Despite his experience behind the camera, William Conrad shocked everyone when he refused to direct a single episode of ''Cannon''

Cannon had worked as a director previously but had no interest in directing his show.

CBS Television Distribution

Society has always been addicted to a workaholic mindset, even though it can quickly turn a passion project into a major stressor. As a workaholic, a person expects themselves to wear several hats, to bite off more than they can chew, and to take on more roles than they feel prepared for to make it appear as though they can "do it all." Ultimately, while some people are truly multifaceted and interested in multiple pursuits, it's important to remember that just doing what you can is already worthy of praise.

In addition to being an actor, William Conrad also had creative experience as a director. Conrad served as a director for various episodes of television series like Have Gun–Will Travel and Gunsmoke. Often playing a side character or even a narrator on screen, Cannon's moment to shine came in 1971 when he starred as Frank Cannon in the series Cannon. According to the Chronicle-Tribune, Conrad didn't necessarily have a preference between directing, producing, or acting, three areas of entertainment in which he had ample experience.

"I don't know what I do best," he said. "I've done all with a moderate amount of success." However, Conrad issued a stark warning in addition to his comments. "You must do what you do well and devote all of your energy to doing it right," he said.

That's probably why when Conrad was invited to direct episodes of Cannon, a series that he was already starring in, he said that he wasn't interested in directing any. "I think they [CBS] were surprised to hear the answer was 'NONE!'," said Conrad.

However, the actor knew that if he was going to act in Cannon, he had to be singularly focused on the character, not what was going on behind the scenes. "I'm going to devote all my time and energy to acting and to being the most docile, compatible, easy-to-work-with human being they have ever seen," he said.

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17 Comments

DanDolgin 1 day ago
I always enjoyed watching Cannon on METV and I still do at times. I'm sure I have seen every episode several times now. I also enjoy Barnaby Jones which was actually a spinoff from Cannon.
CannonsMustache 20 days ago
William Conrad was also the narrator on Rocky & Bullwinkle... a nifty tie in with the new MeTV Toons network about to debut on June 25th 😉
I watched Rocky & Bullwinkle on METV Toons a few times. It doesn't sound like Conrad's voice. I'm going to watch tonight and see if it sounds likes William Conrad.
tootsieg 21 days ago
He is in so many of the old Western shows and he narrated “The Fugitive.”
BenSobeleone tootsieg 20 days ago
"Tuesday August 29th, the day the running stopped."
Kavajava 22 days ago
I love listening to his voice on old time radio programs like Gunsmoke and Escape.
Yep and I believe with Floyd the Barber as Doc & Parly Baer as Chester.
DanDolgin Kavajava 1 day ago
Gunsmoke was on the radio? I never knew that.
AgingDisgracefully 22 days ago
Maybe it was a case of (Dennis Miller line, mid '80s) "Letting the kids use the sandbox."
Runeshaper 22 days ago
I understand his logic. William Conrad was EXCELLENT in Cannon and if that's what he needed to focus on and push other opportunities aside, I'd say he made the right choice.
McGillahooala 22 days ago
Seems like a good guy who was just doing a job.
He was also trained as a WW 2 fighter pilot.
Mark 22 days ago
He was a long-time friend of Jack Webb's, and they both broke into Hollywood at the same time.

When Webb became the head of Warner Bros. Television, he hired Conrad as the producer for 77 Sunset Strip. For the series' final season (1963-64), Webb tore everything down and turned it into a completely new show, where Efrem Zimbalist Jr. would be working as a lone detective (and nowhere near the fabled locale of the series' title). The episodes had a darker tone to the previous seasons' episodes, and viewers abandoned the show. As a result, Webb was fired by Warners and replaced by Conrad. Conrad in turn would be replaced by the guy Webb replaced, William T. Orr.
DanDolgin Mark 1 day ago
I'm a fan of 77 Sunset Strip and Hawaiian Eye which are both shown on Sundays on METV+. I did not care for the final season either. It looks like many episodes of the last season did take place in Southern California, but Stu was writing his memoirs of his adventures and was living in New York City. It might have had more success if Webb made the final season as a new show as spinoff of 77 Sunset Strip.
coffinman 23 days ago
He directed, "Two on a Guillotine." A great blend of thriller & comedy. Mrs. Coffinman and I love that movie.
MrsPhilHarris coffinman 23 days ago
It is entertaining. I saw it last year.
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