The Rifleman's Paul Fix preferred acting in the old days

Fix liked the early eras of television so much more.

Peter Rodgers Organization

Before his days on The Rifleman, Paul Fix, had been working as an actor since the mid-1920s. He had been working during the rise of color TV, the death of black-and-white, the extinction of silent films, and contributed to the Golden Age of Television. 

By the time he made it to the early 1960s, television had changed quite a bit, and Fix had no choice but to change with it. 

Fix played the role of the beloved character Micah Torrance during his time on The Rifleman. His character, known as the town marshal, was wise, experienced and shared a type of friendship with Lucas McCain that made many viewers envious. 

Fix loved television from any decade, but said he preferred the early eras a little more. According to a 1961 interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer, Fix said he was a real "back in my day" kind of guy.

"Most scripts now are cut and dried," Fix said. "Only minor changes are made in most cases when shooting begins. Why, when we were making comedies in the days of silent pictures, we didn't have a script much less an outline, in my cases."

"We'd load up in an old Packard Twin Six and just drive somewhere in the Los Angeles area," Fix continued. "Often we got lost. And when we did start shooting, the idea came from something on the spot. Sight gags were the thing then."

In his early days of acting, Fix had all the freedom he could want and television, in general, was a much more calm and easy profession to navigate. A few of Fix's notable early roles included: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), The High and the Mighty (1954), Giant (1956) and Red River (1948). 

Cost, specialization of labor, high value of time and network pressures were all reasons for the changing television landscape. Fix said the changes to TV meant less freedom for many actors.

"In The Rifleman, Chuck Connors makes some changes in his lines, but they aren't significant in that they don't affect the plot," Fix said. "If we find the writers have the story develop in a manner which we can't shoot, then we do improvise, but this doesn't happen very often."

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CarolKelley 1 month ago
Paul Fix's daughter Marilyn married Harry Carey, Jr in 1944 IIRC. Harry said that John Wayne was Best Man at their wedding.
spalding69 1 month ago
I liked him best in Back to Bataan, when he was Bindle the hobo who made mulligan stew for John Wayne.
tootsieg 1 month ago
I agree with Paul Fix. I must be a “back in the day” kind of gal. I prefer the black and white episodes to color on TAGS, My 3 Sons, old shows not new shows etc.
Dr_Zachary_Smith 1 month ago
He was always great playing a sheriff. John Wayne used him as the town sheriff (Billy) in "The Sons of Katie Elder. Great lines such as when he is talking to the villain Hastings (played by James Gregory)

Billy (mockingly): You're just trying to make the town famous. Put us on the map.

Hastings: A man can grow with a town Billy.

Billy: Or die with it. Like Bass Elder.
MichaelGreene 1 month ago
Paul Fix was occasionally Perry Mason's District Attorney opponent if Mason was "on the road" defending someone. I don't think he was used as a fill-in when William Talman was in his exile from the show in 1960.
Runeshaper 1 month ago
Good insight. Thanks for sharing, MeTV. Paul Fix was EXCELLENT on The Rifleman!
Blcakandwhitetvfan 1 month ago
Paul Fix played the part of the doctor in the pilot episode of Star Trek. After having seen him on The Rifleman, it looked really odd seeing him on a starship.
Yes, it was a little jarring at first.
Blcakandwhitetvfan 1 month ago
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