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Bus Stop

"Portrait of a Hero"
Episode 1.5 (Oct. 29, 1961)

Rod Taylor played tennis bum Johnny Jones in one episode of this anthology series that focused on the lives of people stopping off at a bus stop cafe in Sunrise, Colo.

TV Guide's synopsis says:

A handsome opportunist (Rod Taylor) joins a country club and finds a golden opportunity in the form of three gullible women. Peggy: Nina Foch (pictured with Rod at right). Louise: Dolores Michaels. Jane: Luana Anders. has this plot synopsis:

When Johnny Jonas' bus ticket runs out, he and all his worldly goods are put off at Sunrise. But being broke doesn't cramp Johnny's style, soon he's out at the local country club, charming the ladies and playing tennis for 50 bucks a point.

The Australian Women's Weekly magazine of July 18, 1962, has the best description:

Rod Taylor, selling his sex appeal, played his way through it in the role of the tennis bum (American for a kind of tennis con man who lives off the game) who is irresistible to women.

In the short space of an hour, our Rod got off the bus at the bus stop and:

  • Became the lover of a divorcee.

  • Became the tennis hero of the Country Club.

  • Was engaged to a young girl suffering from what is known on TV as a "terminal disease."

  • Jilted the girl to set up with a third woman with a bigger fortune.

  • Cast off the third one because he found out the second one was wealthier.

  • Made a play to return to the second one.

  • Failed, and caught the bus out.

There is no doubt he has sex appeal, but in case we females didn't realise it, Mr. Taylor was photographed whenever possible stripped to the waist, in bed, wearing short shorts and tight muscle-revealing shirts on the tennis courts, or having revealing rub-downs in the massage rooms.

As for the tennis scenes, a syndicated newspaper item from Aug. 26, 1961, noted during filming that "the pro standing by to double in tennis scenes for Rod Taylor ... didn't have a chance to work up a sweat. Taylor, an expert player, handled his own racquet-wielding chores."

The series regulars were played by Rhodes Reason, Marilyn Maxwell, Joan Freeman and Richard Anderson. The series, directed by Robert Altman, aired on ABC in 1961-62.

"Bus Stop" was based on William Inge's stage play, which also spawned a 1956 film starring Marilyn Monroe.




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