The classic Western Maverick was known just as much for its wit and humor as it was for anything else. One hallmark of the show were the adaptations and parodies. It referenced Golden Age Hollywood films like Casablanca, parodied fellow Westerns like Gunsmoke and Bonanza and even put an Old West spin on famous literary works.
One such story is the episode "The Rivals." The title and major plot elements are taken from an 18th-century play by Irish satirist Richard Brinsley Sheridan, who is credited in the show. It also has shades of Charles Dickens' famous novel A Tale of Two Cities, given a nod as guest character Lydia Lynley's favorite book.
The story revolves around the wealthy Lydia, who desires a working-class husband with good character. Her millionaire suitor, of the Vandergelt family, enlists Bret to help him win her love. They switch identities, and naturally, complications and absurdity ensue.
The episode is notable for not only being great satirical television but because of the stellar cast. Future Maverick cast member (and James Bond) Roger Moore plays John Vandergelt with Pat Crowley (credited here as Patricia Crowley) as Lydia, her first of three guest roles on the series. Interestingly, here her character loves A Tale of Two Cities and the very next season Crowley would star in the episode "A Tale of Three Cities."
This is the only time that all three Maverick leading men — the actors who played brothers Bret and Bart and cousin Beauregarde – share the screen. Moore was brought in to play Beau when James Garner left the show at the end of season three.
Yes, Moore is playing a totally unrelated character here, but it's still fun to see three of them together, even if just for a short scene. Garner and Moore play off each other perfectly; it's no wonder Moore was the go-to choice to play another dapper Maverick man!
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