Tuesday's Overlooked TV: Ned Blessing: The Story of My Life and Times
Mentioning Brad Johnson in last week's post about the movie CROSSFIRE TRAIL reminded me of this short-lived Western series in which he played the title character. Created by Texas screenwriter Bill Witliff, who did the script for LONESOME DOVE as well as writing movies such as HONEYSUCKLE ROSE and BARBAROSA, it's the story of Ned Blessing, who was both outlaw and lawman in his long, adventurous life and narrates the story in each episode from a jail cell where he's waiting to be hanged. Evidently the character first appeared in a TV movie in 1992 called NED BLESSING: THE TRUE STORY OF MY LIFE, in which he was played by Daniel Baldwin. The TV series, which starred Brad Johnson as Ned Blessing and appeared the next year, was apparently a reboot of the storyline and covered some of the same ground. I don't recall ever seeing the TV movie version, but we watched every episode of the regular series and enjoyed it a great deal. It was an offbeat Western filled with colorful characters, including a deputy named Sticks Packwood who was played by the great character actor Tim Scott. Unfortunately, the series only ran for five episodes before being cancelled. The good news is that the five episodes, plus a sixth one that never aired, are all available on DVD. I may have to hunt 'em up and watch them again.