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Ad for "Sheriff of Cochise".“The Sheriff of Cochise”

“The Sheriff of Cochise” was a contemporary Western set in Cochise County, AZ, (southeast of Pima County which is Tucson, AZ.) Sheriff Frank Morgan (John Bromfield) employed all the modern methods of law enforcement including a car radio, helicopters and roadblocks. Morgan got around in s ‘58 Chrysler station wagon. His primary deputy was “Ghost Riders in the Sky” songwriter Stan Jones (1914-1963) as Deputy Harry Olson. Roy Engel (radio’s “Sky King”) was also featured as Deputy Dave.

John Bromfield as "Sheriff of Cochise".The half hour b/w series, co-produced and syndicated by Desilu Productions and NTA (National Telefilm Associates), was the idea of Jones who called nearby Douglas his home and wanted to bring recognition and filming to the area. Some filming was done in Pima and Cochise Counties as many buildings are recognizable… including the county courthouse in Bisbee.

Primarily produced (and often scripted by Mort Briskin (1913-2000) there were 78 episodes produced for two seasons and syndicated between September 1956 and December 1957. Ted White was a primary stuntman on the show.

Ad for "U.S. Marshal".Nearing the end of the second season Desi Arnaz called Bromfield into his office and said, “You’ve covered Cochise County long enough, why don’t we promote you to the job of U.S. Marshal? Then you can cover the whole state.” The script for the 78th episode, “The Witness”, is titled “U.S. Marshal”. In it Sheriff Morgan delivers two witnesses to Marshal Sidney Blackmer in Tucson. In a daring escape and gun battle Marshal Blackmer is killed and Morgan (Bromfield) is promoted to U.S. Marshal.  With that promotion Bromfield switched from a regular holster on his hip to carrying his weapon on a shoulder holster and the supporting cast changed. Stan Jones was gone replaced at first by Robert Brubaker (1916-2010) as Deputy Ed Blake but primarily by lanky James Griffith (1916-1993) as always hungry Deputy Tom Ferguson. Buck Young (1920-2000) (actress Peggy Stewart’s late husband) portrayed Deputy Buck Johnson in several episodes.

James Griffith and John Bromfield.As directed by talent such as Robert Altman, Earl Bellamy, Sutton Roley, Sobey Martin and Harve Foster, the series continued its action packed ways for the ‘58-‘60 seasons, syndicated for October ‘58 to April ‘60. The most unusual and action packed episode was “Grandfather” which involved a publisher working on a book about law enforcement officers convincing Marshal Morgan to relate the tale of his two-gun grandfather, Marshal Dallas Studmeyer, and how he cleaned up Dallas, TX, and became Marshal. Directed by Earl Bellamy the stellar supporting cast included Willis Bouchey, R. G. Armstrong, Bob Wilke, Virginia Grey, George Keymas, John Eldredge, Don Megowan, James Griffith, Rodolfo Hoyos, Ethan Laidlaw, Don Harvey, Bing Russell, Murvyn Vye and James Anderson—a veritable who’s who of TV support players! In reruns all the “Sheriff of Cochise” and “U.S. Marshal” episodes were combined under the title “Man From Cochise”.

Although John Bromfield had a moderate film career beginning in ‘48 with “Sorry, Wrong Number” and starring roles in “The Black Dakotas” (‘54), “Revenge of the Creature” (‘55), “Manfish” (‘56), “Frontier Gambler” (‘56) and “Curucu, Beast of the Amazon” (‘56), he opined in ‘58, “About 40 million see ‘Sheriff of Cochise’ or ‘U.S. Marshal’ every week. I’d have to do about 25 major (motion) pictures over a span of eight or nine years for enough people to see me in the theatre who see me in one week (on TV). The show is seen all over the world. Television is a fabulous medium.”

John Bromfield as U.S. Marshal.Born Faron Bromfield in South Bend, IN, June 11, 1922, he was a heavyweight champ at St. Mary’s College in California and played football under coach Eddie Erdelatz. Majoring in physical education he thought of becoming a football coach himself but after serving in the Navy he worked as a commercial fisherman off Santa Monica and started acting in summer stock at La Jolla Playhouse where an agent spotted and signed him. Bromfield met his first wife, actress Corinne Calvet, while appearing with her in “Rope of Sand” (‘49). The marriage ended in March ‘54. While making “Curucu, Beast of the Amazon” he met dancer Larri Thomas. They were married shortly thereafter but divorced in ‘59. When “U.S. Marshal” ended in ‘60, John became a full time commercial fisherman out of Newport Beach. He met and married Mary in 1962. In his retirement the couple moved to Lake Havasu City, AZ. Bromfield died of kidney failure at 83 on September 18, 2005, in Palm Desert, CA, where he’d gone to seek medical treatment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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