He was certainly one of the Old West’s most controversial figures, a life cut short when he made his last stand, but a life certainly worthy of movies or a TV series. It was a TV series that sent Gen. George Armstrong Custer galloping into living rooms in the fall of 1967, but the series’ quick death was certainly not as messy as what happened to the real thing at Little Big Horn. Still, it introduced Canadian-born/Shakespearian-trained Wayne Maunder to American living rooms as the flamboyant General who lived his short life with reckless abandon, bravado and ambition.
Maunder said of playing Custer, “He was a complex human being; a sensitive man, yet hardened; a man of ready smile, but a fierce temper.” He also added, “Foe and friend knew him to be a brilliant strategist and a forceful officer.” There was a major drawback to playing Custer, notably the General’s long hair, which forced Maunder into the counter-culture of the 60’s by being invited to “several love-ins, 2 draft card burnings and 4 student demonstrations.” After Custer’s cancellation, he may very well have participated in a love-in or 2, but he(Maunder) did appear in a few more series, but thankfully, no other “Last Stands.”
IF YOU TUNED IN TONIGHT: You would’ve watched the crowning of Miss Universe on CBS from Miami Beach with June Lockhart and Bob Barker from Miami Beach or you could’ve seen Lawrence Welk’s “Musical Family” sing “That’s Amore” or “Three Coins in the Fountain” on a musical tour of Italy on ABC(followed by a Frankie Avalon appearance on the “Piccadilly Palace”). Who knows, they might have shown a sneak peek of “Custer,” too.