn't regret the years of tough work one bit! His first big break came when he was signed to do a motion picture called Wounded in Action. The film was made in the Philippines. As a result of his work in this picture Pete landed a co-starring role in the national road company production of Take Her, She's Mine which starred Tom Ewell. After this Pete moved to Hollywood and started appearing in various shows as a guest performer. Among the most recent shows that he appeared in were: The Name of the Game, Marcus Welby, M.D., The Young Lawyers, and The Bold Ones. Pete enjoyed doing all these spots but is really happy about having his own show now.

Pete's co-star, Ben Murphy, has been just as nomadic as Pete. He has travelled all over attending different schools. Ben grew up out side of Chicago in Hinsdale. From there Ben attended Loras College in Iowa, Loyola University in New Orleans, the University of the Americas in Mexico City and finally the University of Illinois where he received a degree in International Relations.

Apparently Ben wasn't satisfied with this degree because he went on to the Pasadena Playhouse in California and completed a two-year course earning another BA--this time in theatre arts! Since then Ben has done more graduate work and performed in several TV series in guest roles. Ben played reporter Joe Sample in The Name of the Game. He also played a role in the movie The Graduate. On television Ben appeared in segments of The Virginian, It Takes a Thief and The Outsider.

Both Pete and Ben have impressive credits to back them up. Getting their own TV show, however, is their biggest break yet. These two handsome bachelors, with the new TV show all their own are about the biggest news this season for the young girls out looking for mates! Either Pete or Ben would be a great catch. And, girls, if you're wondering what Pete and Ben's interests are, listen up! They are the outdoor types. That's right, after acting you'll find both Pete and Ben love exploring the great outdoors.

All the time Ben was travelling [sic] from college to college across the United States he kept his eyes wide open. He has travelled [sic] the length and breadth of the US and has filled several scrap books with his impression of different places. Ben says he hopes to write a book sometime and use his travel experiences as the basis. Now that Ben is stationed in one place he gets his exercise by swimming, skiing, riding horses, and playing tennis. You girls better get in good shape if you have hopes of roping Ben. He's harder to catch than a falling star!

If it's possible, Pete is even more of an outdoor man than Ben. His favorite way of getting anywhere is to drive in his four-wheel-drive camper. Even if Peter has it in mind to go cross country he'll drive if he has the time--stopping when he's tired to camp out--no motels for this guy! Pete could never compete in the jet-set, but then he doesn't want to. Ever since he was young the wilderness has been Pete's idea of a good time. He was even an ecology buff before it was the in thing to do!

Pete can remember what it was like to grow up in Penfield. "When I was kid, it was a real country town with fields and woods to play in. It was a great place to grow up in. Then they started building subdivisions. At that time there was very little interest in preserving the environment, probably because people felt that things had to change and that opposing change was opposing progress.

"I was very incensed at the time. I really hated the people who bought the new houses because I thought they were responsible for the builders coming with their bulldozers and tearing up the fields I loved." Pete regrets that it had to happen, but now he realizes that the people who moved in couldn't be blamed. "You can't criticize them for wanting to move out of the city into Penciled. Actually, since it was an early development, the houses are nice. There are lots of trees, and it's turned into a lovely community. It's just that it isn't a country town anymore."

Pete can't find the country in his old home town, however, being in California has returned him to some of the natural beauty he loves. He forges off, into the High Sierras whenever he wants a little rough and rugged going. Pete is considering buying property in the wilderness above Sonora, California. Girls, if you're stalking Pete you ‘better plan carefully. The property he wants to buy is so high up that the snow makes it inaccessible half the year!

Pete and Ben may love the outdoors a great deal, but they still, maintain small apartments near the studio where they have to work most of the time. And, they live in typical bachelor splendor--at least that's what they have to keep telling themselves! Pete lives in a tiny apartment over a garage in West Hollywood. Ben lives in an apartment near Universal Studios in the San Fernando Valley. Ben reports that the decor is "cheap motel plastic." It looks as if these two could use a feminine eye to make their abodes a little more habitable!

Pete Duel was dating Kim Darby for awhile when they co-starred in a rather unsuccessful film titled Generation. But since then no one special has been seen with the handsome bachelor. Of course, being the type of person he is, Pete doesn't go for the big Hollywood type premieres or night spots so spotting him with anyone is a real task. Ben Murphy hasn't been linked with any girls so far.

These two, who aren't linked with anyone special, are extremely handsome and pretty successful! They are going to have to be careful from now on. There are going to be more than a few girls trying to catch them! And either Ben or Pete would be a real catch. The only way these renegsdes are going to be able to call off the girls--en masse--is to settle down with one of them! It sounds crazy but it's true. Fans and all kinds of females are going to be hot on the trail of both Pete and Ben until they're caught!

If they want peace and quiet and privacy--the only way to do it is to put themselves out of circulation. It seems like a high price to pay but for Pete and Ben who love the simplicity and freedom of the wilderness, it may be the only way. These outlaws may be out tracking some in-laws right now. So, girls, if you want to be the one who helps out either Pete or Ben by taking them off the eligible list, get going!

The fact of the matter is, fans just will not be able to stand it if either Pete or Ben hide themselves away in the High Sierra or anywhere else by themselves. Fans--especially the female variety--don't like the idea that any man can be happy without a woman. So, they will keep after Pete and Ben until they see that they, too, have succumbed to some feminine will. Also, the young starlets around Hollywood don't like to see any good-looking, successful bachelor-types going to waste! They, too, will be after Pete and Ben.

No doubt both Pete and Ben are beginning to figure out that success brings them fulfillment, but it also allows them less time to be by themselves relaxing in the great out-doors. And no doubt Pete and Ben are beginning to figure out that the only way to get some privacy in Hollywood is to get married. Not that the public or the Hollywood vamps leave married men alone--but being a newlywed gives a star a good reason to plead for a little privacy.

In the old days in Hollywood, when the studios ran the stars' personal lives, it was considered a handicap for a star to be married. They thought fans preferred single men and women. But after Robert Young bucked studio orders and married Betty, and his box-office went up, the studios haven't objected to their performers marrying whomever and whenever they please.

Anyway, if Pete and Ben want some privacy without offending their fans, they are just going to have to get married! So, girls, if you want to make your family in-laws to a couple of out-laws maybe the best idea for you is to start hanging around the High Sierras or setting some traps around some other beautiful wilderness spot! It will be worth all the inconvenience if you snare Pete Duel or Ben Murphy!

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