|Lee Majors in the title role.|
|Joey Heatherton as Lisa.|
The Ballad of Andy Crocker (1969) is certainly not the first film about a veteran who returns from war and becomes disillusioned. However, it's an interesting oddity, given when it was made and who appeared in it. The U.S. was still sending troops to Vietnam in 1969 and the war dominated the nightly news. Yet, it was a subject ignored largely by filmmakers except for rare efforts like John Wayne's The Green Berets (1968) and the low-budget A Yank in Vietnam (1964).
The plight of Vietnam veterans was explored more frequently on television. Glenn Corbett, who joined Route 66 in its third season, played a Vietnam veteran. His first episodes dealt with his challenges with finding a new place in society. It essentially paved the way for The Ballad of Andy Crocker, which was broadcast as an ABC Movie of the Week. According to Lee Goldberg's reference book Unsold Television Pilots, the Lee Majors TV film was intended as a pilot for a TV series called Corporal Crocker. One can only assume that the concept would have been for Andy to travel the U.S. and have various adventures (along the lines of...Route 66).
|Marvin Gaye as David.|
Actress Joey Heatherton had a modest singing career, too, though she wouldn't have a hit record until three years after The Ballad of Andy Crocker. She released her creatively-titled The Joey Heatherton Album in 1972. Her only Top 40 hit, a cover of Ferlin Husky's "Gone," peaked at #24 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.
|Actor-writer Stuart Margolin.|
The Ballad of Andy Crocker is a predictable film, but it has its heart in the right place and probably provides Lee Majors with his best film role. But the main reason to see it is for its then-timely topic and for the rare opportunity to see some music greats try their hands at another medium.