Two For Tuesday: Johnny Crawford

If you watch a lot of vintage TV like I do, you’re familiar with Johnny Crawford, who starred alongside Chuck Connors in The Rifleman, which ran from 1958 to 1963 and on into eternity in syndicated reruns. As he grew up on the show he became somewhat of a teen idol, and like so many other teen actors of that period (Annette Funicello, Paul Petersen, Shelley Fabares, Patty Duke etc.) turned that fame into a brief career as a singer. He had four songs that reached the Top 40 in 1962 and 1963. Since I seem to be doing this a lot, I’ll just put them all in.

His biggest hit, and the only one to reach the Top 10, was “Cindy’s Birthday,” which made it to #8 in 1962, when he was 16.

He followed that up with “Your Nose Is Gonna Grow,” which peaked at #14.

Later that year, “Rumors” reached #12.

His final Top 40 song was “Proud”; it peaked at #29, his last song in the Top 40.

Johnny had a number of guest appearances on other shows, and stayed active in music. Currently he leads a vintage dance orchestra, the JCO (Johnny Crawford Orchestra). They’ve recorded one critcally-acclaimed album, Sweepin’ The Clouds Away, available on Amazon (free streaming for Prime members). Interesting story about him, which I’ll quote from the Wikipedia article:

Crawford had a key role in the early career of entertainer Victoria Jackson, of Saturday Night Live fame. After the two appeared together in a summer stock production of Meet Me in St. Louis, he presented her with a one-way ticket to California and encouraged her to pursue a Hollywood career. This led Jackson to early appearances on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, before she was cast as a regular on SNL.

You gotta like a guy like that.

Johnny Crawford, your Two For Tuesday, June 5, 2018.

15 thoughts on “Two For Tuesday: Johnny Crawford

    1. My dad and the three of us would watch the reruns on Saturday afternoon. One of my happier memories, along with watching Lawrence Welk with my grandmother (Dad’s mother).


  1. I had no clue that he had a singing career because I only knew him as the son of the rifleman. Good for h8m to help Victoria Jackson who is a quickly comedian.


  2. I remember his face from The Rifleman but not his music. While I was googling Johnny, I read some info about Chuck Connors. I didn’t realize he was 6’5″!


  3. I’ve never heard of Johnny Crawford. I’ll have to listen to some of the songs you shared.


  4. I remember that kid’s face. Nothing else about him rings a bell. I’ve seen a few episodes of The Rifleman, but can’t say that it caught my fancy. Funny who turns up where in the entertainment world. Victoria Jackson? How amazing.


    1. The Rifleman was a typical Western in many respects, but it was different because Lucas McCain was a widower with a young son. You didn’t see that in many shows at the time, much less in Westerns.

      Amazing the things you learn on Wikipedia…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved that TV Show, “The Rifleman,” But I forgot that the kid who starred as his son, Mark, had a music career, albeit brief.


    1. I caught “The Rifleman” in reruns, along with many other Westerns. We didn’t watch too many, at least the first time they were on. The two I remember were “Gunsmoke” and “Bonanza,” and I guess you could throw Chuck Connors’s next series, “Branded,” in there as well. When the reruns hit, we watched all of them. “The Rifleman” was a good one mostly because of the interaction between Lucas and Mark. Johnny Crawford was also a veteran of “The Mickey Mouse Club,” as were so many other young actors in the ’50’s and ’60’s. It was The Place to get noticed…

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      1. The Rifleman is available to binge watch every Saturday morning on AMC. The Mickey Mouse Club is still the place to get noticed (Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, etc).


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