My Friend Flicka (TV series)
My Friend Flicka is a 39-episode western television series set at the fictitious Goose Bar Ranch in Wyoming at the turn of the 20th century. The program was filmed in color but initially aired in black and white on CBS at 7:30 p.m. Fridays from February 10, 1956, to February 1, 1957. It was a mid-season replacement for Gene Autry's The Adventures of Champion. Both series failed in the ratings against ABC's The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin.
|My Friend Flicka|
The McLaughlins and Flicka, 1957.
|Written by||Mary O'Hara|
|Directed by||John English|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||39|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||20th Century Fox Television|
|Picture format||Color, but first aired in black-and-white|
|Original release||February 10, 1956 – February 1, 1957|
After the initial Friday airing, viewers could still find the series on CBS Saturdays at 7 p.m. Eastern during March 1957, on Sundays at 6 p.m. from April to May 1957, and on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. from June to August 1957. NBC carried the program in color at 6:30 p.m. Sunday from September to December 1957 and at 7 p.m. Sunday from January to May 1958. In subsequent years, the series aired mostly on Saturday mornings on all networks. The Disney Channel ran it on Monday evenings in the mid-1980s. Over the years many viewers were unaware that the series produced episodes for only a single season.
My Friend Flicka starred native Canadian Johnny Washbrook as Ken McLaughlin, a boy devoted to his horse Flicka, Swedish for "girl", but actually an Arabian chestnut named Wahana. Gene Evans played the authoritarian father Rob McLaughlin, a former U.S. Army cavalry officer. Anita Louise was cast as the gentle-spirited mother, Nell. Frank Ferguson portrayed Gus Broeberg, the loyal Swedish ranch hand. Flicka is based on a novel by Mary O'Hara, written at the Remount Ranch, located between Laramie and Cheyenne, Wyoming. Some Internet sites say that the series is set in Montana, where some of the filming was done. The majority of the filming, however, was at Fox Movie Ranch. My Friend Flicka holds the distinction of having been the first television series filmed by 20th Century Fox. A 1943 film, My Friend Flicka, starred Roddy McDowall as Ken.
Johnny Washbrook guested on several TV shows after the series ended, and acted into the 1970s then went into banking. He has appeared in several western celebrity signing shows in the U.S. lately, and lives with his family in Martha's Vineyard. Sydney Mason appeared on My Friend Flicka seven times as Sheriff Downey. Robert Adler appeared five times in different roles; Claude Akins, three times, and Hugh Beaumont, Tiger Fafara and Denver Pyle, twice. Pamela Baird appeared in ten episodes as Hildy Broeberg. Beaumont, Fafara, and Baird later had roles on the sitcom Leave It to Beaver.
Episodes and guest starsEdit
- "One Man's Horse" (series premiere), Flicka is stolen by an outlaw. (Hugh Beaumont as Simmons and Forrest Lewis as a storekeeper)
- "Blind Faith", Flicka is blinded in an accident and unexpectedly recovers. (Robert Adler as Ed Quinney)
- "A Case of Honor", Rob is accused of poisoning a water hole during a clash of ranchers and sheepherders. (Peter Whitney as Crothers)
- "A Good Deed", Ken and Flicka help a disabled boy overcome his fear of horses.
- "Cavalry Horse", the McLaughlins try to save a soldier's horse from extermination. (Robert Adler as Pete Slocum)
- "The Accident", Ken is stalked by a cougar after being thrown by Flicka. (Robert Adler as John Bronson)
- "The Stranger", Ken is held hostage by an escaped convict. (Jeff Morrow as Mason)
- "The Wild Horse", strangers want to buy Flicka, who suddenly goes missing after Ken refuses to sell. (Denver Pyle as Alec, Guinn Williams as the blacksmith, and Tyler McVey as a police officer)
- "Rogue Stallion", McLaughlin and a neighbor each try to capture a wild horse. (John Doucette and Claude Akins as Hap and Matt Scott)
- "The Little Secret", Ken saves the life of a Native American Indian baby. (Claude Akins as Keenak)
- "Act of Loyalty", Flicka helps a fugitive escape from jail, and some townspeople erroneously suspect that Ken is involved.
- "Silver Saddle", Flicka competes in a race for a silver saddle, but some suspect Ken had released a rival horse. (Herbert Rudley as Mr. Rawlins)
- "The Phantom Hand", McLaughlin makes plans to sell the ranch after his entire herd runs away. (Roy Roberts)
- "The Little Visitor", Ken and a boy are trapped in a mine.
- "The Golden Promise", Ken and Gus search for gold and leave Rob with the ranch chores. (Robert Adler as a foreman)
- "Black Dust", construction crews reopening a mine contaminate the water supply. (Robert Adler as Ben)
- "Night Rider", an old murder mystery is revived. (Hugh Beaumont appears again as Simmons.)
- "The Settler", Ken and Flicka pursue a runaway horse.
- "Wind from Heaven", Ken befriends a child of homesteaders with whom the ranchers are in conflict. (Steve Conte as Steve Connell and John M. Pickard as Rufe Grimes)
- "The Whip", Ken copes with a powerful black stallion without the use of a whip used by an experienced horse trainer. (Herbert Rudley)
- "The Runaways", Ken pursues Flicka, after she runs away to join a wild horse mistaken for an albino killer.
- "The Cameraman", Rob saves a photographer from stampeding horses and then suspects that the man is a thief. (John Carradine)
- "Old Danny", Ken and Flicka help a little girl whose dog faces a threat from coyotes. (Ann Doran as Mrs. Martha Japson, later the mother on the series National Velvet, and Sandy Descher as Betty Japson)
- "Rough and Ready", future U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt intervenes in a range war (Frank Albertson as Roosevelt)
- "Royal Carriage", Ken prepares the reception for a visiting countess.
- "Mr. Goblin", Ken brings home a stray white colt. (Tiger Fafara)
- "Rebels in Hiding", the Indian Thundercloud runs off with his grandson, Silver Fawn.
- "Lock, Stock, and Barrel", Ken hides Flicka in an abandoned barn, unaware that the building has been sold. (Claude Akins as August Hoskins)
- "The Unmasking", Ken and a young woman befriend a thief. (Sheb Wooley as Harry Runyon)
- "Refuge for the Night", Ken and Nell are alone at the ranch when an escaped convict arrives.
- "Against All Odds", Ken finds a puppy in his rabbit trap. (Phil Chambers as Doc Harrow)
- "The Old Champ", Rob competes as a wrestler at a medicine show. (Mike Mazurki as Hercules)
- "The Medicine Man", townspeople opposed a young Indian doctor who is treating Nell. (Pat Hogan as Mark Hawk)
- "When Bugles Blow", Rob considers re-enlisting in the cavalry, but Gus advises caution. (Raymond Bailey as Colonel Percival)
- "The Recuse", Ken learns a painful lesson when he ridicules an elderly woman. (Douglas Evans)
- "The Foundlings", Ken runs away from home and encounters two unhappy orphans.
- "Growing Pains", a little girl and a prize bull arrive at the ranch.
- "Lost River", Rob buys a stallion with a Chinese brand, which he learns means "Evil comes to him who owns me". (Sammee Tong, later of the sitcom Bachelor Father, as Wong and Forrest Taylor as Shaginaw)
- "Big Red" (series finale), while trailing an escaped show horse, Rob and Ken are menaced by a gun-wielding cowboy. (Denver Pyle as Clint Taylor and Jean Byron as Barbara Schuyler)
- "My Friend Flicka". Classic Television Archives. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
- "Mr Friend Flicka". Fiftiesweb.com. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
- Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, 4th ed.
- "My Friend Flicka". www.myfriendflicka.com.
- "My Friend Flicka". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved March 17, 2009.