Sky King Season 1 - ShareTV

SKY KING (1952-59) 72 EPISODES                      

Beginning as a radio show in 1946, Sky King evolved into a television series six years later. And a popular one at that. It starred Kirby Grant as Arizona rancher and aircraft pilot Schuyler ‘Sky’ King, a character said to have been based on a real life personality of the 1930s named Jack Cones, a man known as the ‘Flying Constable’ of San Bernardino, California. In the series King captures criminals and spies, and locates lost hikers, utilizing his Cessna named ‘Songbird’ in doing so. Although the series was primarily aimed at children, (Sky never, ever kills anyone), it was popular with adults of the aviation community as well.  American astronauts claimed it influenced them as they grew up watching it.

Gloria Winters - Wikipedia


Sky’s niece Penny is played by Gloria Winters and, (for one season only), her brother ‘Clipper’ is portrayed by Ron Hagerthy. They live with Sky on the Flying Crown Ranch near the fictitious town of Grover, Arizona. The siblings are also pilots, Penny being an accomplished racer of multi-engine aircraft. Sky occasionally trusts her to fly the ‘Songbird’. Numerous episodes feature Penny falling into the hands of bad guys, only to be rescued in the nick of time! It was a ‘cliff-hanger’ kind of show.

Sky King (TV Series 1951–1962) - IMDb


Kirby Grant left show business when the series concluded in 1959 and became the public relations director for Sea World in Orlando, Florida. Sky King had indeed inspired thousands of pilots across America, to the extent that, from the late 1970s, Grant never had to pay for a commercial airline ticket anywhere in the USA, and was automatically bumped up to first class whenever he flew. In October 1985, he was on his way to watch the Challenger Space Shuttle launch and to be honoured as a special guest, when he was killed in a road accident at the age of seventy-four.

Gloria Winters also retired at the completion of the series in 1959. She had fallen in love with Dean Vernon, the series’ sound engineer, and the two married in November 1959. The union lasted forty-one years until Dean’s death in 2001. Gloria had remained a close friend of Kirby’s until his tragic death in ’85. She passed away nine years after her husband.

Stagecoach West (TV Series 1960–1961) - IMDb

STAGECOACH WEST (1960-1) 38 EPISODES               

Luke Perry (Wayne Rogers) and Simon ‘Sime’ Kane (Robert Bray), veterans of the American Civil War, own and operate a stage line on the frontier. The two men share the driving and are, on occasion, accompanied by Sime’s son Davey (Richard Eyer) on their trips. Based in Wyoming Territory, they transport passengers across the Old West, encountering danger and adventure along the way. Curiously, although episodes take place in various decades (from the mid-sixties to the 1890s), the characters never seem to age. In time Luke and Sime become Deputy U.S. Marshals. The show only survived one season.

Wayne Rogers as Luke Perry in Stagecoach West 1960 | Western film, Wayne rogers, Actors


Wayne Rogers would be later known throughout the world for his portrayal of Trapper John in the hit TV series M.A.S.H. (1972). He was already thirty-nine years old when he accepted that role. Over a decade earlier he was cast as Luke Perry in Stagecoach West. On being shown the pilot for the series, he was immediately unimpressed. ‘As soon as I saw it, I thought: ‘This is really bad’, and caught the next plane back to New York.’ He left M.A.S.H. in 1975, after having appeared in 73 episodes. ‘If I had known the show was gonna run that long, I probably would have kept my mouth shut and stayed put’, he later said. Rogers died from pneumonia on December 31, 2015. His co-star William Christopher (Father Francis Mulcahy) died one year, to the day, later – December 31, 2016. Steve Donovan Western Marshall- Four Color Comics #675 1956- Dell Western vf- : Collectibles & Fine Art


This series simply did not have the star-power to survive among the plethora of westerns that inundated American television in the fifties and sixties. The title character was played by B-features player Douglas Kennedy, one of those faces that TV fans instantly recognized but were unable to put a name to. He mostly played villains in supporting roles so it was surprising to see him land the lead here as the law in Wyoming. His deputy marshal Rusty Lee was played by veteran ‘sidekick’ Eddy Waller who was already in his seventies when the series began. He was a mainstay of the B westerns churned out by Republic Pictures; Allan ‘Rocky’ Lane’s sidekick in almost all of his Republic features. When the B western finally died out in the fifties, so did Eddy’s movie career. It is doubtful anyone was surprised when Steve Donovan, Western Marshal was not picked up for a second season.

Stoney Burke (TV Series 1962–1963) - IMDb

STONEY BURKE (1962-3) 32 EPISODES           

The Official Website of Don McGregor


Unlike the series preceding this one here, ABC series Stoney Burke exhibited the talents of no fewer than three outstanding acting talents, Jack Lord in the title role, (six years before he hit it big as Steve McGarrett in Hawii Five-O), Warren Oates and Bruce Dern. Oates comes close to stealing the show from Lord with his shifty portrayal of Stoney’s best friend Ves Painter. Dern also plays a trusty sidekick, E.J. Stocker, and is almost as memorable. All three actors would progress to fine careers on both television and the big screen. Lord enjoyed a twelve-year stint with Hawaii-Five-O and the series made him a household name. On the big screen he was the first actor to portray Felix Leiter in a James Bond film (Dr No) in 1962, and was about to reprise the role in Goldfinger in 1964 when producer Cubby Broccoli felt he might overshadow Sean Connery as 007 and replaced him!

Cody Bristol - Cousin Eunice - YouTube


The Stoney Burke series focuses on modern day rodeo life and the endeavours of fierce competitor Burke to win the coveted Golden Buckle, the award given to the champion saddle bronc rider. In the very same year NBC premiered its own rodeo series titled The Wide Country, starring Earl Holliman and Andrew Prine. Unfortunately for both series, saturation point had almost been reached by western genre TV series. Neither one would survive for longer than a single season.


  1. Alan, I was going to resist commenting on this one, but then, why resist?
    Sky King was a staple of Saturday morning TV for us in the late 50s and early 60s.
    Sky was stolidly heroic, and Penny was a dish.
    My main memory of it though, was the sponsor of Sky King, King Sano Cigarettes. I don’t remember any of the principals smoking, unlike the Chesterfield crowd over on “I Love Lucy.” But in a marvelous case of product placement, there was a store frequented by the Sky King characters, and on the wall behind the cash register was a prominent display of King Sano Cigarettes.
    Virtually every show at the time had some primary or secondary sponsorship by tobacco companies, just behind detergents and analgesics. Twilight Zone and the Westerns were not surprising, but it surprised me as a 12-year-old when The Beverly Hillbillies’ principal sponsor was Winston Cigarettes–later sponsored by Kellogg’s. Even “The Flintstones had Winston as a sponsor for a while. Still shocking to watch Fred and Barney light up on Youtube after a hard day at the rock pile–and I fear even Wilma and Betty joined in.
    I believe the last network cigarette ads were broadcast on New Year’s Eve 1970-71. Fifty-two years later cigarette jingles still reside as earworms in what’s left of my consumer-addled brain.

    And Alan–Douglas Kennedy! Bravo.

    • I smoked Marlboro for about 40 years, Dan. Then, suddenly, I grew a brain and stopped at 62. Thirteen years on and I have never had even a puff of a smoke since. No patches, nothing. I simply stopped smoking. So it can be done. As for Douglas Kennedy, I often wonder what it must be like to live next door to a character actor like him. It must be weird to have a neighbour who bobs up on TV and in movies countless times, yet is not a famous star. I mean, do his kids know he is a well-known face? Do they sit down as a family and watch him on TV?

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