9 December 2007 | gariann
Probably the first, genuinely fun, early feminist TV show!
This TV show, probably the first of it's kind, demonstrated that a woman despite heavy obligations and responsibilities (little brother, no parents and a ranch to run), could successfully compete in a man's world. Not only could she successfully compete, but she would come through in a major crisis, save lives, behave with genuine courage, dignity and honor, do it cheerfully with good humor and prove extremely useful to the community while being the paradigm role model to an impressionable younger brother.
Where the TV show is a fictionalized account bearing no relationship to the real Annie Oakley, their accomplishments were. They both competed not just successfully but surprisingly and consistently, in what was then regarded as a man's world. The real Annie Oakley (Phoebe Ann Oakley Moses or Mozee or Mozey) was the heroine of the day in her travels through the US and Europe in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show out shooting just about anyone. In a time that antibiotics were non-existent, she suffered through tremendous injury and illness nearly dying on a couple of occasions and demonstrated a rare courage of getting out of bed to ensure that the show went on! Previous to that she had been the support of her family, ensuring that food was on the table every night and in later life quietly worked to support charities and women's rights.
To young girls growing up in the '50's the TV show Annie was the perfect counter balance to the heroics of The Lone Ranger, Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, and Gene Autrey TV shows. Was it a coincidence she rode a palomino? Doubtful. The writers probably wanted to show as subtly as possible that she could compete with Roy and Dale on her own terms. The genre was the popular wild west-the most successful for many years if the longevity of westerns is a measure. Every week youngsters grew up knowing that America was exemplified by the standards of the Old West, where character was king. Honor, fair play, justice-for-all were the by words on which the TV heroes were modeled. That there was a pistol-packing lady whose character was a match for any of her male counterparts says a good deal about the fabric of the American character and actress Gail Davis made Annie Oakley the cheerful ideal to which all girls aspired. ANNIE OAKLEY was a wonderful TV show!