Air Date: November 26, 1967
Written by: William Jerome and Michael Landon
Directed by: Don Daves
Guest Stars: Burgess Meredith (Onie Duggan), David Lewis (Hubert Giblin), Richard X. Slattery (McCoy), Judy Parker (Julie Duggan), Victor Sen Yung (Hop Sing)
Ben’s old friend has stolen money from corrupt politicians in New York and plans to invest in Nevada.
Trivia: This was Burgess Meredith’s first and only appearance in the series. Meredith was probably best known for his portrayal of The Penguin on the 1960s television series Batman, as well as his performance as Rocky Balboa’s trainer Mickey in the Rocky movies of the ’80’s and ’90’s.
Because of his very liberal political views, he collided with Senator Joseph McCarthy and was blacklisted from films in the late 1950s. Meredith, one might say, got revenge on McCarthy by portraying Joseph Welch, the man who humiliated McCarthy on national television, in Tail Gunner Joe (1977).
On the Batman (1966) TV series, he developed his grunting Penguin laugh out of necessity. Meredith had given up smoking some twenty-odd years earlier, but his character was required to smoke with a cigarette holder. The smoke would get caught in his throat and he would start coughing. Rather than constantly ruin takes, he developed the laugh to cover it up. “Actually, it was a pretty funny noise for a penguin to make,” said Meredith. “I sounded more like a duck.” Needless to say, Meredith gave up smoking again immediately after the series ended.
Interestingly enough, producers had originally wanted Spencer Tracy in the role, but Tracy wouldn’t sign unless his character was allowed to kill Batman. Obviously, they did not want to kill the main character, so the role went to Meredith.