Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Whirlybirds : 1950s / '60s Syndicated TV Show

Whirlybirds is one of those TV shows I remember fondly - even though I only got to see it once a year as a kid. Our local station didn't carry this syndicated adventure program but a television station at the beach where we vacationed as a family did.

Whirlybirds aired from 1957 well into the 1960s,  a syndicated program with a huge juvenile audience. 111 episodes were filmed between 1956 and 1959 and reruns continued to be popular for many years afterward. I saw it in the mid-1960s. The ability to film a TV show in the sky was a new development in the mid-1950s, adding to the overall excitement for early tube watchers.

The half-hour adventures centered around Chuck Martin (Tobey) and Pete (P.T.) Moore (Hill), owners of 'Whirlybirds, Inc', and their faithful secretary Janet Culver (Sandra Spence).  Janet left after the first season and was replaced by Helen Carter (Nancy Hale) so I guess she wasn't so faithful after all.

Often the boys would be called in to help the police locate an escaped prisoner or save some stranded fool who wandered into the middle of nowhere. This would inevitably lead to one of the guys dangling at the end of a rope at some point in the episode - when they didn't just outright jump out of the helicopter. Don't try this at home!