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"Alias Smith and Jones" TV Show

Updated on June 7, 2013
A still photo taken from the opening sequence showing Pete Duel as Hannibal Heyes and Ben Murphy as Kid Curry
A still photo taken from the opening sequence showing Pete Duel as Hannibal Heyes and Ben Murphy as Kid Curry | Source

The Storyline

Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, two fictional bank and train robbers who lead the often humorous yet inept gang of outlaws called "The Devil's Hole Gang". The two loveable outlaws and their gang bungle an attempted train robbery. One of the passengers on this train, an elderly woman gives Curry a flyer that states the Governor of the state of Wyoming is offering amnesties to outlaws who turn themselves in. Heyes and Curry decide they are no longer able to rob banks and trains efficiently. They decide to turn themselves in to their old friend, Sheriff Lom Trevors in Porterville, Wyoming. They persuade Sheriff Trevors to travel to the state's capitol in an effort to gain the amnesty from the Governor.

During Sheriff Trevor's trip to the Governor's Mansion, Heyes and Curry, using the pseudonyms "Smith and Jones", gain employment in the local bank as security personnel. Also during Sheriff Trevor's absence, the remaining members of the Devil's Hole Gang attempt to hold up the same bank which employs Heyes and Curry. The lead outlaw of the gang pushes a note to the bank teller and threatens the teller with his gun. The teller behind the window tells the outlaw to put the note away. The outlaw is taken aback especially when he realizes the bank teller is none other than Hannibal Heyes, his old gang leader.

Heyes tells the outlaw that Sheriff Trevor has gone to visit with the Governor concerning an amnesty for Curry and himself. He convinces the outlaw not to rob the bank. He also convinces the outlaw that if he and Curry can obtain the amnesties, the remaining members of the gang should have no problems obtaining their amnesties. The outlaw agrees and the gang leaves the bank.

Sheriff Trevor has been gone for quite some time now which concerns Heyes and Curry. They fear the Governor has turned Sheriff Trevor down because Sheriff Trevor has sent a telegram to his deputy to arrest Heyes and Curry. Heyes and Curry break out of jail and begin taking dynamite and other essentials needed to rob the bank. They succeed in blowing the top of the safe at the same time the Devil's Hole Gang had blown the bottom of the safe through the tunnel they had dug between the saloon and the bank.  Money flies into the air in all possible directions.  The Devil's Hole Gang begins to gather the loose funds.  Before Sheriff Trevor returns, our two heroes have decided not to rob the bank and force the other outlaws to leave the money alone, giving it back to the bank's owner. 

Sheriff Trevor returns and tells Heyes and Curry that since they are not wanted for murder, only armed robbery, the Governor will give them a "provisional amnesty" which means they must stay out of trouble (and jail) for a year or so before the Governor will grant the amnesties. During their time they stay out of trouble, they will still be wanted by the law and eligible for their captors to collect rewards of $10,000 each. The Governor also wants this deal to remain a secret. The Governor fears this action could cause severe political problems for him.

Sheriff Trevor had given them the names of Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones, telling them to use those names in case he needed to reach them in a hurry.

A still photo taken from the opening sequence depicting Ben Murphy as Kid Curry and Roger Davis as Hannibal Heyes
A still photo taken from the opening sequence depicting Ben Murphy as Kid Curry and Roger Davis as Hannibal Heyes | Source

The Characters

Hannibal Heyes, played initally by Pete Duel until his suicide on December 31, 1971. The character was then turned over to Duel's good friend, Roger Davis for the remainder of the series run. Heyes was the expert safe-cracker and poker player. He has been described in many episodes by Kid Curry as having "a silver tongue" meaning he has an exceptional use of words and the ability to talk anyone into doing anything.

Kid Curry, played for the entire run of the series by Ben Murphy, is rumored to be based loosely on the popular western film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid starring Paul Newman, whom many people consider resembles Ben Murphy. Curry is the duo's pistol expert. He has used his ability to outdraw any opponent. The actual quick-draw is never shown on camera. The sound effects department plays the click of a gun cocking its hammer just before the camera pans from the opponent back to Curry holding his gun. Additional "oohs and ahhs" follow the draw which further depicts the speed of the draw.

 

The Series Itself

The series ran from 1971 to 1973 and was probably the last western aired on network television before sitcoms such as M*A*S*H, All in the Family and others took over the airwaves. Pete Duel was allegedly depressed the night of December 31, 1971 when he put his pistol to his head and pulled the trigger. The news of his death spread throughout the cast and crew like wildfire. The series was allowed to continue with another actor playing the part of Hannibal Heyes. Since Roger Davis has been a guest star on a previous episode, he was the first choice to replace the fallen Duel.

The stories seemed to become more scheme-oriented with the addition of Davis. The series did not fair well with network executives and was canceled in 1973. The series has a following similar to that of Star Trek but not to the same extent.

© 2010 Tammy L

Comments

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    • Tammy L profile imageAUTHOR

      Tammy L 

      7 years ago from Jacksonville, Texas

      You are quite welcome, Tom. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 

      7 years ago from Ohio

      I remember the show. I had forgotten but you refreshed some good ole days. Thanks. :)

    • Tammy L profile imageAUTHOR

      Tammy L 

      7 years ago from Jacksonville, Texas

      That's one show I never get tired of watching. It took them long enough to release the second and third seasons on DVD.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      7 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Wow, what a trip down Memory Lane! Yes, the scripts were well-written and witty, very much akin to the repartee between Paul Newman and Robert Redford in "Butch Cassidy". If a copy can be located, fans of BC will enjoy "Butch and Sundance - The Early Years" (1979) which tells how they became life-long friends and partners in crime. It's uncanny how much William Katt and Tom Berenger look and act like young versions of Redford and Newman.

    • Tammy L profile imageAUTHOR

      Tammy L 

      7 years ago from Jacksonville, Texas

      Thank you, Kosmo. I think that's when a lot of people quit watching. The show definitely was not the same.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley Marks 

      7 years ago from California

      I liked watching "Alias Smith and Jones." The scripts were well-written and witty, much like it's inspirational cinematic predecessor "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." I think I stopped watching the show when Roger Davis replaced Duel. This is about the time TV oaters went into decline. Later!

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