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Parker Guest-Starred in Two Series Prior to Starting The Hardy Boys

Starring Parker Stevenson

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Gunsmoke: To Ride a Yellow Horse

This episode aired on March 18, 1974. The synopsis is given as "An ambitious mother doesn't consider Newly O'Brien or a neighboring farmer suitable suitors for her daughter, provoking them into a fight which almost leads to tragedy."

Thanks to Laurel for the following review:
 
The "ambitious" mother constantly nags both her beautiful daughter and less-than-ambitious son about doing what it takes to move up in the world.  While the son is berated for his low-status job at the bank and his inappropriate taste in female companionship, the daughter is encouraged to marry well, which doesn't bode well for Newly O'Brien or a neighboring farmer, both of whom are actively courting her.  Parker plays Stephen, the son of a local well-to-do rancher.  The mother sets her matchmaking sights on Stephen, who has just graduated from college back East and has now returned to begin taking over some of his father's horse breeding business, and she takes every opportunity to push Stephen and her daughter together.
 
The title of the story refers to a suitor that the mother had (in a roundabout sort of way) in her own youth, a wealthy young man who rode a yellow horse and who eventually became governor of Virginia.  Although it becomes clear that the mother had more of a passing flirtation than a substantial relationship with the young man, she nevertheless mourns her lost chance at wealth and position and is now attempting to realize her ambitions through her daughter.
 
Although Parker doesn't get a whole lot of screen time during this one, what time he does have is a joy to watch.  He has a lot of the wide-eyed innocent and youthfully earnest quality he displayed in his earlier roles like Our Time and A Separate Peace.  It's a lot of fun to watch Stephen's obvious physical attraction to the young girl before it becomes painfully obvious that his interest is not reciprocated.  (He's just so darn CUTE, you wonder why she'd turn him down for Newly or that other bumpkin!)



The Streets of San Francisco: The Drop

In this episode, a still very young Parker plays Andy, a kidnap victim. The part is little more than a "damsel in distress" role. Although he manages to work free of the ropes which bind him to a chair in an empty room, he doesn't put up much of a fight when the kidnappers catch up to him, and he looks puppy-dog sad when forced to make a video to assure his parents he's alive.

Thank you, Jean, for sending me a tape with this episode on it!