Sky King – a surprising role model

I wrote an earlier post, Meanwhile, back at the ranch,  about the Sky King radio show and its secret decoder rings.

I recently discovered that there is much more to the Sky King saga. Many baby boomers became pilots because of the lasting influence of Sky King and his Cessna named Songbird.

It probably isn’t so surprising because the flying rancher and his team fought crime in high-tech style. He flew a twin-engine plane and used two-way radio equipment to outwit and overcome the bad guys. He was a western hero of the future in many respects and this captured the imagination of his youthful audience.

There were four radio Sky Kings including Jack Lester and the announcer was a fellow named Mike Wallace, who went on to become famous in his own right.

The TV version of Sky King starred Kirby Grant as Sky with Gloria Winters as Penny.

There is a treasure trove of Sky King material on Kent Volgamore’s Kay Vee’s place including DVDs and pictures. The pictures shown here are just a preview of those on Kent’s site.

Be sure and check out the testimonials from the men and women who became military, commercial, and private pilots as result of listening to Sky King and Penny on the radio or watching them on TV.

This poem by Jim Dilly captures the spirit of what Sky King meant to these people.

by Jim Dilly

My heroes have always been cowboys and they all carried guns-
and they all rode horses-that is all but one.

When he went to the rescue he flew a Cessna plane.
His ranch was called the "Flying Crown" and "Sky King" was his name.

Like all cowboys of his time he always fought for right,
and watching him there on TV lead many of us to flight.

Every Saturday morning our hero would arrive with a pair of roaring engines
out of the clear blue western skies.
Many lives were touched by this TV man
and many of the pilots today are pilots because of him.

We need a hero like him more now than we did then,
but unfortunately they quit making heroes like him.

What a splendid legacy! I am sure there are more examples like this. Can any of you readers recall being inspired to embark on a career because of a radio or TV series?


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