PostHeaderIcon Ron Masak: Sheriff of Cabot Cove

Ron Masak: Sheriff of Cabot Cove

I was a street kid from Chicago Illinois and had a great deal of respect for our neighborhood cop, Joe Sheldon. Little did I know that being an actor from Chicago would lead me into a life of police work. Here’s how it all started.

I had just finished college and went to California to begin my career as an actor. I played a GI on a segment of TWILIGHT ZONE. It was the time of Brando, Clift and Dean and the studio method. I must have been a damned good GI as I got drafted a week later. After 8 weeks of basic training, we were all being assigned what our new school would be. Here come’s the part about Chicago. What else would you make an actor/ entertainer? An MP…Yep Military Police. When I asked “WHY” I was told “Because you are from Chicago and you are either a good guy or a bad guy and either way we want you on our side” So after 8 weeks of police training I was assigned to Fort Benjamin Harrison Indiana and made up my mind to be the best MP the army had ever seen. While there I was the Post Soldier of the month and entered the All Army Talent try outs…Long story shortened…I was ,and I believe am still, The only MP to ever be a part of the ALL ARMY WORLD TOURING SHOW.

After getting Married and doing a lot of theatre in Chicago. Hollywood sent for me and I have been here ever since….Here is a list of the shows I have done where my Police training paid off…

8 Seasons as Sheriff Mort Metzger on Murder, She Wrote, The Law and Harry McGraw. The Stoneman, Cops n Roberts, Jessica Novack, Laserblast, Into the Glitter Palace, Barney Miller, McMillian and Wife, Good Times, Heat of Anger, Second Hundred Years, Bewitched, 10 different episodes of Police Story and I even played a singing dancing cop in a Nestles Crunch commercial with Kareem Abdul Jabbar. We shot that in downtown Los Angeles with 2 real cops on the set but the citizens would come up to me and ask directions.

Murder, She Wrote though is the role I will be identified with forever I guess for a day doesn’t go by when someone doesn’t yell out “Hey Sheriff, How’s Jessica?” and you know what? I love it.

I couldn’t wait to go to work with that great lady. Angela is the Rolls Royce of our business, and the last 2 seasons I got to write 2 story ideas that were bought. I was proud of that for I always felt we had the very best writers in the business and the most loyal following…including a couple of administrations in the White House, Now for those who care…Here is how I got the role. I had worked for Peter Fischer before, but the first time I went on location with him was when I played a detective on The Law and Harry McGraw.

We were in Massachusetts at a closed resort. A small staff was trying to feed breakfast to a film crew so I pitched in serving coffee, telling jokes and having a ball. A couple of months after we returned, Creator Peter Fisher called me and this is what he said on the phone ” Ron? Peter Fischer…Tom Bosley is leaving the show to do a new series and I am creating a new sheriff. The role is yours if you want it but I have to know in the next 24 hours as I am leaving for Europe, so I have to know your answer before I leave.” I responded “OK” He said “Then you will call and let me know?”…….I responded “I JUST DID”…..And as the late Paul Harvey used to say, “And now you know the rest of the story.”

29 Responses to “Ron Masak: Sheriff of Cabot Cove”

  • D. Swords says:

    Ron,

    I always enjoyed “Murder She Wrote” and your appearance on the show only added to the enjoyment. Glad to have you here at the Graveyard Shift.

  • Elena says:

    Your blog is totally delightful – plus, you’re right – there is a certain cache to growing up in Chicago.

    It put me at the head of the application list (and then hired) as a probation officer in another major city, as well as an internal investigator for a major non-profit. Plus, serving as an expert computer witness 40 years ago in another city, the attorney trying to discredit me on the grounds that a woman couldn’t know anything about computers totally folded when I happily told him I grew up in Chicago.

    Great place to grow up! Thanks for your most enjoyable blog.

  • Lee Lofland says:

    Ron is on the west coast, so he’ll be joining us later.

  • Sheriff Metzger says:

    D. Thank you for the kind words…Most appreciated.

  • Sheriff Metzger says:

    Elena:
    Chicago is a great city with “Big Shoulders” as Carl Sandburg wrote; It sounds to me like you have had a great career..congratulations.

  • Sheriff Metzger says:

    Lee:
    You know good cops are ALWAYS on duty… :-))

  • Lee Lofland says:

    You did sign on early.

  • Sheriff Metzger says:

    Lee:
    In Cabot Cove…one NEVER slept.

  • Sheriff Metzger says:

    D. Swords:
    By the way. Retired Police Lts. are worthy of much praise as well. You have made us all proud.

  • Karen Brees says:

    Cabot Cove was a great place to visit but your odds of not coming out alive increased exponentially with each passing week. Loved the show and loved you, Sheriff Metzger!

  • Sheriff Metzger says:

    A side note:
    Left out of the story was the fact that I also did a series of long distance telephone commercials as THE SHERIFF. My whole family got to appear with me in them and the photo at the bottom of the story shows my son-in law Jimi.

  • Lee Lofland says:

    Hmm…I think we’ve found the sheriff for the movie version of my upcoming novel. Well, maybe we should get the book sold first, but…

  • Sheriff Metzger says:

    That’s STORY

  • Sheriff Metzger says:

    Lee:
    Having the story SOLD first is always agood thing…and as for your movie…Have Badge…Will Travel

  • Sheriff Metzger says:

    Karen.
    Cabot Cove was actually a SAFE place to visit as there were only 5 Murders a year commited there….The re-runs make it seem like more…and one year there were only 4 as the Christmas show allowed the victim to live…..Thanks for the comment.

  • Donnell B. says:

    Dear Mr. Masak: How great that your career took you to so many routes. I love that you were so convincing as a GI you were drafted, you must be a writer! Well done. So, are you writing screen plays now? And the question I have to ask, is why wasn’t JB Fletcher ever accused of any crimes. She was around so many! Lee, wonderful blog as always.

  • Sheriff Metzger says:

    Donnell:
    Yes I do write as well, I just finished a book titled “I’ve Met All My Heroes” that will be published in Sept. and I wrote a one man show on Mark Twain called “At Home With Mark Twain” and did record a CD. I have a few screen plays and Series pilots under my belt as well so I do stay busy, As for Mrs. Fketcher… She was arrested many times over the 12 years the show was on the air. Thanks for the comments.

  • D. Swords says:

    Well, thank you, Ron … er … Sheriff!

  • Sheriff Metzger says:

    You are Most Welcome Sir..and I THANK YOU.

  • Ron,
    I am still a big fan of MSW, and all the characters within. I still watch reruns. Like Lee, I was a real life cop. And when you can count real life cops as fans, then you know you did a good job in your role and in the story lines.

    MSW was such a great show, that Jessica Fletcher became a beloved name amongst fans worldwide. I’m sure her name has appeared in many a mystery novel (not MSW novels) as a result. I may have even used her name in one of mine, probably having my detective wish she could invite Jessica over to solve a crime.

    So which were the episodes that you were involved in creating? I’d love to watch them again.

  • Sheriff Metzger says:

    Robin:
    They bought the story ideas but they never aired…The reason? He says with a smile….:-)…Our producers were all writers as well and PREFERRED their OWN stories. However during the period where Jessica only opened and closed the shows and told a story in the middle. I DID suggest to the powers that be, a couple of story ideas where Angela would have the same work schedule and she could solve the crime on the phone. One of the stories Tom Sawyer wrote The Szechuan Dragon (1990)did just that and received a lot of praise. A good friend in Ireland, a playwrite, just finished a new play where he referenced..Jessica and the Sheriff…Thanks for the comments and for your police service…God bless…. R

  • Sheriff Metzger says:

    and REFERENCE…Where is my proof reader?

  • Sheriff Metzger says:

    I have to head out for a few hours …will check in when I get back..
    THE SHERIFF

  • Lee Lofland says:

    Done, Sheriff.

  • But at least your ideas were incorporated, even if in another writer’s script. I’m still in awe. Thanks for taking the time to visit us!

  • Sheriff Metzger says:

    Robin…My Pleasure and I am back….

  • Sheriff Metzger says:

    I also wrote additional dialogue and a song for The Man From Clover Grove a G rated film many years ago LOW Budget but many stars.. Look it up on IMDb.com

  • Sheriff Metzger says:

    OK all Heading to watch the finals and some baseball..I enjoyed myself and if there are any unanswered questions…I will answer them in the AM….God Bless,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • Sheriff Metzger says:

    Lee:
    Had a great time….anytime you need me….I’ll be here.

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