TV REVIEW: SMITH AND JONES LAUNCHED BY
by Cecil Smith, Times Television Critic
Los Angeles Times, January 23, 1971
The series is not, despite obvious similarities, a continuation of the immensely successful theatrical movie but of its high-rated TV counterpart on ABC's Movie of the Week offered with Pete Duel and Ben Murphy Jan. 5.
With flashbacks to the movie and a narrator who describes Smith and Jones as a "couple of latter day Robin Hoods" who pillaged trains and blew up banks "but never killed anyone," the series was launched Thursday night on ABC replacing Matt Lincoln and facing formidable competition of Flip Wilson.
It's pleasant enough fare in the Maverick mold, produced by Glen A. Larson for executive producer Roy Huggins who created Maverick and who, as John Thomas James, wrote the opening story.
Duel and Murphy as Smith and Jones are the charming thieves who are trying to go straight turn up in a border town and are commissioned by a local cattle baron (Burl Ives) to steal a bust of Caesar from a Mexican cattle baron (Cesar Romero).
They do so for $20,000 which Ives gets back with some shenanigans at the poker table. Bankrolled by the local banker (Edward Andrews), the boys in turn get back their money from Ives with some poker shenanigans of their own.
In counterpoint to the poker table is the effort of Romero to get back great Caesar's bust.
The characters are stock, the situations routine and the humor rather thin, but the series may go largely because of its likeable stars reluctantly treading a righteous path despite the natural larceny in their hearts.
Sy Salkowitz wrote the opening script
from the Huggins story and Gene Leavitt directed.
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