Daily News from New York, New York on May 7, 1976 · 110
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Daily News from New York, New York · 110

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Location:
New York, New York
Issue Date:
Friday, May 7, 1976
Page:
110
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I- CI P l-J M P wltosots ccdii'P eh NBC's 'The Quest' in Fall Is TV's Lonely Western By KAY GARDEIXA To hear producers talk this past season, one was half expecting to be trampled by covered wagons this fall. But as it turned out, there is only one western on the new The Quest,' schedule and this is NBC-TV's 9-to-10 p.m. entry on Wednesday. Writer-creator of the series is Tracy Keenan Wynn, a 30-year-old bachelor and the fourth generation of the famed theatrical family. A pilot film of his series out of Columbia Pictures Televison will be telecast next Thursday night at 9 co-starring Kurt Russell and Tim Matheson. The two stars, according to the writer, play two brothers who eight years before crossed the continent with their family in a covered wagon train which was attacked by Indians. One, Morgan Baudine, played by Russell, is captured and raised by the Cheyenne Indians for four years, and Matheson, as Quentin, the other brother, is a young medical student who finally finds his brother. Search for Their Sister The two strike out to find a younger sister who is still among the Indians. On their journey they're befriended by a cattle driver with a dubious reputation, played by Brian Keith. The series executive producer is David Gerber. Wynn finds the Western form exciting for a writer. "I'm frankly getting weary of the same old formulas," he said yes terday. "I like to see series based on American history. The 1880s in the West were a colorful time. It had flamboyant, larger-than-life characters and business families like the Goulds and Vanderbilts add spice to a series." Sociof Significance The writer says the series will have some social significance. He makes a serious effort to show both sides. Indians died at the hands of other Indians, not just whites, he points out.. "I walk a fine edge in the scripts. Violence, for instance, is quick, not anticipated and expected as. in television cop shows. It's closer to how it actually happened, which was sudden. "We're getting a clearer picture of history today," he went on. "Everything was highly romanticized in the past. Cowboys, for instance, were always made to be bigger than they really were. Even gunfights were never quite the way they were depicted in fijms, like Gary Cooper in 'High Noon.' The famous gunfight at the OK Corral was actually a business battle between the Earps and Clantons over the house of prostitution in town. It had nothing to do with good guys versus bad guysj'' . Wynn's creative family is cele-bating its 100th anniversary this year. His great, greatgrandfather, Frank Keenan, was an Irish stage actor in 1876. He was of the "booze and stage variety," said the young writer. "He did Shakespeare in his day and as I'm told headed for California to make silent, films before he died. John Barrymore took over one of his roles." Continuing the history of his family, he said Ed Wynn, the late and beloved clown, married Frank Keenan's daughter, and, as his grandson said, enjoyed a full career in vaudeville, films and television."- Frank Keenan Wynn, Tracy's father, is a serious actor, busy today on both films and televi sion.- His son said - hell be ap-: pearing in "The Quest." 'c "I've always regretted dad -didn't become a. comedian. He deliberately avoided it because of grandpa. But he's a brilliant raconteur like W.C. Fields. He would have been fabulous. But there was tension at the time between he and grandpa that eventually was erased when they co-starred in dramatic shows on television like 'Requiem, for a Heavyweight.' " Tracy says he doesn't have that problem with his father, although he is sensitive when someone says his dad can open doors for him. He tried acting in "What's New Pussycat?" in summer stock, but didn't like it. "An actor has little creative freedom," he says. Writing Credits As a writer he has chalked up an impressive score for a young man. A graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles, with a B.A. in fine arts, he as written "Tribes," an ABC movie, "The Glass House," "The Autobiography of Jane Pitt-man," the film, "The Longest Yard," with Burt Reynolds, and is working on "The Deep,? based - -While- wwtmff -' -J-V-Wft as profitable as films, he doesn't put it down. "There is more opportunity for a young writer in television. With some fifty 90-minute films made a year, your chances of getting -on are good. I like the long form. I don't want to see another hour show. In -fact, I'd like to do three-parters and long ' stories within the framework of 'The Quest." 1 think 'Rich Man, Poor Man' was a sensational idea." FIX YOUR OWN CAR Today it's tht smart thing to do. 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