The Deputy (TV series)

The Deputy is an American western series that aired on NBC from 1959 to 1961. The series stars Henry Fonda as Chief Marshal Simon Fry of the Arizona Territory and Allen Case as Deputy Clay McCord, a storekeeper who tried to avoid using a gun.[1]

The Deputy
Allen Case as McCord on the set with guest star Vivian Vance, 1959
Created byRoland Kibbee
Norman Lear
StarringHenry Fonda
Allen Case
Read Morgan
Wallace Ford
Betty Lou Keim
Narrated byHenry Fonda
Theme music composerJack Marshall
Composer(s)Jack Marshall
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes76 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Henry Fonda
William Frye
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Top Gun Productions
Revue Studios
DistributorNBC Films
Original networkNBC
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 12, 1959 (1959-09-12) 
July 1, 1961 (1961-07-01)


Fonda narrated most episodes and appeared briefly at the beginning and ending of most segments. He played the lead in only six episodes in the first season and thirteen in the second. Usually he would give his deputy the assignment and, on rare occasions, would thank him at the conclusion of the episode. As Fred MacMurray later did while shooting the sitcom series My Three Sons, Fonda performed all of his work on The Deputy in several lengthy sessions so as to leave himself free for other projects. Although based in Silver City, the marshal's district also covered several nearby towns. Deputy McCord was a storekeeper who bore arms with great reluctance. Wallace Ford starred as the elderly Marshal, Herk Lamson, with Betty Lou Keim as McCord's sister, Fran, in the first season. Read Morgan joined the show in the second season as Sergeant Hapgood Tasker, known as "Sarge", a one-eyed United States Army cavalry enlisted man stationed in town.


Production notes

The series was created by Roland Kibbee and Norman Lear. It was produced by Revue Studios and featured a jazz guitar score by Jack Marshall. It was also the first television series that Lear was involved as a creator or executive producer.

The Deputy aired at 9 p.m. Eastern on Saturday.

Original Tie-In Novel

An original, licensed novel, based upon the TV series concept and characters, was issued in paperback by Dell Publishing. The book was titled simply The Deputy, after the series; the author was veteran Western novelist Roe Richmond; the publication date was September, 1960; and the cover illustration, featuring Henry Fonda and Allan Case, was a painting by John Leone. The cover price was 35¢.

Bantam Books reissued the novel in 1986, as a non-tie-in, paperback edition, displaying no stated connection to the TV series whatsoever, under the title The Saga of Simon Fry. The cover price was $2.75. The circumstances behind the reprint are unknown.

Home media

On October 26, 2010, Timeless Media Group released the complete series on DVD in Region 1. The 12-disc set features all 76 episodes of the series.


  1. Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, pp. 212-213
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