Rona Barrett's Hollywood, May 1972
As if Pete Duel's suicide wasn't shocking enough, more than a few Hollywood citizens were absolutely flabbergasted as how little time it took Universal to replace him on Alias Smith and Jones. One Friday morning Hollywood hears of Pete's death and then--only two days later Roger Davis has been signed as Pete's replacement. Even considering that Pete had been in the middle of a Smith segment when he pointed a gun at himself, many of his friends--off the set and on--felt filming had been resumed just a bit too hastily. The business-as-usual air that pervaded the show's set on the following Monday had many heads a-scratching, but producer Roy Huggins explained that the series was engaged in a desperate battle to inch into the top 40 (and thus hopefully automatic-renewal land) so they couldn't afford any delay, however small. With that explanation soothing a few jangled nerves, then came word that very few people at Universal connected with the show had bothered to show up at Pete's funeral in Pacific Palisades. Frank Price, a Universal vice-president, denied that report although he himself was too busy to attend the services since "I was in a projection room all day Sunday trying to get The Sixth Sense on the air and I wasn't there." At any rate, we hope Roger will have smooth sailing on the show--you may remember him from Dark Shadows a couple of years ago and more recently, that Canada Dry commercial in which his voice had a positively astounding resemblance to Henry Fonda's...

Photo Caption: Here's a rare photo of Pete Duel's replacement, Roger Davis, when he was a co-star on the Gallant Men series.

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