Peter Graves, who died today, was always there after school when I was a kid.
Originally he was the head of the Broken Wheel ranch as Jim Newton in Fury. Fury was a horse, an equine Skippy who always managed to save the day. His young friend was Joey Newton, the equivalent of Sonny Hammond. And just as in Skippy, no women in the household.
That was followed by a wonderful Australian series, Whiplash. Filmed from 1961 in French’s Forest, it reached 34 episodes (two of them written by Gene Roddenberyy, the creator of Star Trek). With westerns such as Gunsmoke, The Rifleman and Rawhide dominating the ratings, Britain’s Independent Television Company (makers of Robin Hood and William Tell) decided to branch out into a western. Not having any Western scenery in Britain, they decided to film in Oz and make the film an Aussie Western. The series featured Peter Graves as Christopher Cobb, the American who developed the Cobb & Co stage line in Australia.
See the opening and a few minutes at:
I loved that show. That’s Frank Ifield, another great Aussie of the time, singing the theme song.
Some years later Peter Graves reappeared as Jim Phelps, head of the Impossible Missions Force.
And who will ever forget Captain Clarence Oveur from Flying High...
Operator: [Captain Oveur is on the phone with the Mayo Clinic] "Excuse me, Captain Oveur, but I have an emergency call on line 5 from a Mr. Hamm."
Captain Oveur: "Rght, give me Hamm on 5 and hold the Mayo."
Peter Graves died of a heart attack, aged 84.