Ripcord (TV series)

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 by
  • Harry Redmond Jr.
  • James Carl (Jim) Hall
Directed by
  • Leon Benson
  • Jack Herzberg
Presented byLarry Pennell
Narrated byLarry Pennell
Theme music composerJudith Pines
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes76
Executive producers
  • Leon Benson
  • Stanley Colbert
  • Maurice Unger
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time30 minutes
Production companies
Original networkSyndication
Picture format
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseJune 3, 1961 (1961-06-03) –
September 1, 1963 (1963-09-01)


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.


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 film footage of free-falling skydivers.

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


Season 1 (1961–1962)Edit

  1. The Sky Diver - Pilot (Thursday September 28, 1961 - guest starred Russell Johnson)
  2. Air Carnival
  3. Airborne
  4. Chuting Stars (guest starred John Agar)
  5. Colorado Jump
  6. The Condemned (guest starred Michael Pataki)
  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 (guest starred Tracy Olsen)
  18. Escape
  19. Double Drop
  20. The Financier
  21. Sentence of Death
  22. Desperate Choice
  23. Diplomatic Mission (guest starred Richard Simmons)
  24. Hagen Charm (guest starred Arthur Franz)
  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 (guest starred Harry Carey, Jr. and Allison Hayes)

Season 2 (1962–1963)Edit

  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

International broadcastEdit

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]

Home mediaEdit

On July 23, 2013, TGG Direct released both seasons of Ripcord as a Region 1 DVD.[3]


Ray Bailey [fr] adapted the series into a comic strip.[4]


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, Veoh and Uncle Earl's Classic Television Channel.


  1. ^ Ripcord TV Show Accident 1962,, accessed 7 January 2015
  2. ^ Ripcord on the BBC
  3. ^ "Ripcord DVD news: Date Change for Ripcord Season 1 and Season 2 -". Archived from the original on 2013-08-03.
  4. ^

External linksEdit