Brian Keith as Matt Anders, 1955
|Written by||Ed Adamson|
|Directed by||Jus Addiss|
Leslie H. Martinson
|Narrated by||Edwin W. Reimers|
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||52|
|Running time||30 mins. (approx)|
|Original release||October 7, 1955 -|
December 28, 1956
Crusader (sometimes erroneously listed as The Crusader) is a half-hour black-and-white American adventure/drama series that aired on CBS for two seasons from October 7, 1955 to December 28, 1956. It was originally sponsored by Camel cigarettes.
The series stars Brian Keith as the fictitious free-lance journalist Matt Anders, whose mother's death in a World War II Nazi concentration camp in German-occupied Poland propels him to combat injustices worldwide during the height of the Cold War. Keith's Crusader has been compared to Zorro, The Lone Ranger, or The Cisco Kid in that the principal character is devoted to altruism. Anders is particularly interested in liberating oppressed peoples from communism. The series began as Nikita S. Khrushchev emerged as the premier and the general secretary of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union. The 52-episode program, Keith's first television series, aired on CBS at 9 p.m. Eastern on Fridays. It was replaced on January 4, 1957, by the Howard Duff and Ida Lupino sitcom, Mr. Adams and Eve, the story of the private lives of two fictitious married Hollywood actors.
Charles Bronson appeared twice on Crusader as Mike Brod, an escapee from a communist country who becomes involved with dishonest fight promoters in the episodes "The Boxing Match" and "Freeze-out", the latter episode also featuring Diane Brewster in the role of Charlene Hayes.Raymond Bailey, later the banker Milburn Drysdale on CBS's The Beverly Hillbillies, appeared twice as the boxing commissioner.
Inger Stevens appeared as Alicia in the 1956 episode entitled, "The Girl Across the Hall". Actor and director Aaron Spelling guest starred in two episodes as the character Andrew Hock. Don Haggerty, formerly a star athlete at Brown University, appeared twice as Fred Martin. Character actors Claude Akins and Robert F. Simon each appeared twice as characters named "Glenn" and "Dave Bridley", respectively. Robert O. Cornthwaite starred twice too in the role of "Joe Brennan". Two years before he was cast as Dr. Alex Stone on ABC's The Donna Reed Show, Carl Betz appeared twice on Crusader as Alan Kingman. Jay Novello also appeared twice as Bruno Menotti. Francis De Sales, formerly on Mr. and Mrs. North and later on the syndicated western series, Two Faces West, appeared in two episodes as Sheriff Smithers. Simon Scott appeared twice too in the role of Jim Farragut. Child actors Sandy Descher and Bobby Driscoll appeared as war orphans awaiting adoption.