Robert Colbert from The Time Tunnel and Maverick

Robert Colbert Time Tunnel

Robert Colbert as Brent Maverick

Robert Colbert became an enduring television icon when he got the starring leads on Maverick and The Time Tunnel, two classic televisions series that can still be seen in reruns today. After appearing in a number of films, including Have Rocket, Will Travel (1959), starring The Three Stooges, he was signed to a contract with Warner Bros. to appear in a number of their television programs including Cheyenne, Bourbon Street Beat, Colt .45, Surfside 6, Lawman, The Alaskans, Hawaiian Eye, Bronco, 77 Sunset Strip, Sugarfoot and in 1961, replaced James Garner on Maverick, playing Brent Maverick, Bret, Beau and Bart’s brother.

“Warners was getting ready to do a movie called Black Gold (1963), a story about guys drilling for oil, on the order of that old Clark Gable-Spencer Tracy film Boom Town (1940), and I was really looking forward to having a shot at the lead,” recalled Robert Colbert to author Tom Weaver. “I was sent down to wardrobe, where I thought they were going to put me in the wardrobe for Black Gold. But I didn’t come out lookin’ like Clark Gable, I came out lookin’ like Jim Garner. This was at the time when Jim Garner [star of Maverick] was fighting with Jack Warner because Garner wanted more money and they wouldn’t give it to him, so he walked. That pissed Jack off, he and Garner ended up in a blood feud, and Garner was blackballed in this town for about two years, they wouldn’t let him work. So now, as I was walking down the main street of Warner Brothers on my way to a screen test or something, everybody was hangin’ out of the windows and lookin’, they thought Garner was back on the lot [laughs]! Turns out they wanted to put me on Maverick as a new Maverick brother named Brent, a younger brother.” Thinking of the inevitable comparisons to Garner that were bound to ensue, Colbert famously said to his bosses, “Put me in a dress and call me Brenda, but don’t do this to me!” Cheyenne, Colt .45 television series

Robert Colbert has to be quick on the draw when he goes up against Billy the Kid on "The Time Tunnel"

From 1966-67, Colbert played the part of Prof. Doug Phillips in the Irwin Allen science-fiction TV series, The Time Tunnel, co-starring with James Darren (who is also attending MANC this year). In what was to become a pop culture classic, Doug Phillips and Tony Newman wandered aimlessly through time, helping to aid the course of historic events ranging from the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the Titanic, the Walls of Jericho and a chance encounter with Robin Hood.

“I’ve had 100 fan letters from people saying that their careers were dictated by and based on their interest in Time Tunnel when they were kids,” Robert Colbert recalled. “This one gal is a scientist, she designs aircraft over in London, and she said that she got interested in becoming a scientist because of The Time Tunnel. There’ve been lots of people like that. So it was an interesting show, it had a lot of merit. Sure, it was crude in some ways but, God, it’s still something that stands up today in many ways, which is hard to believe.” The Memphis Film Festival 2012

Colbert also appeared as the character Stuart Brooks (original cast member), on the TV soap opera The Young and the Restless from 1973 to 1983. His character Stuart Brooks died off-screen sometime before his wife Liz Foster returned to town in 1984. Stuart’s young son-in-law, Snapper Foster, was played by a then unknown David Hasselhoff. Colbert later returned the favor by guest starring on Baywatch.

Robert Colbert among the celebrity guests at the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention. Colbert signed autographs and posed for photographs. There was also a slide show presentation about The Time Tunnel and the new Time Tunnel book premiered on the same weekend, giving fans ample reason to attend.

Boyd Magers’ Western Clippings, Ray Nielsen, Packy Smith

A Selection of Robert Colbert’s Television Career

Perry Mason, “The Case of the Hasty Honeymooner” (October 24, 1965)

Perry Mason, “The Case of the Grinning Gorilla”  (April 29, 1965)

Bonanza, “The Meredith Smith”  (October 31, 1965)

Thriller, “The Bride Who Died Twice”  (March 19, 1962)

Cheyenne, “Two Trails to Santa Fe”  (October 28, 1960)

Lawman, “The Locket”  (January 7, 1962)

Checkmate, “Ride A Wild Horse”  (April 4, 1962)

Wagon Train, “The Blane Wessels Story”  (April 17, 1963)

My Favorite Martian, “That Little Old Matchmaker, Martin”  (December 22, 1963)

The F.B.I., “The Forests of the Night”  (January 2, 1966)

That Girl, “Fly Me to the Moon”  (March 6, 1969)

Hawaii Five-O, “The Big Kahuna”  (March 19, 1969)

Land of the Giants, “Sabotage”  (March 30, 1969)

Alias Smith and Jones, “21 Days to Tenstrike”  (January 6, 1972)

Quincy, M.E., “Accomplice to Murder”  (December 23, 1977)

Mission: Impossible, “Bag Woman”  (January 29, 1972)

77 Sunset Strip, “The Man in the Mirror”  (January 13, 1961)

Laramie, “The Road to Helena”  (May 21, 1963)

87th Precinct, “New Man in the Precinct”  (April 16, 1962)

Tales of Wells Fargo, “The Angry Sky”  (April 21, 1962)

Bronco, “End of a Rope”  (June 14, 1960)

Bourbon Street Beat, “Twice Betrayed”  (April 4, 1960)

In the Heat of the Night, “Liar’s Poker”  (October 29, 1991)

Knight Rider, “Mouth of the Snake”  (April 8, 1984)

Otakon 2012, Shoreleave Convention, Farpoint Convention

A Selection of Robert Colbert’s Movie Career

City Beneath the Sea  (1971, with Robert Wagner and Stuart Whitman)

A Fever in the Blood  (1961 movie, with Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Angie Dickinson)

Have Rocket, Will Travel  (1959 movie, with The Three Stooges)

Quantrill’s Raiders  (1958, with Diane Brewster)

Macabre  (1958, directed by William Castle)

Baltimore Comic-Con 2012, Baltimore Convention Center