Wednesday, July 20, 2022

SKY KING - "Operation Urgent" (1952) - In Color

It's Wild Western Wednesday down in The Dungeon, and tonight's feature is the first episode of the 1950's TV show "Sky King."
I saw this show a lot as a kid because it was on every Saturday morning after "My Friend Flicka" for many years, but I never saw it in color until yesterday, so this was pretty interesting. 
Thanks to that old cowpuncher Lord Litter in Berlin for once again finding crazy stuff like this for me. I hate to sound like a broken record, but if you don't think there's still good music being made in the world, then you really should go check out some of his radio shows. I guarantee you'll dig it!

Kirby Grant was "Sky King" in 72 episodes from 1952 to 1959. Kirby Grant was also a talented musician and singer, and performed or sang in quite a few movies like "Ghost Catchers" where he was the bandleader and performed with his orchestra, or in the movie "Chip Off The Old Block," where he was in a dance group called The Jivin' Jacks and Jills.
Sky King's plane was a twin engine Cessna called "Songbird" and there were quite a few of them used over the years, but the best known one was one of the later ones, a 1958 Cessna 310B, serial number 35548 that was owned by the Cessna Company. 
After the show ended, the plane was sold in 1959, and in 1961 it crashed near Delano, California, killing the pilot!
This first episode of the series was called "Operation Urgent." This distressed Air Force pilot is going down, and he's carrying secret documents that need to be protected. He's in the general area of The Flying Crown Ranch, and Sky King is able to get his call for help.
Todd (Invaders From Mars) Karns is Lieutenant Doug Mercer.
Lieutenant Mercer gives special instructions for Sky King to call into his base!

Sky gets a hold of his old friend Colonel Yates as played by Pierre (Creature With The Atom Brain) Watkin. 
Pierre had 431 credits to his name and was billed as White (As in Perry) in the 1948 version of "Superman," and was also in four episodes of the 1950's "The Adventures Of Superman" in different roles.

Lieutenant Mercer is stuck in literally the middle of nowhere.

 How ironic, a kindly old man just happens to be out strolling in the area!

Turns out that the old man has a shack with a bunch of radio equipment in it. Nothing suspicious of course. "Come on in, you look tired, have a cup of coffee!"
Do you suppose this is how 'Radio Shack' got their name? Are there even any 'Radio Shacks' open anymore?

Weird, the coffee is having the opposite effect on the Lieutenant. I think it was drugged! 
Lieutenant Mercer is a little slow, it took him this long to figure out that the kindly old man was actually a dirty rotten scoundrel named Griz Raetze! How'd this guy ever learn how to fly a plane?

Pretty hard to recognize him here, but the diabolical Griz Raetze was played by John Banner, who was also the beloved Sergeant Schultz in 168 episodes of "Hogan's Heroes" from 1965 to 1971.
Sky King's niece and nephew Penny and Clipper King, live with him and usually get involved in his adventures. Penny was played by Gloria (The Life Of Riley) Winters, and Clipper was played by Ron Hagerthy who was in "The Twilight Zone" episode titled "Dead Man's Shoes."

Clipper finds Lieutenant Mercer but Griz Raetze is a step ahead of him!

When she's not looking cute, a big part of Penny's job is to look worried.

Griz Raetze has got the shack wired up to blow up at two o'clock with Lieutenant Mercer and Clipper trapped inside!

Just in the nick of time Sky King bursts in and manically tears the bomb apart with only five seconds to spare. Sky was a real do or die kind of guy!

In real life Kirby Grant was a flying enthusiast and pilot, and sadly on Oct. 30, 1985 he was killed in a car accident while on his way to watch the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger at Cape Canaveral, Florida, but Sky King will live forever!

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