Fort Laramie Frank Cady Gunsmoke Obituary Western

Good Night, Frank Cady

We would like to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of beloved character actor, Frank Cady. Although primarily known for his television role as Sam Drucker, the postmaster and general store keeper of Hooterville, USA, like many actors of his time, Cady made more than a few appearances on the radio.

Frank Cady was a native of Northern California, and worked on the town newspaper, the Lassen County Advocate, while in high school. He studied journalism and drama at Stanford, married his college sweetheart, and served an apprenticeship at the Westminster Theater in London. He returned to Stanford in 1939 but quickly became dissatisfied with academia. He took up a career as a radio announcer on various California stations until WWII disrupted his career. He served in the Army Air Force from 1943 to 1946, moving through England, France and Germany.

After his discharge Cady joined the Los Angeles area theater community. Stage work led to movie work, and he made several small and not so small appearances in movies, usually the film noir pictures that were becoming popular at the time. Cady appeared in Flamingo Road(1949), The Asphalt Jungle(1950), When Worlds Collide(1951), and Rear Window(1954), among others.

In the mid 50’s Cady began contrast his bit roles in noir movies by making the rounds of radio Westerns. He appeared in many episodes of Gunsmoke, including “Bone Hunters”, “Young Love”, “Doc Quits”, “Cow’s Cribs”, and “The Squaw”. He also took his talents to Fort Laramie for several episodes, such as “Stage Coach Stop”, Squaw Man”, and “The Young Trooper”. He also made several appearances on Have Gun, Will Travel.

About the time Frank Cady was making ends meet on radio, he also began work on the medium that would be his home, television. He made several appearances as Ozzie and Harriet‘s family doctor, as well as commercials plugging Shasta Grape Soda. His best known role was as Sam Drucker, one of the “less wacky” residents of Hooterville, the small community that was the setting of Petticoat Junction and later spin-off Green Acres. Paul Henning created both shows and previously brought The Beverly Hillbillies to the small screen. In the last seasons, Sam Drucker showed up in Beverly Hills as a supposed love interest for Granny.

In 1991 Cady and his wife retired to Wilsonville, OR, where he lived out his days. Frank Cady passed away on Jun 8, 2012. He was 96 years old.

4 replies on “Good Night, Frank Cady”

I especially like him as Doc Williams in Ozzie and Harriet. He was in a lot of shows – always played the kind of characters that felt familiar, kind and genuine. He will be missed.

Most of the first fifty years of TV was recycled radio, dependent upon radio talent that could write and deliver a show on time with minimum cost. Actors like Frank were the reliable glue that held an audience’s loyalty year after year. Not many like his breed these days.

Reminds me of a time when decency prevailed. No gratuitous sex or violence. Just good, wholesome programming that did not require a parent to keep their hand on the remote against the probability that something offensive would appear. Something to be learned and examples to be set. A bygone era that I yearn for. I have become an anacronysm.

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