Casey Jones (TV series)

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Casey Jones
The title "Casey Jones", The Cannonball Express passes by at speed.
Opening Credits Logo
Genre Children's/Western
Written by Bill Barrett
John K. Butler
Lee Erwin
Stephen Longstreet
Frank L. Moss
Directed by Abby Berlin
George Blair
Lew Landers
Starring Alan Hale, Jr.
Dub Taylor
Bobby Clark
Mary Lawrence
Eddy Waller
Opening theme "The Ballad of Casey Jones"
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 32
Production
Producer(s) Samuel Bischoff
Kenneth Gamet
Harold Greene
Editor(s) Jack Ogilvie
Joseph Silver
Cinematography Ray Cory
Irving Lippman
Running time 22–24 minutes
Production company(s) Briskin Productions
KTTV Los Angeles
Screen Gems
WPIX
Westinghouse Broadcasting Company
Distributor Screen Gems (1958-1974)
Columbia Pictures Television (1974-1984, 1988-1996)
Colex Enterprises (1984-1988)
LBS Communications (1988-1989)
Columbia TriStar Television (1996-2002)
Sony Pictures Television (2002-present)
Broadcast
Original channel Syndication
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original run May 18, 1958 (1958-05-18) – December 28, 1958 (1958-12-28)

Casey Jones is an American children's Western series that ran during the 1957-1958 television season, based around the pioneering western railroads. The series aired in syndication in the United States. Casey Jones aired on the BBC in the United Kingdom and on the Nine Network in Australia.

Synopsis[edit]

The series is set in the late 19th century, featuring the adventures of railroad engineer Casey Jones and the crew of the Cannonball Express steam locomotive, fireman Wallie Sims and conductor Redrock Smith, working for the Midwest and Central Railroad. Casey lived in Midvale, a fictional town within commuting distance of St. Louis, Missouri, with his wife, Alice, their young son, Casey, Jr., and their dog Cinders. Although there really was a famous locomotive engineer named Casey Jones of the Illinois Central, the television series is only very loosely based on him. However, it uses the real names of his train, the Cannonball Express, and his fireman, Wallie.

Kenneth Gamet, the producer of Casey Jones, offers a gentler Western series against the more violent adult shows of the time. Casey Jones features the same classical types of plots as other westerns such as train robbers and vandals, but the episodes center as much on Casey's interaction with his family, particularly Casey, Jr.

Cast list[edit]

Production notes[edit]

Commissioned by Los Angeles television station KTTV, it was shot on a special set at Ray "Crash" Corrigan's studio Corriganville in the Simi Valley, California.

Shot for one season, in part because of Alan Hale's commitment to filming episodes of Rory Calhoun's The Texan, the series ran for 32 half-hour black-and-white episodes. Its theme song was a version of the "Ballad of Casey Jones".

There are two versions of the opening title sequence. The first version features Pat Hogan (billed as playing Sam Peachpit) alongside Dub Taylor and Eddy Waller; however he only appears in the opening episode "Night Mail". This version features Cinders the dog but not Mary Lawrence. The second version, which opens with a head-on shot of the Cannonball coming down the line, has a different version of the shot of Alan Hale, Jr., with Bobby Clark in the cab and credits Mary Lawrence but omits Cinders. A reversed image is used in a close up of the Cannonball and the nameplate can be seen as reversed behind the show title.

There are alternate versions of the closing credits. Both feature Alan Hale, Jr., and Bobby Clark waving from the cab, the second features different shots of the Cannonball, including one of it passing over a trestle and the brow of a hill, and a different version of the song with slight amendments to the lyrics (to include Cinders). Alan Hale, Jr., filmed an introduction to the first episode on set with Bobby Clark where he introduced the new series to the audience.

The locomotive used in location footage was Sierra No. 3, which was also used in many other television shows and films.

Episode list[edit]

Episode no. Title Director Writer(s) Original Air Date
01 "Night Mail" Sidney Salkow Stephen Longstreet May 18, 1958
Casey Jones and the Cannonball Express must race a train from the Southern and Panhandle Railroad to win the contract to carry the mail from St Louis to Fort Worth. When their attempt to bribe Casey fails, the crew of the 'Swamp Tiger' resort to sabotage in order to win the race.
02 "The President’s Special" Abby Berlin Frank L Moss May 25, 1958
A Secret Service agent travels on the Cannonball to meet U.S. President Chester Arthur, but unknown to Casey the man on board is an impostor intent on assassination.
03 "Prison Train" Abby Berlin Bill Barrett June 1, 1958
Casey must transport gold bullion along with several soldiers who are prisoners aboard the Cannonball, one of whom, Baylor, is played by Bing Russell. The train is ambushed by a gang intent on stealing the gold and leaving no witnesses…
04 "Way Station" George Blair Berne Giler June 8, 1958
A gang of thieves hijacks the Cannonball, intent on stealing the registered mail. They hold Casey, Wallie and the passengers in a Way Station until the mail train arrives…
05 "Spurline to Danger" Lew Landers Tony Barrett June 15, 1958
While delivering supplies to Fort Lawrence, Casey and his family are caught up in an attack by Sioux Indians provoked by Colonel Bullock’s bad treatment of Indian prisoners. Casey must get back to the Cannonball to gather more ammunition.
06 "Satan’s Wail" George Blair Earl Baldwin June 22, 1958
While Casey makes a new whistle for the Cannonball, Casey Junior decides he wants to be a telegrapher instead of an engineer. Casey must transport the contents of a bank including $1 million in gold bullion on board the Cannonball, but the soldiers sent to accompany the shipment are in fact a gang of thieves intent on robbing the train.
07 "The Old Timer" George Blair Kenneth A Enochs, Christopher Knopf June 29, 1958
Redrock is forced to take compulsory retirement but danger lies ahead for Casey when an overnight storm damages the trestle further down the line.
08 "Run to Deadwood" George Blair John K Butler July 6, 1958
Casey must transport a special prisoner aboard the Cannonball, and finds an unexpected use for his lunch pail.
09 "Death Rides the Tender" Lew Landers Ellis Marcus July 13, 1958
When a man is found shot on the line, Casey must turn detective and help the sheriff track down the murderer.
10 "One Way Ticket" George Blair Lawrence Resner July 27, 1958
Charlie Ferguson, played by Jimmy Lydon, is released from prison after the manslaughter of Luther Wagner's daughter, but a mob from Midvale is awaiting his return. This episode focuses on reconciliation in the face of revenge.
11 "The Lost Train" George Blair J Robert Bren & Gladys Atwater August 3, 1958
The Cannonball Express is stolen by a gang intent on using it to escape with their haul of stolen gold.
12 "The Gunslinger" Lew Landers Lee Erwin August 10, 1958
When a young girl falls ill with appendicitis on the Cannonball, her only hope is the sheriff’s prisoner Doc Bailey, a man accused of murder on his way to trial.
13 "Storm Warning" George Blair John K Butler August 17, 1958
Two fugitives break into Casey’s home and hold him and his family hostage, but when one falls ill from his wounds, Casey must appeal to the other to stand by his friend rather than abandon him.
14 "Iron Men" George Blair Frank Moss August 24, 1958
Casey comes to the aid of immigrant railroad workers who come under threat from cattlemen reluctant to share the land.
15 "Girl in the Cab" George Blair Kay Lenard, Jess Carneol August 31, 1958
A woman hiding in the cab is intent on robbing a strong box bound for the bank at Midvale.
16 "A Badge for Casey" Abby Berlin Mona Fisher September 7, 1958
Mort Clio (Lee Van Cleef) and his men take over the town of Bitter Creek, lying in wait to kill Judge Ripley in revenge for sentencing Clio’s brother to hang. When they kill the sheriff, Casey is challenged to accept the Sheriff’s badge and stop them.
17 "Night Run" George Blair Oscar Brodney September 14, 1958
When a terrible storm causes the dam to burst, Casey must rescue the people of Valley Junction and make it to high ground in the Cannonball before the flood waters hit the town.
18 "The Marauders" George Blair Bill Barrett September 21, 1958
With Morgan’s Marauders intending to plunder Dover City, Casey is ordered to wreck a train carrying the Marshal and his men. Robert Knapp portrays Morgan.
19 "Black Box" George Blair Wells Root, Paul Savage September 28, 1958
Casey is asked to carry a special shipment on behalf of the Mexican government aboard the Cannonball, the crown jewels of the late Emperor Maximilian. But the Secret Service man accompanying the casket has been replaced by an impostor planning to uncouple the carriage and steal the jewels.
20 "The Trackwalker" Abby Berlin Thomas Seller October 5, 1958
When a drifter (Russell Johnson) saves the Cannonball, Casey gets him a job in the yard, but the newcomer is being shadowed by a blackmailer.
21 "Star Witness" George Blair John K Butler, Donald H Clark October 12, 1958
Casey must take a U.S. marshal and Miss Dixon to Denver. Miss Dixon is a witness for the Railroad Commission and knows who was responsible for a recent railroad crash, but as the Cannonball enters a tunnel, shots are fired and Marshal Purvis (Steve Pendleton) is injured…
22 "The Dutch Clock" George Blair Bill Barrett/ Polly James, Tom Kilpatrick October 19, 1958
When a farmer’s crop is destroyed apparently by sparks from the speeding Cannonball, a Dutch clock (a tachograph) is installed in the engine. Although suspended, Casey decides to take the Cannonball out for an unscheduled run to get to the bottom of the claim.
23 "The Dark Rider" George Blair Merwin Gerard, Robert Eisenbach October 26, 1958
When a sailor aboard the Cannonball is found to be infected with smallpox, Casey must get him to a hospital but has to contend with both passengers trying to leave the quarantined train and vigilantes forbidding them to stop along the route. Peter Adams guest stars as Dr. John Morton.
24 "Dangerous Hours" George Blair Crane Wilbur November 2, 1958
A gang robs the bank at Midvale and hijacks the Cannonball Express. When they learn that Alice Jones is on board, Casey is forced to go along with their demands.
25 "The Treasure of Sam Bass" George Blair John K Butler, George & Gertrude Fass November 9, 1958
Following a shootout aboard the Cannonball, Casey Junior finds a map hidden amongst the peanuts he has been selling to the passengers, a map Gene Deming will do anything to find…
26 "Hard Luck Train" George Blair Bill Barrett November 16, 1958
During Casey’s absence, the Cannonball is robbed twice, each time driven by his old friend Earl Bonner. Casey must stay loyal to his friend and help prove his innocence.
27 "The Silk Train" George Blair John K Butler November 23, 1958
When a train carrying a cargo of raw silk from the Orient passes through, a gang plans to use the Cannonball to stage a crash and steal the shipment.
28 "Lethal Journey" George Blair Arthur Orloff November 30, 1958
When ten men are trapped following a mining accident, Casey volunteers to carry a cargo of nitroglycerine aboard the Cannonball in a race against time – but a man has gotten aboard the train, determined to get to Galesburg to prevent a hanging.
29 "Honeymoon Express" George Blair Bill Barrett December 7, 1958
The Cannonball is chartered by Arlo Bradford to pick up his wife and wedding party, but Casey gets suspicious when Bradford insists on stopping to pick up a couple of men along the way. When they stop at Kiola, Bradford has things on his mind other than lunch…
30 "The Fire Eater" George Blair Bill Barrett December 14, 1958
Casey’s friend Ben Mallory loses his job with the Pontus Variety Players. The next day, with Mallory and Pontus aboard, the Cannonball develops a problem and runs out of water in Apache country. When Pontus and Redrock are captured, Mallory must face up to his fear if he is to save the men.
31 "Mrs Casey Jones" Lew Landers Mary McCall Jr, Lee Erwin December 21, 1958
Tired of the risks Casey takes as an engineer, Alice persuades him to take the job of district manager with the railroad. But when fifty people are stranded on Crown Hill by a forest fire, the Cannonball’s new driver refuses to take the risk, leaving Casey with a dilemma.
32 "Layover at Jamestown" George Blair Kevin David December 28, 1958
Sam Wilson, the dispatcher at Jamestown, is being held for murder. Marshal Croy, who intends to take him for trial in Laramie, Wyoming, has a reputation of taking his prisoners in dead… and Casey learns that the man Sam shot was Croy’s elder brother.

Broadcast[edit]

According to contemporary issues of the British Radio Times magazine, the series was shown in the UK on BBC1, the first run commencing on 8 November 1967 (accompanied by a half-page photo feature), with a second run from 21 March 1969. Both runs showed only 26 episodes of the series. It was last shown in the UK in August 1975.

External links[edit]