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Telephone Interview w/ Paul Fix  

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Cowgirl
(@cowgirl)
Admin Admin

I'm not posting this for the public to read, some people might take this wrong. I just didn't want to take the chance....

Doesn't Always Get His Man - But Never Loses His Dignity

By H. Viggo Andersen
TV Editor

The lone TV Sheriff who never gets his man without assistance from somebody else has nevertheless managed to salvage his dignity.
He is Micah, the somewhat ineffectual law man on "The Rifleman" show who, more often than not, has to be rescued from some predicament or "backed up" by Chuck , the "hero" of the series.

But the man behind the image of Micah, who has stubbornly preserved that characters dignity, his act or Paul Fix, who in real life is anything but a pushover and rarely has to ask for help to get what he is going after.
Gits Lots of Ribbing
"I get a lot of ribbing about that Micah role," he sighed during a recent telephone interview from Hollywood with this writer. "The poor old guy is such a well-meaning bumbler, a onetime lush who just can't live up to the badge of which he's so proud.
"But, you know," he continued, " I've become rather fond of the old boy and I'm determined never to let him lose what little dignity he still possesses. I don't mind the 'Rifleman' doing the heroic deeds and getting all the glory. After all, he Chuck Connors is the star of the series and that's as it should be, but I don't want the script writers to make a clown out of 'ol Micah. I've had to battle for his rights on several occasions."

Asked for an example, he gave this one: One script called for a saloon scene where a huge character carrying a bull whip and holding a baby suddenly challenged Chuck Connors to step outside to settle matters. The redoubtable Rifleman accepted whereupon the " villain" of the piece on ceremoniously stress the baby into Micah's arms and all piled out into the street where the giant began to be labor Connors unmercifully with the whip.
"And, said Fix, "I was supposed to stand there like a darn fool, holding onto this baby, while my best friend was having his ears pounded off. No sir!" You could feel him shaking his head at the other end of the phone. "I told the director and I got them to change it so that I handed the infant to a woman in the street and then started to go charging two Chuck's rescue only to be held off at gunpoint by one of the whip handler's pals. Chuck had to save his own hide, but at least Micah had made his try and save his pride and dignity.
Never A Clown
"And that's the way I want Micah to stay," he said. "Ineffectual, perhaps; a bit of a bumbler, yes, but never, never, a clown." And with that we left Micah and came to the subject of Paul Fix himself, actor, script writer, dramatic coach and whatnot. But a modest, unassuming man, this Fix. You have to draw him out.

A native of Dobbs Ferry, New York, he was early attracted to the stage and got his start touring "with some broken down stock companies. "Nevertheless, they gave him necessary experience and he eventually found himself playing small parts and Broadway productions. It was while in one of these that he met director John Cromwell, who he subsequently accompanied to Hollywood in 1922, when the "silents" were still going strong.
"I made some pictures with Tom Mix and other cowboy stars of that era, and then I got into that crazy gangster cycle. I played heavies. Real dirty heavies, who always got killed before the picture ended. The code demanded I be killed. I was that mean." He chuckled.
He appeared in dozens of "B" gangster films, but also in some of the better ones with James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, and Paul Muni in "Scarface. " Somewhere along the line he met John (Duke) Wayne and they immediately took to each other and there began a 20 year association, during which Fix first coach Ben out tremendously popular star and producer, then acted with him in pictures and occasionally wrote scripts for him, one of these being the outstanding "Tall in the Saddle."
Fix likes to write, when a good idea comes to him, but he'd much rather act.
Wanted ' Insurance '
A few years ago, when the film business went into the doldrums, and television seem to have taken over, Fix decided he'd better get some insurance, so he accepted the role of Micah in the "Rifleman", a series which is now in its fourth year and enjoying very high ratings. He had to pass up a chance to appear in John Wayne's "The Alamo" to do it but he's glad now he made the switch. Not that he prefers television to movies. Far from it.
"This is a grist mill operation,"he said ruefully, "grinding one show out after another. But I honestly feel ours is one of the better shows and you couldn't find a nicer guy to work with than Chuck Connors. He's really great. Reminds me a lot of Duke Wayne, and you know what I think of the Duke.
There will be no outstanding changes of format in "The Rifleman" series this coming season, Fix said. "Except," he chuckled, "that in one show I'm the main character. A crazy old woman comes to our town and it pleases me of being heard on lost husband. I've never made eyes on her before, but she's pretty convincing. I've been something of a lush in my time, and presently even I began to wonder if I could once have married her. Lucas (Connors) ribs meet unmercifully, the town begins to take sides, and then suddenly something happens that brings matters to a climax. You'll have to wait for it. I think it's pretty funny. Hope you will."
And on that note, we hung up. A real nice guy, this Paul Fix, even if on TV he never gets his man--single-handed.

*This was sent to me by a member here at the ranch, she didn't want credit so...... Thanks!

"Keep your 'sites' on The Rifleman"
"The Rifleman hits the 'Mark' every week on abc."
A cowgirl's work is never done.

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Posted : 23/08/2017 11:27 am
wildwest
(@wildwest)
Illustrious Member Ranch Hand, Alumni

Thanks for sharing. I think Paul was both an incredible actor and an incredible man. I read somewhere the car he drove to the studio had 'longhorns' on the front. but I cant find that article again. has anyone else read that?

:cowgirl: "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and He shall stand beside me later on." (Lucas in Home Ranch) :gunfightercowboy:

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Posted : 25/09/2017 9:21 am
Deneen
(@deneen)
Famed Member Ranch Hand, Alumni

Thanks CowGirl - Nice Interview! It's nice to know that Paul had an insight as to how to portray Micah. It worked - we luv Micah! :grinning-cowboy: I read somewhere the car he drove to the studio had 'longhorns' on the front. but I cant find that article again. has anyone else read that?No I haven't. But I'll bet that was a sight to see. 😆

~Deneen~

* Johnny Crawford *You Are In My Prayers :angel5:

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Posted : 25/09/2017 12:10 pm
Cowgirl
(@cowgirl)
Admin Admin

Thanks for sharing. I think Paul was both an incredible actor and an incredible man. I read somewhere the car he drove to the studio had 'longhorns' on the front. but I cant find that article again. has anyone else read that?

Got you covered dudette! :sillycowboy:

Former resident of Santa Monica, California. Drove a black 1960s Cadillac with longhorns attached to the front and personalized license plates reading: "P FIX".

Paul Fix - IMDB

"Keep your 'sites' on The Rifleman"
"The Rifleman hits the 'Mark' every week on abc."
A cowgirl's work is never done.

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Posted : 26/09/2017 2:39 am
wildwest
(@wildwest)
Illustrious Member Ranch Hand, Alumni

Thanks for finding it Cowgirl. I thought maybe I just had a 'senior moment'. Can't you just see Paul rolling into the Four Star Lot driving that!!

:gunfightercowboy: :covered_wagon:

:cowgirl: "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and He shall stand beside me later on." (Lucas in Home Ranch) :gunfightercowboy:

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Posted : 26/09/2017 7:50 am
Zanza
(@zanza)
Gunfighter

...the man behind the image of Micah, who has stubbornly preserved that characters dignity, his actor Paul Fix..."I get a lot of ribbing about that Micah role,"..."The poor old guy is such a well-meaning bumbler, a onetime lush who just can't live up to the badge of which he's so proud..." I've become rather fond of the old boy and I'm determined never to let him lose what little dignity he still possesses. I don't mind the 'Rifleman' doing the heroic deeds and getting all the glory. After all, he Chuck Connors is the star of the series and that's as it should be, but I don't want the script writers to make a clown out of 'ol Micah. ... "Ineffectual, perhaps; a bit of a bumbler, yes, but never, never, a clown."

I can't help feeling that Paul Fix was selling Micah short. True, Micah was written as a real person and not an invincible superman like Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke, and so there are times he's going to be ineffectual and need help. And I get that as the person presenting Micah, Paul might have had some feelings about the character and there were times when he had to go to the writers and put his foot down because they were dumbing down Micah. But in all reasonableness, most of the time Luke was ranching, not marshaling. Day in and day out, Micah was the one keeping the peace, and he was the one people went running to for help even when they knew Luke was in town.

Micah was a hopeless lush in his first episode, but he was also the big hero. Luke pulled him out of the bottle, but it was Micah who saved the day, after Luke went barreling into town and got himself shot. Luke didn't know the first thing about how to deal with the outlaws who killed the marshal, and Micah warned him about going up against those men because he didn't know what he was doing, and Luke went off half-cocked anyway. He got one, and then he was face down in the dirt, about to be finished off when Micah rode to the rescue. Micah was the person Luke went to for personal problems, and to ask advice, and he was the person Luke confided in. Micah was also the person that Luke wanted to raise Mark if something happened to him, as we saw in Ordeal. I don't think Luke would have left his son in the care of an undignified lush who couldn't do anything right. Luke knew Micah was a good man and a brave man who would raise Mark right.

<><

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Posted : 01/08/2020 7:12 am
lilyrose
(@lilyrose)
Honorable Member

Wow, that's really interesting. Thanks for sharing that. I agree, Paul Fix is a wonderful actor. 🙂

With a smile on my face, I wake up to a brand new day.

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Posted : 05/08/2020 9:02 am
Zanza
(@zanza)
Gunfighter

I liked seeing Paul working with Chuck in the movie Ride Beyond Vengeance. Paul turned out to be the bad guy, but he wasn't really evil, just weak. He did take care of Chuck after our tall friend was beat up and branded with a running iron, so he had a conscience.

<><

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Posted : 05/08/2020 9:44 am
Laurie
(@laurie)
Active Member

I remember reading somewhere that Fix's real life daughter married Harry Carey, Jr, the actor from the westerns. Imagine the good times had at the family Thanksgiving table in that home. Fun fun!

Laurie

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Posted : 10/08/2020 9:06 pm
judymcl
(@judymcl)
Member Admin

Brought over from old forum location

Judy M

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Posted : 09/10/2020 5:44 pm
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