The Defender was released on CBS’ Studio One TV series in 1957 and would go on to become the pilot for the popular 1961 TV series entitled The Defenders. In this 1957 TV movie you had some pretty major actors front and center on the small screen. You had the late great Ralph Bellamy (Rosemary’s Baby, Trading Places) as Walter Preston, William Shatner (Star Trek, Boston Legal) as Kenneth Preston, and Steve McQueen (The Great Escape, Bullitt) as Joseph Gordon, a young man that the Father and Son team must defend against charges of murder.
The Defenders TV show four years later would have E.G. Marshall (12 Angry Men, Creepshow) as Lawrence Preston, and Robert Reed (Mannix, The Brady Bunch) taking on the role of Kenneth Preston. Though I haven’t seen it for myself, apparently on episode 62 of Boston Legal entitled “Son of the Defender” uses clips from The Defender and mirrors the TV movie as well.
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