THE TEXAS WHEELERS
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The show's theme song was "Illegal Smile" by John Prine.
Elam ... Zack Wheeler
"In the realm of forgotten series (I liked the stuff on It's About Time) no one has mentioned The Texas Wheelers, which I liked, if no one else did. It only ran for a few episodes, but had Jack Elam, Gary Bussey, and Mark Hamill in it. a MTM show I keep waiting for the box set of, someday."
- Paul Cox
Jack Elam led an incredible cast that included Gary Busey and Mark Hamill in a sitcom involving a wayward father returning home to his farm and three screaming inbreds. Yep, you guessed it - the Dysfunctional Walton Family Circus.
Jack Elam portrayed cantankerous old drunken perverts and crazed miners in countless westerns from the fifties through the seventies. "I've played all kinds of weirdos but I've never done the quiet, sick type," Elam once commented on his roles. "I never had a problem - other than the fact I was just bad."
Typical Texas Wheelers plotline: eldest son goes out back to beat the sh*t out of daddy over all sorts of neglectful acts, while the rest of the family has a funeral for a dead baby duck. The duck was obviously a symbol for what this show became.
After the show was cancelled Mark Hamill landed the role of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. This (and Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers) was a surprise bomb in 1974 for the MTM group which had pumped out recent hits with The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show.
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