My Friend Flicka (TV series)

My Friend Flicka is a western television series about a boy and his horse Flicka – a Swedish name meaning "little girl." The series is based on the novels by Mary O'Hara and the 1943 film My Friend Flicka.[1] Though filmed in color, it was originally shown on CBS in black-and-white from February 10, 1956 until August 1957. Only one season of the popular series was filmed, but it was broadcast in syndicated reruns for many years, starting in September 1957 on NBC.[2]

My Friend Flicka
GenreWestern/Children's
StarringGene Evans
Anita Louise
Johnny Washbrook
Frank Ferguson
Pamela Beaird
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes39
Production
Production locationsFox Movie Ranch, now part of Malibu Creek State Park
Running time30 minutes
Production company20th Century Fox Television
Release
Original networkCBS
Picture formatColor
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseFebruary 10 (1956-02-10) –
November 2, 1956 (1956-11-02)

SynopsisEdit

The series takes place around 1900 on the fictional Goose Bar Ranch near Coulee Springs, Wyoming.[1] Gene Evans played horse rancher Rob McLaughlin, Anita Louise was his wife Nell McLaughlin, and Johnny Washbrook played their son Ken. Frank Ferguson was their ranch hand Gus Broeberg, and Pamela Beaird had a recurring role as Hildy Broeberg, the niece of Gus. Stories dealt with the struggles of earning a living as a rancher, and problems that neighbors and friends encountered. Each adventure centered around young Ken and his horse Flicka.[3] Sometimes Ken’s wrong choices caused problems, but the series taught the importance of learning from your mistakes. Rob would tell the youngster "You did what you thought was right son, and that’s the important thing."[4]

ProductionEdit

Interior shots were filmed on the old William Fox Motion Pictures Studio, and exterior locations were at the 20th Century Fox Movie Ranch, which is now part of Malibu Creek State Park.[5]

The series had higher-than-average production costs, with the finest camera work and other technical attributes.[4] At a time when most viewers owned black-and-white televisions My Friend Flicka was filmed in color, though it was originally broadcast in black-and-white.[1]

During the 1950s it was common practice to have one advertiser sponsor an entire season of a television series. CBS was asking an advertising fee of $37,500 for each episode, and at least one advertiser chose to sponsor a different series, which was $10,000 less expensive per episode .[6] Colgate-Palmolive signed on as the series sponsor.[1]

High production costs is believed to be the reason why the popular series did not have a second season. Instead, 20th Century-Fox chose My Friend Flicka as one of the first two series that they offered as rerun syndication packages.[7]

Broadcast historyEdit

From February 10, 1956 to February 1957 CBS broadcast My Friend Flicka on Fridays from 7:30 to 8:00 p.m., and in March 1957 it was shown on Saturdays from 7:00 to 7:30 p.m. From April to May 1957 it was on Sundays from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m., and from June to August 1957 it was shown on Wednesdays from 7:30 to 8:00 p.m. The series moved to NBC, where it aired in color for the first time. From September to December 1957 it was broadcast on Sundays from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m., and from January to May 1958 it was shown on Sundays from 7:00 to 7:30 p.m.[3]

During the 1959 - 1960 television season ABC broadcast the series weekdays during the late afternoon. My Friend Flicka then moved to Saturday afternoons. During the 1961 - 1962 season it was broadcast on CBS, it was on ABC from September 1962 to December 1963, and it returned to CBS from September 1964 to September 1966.[2]

EpisodesEdit

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"One Man’s Horse"Nathan JuranPeter Packer, DeVallon ScottFebruary 10, 1956 (1956-02-10)
Flicka is stolen by an outlaw, who threatens to kill the horse if Ken tells anyone. Hugh Beaumont is a guest star.
2"Blind Faith"Robert GordonNat Tanchuck, Art Browne, Jr., Curtis KenyonFebruary 17, 1956 (1956-02-17)
Flicka is blinded in an accident, but Ken believes he will regain his sight.
3"A Case of Honor"Nathan JuranJerry SackheimFebruary 24, 1956 (1956-02-24)
Ranchers & sheepherders fight over grazing land & Rob is accused of poisoning a water hole.
4"A Good Deed"Frederick StephaniMary Lacey, Kay LenardMarch 2, 1956 (1956-03-02)
Ken and Flicka help a disabled child conquer his fear of horses.
5"Cavalry Horse"Frederick StephaniDeVallon Scott, Jerry SackheimMarch 9, 1956 (1956-03-09)
The McLaughlins try to save a soldier’s old horse from being put down.
6"The Accident"Frederick StephaniKay LenardMarch 16, 1956 (1956-03-16)
Ken is stalked by a cougar after he is thrown from Flicka and can’t walk.
7"The Stranger"Robert GordonPeter Paker, DeVallon ScottMarch 23, 1956 (1956-03-23)
Ken is kidnapped by an escaped convict.
8"The Wild Horse"Robert GordonGeorge Slavin, George W. GeorgeMarch 30, 1956 (1956-03-30)
Soon after Ken refuses to sell Flicka the horse is missing from her stall.
9"The Rogue Stallion"Nathan JuranKay LenardApril 6, 1956 (1956-04-06)
Both Rob and a rival rancher want to capture a beautiful wild horse. Claude Akins is a guest star.
10"The Little Secret"Nathan JuranJerry SackheimApril 13, 1956 (1956-04-13)
A Native American mother wants Ken to take her sick baby to a doctor.
11"Act of Loyalty"Nathan JuranMalvin Wald, Jack JacobsApril 20, 1956 (1956-04-20)
Flicka helps a fugitive escape from jail, and townspeople suspect Ken was involved with the escape.
12"The Silver Saddle"John EnglishMalvin Wald, Jack Jacobs, Curtis KenyonApril 27, 1956 (1956-04-27)
Ken is accused of letting a horse escape so Flicka can win a horse show.
13"The Phantom Herd"James B. ClarkPeter PackerMay 4, 1956 (1956-05-04)
Rob decides to sell the ranch after his entire herd of horses run off.
14"The Little Visitor"Frederick StephaniNat Tanchuck, Art Browne, Jr.May 11, 1956 (1956-05-11)
Ken and a headstrong visiting boy are trapped in a mine.
15"The Golden Promise"John EnglishKay LenardMay 18, 1956 (1956-05-18)
Ken and Gus neglect ranch work to hunt for gold. Rob tries to do all the chores by himself and breaks his leg.
16"Black Dust"John EnglishKay LenardMay 25, 1956 (1956-05-25)
The construction crew working to reopen a mine are contaminating the water.
17"The Night Rider"Ted Thomas, Jan LemanRobert GordonJune 1, 1956 (1956-06-01)
An old murder mystery is solved after Ken and Flicka trail a ghostly rider.
18"The Settler"Robert GordonDavid LangJune 8, 1956 (1956-06-08)
Ken and Flicka try to find a runaway horse.
19"Wind From Heaven"Robert GordonGeorge AsnessJune 15, 1956 (1956-06-15)
While ranchers are feuding with homesteaders Ken befriends a homesteader’s child.
20"The Whip"James ClarkRik VollaertsJune 22, 1956 (1956-06-22)
When an experienced horse trainer sees Ken calm a stallion with kindness he learns he knows less than he thought he did.
21"The Runaways"John EnglishKay LenardJune 29, 1956 (1956-06-29)
Flicka runs away from the ranch to join a wild horse that Rob is trying to tame.
22"The Cameraman"John EnglishJan Leman, Ted Thomas, Lowell HawleyJuly 6, 1956 (1956-07-06)
Rob saves a photographer from stampeding horses, then suspects him of being a thief. John Carradine is a guest star.
23"Old Danny"John EnglishKay LenardJuly 13, 1956 (1956-07-13)
Ken and Flicka help a little girl whose dog is endangered by coyotes.
24"Rough and Ready"John EnglishCurtis EnyonJuly 20, 1956 (1956-07-20)
Theodore Roosevelt tries to settle a war between ranch owners and a cattle baron.
25"The Royal Carriage"John EnglishCurtis KenyonJuly 27, 1956 (1956-07-27)
Ken helps his mother prepare a royal reception for a visiting countess.
26"Mister Goblin"John EnglishKay LenardAugust 3, 1956 (1956-08-03)
Ken brings home a stray white colt. Jane Darwell is a guest star.
27"Rebels in Hiding"Donald McDougalLowell S. HawleyAugust 10, 1956 (1956-08-10)
A former Native American chief runs away from the reservation with his grandson, to keep the boy out a white school.
28"Lock, Stock and Barrel"John EnglishWarren WilsonAugust 17, 1956 (1956-08-17)
Ken hides Flicka in an abandoned barn so he won’t have to turn her out on the range. He doesn’t know the barn has just been sold. Claude Akins guest stars.
29"The Unmasking"Albert S. RogellDavid LaneAugust 24, 1956 (1956-08-24)
Ken and a husband-hunting woman befriend a thief. Sheb Wooley guest stars.
30"Refuge for the Night"Robert GordonJerry SackheimAugust 31, 1956 (1956-08-31)
Ken and his mother, Nell, are alone at the ranch when an escaped criminal takes it over as a hide-out.
31"Against All Odds"John EnglishJ. Benton Cheney, Lowell S. HawleySeptember 7, 1956 (1956-09-07)
A puppy, found in Ken’s rabbit snare, disrupts the McLaughlin’s household.
32"The Old Champ"John EnglishLowell S. Hawley, Jerry SackheimSeptember 14, 1956 (1956-09-14)
Rob competes as a wrestler at a medicine show, and Ken bets Flicka on the outcome.
33"The Medicine Man"John EnglishGeorge Asness, Curtis KenyonSeptember 21, 1956 (1956-09-21)
Neighbors try to prevent a Native American doctor from treating Nell.
34"When Bugles Blow"John EnglishWarren WilsonSeptember 28, 1956 (1956-09-28)
Gus tries to talk Rob out of his desire to re-enlist in the cavalry.
35"The Recluse"John EnglishJerry SackheimOctober 5, 1956 (1956-10-05)
Ken mets an eccentric elderly woman, and thinks she may be a witch.
36"The Foundlings"John EnglishMuriel Roy BoltonOctober 12, 1956 (1956-10-12)
Ken runs away from home and meets up with two unhappy orphans who long for a family of their own.
37"Growing Pains"Albert S. RogellWanda TuchockOctober 19, 1956 (1956-10-19)
Ken welcomes a little girl and a prize bull to the ranch and learns that both can be unpredictable.
38"The Lost River"Robert GordonJerry SackheimOctober 26, 1956 (1956-10-26)
Rob buys a stallion with a Chinese brand which means “Evil comes to him who owns me.” Mishaps take place while digging for water.
39"Big Red"John EnglishCurtis KenyonNovember 2, 1956 (1956-11-02)
Rob and Ken trail an escaped show horse and are menaced by a gun-wielding cowhand. Denver Pyle is a guest star.

Additional boy and his horse TV westernsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Alvin H. Marill, Television Westerns: Six Decades of Sagebrush Sheriffs, Scalawags, and Sidewinders, page 40, Scarecrow Press, 2011
  2. ^ a b Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946 – Present, 7th Edition, page 700, Ballantine Books, 1999
  3. ^ a b Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946 – Present, 1st Edition, page 426, Ballantine Books, 1979
  4. ^ a b Reviews - My Friend Flicka, TV Guide, April 14, 1956
  5. ^ Jerry L. Schneider, Lord of the Jungle Filming Locations of California, page 29, Corriganville Press, 2014
  6. ^ "'Fu' Optioned By Red Heart" (PDF). Billboard. September 24, 1955. p. 2. Retrieved May 27, 2021.
  7. ^ "Fox Syndication Due Thru Subsid" (PDF). Billboard. March 24, 1956. p. 4. Retrieved May 27, 2021.

External linksEdit