We did not watch a lot of television when we lived in the Valley simply because we got one television station WCYB (NBC) in Bristol. Later on, when we lived in Bristol, we also were able to receive WJHL (CBS) out of Johnson City and WLOS (ABC) out of Asheville.
The early 60s were a great time for Saturday television. For several years, early Saturday was cartoons, but late morning morphed into more late-adolescent geared shows.
Shows with animals were a big draw as witnessed by series like “Fury”, “My Friend Flicka”, “Lassie”, and “Rin Tin Tin”. Even “Zorro”, “The Lone Ranger” and “Roy Rogers” featured horses prominently (I don’t recall when those three shows aired.)
But of all the Saturday morning television shows, “Sky King” was my favorite. I attribute that to the appearance of Sky King’s niece Penny. It was perhaps the first show of this type that featured a young woman in such a prominent role.
Penny was played by actress Gloria Winters. She was a capable young woman and trusted by her uncle to pilot his Cessna “Songbird”. Wow! What a role model for a young girl. I would not fly in an airplane myself until 1971 or so, so piloting a plane seemed like the most far fetched thing I could have imagined — until Penny that is.
Living in a somewhat isolated environment, it was good to have people who did things outside of our own experiences to look up to.
It was a different time and a different era, but one I remember fondly. Having a young woman portrayed prominently in a weekly television series was rare, but one I appreciate so much now.
Of course I loved all the shows and watched them when we could, but “Sky King” will always be my favorite.