"Alias Smith and Jones" debuted on ABC in January 1971, little more than a year after the release of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," and that's hardly coincidental. The series was undoubtedly an attempt by Universal to cash-in on the success of the Paul Newman-Robert Redford megahit. The resemblance series co-star Ben Murphy had to the man with the blue eyes wasn't coincidental either. But "Alias Smith and Jones" was created by Roy Huggins, the man who gave us "Maverick," which one could say inspired "Butch..." so if anyone had the right to pattern a series on that movie, it was Huggins. Besides, this series achieved what the overrated "Butch" only aspired to. It had wit and style, was well-written, and had a first-rate cast. There was a solid chemisty between Pete Duel and Murphy, and the guest stars were also well chosen. I have fond memories of this show, although its quality deteriorated somewhat in February 1972 when Roger Davis took over for Duel (who died on New Year's Eve 1971 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound). It would be nice to see it released on video or at least added to the lineup on TV Land.
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