Chuck Connors
Chuck Connors

 Until John Lennon came along, Lucas McCain, aka The Rifleman, was about as cool as you could get, and nothing is more important to a boy than being cool.  I think there were two assets he possessed that made him the standard by which all boys would be judged.  First and foremost, he was unflappable.  He may have smiled occasionally on the show, but he never showed any emotion otherwise.  He was never joyous.  He never hugged Micah.  He was never even tipsy.  When a bad guy pushed his luck with McCain, the Rifleman would glare threateningly at him.  No doubt his eyes were blue.  And his jaw line alone would have eventually landed him roles in Hollywood. 
    His second virtue was that you knew that no matter what happened, McCain would prevail, and not just because he was the star of the show.  He exuded power, volcanically violent power in his case.  The bad guy would get badder and badder until finally McCain would get his gun, always reluctantly of course since good guys don't resolve problems by killing other people.  Not right away anyway.  He was as good a shot as the Sundance Kid, played by Redford, and he had a super-cool way of cocking his rifle.  He would spin it, which always worried me because I expected him to shoot himself in the armpit.  In addition to being really painful, shooting yourself in the armpit would be profoundly uncool.  One more measure of being cool: he wore leather gloves.  Overall, his kind of coolness had nothing to do with girls; where you stood in the pecking order of boys was measured by how different you were from the Rifleman.
    Chuck Connors was originally named Kevin Connors.  He picked up the name Chuck when he played first base at Seton Hall and kept telling other players to chuck him the ball.  He was six-foot-five and played briefly for the Boston Celtics, the Chicago Cubs, and the Brooklyn Dodgers.