Casey Jones is an American Western series that first ran in 1958, based around the pioneering western railroads. The series aired in syndication in the United States. Casey Jones also aired on the BBC in the United Kingdom and on the Seven Network in Australia.
|Written by||Bill Barrett|
John K. Butler
Frank L. Moss
|Directed by||Abby Berlin|
|Opening theme||"The Ballad of Casey Jones"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||32|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production companies||Briskin Productions|
|Original release||October 8, 1957 –|
May 5, 1958
The series is set in the late 19th century, featuring the adventures of railroad engineer Casey Jones and the crew of the Cannonball Express steam locomotive, fireman Wallie Sims and conductor Redrock Smith, working for the Midwest and Central Railroad. Casey lived in the fictional Missouri town of Midvale, within commuting distance of St. Louis, with his wife, Alice, their young son, Casey, Jr., and their dog Cinders. Although there really was a famous locomotive engineer named Casey Jones of the Illinois Central Railroad, the television series is only loosely based on him. His train is named "Cannonball Express" (the real Jones' locomotive, #382, was nicknamed "Cannonball"). The name of the character Wallie Sims is a conflation of Illinois Central employee Wallace Saunders, who wrote the earliest version of "The Ballad of Casey Jones," and the real Jones' fireman, Simeon "Sim" Webb. Unlike Wallie Sims, both Saunders and Webb were black.
Kenneth Gamet, the producer of Casey Jones, offers a gentler Western series against the more violent adult shows of the time. Casey Jones features the same classical types of plots as other westerns such as train robbers and vandals, but the episodes center as much on Casey's interaction with his family, particularly Casey, Jr.
- Alan Hale Jr. as Casey Jones
- Bobby Clark as Casey, Jr.
- Dub Taylor as Wallie Sims
- Eddy Waller as Red Rock
- Mary Lawrence as Alice Jones
Shot for one season, in part because of Alan Hale's commitment to filming episodes of Rory Calhoun's The Texan, the series ran for 32 half-hour black-and-white episodes. Its theme song was a version of the "Ballad of Casey Jones".
The regular version of the opening titles features Alan Hale with Bobby Clark in the cab and credits Mary Lawrence, but the inclusion of Cinders is inconsistent. A reversed image is used in a close up of the Cannonball and the nameplate can be seen as reversed behind the show title.
There are alternate versions of the closing credits. Both feature Alan Hale and Bobby Clark waving from the cab, the second features different shots of the Cannonball, including one of it passing over a trestle and the brow of a hill, and a different version of the song with slight amendments to the lyrics (to include Cinders). Alan Hale filmed an introduction to the first episode on set with Bobby Clark where he introduced the new series to the audience.
The locomotive used in location footage was Sierra No. 3, which was also used in many other television shows and films.
|Episode no.||Title||Director||Writer(s)||Original Air Date|
|01||"Night Mail"||Sidney Salkow||Stephen Longstreet||May 18, 1958|
|Casey Jones and the Cannonball Express must race a train from the Southern and Panhandle Railroad to win the contract to carry the mail from St Louis to Fort Worth. When their attempt to bribe Casey fails, the crew of the 'Swamp Tiger' resort to sabotage in order to win the race. Guest stars: Pat Hogan, Mort Mills. This episode predicted the United States Postal Service by exact name in dialogue 13 years before the USPS was created. At the time, U.S. mail was handled by the Cabinet-level Post Office Department. |
|02||"The President’s Special"||Abby Berlin||Frank L Moss||May 25, 1958|
|A Secret Service agent travels on the Cannonball to meet U.S. President Chester Arthur, but unknown to Casey the man on board is an impostor intent on assassination. Guest stars: Robert J. Stevenson, Preston Hanson, Paul Sorensen.|
|03||"Prison Train"||Abby Berlin||Bill Barrett||June 1, 1958|
|Casey must transport gold bullion along with several soldiers who are prisoners aboard the Cannonball. The train is ambushed by a gang intent on stealing the gold and leaving no witnesses... Guest stars: James Gavin, Bing Russell, Stewart Bradley, Chuck Courtney.|
|04||"Way Station"||George Blair||Berne Giler||June 8, 1958|
|A gang of thieves hijacks the Cannonball, intent on stealing the registered mail. They hold Casey, Wallie and the passengers at a way station until the mail train arrives... Guest stars: Jan Merlin, Richard Bakalyan, Ken Becker, Walter Baldwin, Grant Richards, Ann Baker.|
|05||"Spurline to Danger"||Lew Landers||Tony Barrett||June 15, 1958|
|While delivering supplies to Fort Lawrence, Casey and his family are caught up in an attack by Sioux Indians provoked by Colonel Bullock’s bad treatment of Indian prisoners. Casey must get back to the Cannonball to gather more ammunition. Guest stars: William Leslie, Robert Cornthwaite, Willis Bouchey, Joseph Vitale.|
|06||"Satan’s Wail"||George Blair||Earl Baldwin||June 22, 1958|
|While Casey makes a new whistle for the Cannonball, Casey Junior decides he wants to be a telegrapher instead of an engineer. Casey must transport the contents of a bank including $1 million in gold bullion on board the Cannonball, but the soldiers sent to accompany the shipment are in fact a gang of thieves intent on robbing the train. Guest stars: Alexander Campbell, Chris Alcaide, Lynn Shubert, Tyler McVey, Stanley Farrar.|
|07||"The Old Timer"||George Blair||Kenneth A Enochs, Christopher Knopf||June 29, 1958|
|Redrock is forced to take compulsory retirement, but danger lies ahead for Casey when an overnight storm damages the trestle further down the line. Guest stars: Kenneth MacDonald, Joe Conley.|
|08||"Run to Deadwood"||George Blair||John K Butler||July 6, 1958|
|Casey must transport a special prisoner aboard the Cannonball, and finds an unexpected use for his lunch pail. Guest stars: Joe De Santis, Lee Roberts, Patrick Sexton, Don Carlos, Robert Hedrick.|
|09||"Death Rides the Tender"||Lew Landers||Ellis Marcus||July 13, 1958|
|When a miner is found shot on the line, Casey must turn detective and help the sheriff track down the murderer. When he does, the accused man's father, who happens to be a co-worker of Casey and his crew, sets out to prove how much he cares for his son. Guest stars: Ray Teal, Sheridan Comerate, Tom McKee.|
|10||"One Way Ticket"||George Blair||Lawrence Resner||July 27, 1958|
|Charlie Ferguson is released from prison after the manslaughter of Luther Wagner's daughter, but a mob from Midvale is awaiting his return. This episode focuses on reconciliation in the face of revenge. Guest stars: Howard Negley, Jimmy Lydon, Ken Mayer, Judy Sochor.|
|11||"The Lost Train"||George Blair||J. Robert Bren & Gladys Atwater||August 3, 1958|
|The Cannonball Express is stolen by a gang intent on using it to escape with their haul of stolen gold. Guest stars: Malcolm Atterbury, Myron Healey, James Anderson, Norman Leavitt.|
|12||"The Gunslinger"||Lew Landers||Lee Erwin||August 10, 1958|
|When a young girl falls ill with appendicitis on the Cannonball, her only hope is the sheriff’s prisoner Doc Bailey, a man convicted of murder on his way to execution. Guest stars: William Bryant, Harry Shannon, Dorothy Morris, Cheryl Callaway.|
|13||"Storm Warning"||George Blair||John K Butler||August 17, 1958|
|Two fugitives break into Casey’s home and hold him and his family hostage, but when one falls ill from his wounds, Casey must appeal to the other to stand by his friend rather than abandon him. Guest stars: Denver Pyle, Robert Jordan, Virginia Christine, Hal Taggart.|
|14||"Iron Men"||George Blair||Frank Moss||August 24, 1958|
|Casey comes to the aid of immigrant railroad workers who come under threat from cattlemen reluctant to share the land. Guest stars: Eric Feldary, Tiger Fafara, Stafford Repp, Daniel White.|
|15||"Girl in the Cab"||George Blair||Kay Lenard, Jess Carneol||August 31, 1958|
|A woman hiding in the cab is intent on robbing a strong box bound for the bank at Midvale. Guest stars: Russ Conway, Helen Westcott, Havis Davenport, Peter Brocco.|
|16||"A Badge for Casey"||Abby Berlin||Mona Fisher||September 7, 1958|
|Mort Clio and his men take over the town of Bitter Creek, lying in wait to kill Judge Ripley in revenge for sentencing Clio’s brother to hang. When they kill the sheriff, Casey is challenged to accept the Sheriff’s badge and stop them. Guest stars: Lee Van Cleef, Michael Carr, Dick Rich, X Brands.|
|17||"Night Run"||George Blair||Oscar Brodney||September 14, 1958|
|When a terrible storm causes the dam to burst, Casey must rescue the people of Valley Junction and make it to high ground in the Cannonball before the flood waters hit the town. Guest stars: S. John Launer, Will Wright, Harry Harvey Jr., John Mitchum.|
|18||"The Marauders"||George Blair||Bill Barrett||September 21, 1958|
|With Morgan’s Marauders intending to plunder Dover City, Casey is ordered to wreck a train carrying the Marshal and his men to make the marauders think they were killed, but when the marauders invade Midvale, Casey must find a way to stop them. Guest stars: Harry Lauter, Robert Knapp, Ben Erway.|
|19||"Black Box"||George Blair||Wells Root, Paul Savage||September 28, 1958|
|Casey is asked to carry a special shipment on behalf of the Mexican government aboard the Cannonball, the crown jewels of the late Emperor Maximilian, which are hidden in a coffin. But the Secret Service man accompanying the casket has been replaced by an impostor, who is planning to uncouple the cars and steal the jewels when they derail on a steep curve. Guest stars: Herbert Rudley, Adele Mara, Donald Lawton, John Eldredge.|
|20||"The Trackwalker"||Abby Berlin||Thomas Seller||October 5, 1958|
|When a drifter (Russell Johnson) saves the Cannonball, Casey gets him a job in the yard, but the newcomer is being shadowed by a blackmailer. Guest stars: George Berkeley, Russell Johnson, Ted de Corsia.|
|21||"Star Witness"||George Blair||John K Butler, Donald H Clark||October 12, 1958|
|Casey must take a U.S. marshal and Miss Dixon to Denver. Miss Dixon is a witness for the Railroad Commission and knows who was responsible for a recent railroad crash, but as the Cannonball enters a tunnel, shots are fired and Marshal Purvis is injured... Guest stars: Steve Pendleton, Eve McVeagh, Paul McGuire, Hal Baylor, Stanley Adams, Eddie Ryder.|
|22||"The Dutch Clock"||George Blair||Bill Barrett/Polly James, Tom Kilpatrick||October 19, 1958|
|When a farmer’s crop is destroyed apparently by sparks from the speeding Cannonball, a Dutch clock (a tachograph) is installed in the engine. Although suspended, Casey decides to take the Cannonball out for an unscheduled run to get to the bottom of the claim. Guest stars: William Bakewell, Tom Monroe, Wally Vernon, Dudley Pickett.|
|23||"The Dark Rider"||George Blair||Merwin Gerard, Robert Eisenbach||October 26, 1958|
|When a sailor aboard the Cannonball is found to be infected with smallpox, Casey must get him to a hospital but has to contend with both passengers trying to leave the quarantined train and vigilantes forbidding them to stop along the route. Guest stars: Howard Petrie, Frances Robinson, Peter Adams, Cain Mason, Clarence Straight.|
|24||"Dangerous Hours"||George Blair||Crane Wilbur||November 2, 1958|
|A gang robs the bank at Midvale and hijacks the Cannonball Express. When they learn that Alice Jones is on board, Casey is forced to go along with their demands. Guest stars: Anthony Caruso, Gregg Barton, Don Garrett, Matt Winston.|
|25||"The Treasure of Sam Bass"||George Blair||John K Butler, George & Gertrude Fass||November 9, 1958|
|Following a shootout aboard the Cannonball, Casey Junior finds a map hidden amongst the peanuts he has been selling to the passengers, a map Gene Deming will do anything to find... Guest stars: Stacy Harris, Dorothy Green, Henry Wills.|
|26||"Hard Luck Train"||George Blair||Bill Barrett||November 16, 1958|
|During Casey’s absence, the Cannonball is robbed twice, each time driven by his old friend Earl Bonner. Casey must stay loyal to his friend and help prove his innocence. Guest stars: Bill Henry, Francis De Sales, G. Pat Collins, Walter Reed.|
|27||"The Silk Train"||George Blair||John K Butler||November 23, 1958|
|When a train carrying a cargo of raw silk from the Orient passes through, a gang plans to use the Cannonball to stage a crash and destroy the shipment. Guest stars: Don C. Harvey, Jack Lomas, Ed Kenney, Richard Powers, Emerson Treacy.|
|28||"Lethal Journey"||George Blair||Arthur Orloff||November 30, 1958|
|When ten men are trapped following a mining accident, Casey volunteers to carry a cargo of nitroglycerine aboard the Cannonball in a race against time – but a man has gotten aboard the train, determined to get to Galesburg to prevent a hanging. Guest stars: Fred Graham, Douglas Odney, Charles Quigley, Frederick Ford, Robert Bice.|
|29||"Honeymoon Express"||George Blair||Bill Barrett||December 7, 1958|
|The Cannonball is chartered by Arlo Bradford to pick up his wife and wedding party, but Casey gets suspicious when Bradford insists on stopping to pick up a couple of men along the way. When they stop at Kiola, Bradford has things on his mind other than lunch... Guest stars: Willard Waterman, Floyd Christy, Reed Howes, Bob Hopkins.|
|30||"The Fire Eater"||George Blair||Bill Barrett||December 14, 1958|
|Casey’s friend Ben Mallory loses his job with the Pontus Variety Players. The next day, with Mallory and Pontus aboard, the Cannonball develops a problem and runs out of water in Apache country. When Pontus and Redrock are captured, Mallory must face up to his fear if he is to save the men. Guest stars: Angela Stevens, Louis Jean Heydt, Frank Lackteen, Robert Lowery.|
|31||"Mrs Casey Jones"||Lew Landers||Mary McCall Jr, Lee Erwin||December 21, 1958|
|Tired of the risks Casey takes as an engineer, Alice persuades him to take the job of district manager with the railroad. But when fifty people are stranded on Crown Hill by a forest fire, the Cannonball’s new driver refuses to take the risk, leaving Casey with a dilemma. Guest stars: Tom Fadden, William Challee.|
|32||"Layover at Jamestown"||George Blair||Kevin David||December 28, 1958|
|Sam Wilson, the dispatcher at Jamestown, is being held for murder. Marshal Croy, who intends to take him for trial in Laramie, Wyoming, has a reputation of taking his prisoners in dead... and Casey learns that the man Sam shot was Croy’s elder brother. Guest stars: James Bell, Leo Gordon, Roy Barcroft, John Dierkes.|
According to issues of the UK Radio Times magazine, the series was shown in the UK on BBC1, the first run commencing on 8 November 1967, with a second run from 21 March 1969. Both runs showed only 26 episodes of the series. The last screening of an episode by the BBC was in August 1975. As of April 2021, the show is airing on the Sony-owned getTV network. In the mid-90s, it also aired on FX Australia.
- Magers, Boyd. Western Clippings. "Casey Jones". Retrieved April 8, 2019
- Terrace, Vincent (January 10, 2014). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010, 2d ed. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 166. ISBN 978-0786486410. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
- Casey Jones at FIFTIESWEB. Retrieved April 8, 2019
- CASEY JONES at NOSTALGIA Central. Retrieved April 8, 2019
- Marill, Alvin H. (June 1, 2011). Television Westerns: Six Decades of Sagebrush Sheriffs, Scalawags, and Sidewinders. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-0810881334. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
- "Search Results for Casey Jones". Radio Times. BBC Genome. Retrieved 4 April 2020.