Friday, July 9, 2010

Kraft Suspense Theatre; The Hunt; Mickey Rooney; James Caan; Bruce Dern

Season #1; Episode #9.

The Hunt

Original Air Date - December 19, 1963.

Setting/Time - The California Mountains in the present.

Plot/Review/Discussion -

A surfer bum is caught by a corrupt and sadistic local sheriff in the mountains of California on his way to the beach. This story is essentially an action story instead of a story focusing on choices and internal conflict.

The story falls into the cliche' of the small town sheriff, beyond the reach of the outside world, terrorizing an innocent passerby. The cliche'd premise makes the story somewhat weak, but the story is told well. The suspense builds slowly until the final confrontation.

The plot is composed of three parts:

  1. The small town sheriff cliche;
  2. A mystery set in motion when the sheriff's posse kills a local criminal near the beginning of the episode; and
  3. The action-intensive climax that results when the main character solves the mystery and must face the consequences.

The intensity of the climax overcomes its predictability.

Cars - The only vehicles I recall are the surfer's panel van, an old jeep and an old truck or two.

Actors -

James Caan plays the main character/surfer, in one of his earlier roles. This role is mentioned in Caan's Wikipedia entry, unlike those of other KST actors.

Mickey Rooney plays the sheriff.

Bruce Dern plays one of the sheriff's allies. Dern remains active today after more than 50 years in Hollywood. He is set to star in next year's movie release of the Big Valley remake. He played a recurring guest role on the KST spinoff Run For Your Life.

Star Trek Connection - Harry Townes plays in the first of his four KST appearances. He played in "Return of the Archons" three years later on Star Trek.


  1. where can i get a copy of the hunt

  2. Copies of these episodes are not available commercially (yet). It is my hope that there will be enough publicity and interest generated for the owners to release them on DVD (or at least on Hulu).

  3. I was just watching this episode on the TV and the TV went blank about one minute into the hunt. I don't know what happened!! Anyone know?

  4. same here, I kept switching my channels to see if it was me, it cut out right when he got on the truck couldn't find out what happened after. tried all over the web to find a way to see the rest of it online but couldn't find anything

  5. The KST episodes The Hunt, The Long Lost Life Of Edward Smalley, and Once Upon A Savage Night are all available to view for free from the online archive of the Museum of Broadcast Communications - go to You'll have to sign up, but it's free (and legit), and there's loads of classic television on there.

  6. Good episode, though I find James Caan too dark an actor, as a type, I mean, to play the surfer dude. There was already an intensity to him early on that suggested that despite his devil may care lifestyle there was much more simmering beneath the surface. Someone with a lighter disposition, along the lines of Tab Hunter (himself maybe too old by then) would have worked better,

    Good location photography, outdoor stuff well handed ebven though mostly (all?) back lot. The small town's isolation, complete with snooping operator, gives this one a special flavor. Quite a large number of Suspense Theater episodes dealt with either isolated people or isolated communities. The Hunt deals with both. Mickey Rooney's sadistic sheriff is a good performance, low key for Rooney, and nicely shaded. He never goes over the top, but then given his character he's playing, he doesn't need to.