The Gambler Returns: the Luck of the Draw
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The Gambler Returns: the Luck of the Draw

The Gambler is a series of American Western television films starring Kenny Rogers as Brady Hawkes, a fictional old-west gambler. The character was inspired by Rogers' hit single "The Gambler".[1]

Overview

There are five movies in the series. The first four are directed by Dick Lowry while the last was directed by Jack Bender. The movies are:

  • Kenny Rogers as The Gambler (1980) (TV)
  • Kenny Rogers as The Gambler: The Adventure Continues (1983) (TV)
  • Kenny Rogers as The Gambler, Part III: The Legend Continues (1987) (TV)
  • The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (1991) (TV)
  • Gambler V: Playing for Keeps (1994) (TV)

Cast

Films
Character Kenny Rogers as The Gambler Kenny Rogers as The Gambler: The Adventure Continues Kenny Rogers as The Gambler, Part III: The Legend Continues The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw Gambler V: Playing for Keeps
1980 1983 1987 1991 1994
Brady Hawkes Kenny Rogers
Billy Montana Bruce Boxleitner   Bruce Boxleitner
Jeremiah Hawkes Ronnie Scribner Charles Fields   Kris Kamm
Arthur Stobridge Harold Gould  
Eliza Christine Belford  
Rufe Bennett Clu Gulager  
Doc Palmer Lance LeGault  
Kate Muldoon   Linda Evans   Linda Evans  
Masket   Johnny Crawford  
Carson   David Hedison  
Pvt. Bob Butler   Marc Alaimo  
Sen. Henry Colton   Charles Durning  
Chief Sitting Bull   George American Horse  
Bat Masterson   Gene Barry  
Kwai Chang Caine   David Carradine  
Lucas McCain   Chuck Connors  
Mark McCain   Johnny Crawford  
The Westerner   Brian Keith  
Bart Maverick   Jack Kelly  
Marshal Wyatt Earp   Hugh O'Brian  
Cheyenne   Clint Walker  
Butch Cassidy   Scott Paulin
Sundance Kid   Brett Cullen
Etta Place   Mariska Hargitay

Films

Kenny Rogers as The Gambler (1980)

Kenny Rogers as The Gambler
GenreWestern
Created byKen Kragen & Cort Casady
Written byJim Byrnes
Cort Casady
Screenplay byJim Byrnes
Directed byDick Lowry
StarringKenny Rogers
Theme music composerLarry Cansler
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Production
Executive producerKen Kragen
ProducersKen Kragen
Jim Byrnes
Terence A. Donnelly (associate producer)
John Marias (associate producer)
Production locationsOld Tucson - 201 S. Kinney Road, Tucson, Arizona
Sonoran Desert
Sonoran Desert
Ironwood Forest National Monument
Tucson Mountains
Tucson, Arizona
CinematographyJoseph F. Biroc
EditorJerrold L. Ludwig
Running time95 minutes
Production companyKen Kragen Productions
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Release
Original networkCBS
Picture formatColor
Audio formatMono
Original releaseApril 8, 1980 (1980-04-08)

Kenny Rogers as The Gambler debuted on CBS on April 8, 1980.[2][3] It was a ratings and critical success that has spawned four sequels.[3] The show won a Best Edited Television Special Eddie Award and garnered two Emmy Award nominations (for cinematography and editing of a limited series).[4]

Kenny Rogers stars as Brady Hawkes, the titular gambler, who embarks on a journey to meet Jeremiah (Ronnie Scribner), the young son he never knew after Jeremiah sends him a letter. Along the way, Brady meets Billy Montana (Bruce Boxleitner) and the two become friends. Billy (while trying to help Brady in his quest) fancies himself as a professional poker player on his own. Although Billy makes mistakes along the way (some of these include trying to find a way to cheat or do some smooth talking), Brady makes sure that he stays on good behavior during a train ride to Yuma. The duo help Jennie Reed (Lee Purcell), a prostitute who has trouble with a train baron. At the end, Brady's son's stepfather (Clu Gulager) is confronted.

Production

The movie was produced by the fledgling Kragen & Co. production company.[5] The ranch headquarters at Valle Grande in Valles Caldera, New Mexico was used as a filming location,[6] As well as at Old Tucson, which appears as the shooting location in the credits of the film.

Cast

Kenny Rogers as The Gambler: The Adventure Continues (1983)

Kenny Rogers as The Gambler: The Adventure Continues
GenreWestern
Screenplay byJim Byrnes
Directed byDick Lowry
StarringKenny Rogers
Theme music composerLarry Cansler
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Production
ProducersKen Kragen
Jim Byrnes
Neil T. Maffeo (supervising producer)
Production locationsSuperstition Mountains
Apache Junction
Sonoran Desert
Apacheland Studios
CinematographyJames Pergola
EditorsBernard Balmuth
Byron Brandt
Running time200 min
Production companyLion Share
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Release
Original networkCBS
Picture formatColor
Audio formatMono
Original releaseNovember 28, 1983 (1983-11-28)

Kenny Rogers again stars as Brady Hawkes in the miniseries Kenny Rogers as The Gambler: The Adventure Continues which premiered on November 28 and 29, 1983.[2] The show was an even bigger ratings success than the first and was nominated for two Emmy Awards (sound editing and sound mixing of a limited series).[7]

Billy Montana, Brady, and his son Jeremiah (now played by Charles Fields) are traveling to a gambling event in San Francisco when they encounter the vicious McCourt gang. The McCourt gang force the train to stop and they take Jeremiah hostage and demand a $1 million ransom. Brady and Billy are determined to get Jeremiah back as well as the $1 million ransom which belonged to the train boss. Brady and Billy find help in their mission and meet a female bounty hunter Kate Muldoon played by Linda Evans. Kate is the fastest female gun in the west. They form a posse together in a race to save Jeremiah.

Cast

Kenny Rogers as The Gambler, Part III: The Legend Continues (1987)

Kenny Rogers as The Gambler, Part III: The Legend Continues
GenreWestern
Written byJeb Rosebrook
Roderick Taylor
Directed byDick Lowry
StarringKenny Rogers
Theme music composerLarry Cansler
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Production
ProducerPeter Burrell
Production locationsCook Ranch
Eaves Movie Ranch
Rancho de las Golondrinas
CinematographyRobert M. Baldwin
Running time240 min
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Release
Original networkCBS
Picture formatColor
Audio formatMono
Original releaseNovember 22, 1987 (1987-11-22)

Kenny Rogers as The Gambler, Part III: The Legend Continues was broadcast on November 22, 1987.[8]

In this installment, Brady Hawkes and Billy Montana help protect some Sioux Indians from the government and some cattle thieves.[9]

Cast

The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (1991)

The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw is a 1991 television film starring Kenny Rogers and Reba McEntire.[10] Rogers reprises Hawkes in the fourth installment of the series. The film originally aired on NBC on November 3, 1991. It was nominated for a Costume Design Emmy.[11]

The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw
GenreWestern
Written byJoe Byrne
Jeb Rosebrook
Directed byDick Lowry
StarringKenny Rogers
Rick Rossovich
Reba McEntire
Theme music composerMark Snow
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Production
ProducerAnn Kindberg
Production locationsBig Sky Ranch
Culver Studios
Golden Oak Ranch
EditorAnita Brandt-Burgoyne
Running time240 min[10]
Production companyKenny Rogers Productions
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Release
Original networkNBC[10]
Picture formatColor
Audio formatMono
Original releaseNovember 3, 1991 (1991-11-03)

Plot

It's 1906 and professional gambling will be outlawed in just three weeks. Therefore, Burgundy Jones (McEntire) has just that long to get Brady Hawkes safely to San Francisco for the last poker tournament, with a very special mystery player. This is made more difficult, as Hawkes is still smarting after a hard-fought loss to another professional poker player in England, who will also be at the tournament.

Production

The film features Rogers' character running across a galaxy of old TV western characters played by the original actors, including Gene Barry as Bat Masterson, Hugh O'Brian as Wyatt Earp, Jack Kelly as Bart Maverick, Clint Walker as Cheyenne Bodie, David Carradine as Kung Fus Caine, Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford from The Rifleman, Brian Keith as The Westerner, James Drury and Doug McClure from The Virginian, Paul Brinegar from Rawhide, and Reba McEntire as Burgundy Jones.

The characters are attending a poker game said to be in honor of "the late Mr. Paladin" from Have Gun -- Will Travel (the actor who played him, Richard Boone, had died in 1981). The game was played at the hotel at which Paladin lived. The game's dealer is "Hey Girl", Paladin's friend. As each veteran character appears, a few bars from his original series' theme momentarily plays in the background, reminiscent of a doorbell. Everyone in the film, including President Theodore Roosevelt (Claude Akins), seems openly thrilled to encounter Brady Hawkes.

The Gambler Returns was directed by Dick Lowry.

Cast

In alphabetical order:

Gambler V: Playing for Keeps (1994)

Gambler V: Playing for Keeps
GenreWestern
Screenplay byFrank Q. Dobbs
Caleb Pirtle III
Story byFrank Q. Dobbs
David S. Cass, Sr.
Kelly Junkerman
Directed byJack Bender
StarringKenny Rogers
Theme music composerLarry Brown
Edgar Struble
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Production
Executive producerKelly Junkerman
ProducersKelly Junkerman
Ken Kragen
Production locationsTerlingua, Texas
Texas State Railroad
Alamo Village
Big Bend National Park
Brackettville, Texas
Galveston, Texas
CinematographyEdward J. Pei
EditorWilliam B. Stich
Running time91 min
Production companiesCBS
Ken Kragen Productions
Kenny Rogers Productions
RHI Entertainment
World International Network
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Release
Original networkCBS
Picture formatColor
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseOctober 2, 1994 (1994-10-02)

Gambler V: Playing for Keeps is the fifth installment of The Gambler series and the first not directed by Dick Lowry, with Jack Bender taking the helm. The movie premiered on October 2, 1994.

Plot

Brady Hawkes' son, Jeremiah (with Kris Kamm as the third actor in the role) gets involved with outlaws Butch Cassidy (Scott Paulin) and the Sundance Kid (Brett Cullen).[12] Brady tries to save him before he winds up in jail or dead.

Cast

Future films

On March 15, 2011 Kenny Rogers told Jimmy Fallon on his television show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, that he was asked if he would want to be in another Gambler movie. He began by saying that he had a bad knee and thought it would be hard for him, but continued and said that the first scene in the movie would be a shootout. Supposedly he would get shot in the shoulder and knee to cover his physical disabilities.[13] However, in the years that followed Rogers announced his retirement from show business and stated that his 2016 tour would be his last and after this he would be spending his time with family. Rogers later died on March 20, 2020.[14]

In other media

Books

  • Pirtle, Caleb, III; Dobbs, Frank Q. (1996). Jokers Are Wild. Kenny Rogers' The Gambler. 1. Penguin Group. ISBN 9781572970533.
  • Pirtle, Caleb, III; Dobbs, Frank Q. (1996). Dead Man's Hand. Kenny Rogers' The Gambler. 2. Boulevard Books. ISBN 9781572970939.
  • Pirtle, Caleb, III; Dobbs, Frank Q. (1998). Dying Man's Bluff. Kenny Rogers' The Gambler. Berkley Publishing Group. ISBN 9781572971813.

Slot machine

A video slot machine based on The Gambler can be found in most Las Vegas casinos. It was manufactured by now-defunct International Game Technology.[15]

References

  1. ^ Drew, Bernard A. (2013). Motion Picture Series and Sequels: A Reference Guide. Routledge. p. 131. ISBN 9781317928942. These Western adventures, based on the leading actor's best-selling song, are about gambler Brady Hawkes.
  2. ^ a b Pitts, Michael R. (2013). Western Movies: A Guide to 5,105 Feature Films (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. p. 171. ISBN 9780786463725.
  3. ^ a b Stambler, Irwin; Landon, Grelun (2000). Country Music: The Encyclopedia. Macmillan. p. 219. ISBN 9780312264871. Telecast on the CBS network, it achieved the highest rating of any TV movie shown over the previous two years.
  4. ^ Awards for The Gambler at IMDB
  5. ^ "Sundance Firm Goes To Ken Kragen". Billboard. 92 (38): 57. September 20, 1980. ISSN 0006-2510. The 18-month-old Kragen & Co. now employs 24 people on both coasts working on management and television production projects. The company has produced two Kenny Rogers network tv specials and the 'Kenny Rogers As The Gambler' made-for-tv movie.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-15. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Awards for Kenny Rogers as The Gambler: The Adventure Continues at IMDB
  8. ^ TV Guide cover story for the November 21-27, 1987 issue
  9. ^ The Gambler, Part III review at tvguide.com
  10. ^ a b c Pitts, Michael R. (2013). Western Movies: A Guide to 5,105 Feature Films (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. p. 121. ISBN 9780786463725.
  11. ^ Awards for The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw at IMDB
  12. ^ Brode, Douglas (2010). Shooting Stars of the Small Screen: Encyclopedia of TV Western Actors, 1946-Present. Contributions by Fess Parker. University of Texas Press. p. 280. ISBN 9780292783317. The Gambler V: Playing for Keeps (10/2/94) featured Brady and Billy again rescuing Jeremiah (now Kris Kamm) from outlaws Butch Cassidy (Scott Paulin) and the Sundance Kid (Brett Cullen).
  13. ^ "Late Night with Jimmy fallon - Kenny Rogers 3/15/11". Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Retrieved .
  14. ^ https://ymlp.com/zbjSX9
  15. ^ IGT Kenny Rogers - The Gambler I-Game Video Slot

External links

IMDB
AllMovie

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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