Friday, July 29, 2011

Sky King

One of my favorite programs growing up was Sky King staring Kirby Grant. He had a niece named Penny played by Gloria Winters. I was the only one of my friends who loved that show and it would surprise me that my mother let me watch it on Saturday mornings for she rarely let us kids watch television but she did me. I think it was only 30 minutes long.

Sky was always saving people including his niece, but he insisted that she learn to fly her own plane. A nephew came to live with them for a while, but he left which was good as I did not like him all that much. I identified with Penny. I liked Sky King's ethical code of ethics. I was growing into my teenage years and did not like what I saw around me. Many of King's stand of what was right and wrong became mine. He believed in women's rights and in the rights of everyone regardless of race to make their own decisions. I wasn't a teenager yet, but I carried those ethics right into my adulthood. I still do.

I never saw the actor do any other role but Sky King nor Gloria Winters do anything else. They retired not far from where I lived but I never saw them. They remained an influence to me. I was never a big western watcher although I admired Wyatt Earp or at least who I thought he was. I liked the western, "Tombstone Territory", because the story was about a sheriff or marshal and a newspaper editor. It was of short duration and disappeared into the television past. I liked Wyatt Earp because I read a book about him although the book was not based on truth which was a shame. I read another book years later that was and I found it fascinating.

I remember that time before I started into teenage years as a time when I wanted to find a foothold into who I was as a person. I did not find it in my parents for my father was an alcoholic and he found himself in the bottle. The parents of the kids I knew were very confused or I saw them as such in those days. The books that I read then were as confused as the people I saw. Many of the books in the library was on the suburban life which I had not found fascinating. I found books that were being written in those days were on either Henry the 8th or on Nazis. I read them because I had no choice. Young adult books were almost non-existent and I was finding the ones I did find as out of touch with the life I was seeing around me. There were exceptions but not many.

Television did not have much either. I could see there was change in the air though. I was optimistic about that and movies began to change with such movies as "The Graduate" and "The Sand Pebbles". There was still fluff being made and shown but good movies were being made that were more realistic and books began to change too. Foreign books were beginning to be translated and I was beginning to be able to read them such as Camus. I found the magazine, The Saturday Review, to be my window to these books.

Of course, the Women's Movement helped and so did the Civil Rights Fight helped as well as open my eyes. The Beat Generation also presented literature and poetry in a different light if one could get it. All of this is a highly selected viewpoint of what happened during the 20th century. Even my time in college was not as open to what was happening in the world as I would have liked but found out more in years to come.

Most things are happenstance in our lives. I don't know how Sky King came into my life, but I am glad he did. He gave me a good solid basis for starting my ethical conscious because it seems to me that I like the ideas he presented to me. It was not the ones my parents had nor the same ones other members of my family had. My sister married a hardcore Republican and she in turn became a conservative. My brother became a love child but without the solid commitment that most hippies had at the time. He seemed to like the trappings and then just dissolved into the drug scene not really thinking about anything. He left the world after serving as a U.S. Marine during the Viet Nam War. He seemed to be a person slipping and sliding into someone without any solid point of view except he did not like the world he lived in. He went on to try the next one.

The actor Kirby Grant, was pretty much like the role he played in Sky King and lost his life at the age of 73 on the way to watch the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger in a traffic accident. He was interested in helping the many children who watched his show. I have often read people who wrote about how important his show was to their upbringing. He is buried in Montana where he was born. I was certainly one of them. When I hear a plane sometimes, I think of the Songbird which was the name of his plane and of all of the hours he logged flying for he was really a pilot.

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