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Ok! Here he comes! I probably had more pix of THIS guy plastered on my walls than any other! He was just so sweet I fell totally head-over-heels for him! I’ve been waiting for this post!!! ❤ Please meet Johnny Crawford (whom you may also know as Mark mcCain.)



John Ernest Crawford (born March 26, 1946) is an American character actor, singer, and musician. At age 12, Crawford rose to fame for playing Mark McCain, the son of Lucas McCain (played by Chuck Connors), in the popular ABC Western series, The Rifleman, which originally aired from 1958 to 1963. Crawford first performed before a national audience as a Mouseketeer.

Crawford was born in Los Angeles, the son of Betty (née Megerlin) and Robert Lawrence Crawford, Sr. His maternal grandparents were Belgian; his maternal grandfather was violinist Alfred Eugene Megerlin. In 1959, Johnny, his older brother Robert L. Crawford, Jr., a co-star of NBC’s Laramie series, and their father Robert, Sr., were all nominated for Emmy Awards (the brothers for acting and their father for film editing)

Disney started out with 24 original Mouseketeers. However, at the end of the first season, the studio reduced the number to 12, and Crawford was released from his contract. His first important break as an actor followed with the title role in a Lux Video Theatre production of “Little Boy Lost”, a live NBC broadcast on March 15, 1956. He also appeared in the popular Western series The Lone Ranger, in 1956, in one of the few color episodes of that series. Following that performance, the young actor worked steadily with many seasoned actors and directors. Freelancing for 2 1/2 years, he accumulated almost 60 television credits, including featured roles in three episodes of NBC’s The Loretta Young Show and an appearance as Manuel in, “I Am an American”, an episode of the syndicated crime drama Sheriff of Cochise. By the spring of 1958, he had also performed 14 demanding roles in live teleplays for NBC’s Matinee Theatre, appeared on CBS’s sitcom, Mr. Adams and Eve, in the Wagon Train episode “The Sally Potter Story” (in which Martin Milner also appeared) and on the syndicated series, Crossroads, Sheriff of Cochise, and Whirlybirds, and made three pilots of TV series. The third pilot, which was made as an episode of Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater, was picked up by ABC and the first season of The Rifleman began filming in July 1958.

Crawford was nominated for an Emmy Award, at age 13, for his role as Mark McCain, the son of Lucas McCain, played by Chuck Connors, in the Four Star Television series The Rifleman, which originally aired from 1958 to 1963. Throughout The Rifleman’s five seasons, a remarkable on-screen chemistry existed between Connors and Crawford in the depiction of their father-son relationship. They were still close friends when Connors died on November 10, 1992, and Crawford gave a eulogy at Connors’ memorial service.

(The picture below is one I took of a recent Village Inn restaurant menu.  I actually called their corporate office to be sure, but I KNEW I recognized this dude! Village Inn was kind enough to give me a menu! 😀 )

During the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, Crawford had wide popularity with American teenagers and a recording career that generated four Billboard Top 40 hits, including the single, “Cindy’s Birthday”, which peaked at number 8, in 1962. His other hits included “Rumors” (number 12, 1962), “Your Nose is Gonna Grow” (number 14, 1962), and “Proud” (number 29, 1963).

Crawford played Jeff, Wilbur’s neighbor in Mr. Ed – Season 6, Episode 2 (1965) – who was more interested in pop music than his algebra. Late in 1961, Crawford appeared as Victor in the episode “A Very Bright Boy” of the ABC sitcom, The Donna Reed Show His brother Robert had also been a guest star on The Donna Reed Show. Once in 1964 and once in 1965, Crawford appeared on the NBC education drama Mr. Novak.

Among his films, Crawford played an American Indian in the unique adventure film, Indian Paint (1965). He played a character involved with a disturbed young girl played by Kim Darby in The Restless Ones (1965); and played a character shot by John Wayne’s character in El Dorado (1967). He played a young deputy Billy Norris, in The Big Valley episode “The Other Face Of Justice” in 1969.

While enlisted in the United States Army for two years, Crawford worked on training films as a production coordinator, assistant director, script supervisor, and occasional actor. His rank was sergeant at the time of his honorable discharge in December 1967. In 1968, Crawford played a soldier wanted for murder in “By the Numbers”, an episode of the popular TV series Hawaii Five-O.


Since 1992, Crawford has led a California-based vintage dance orchestra which performs at special events. His band has been sponsored by the Playboy Jazz Festival, and the orchestra has been the choice for 15 consecutive annual Art Directors Guild Awards shows at the Beverly Hilton, in Beverly Hills. A remastered version of the orchestra’s highly rated first album, Sweepin’ the Clouds Away, was released on August 21, 2012, on the CD Baby (distributor) label. The formal name of the band was JCO (Johnny Crawford Orchestra). The JCO logo appeared on Crawford’s drums when the band played in Las Vegas.

In the early seventies Crawford dated Debra Tate, sister of the late actress Sharon Tate. Crawford reconnected with his high school sweetheart, Charlotte Samco, in 1990, and they married in 1995. Crawford had a key role in the early career of entertainer Victoria Jackson, of Saturday Night Live fame. After the two appeared together in a summer stock production of Meet Me in St. Louis, he presented her with a one-way ticket to California and encouraged her to pursue a Hollywood career. This led Jackson to early appearances on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, before she was cast as a regular on SNL. (He was just a great guy! ❤ )

For his third album Rumors (1963), Johnny Crawford (vocals) reveals a considerably more mature delivery compared to his previous outings. However, in keeping with his teen idol persona, he retains the simple contemporary popular sound that had undoubtedly aided in landing both “Cindy’s Birthday” and “Your Nose Is Gonna Grow” into the Top 20. The string arrangements accompanying “Devil or Angel,” “How High the Moon,” “Since I Don’t Have You,” “Living in the Past” and the title track “Rumors” — which would garner the artist another Top 15 hit — are reminiscent of sides from Crawford’s contemporaries Fabian and Frankie Avalon.

The slightly Western-flavored “How High the Moon” diverges with a prominent acoustic guitar and loping rhythm, perhaps a sonic reference to Crawford’s concurrent small screen persona as Mark McCain on the Rifleman. Songwriter David Gates, who was still several years away from success as a performer with the ’70’s light rock combo Bread, provides a pair of tunes, the relaxed and easy “I Don’t Need You,” as well as the driving up-tempo “No One Really Loves a Clown.” The cut presents Crawford in a very radically different style as compared to the vast majority of the material that he had previously recorded. While nowhere as bombastic, “Janie Please Believe Me” could similarly be classified as an early rocker, along the lines of what Neil Sedaka had done with “Oh Carol'” and “The Diary.” Although Crawford would issue a few additional singles on Del-Fi, the onslaught of the mid-’60’s British Invasion all but made this brand of pop irrelevant. [In 2004, Collectors’ Choice Music released all three of Crawford’s LPs on to CD, making each available after several decades out of print.]

And one more just because this is probably my FAVORITE post of the Challenge!


Picture Sources:
Johnny Crawford — Famous Birthdays
Mouseketeer — Original MMC
Johnny and Chuck —en.wikipedia.org
Stock Photo: Johnny at IHOP — Impromptu Promptlings – WordPress.com
Johnny Crawford Dance Orchestra — Corporate Event Entertainment & Production