WESTERNS AND AIRPLANES, what a great combination they make! As a matter of fact, we'll even go so far as to say that this is a near perfect combination of genres. What with all of the hero-worship for the likes of such disparate men such as Charles Lindbergh ("Lucky Lindy") and Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan that had grown to a mountainous zenith of adulation during world War II, the aviator had permanently impressed his image into the American psyche.
WHEN THE AIRMEN arrived in our mythological mirror world, they found that it was already the home of some other historical stock characters. The Explorer, the Colonists, the Pioneer, the Soldier and the Seaman all had their permanent residences staked out here. They had one good neighbor, so typical yet peculiar to the American over-soul. He is the Westerner; being subdivided into categories such as: Cowboy, Gunman, Lawman, Drifter, Rancher, Gambler and Outlaw.
SO WITH NO particular fanfare, SKY KING appeared and with him he brought a weekly crossover of story-types. A typical SKY KING Story involved some wrong being done to some one. The main character, Schuyler "Sky" King (Mr. Kirby Grant), with the assistance of niece Penny (Gloria Winters) and (sometimes) nephew Clipper (Ron Hagerthy). To be sure that the audience was reminded that this was an Aviation/Western story, there were plenty of references to "Uncle Sky's" Flying Crown Ranch and liberal use of Sky's plane, the Songbird.
SUPPORTING CAST BOASTED of so many of those nameless faces who populated the "B" Westerns and Serials for so many tears. A typical cast roll call boasted of names like: Dennis Moore, I. Stanford Jolley, Monte Blue, Chubby Johnson, Stanley Andrews ("The Old Ranger' on DEATH VALLEY DAYS), Rusty Westcoatt, Frank Richards, Glenn Strange and Sam Flint. There were even some more accomplished "A" film supporting players like: James Flavin, Pierre Watkin, Steven Geray and Buddy Baer.
THE STORIES THAT were offered were pretty much standard Cowboys & Outlaws fare, with Sky and Company's getting involved and pretty much saving the day for a variety of Sheriffs as portrayed by many other familiar faces from the Cactus Circuit.
IN THE RYAN household on Damen Avenue, in the West Englewood Neighborhood of Chicago, St. Theodore Catholic Parish, SKY KING was a regular. In those days, Schultz would come over to our house to watch with us. His Sister always wanted to watch OZZIE & HARRIET instead!
BUT, WHERE ARE you now Uncle Sky, now that we need you the most?