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Ripcord is an American syndicated television series that ran for a total of 76 episodes from 1961 to 1963 about the exploits of a skydiving operation of its namesake.

Ripcord (TV series).jpg
Title screen
Created byHarry Redmond Jr./James Carl (Jim) Hall
Directed byLeon Benson
Jack Herzberg
Presented byLarry Pennell
StarringLarry Pennell
Ken Curtis
Paul Comi (1961–62)
Shug Fisher (1962–63)
Narrated byLarry Pennell
Theme music composerJudith Pines
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes76
Executive producer(s)Ivan Tors
Babe Unger
Producer(s)Leon Benson
Stanley Colbert
Maurice Unger
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Ziv Television Programs
(first 39 episodes)
Rapier Productions Incorporated/United Artists Television (last 37 episodes)
DistributorZiv-United Artists
(season 1)
United Artists Television
(season 2)
Original networkSyndication
Picture formatBlack and White - Season 1 Color - Season 2
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseJune 3, 1961 –
September 1, 1963


The premise was a variety of adventures surrounding the then-new, thrilling sport of skydiving. The two men and their private Cessna airplane were placed in unusual situations where their special skills and abilities were needed. This led them on exciting weekly adventures from chasing dangerous criminals to performing difficult and daring, if occasionally absurd, rescues.

This series starred Larry Pennell as the handsome, headstrong, youthful, colorful, audacious, intrepid and brave skydiver Theodore (Ted) McKeever, with Ken Curtis as his inseparable level-headed older mentor and best buddy James (Jim) Buckley. Airplane pilot Chuck Lambert, played by Paul Comi, was replaced midway through the first season by Charlie Kern, portrayed by fellow Sons of the Pioneers' bandmate Shug Fisher.

Guest stars included Richard Arlen, Harry Carey Jr., Pat Conway, Richard Eastham, Lang Jeffries, Dayton Lummis, Tyler McVey, Denver Pyle, Lurene Tuttle, Paul Fix, Dick Sargent, Russell Johnson, Dawn Wells, Burt Reynolds, Biff Elliott, Alan Baxter, BarBara Luna, John Agar, Robert Clarke, Paul Birch, Carol Ohmart, Michael Pataki, Philip Ober, Vinton Hayworth, Lane Bradford, Kenneth Tobey, Bernie Kopell, Tim Matheson, Tracy Olsen, John Considine, Walter Mathews, Page Slattery, Robert Sampson, Kathie Browne, Jack Hogan, William Boyett, William Bryant, Harry Townes, Arthur Franz, Gerald Mohr, Edward Platt, Leo Penn, Lee Van Cleef, Russ Conway, Charles Knox Robinson, Richard Simmons, Robert F. Simon, Steve Terrell, Allison Hayes, Susan Silo, Dyan Cannon and the then little known James Coburn.

The stuntmen performing the actual skydiving were Bob Fleming, an airline pilot, and Joe Mangione, both from Brooklyn, New York. Fleming also doubled as the pilot at the controls when not involved in the scene.

Cameramen included Tom Ryan, whose previous experience included early parachute development, testing and design. Ryan was a pioneer in capturing closeup movies of free-falling skydivers.

In 1962, the filming of this series involved the transfer of a stuntman between two planes, which was being filmed from a third one. Due to the air turbulence, the two planes of the transfer touched and both subsequently crashed. The pilots of both planes and the stuntman were all able to parachute to safety. Later, the dramatic footage from this almost tragic event was subsequently used in two Ripcord episodes.[1]

This show sponsored a popular Ripcord tie-in toy, consisting of a large plastic parachute with a plastic skydiver figure attached to it, which could be thrown in the air and would float down to the ground, just like a real parachute. It was a big toy seller. At the end of every episode, Larry Pennell as Theodore (Ted) McKeever, along with Ken Curtis as James (Jim) Buckley, delivered a brief comment, addressing to viewers the importance of sport parachuting safety. Some of the Ripcord episodes can be found on YouTube, and Uncle Earl's Classic Television Channel.

Episode listEdit

Season 1Edit

  1. The Sky Diver - Pilot (Thursday September 28, 1961 - guest starred Russell Johnson)
  2. Air Carnival
  3. Airborne
  4. Chuting Stars
  5. Colorado Jump
  6. The Condemned
  7. Counter-Attack
  8. Crime Jump (Thursday October 5, 1961 - guest starred Burt Reynolds)
  9. Dangerous Night, a.k.a. DARB (Distressed Airman Rescue Beacon) - guest starred Harry Townes
  10. Death Camp
  11. Derelict
  12. Top Secret
  13. Radar Rescue (Thursday December 28, 1961 - guest starred John Considine and Jack Hogan)
  14. Sierra Jump
  15. The Silver Cord
  16. Thoroughbred
  17. Ransom Drop
  18. Escape
  19. Double Drop
  20. The Financier
  21. Sentence of Death
  22. Desperate Choice
  23. Diplomatic Mission
  24. Hagen Charm
  25. The Helicopter Race (Thursday March 15, 1962 - guest starred Dyan Cannon)
  26. Jungle Survivor
  27. High Jeopardy
  28. Hi-Jack
  29. The Human Kind
  30. Hurricane Charley
  31. Elegy for a Hero
  32. Cougar Mesa
  33. Last Chance
  34. Log Jam
  35. Mile High Triangle (Thursday May 31, 1962 - guest starred Walter Mathews, Page Slattery, Robert Sampson and Kathie Browne)
  36. Millionaire Doctor
  37. One for the Money
  38. Para-Nurse

Season 2Edit

  1. Aerial Backfire (Thursday October 18, 1962)
  2. Among Those Missing (Thursday October 25, 1962)
  3. Chute to Kill
  4. Day of the Hunter
  5. Devil's Canyon
  6. Expose
  7. The Final Jump (Thursday April 18, 1963 - guest starred Tim Matheson)
  8. Flight for Life
  9. Flight to Terror
  10. A Free Falling Star
  11. Hostage Below
  12. The Hunter
  13. Infiltration
  14. The Inventor
  15. Jump or Die
  16. Jump to a Blind Alley
  17. Jump to Freedom
  18. Man on a Mountain
  19. The Last Chapter (Tuesday January 15, 1963)
  20. The Losers
  21. The Lost Ones
  22. The Lost Tribe
  23. Million Dollar Drop
  24. The Money Mine (Thursday January 3, 1963)
  25. Panic at 10,000
  26. Picture of Terror
  27. A Present for Felipe
  28. The Proud Little Man
  29. Race Morgan: Bounty Hunter
  30. Reprisal
  31. Run, Joby, Run
  32. Semper Paratus Any Time
  33. The Suicide Club
  34. The Trouble with Denny Collins
  35. The Well
  36. Where Do Elephants Go to Die?
  37. Willie (Tuesday March 26, 1963 - guest starred Dawn Wells)
  38. Wrong Way Down

Syndication outside the USEdit

Ripcord aired in Brazil in the 1960s under its original title at the same time as in the United States. Ripcord aired in the UK (under its original title) on BBC1 in 1964, with repeats airing the following year until October 1965. [2]


Ray Bailey [fr] adapted the series into a comic strip.[3]

Home mediaEdit

On July 23, 2013, TGG Direct released both seasons of Ripcord on Region 1 DVD.[4]


  1. ^ Ripcord TV Show Accident 1962,, accessed 7 January 2015
  2. ^ Ripcord on the BBC
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Ripcord DVD news: Date Change for Ripcord Season 1 and Season 2 -". Archived from the original on 2013-08-03. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)

External linksEdit