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Shady Deal at Sunny Acres

Shady Deal at Sunny Acres, starring James Garner and Jack Kelly, remains the most famous and widely discussed episode of the Western comedy television series Maverick. Written by Roy Huggins and Douglas Heyes and directed by Leslie H. Martinson, this 1958 second season episode depicts gambler Bret Maverick (James Garner) being swindled by a crooked banker (John Dehner) after depositing the proceeds from a late-night poker game, then recruiting his brother Bart Maverick (Jack Kelly) to mount an elaborate sting operation to recover the money. As Huggins noted during a lengthy discussion of the episode in his Archive of American Television interview, the first half of the 1973 movie The Sting seems obviously based on Huggins' script. While Bart and all of the series' recurring characters join forces to energetically flim-flam the banker ("....if you can't trust your banker, whom can you trust?"), Bret sits whittling in a rocking chair across the street from the bank every day, responding to the amused and patronizing queries of the local townspeople curious about how he plans to recover his money, "I'm working on it."

"Shady Deal at Sunny Acres" is always the first episode that Garner mentions in interviews and was subsequently remade by writer/producer Stephen J. Cannell into a 1975 Rockford Files installment called "The Great Blue Lake Land and Development Company" (a combination of "Shady Deal at Sunny Acres" and another Maverick episode entitled "Maverick Springs").


James Garner ... Bret Maverick
Jack Kelly ... Bart Maverick
John Dehner ... Bates the banker
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. ... Dandy Jim Buckley
Diane Brewster ... Samantha Crawford
Leo Gordon ... Big Mike McComb
Richard Long ... Gentleman Jack Darby
Arlene Howell ... Cindy Lou Brown
Regis Toomey ... Ben Granville
Karl Swenson ... Sheriff Griffen
Joan Young ... Susan Granville
Irving Bacon ... Employee
Val Benedict ... Cowhand
Earle Hodgins ... Plunkett
Jonathan Hole ... Brent Williams
J. Pat O'Malley ... Ambrose Callahan
Syd Saylor ... 1st Townsman
Leon Tyler ... Henry Hibbs
Edwin Reimers ... Announcer (voice)

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