Sky King (1951–1962)

TV Series   |    |  Adventure, Western

Episode Guide
Sky King (1951) Poster

"From out of the clear blue of the western sky comes Sky King" was the familiar opening to television's premier aviation program. Operating from his Flying Crown Ranch in Arizona, Sky King,... See full summary »


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4 July 2008 | bkoganbing
| That's Short For Schuyler
Though it was a nice play on words the character Sky King did not get his moniker from his reliance on air travel, it was simply short for Schuyler. Nevertheless it's a great handle and suggestive of all kinds of romantic fantasies about air travel.

The last name King was also an interesting choice. One of the largest, if not the largest cattle ranches ever was the King Ranch of Texas. If people thought Sky was one of those Kings, so much the better. And I don't think the King Ranch minded the free publicity.

The title role in this modern western was played by Kirby Grant who also had played him on radio. He was the owner of a considerable spread, but the main thing with Grant was that he was up to date with the times. He had a private plane that he named the Songbird which he used to both oversee his ranch and help deal with bad guys who couldn't ride horses fast enough to get away from Sky King and the Songbird. As you can imagine, the law had need of Sky and his plane and Sky was only too willing to help out a sheriff in need.

Sky lived on the ranch with niece Penny {Gloria Winters} and nephew Clipper {Ron Haggerty}. These two headstrong youths got themselves in jams and half the plots of the shows were Uncle Sky using the Songbird to get them out of a jackpot.

Kirby Grant who broke into film as a singer and not a bad one found his niche on radio playing heroic Sky King. The show transitioned smoothly to television and was a big hit with the kids including this kid.

Ironically enough Kirby Grant's death was a postscript to the Challenger disaster. Long retired and living in Florida he saw the Challenger blow up and then died in a car accident on the way home. Probably the horror of what he saw unnerved as it did everyone else who witnessed it live or on television. So a man whose fame was as a fictional air hero died after witnessing one of the great air disasters of the last century.

Sky King was a nice family show and I'm surprised no one has thought to revive it.

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