I guess it’s because of constant reruns, but I can pretty easily visualize Johnny Crawford appearing as Chuck Conners’ young son on the 1950s TV Western, The Rifleman. What I didn’t remember (until I ran across it recently) is that he was later promoted as a teen singing idol. But what’s really surprising is that even though he has continued to make acting appearances through the years, music has always played a large part in his life.
As one of the original Mousketeers on Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club in 1955, Crawford certainly had to be comfortable around singing and dancing, but it was as a child actor that he first broke out. After making an amazing number of appearances on various TV shows, he was signed for The Rifleman in 1958 and it became his signature role.
About half-way through the five year span of the show he was offered the chance to hit the recording studio and become a recording star. In his mid-teens by then, he wasted no time spinning out a number of platters with songs like “Daydreams” and “Patti Ann,” but it was his 1962 recording of “Cindy’s Birthday” that would crack the Top Ten and make him a genuine teen idol. He continued to make some good records, like “Rumours,” “Nobody Loves A Clown,” and “Proud,” which nearly reached the Top Ten, but then things started slowing down.
In the 1970s and later, Crawford continued to find acting parts while also pursuing his lifelong love of rodeo, but music was never far away. As the years passed he was able to find many outlets for his musical talents, including singing and playing guitar, and at times leading a respected jazz group. Now in his sixties, at last word he was still entertaining fans.
(Video removed at source.)