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“The Fugitive” a Hit for ABC-TV

June 20, 1964 - For the last nine months, Richard Kimble, the hero of ABC’s weekly series, “The Fugitive,” has been running across the country in a story that has all the built-in suspense of the old-time serials at the neighborhood movie palace. Viewers presumably can be confident that the fleeing physician, wrongly accused of slaying his wife, will not be caught for years since “The Fugitive” has emerged as one of the season’s durable shows.

“People identify with Kimble,” says producer Alan Armer. “We get letters asking us to give him a second chance, to let him find the one-armed man and return to his medical practice. And I’ve never worked on a show before that brought in so many unsolicited scripts. Everyone seems to have escape ideas, especially little old ladies. If only some of the stories were any good!”

“The Fugitive” has done as much for star David Janssen’s career as “Ben Casey,” “Gunsmoke,” “Wyatt Earp,” and “Have Gun - Will Travel” did for Vince Edwards, James Arness, Hugh O’Brian, and Richard Boone respectively.

Like Janssen, these actors flopped in Hollywood, were relegated to B-pictures, and finally found their métier as heroes of TV serials. This year, Janssen and “The Fugitive” won TV Guide’s popularity poll.

Publicists for the program say that, to Janssen, Richard Kimble is a living person. They quote the actor as stating: “I must put myself completely into the character to make him believable.” Even TV stars are obviously aware of The Method.

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