Father Murphy

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This article is about the television drama. For the traditional Irish song, see Come All You Warriors.
Father Murphy
Father Murphy.PNG
Title screen
Format Western
Drama
Created by Michael Landon
Starring Merlin Olsen
Moses Gunn
Katherine Cannon
Timothy Gibbs
Byron Thames
Lisa Trusel
Richard Bergman
Ivy Bethune
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 35
Production
Executive producer(s) Michael Landon
Running time 60 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Audio format Mono
Original run November 3, 1981 (1981-11-03) – September 18, 1983 (1983-09-18)

Father Murphy is an American western drama series that aired on the NBC network from November 3, 1981 to September 18, 1983. Michael Landon created the series, was the executive producer, and also directed the show in partnership with William F. Claxton, Maury Dexter, Victor French and Leo Penn.

Synopsis[edit]

Season 1 DVD cover

The series stars former NFL Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle football player and Little House on the Prairie actor Merlin Olsen as an 1870s frontiersman named John Michael Murphy who teams up with prospector Moses Gage (Moses Gunn) to shelter a group of orphans who are being threatened with a workhouse. Murphy disguises himself as a priest and befriends a schoolmarm to help the children find a home. At the end of the first season, his true identity is revealed to the head of the workhouse, and the orphans seem destined to a life of labor. Instead, Murphy marries the schoolmarm and they get custody of the children.

Production[edit]

Many of the episodes were filmed at the Old Tucson Studios and theme park just outside of Tucson, Arizona. The main village from the show, however, was located at the Big Sky Movie Ranch in Simi Valley, California (the filming location for the famed television series Little House on the Prairie). The village was located approximately 200 yards up the hill from the Ingalls' farm.

The show is an NBC production and syndicated worldwide by Sony Pictures Television. However, Sony does not own the video rights, as indicated below.

Cast[edit]

Notable guest appearances on the series included: Shannen Doherty, Kellie Martin, John M. Pickard, Eddie Quillan, Christina Applegate, Amanda Peterson, Donna Wilkes, Tina Yothers, Wilfred Hyde-White, and James Cromwell.

List of episodes[edit]

Season 1 (1981-1982)[edit]

# # Title Original air date
1 101 "Father Murphy" November 3, 1981
2 102 "Eggs, Milk and a Dry Bed" November 10, 1981
3 103 "Establish Thou the Works of Our Hands" November 17, 1981
4 104 "A Horse from Heaven" November 24, 1981
5 105 "By the Bear That Bit Me: Part 1" December 1, 1981
6 106 "By the Bear That Bit Me: Part 2" December 8, 1981
7 107 "False Blessings" December 15, 1981
8 108 "The Ghost of Gold Hill" December 22, 1981
9 109 "Graduation" January 5, 1982
10 110 "Will's Surprise" January 12, 1982
11 111 "Eighty-Eight Keys to Happiness" January 19, 1982
12 112 "Knights of the White Camelia" February 2, 1982
13 113 "The Parable of Amanda" February 9, 1982
14 114 "The Spy" February 16, 1982
15 115 "The Heir Apparent" February 23, 1982
16 116 "In God's Arms" March 2, 1982
17 117 "The Dream Day" March 14, 1982
18 118 "Laddie" March 21, 1982
19 119 "Matthew and Elizabeth" March 28, 1982
20 120 "The First Miracle: Part 1" April 4, 1982
21 121 "The First Miracle: Part 2" April 11, 1982

Season 2 (1982-1983)[edit]

# # Title Original air date
22 201 "Happiness Is..." September 28, 1982
23 202 "The Father Figure" October 5, 1982
24 203 "Stopover in a One-Horse Town" October 26, 1982
25 204 "Outrageous Fortune" November 9, 1982
26 205 "The Reluctant Runaway: Part 1" November 16, 1982
27 206 "The Reluctant Runaway: Part 2" November 23, 1982
28 207 "Buttons and Beaux" November 30, 1982
29 208 "John Michael Murphy, R.I.P." December 7, 1982
In a departure from the standard episode format, Murphy and Moses travel to a western town where they are mistaken for bank robbers. When the real bad guys show up, Murphy and Moses need to devise a plan to get out of town alive - even if that means dying in the process. This episode is unique in that none of it takes place at Gold Hill, and no children are shown.
30 209 "The Witness" December 14, 1982
31 210 "Blood Right" December 21, 1982
32 211 "Sweet Sixteen" December 28, 1982
33 212 "The Rockets' Red Glare" June 1, 1983
34 213 "The Matchmakers" September 18, 1983

DVD releases[edit]

Image Entertainment (under license from NBC Studios) released both seasons of Father Murphy on DVD in Region 1 in 2004/2005. As of 2010, these releases have been discontinued and are now out of print.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Season 1 22 October 26, 2004
Season 2 13 January 25, 2005

References[edit]


External links[edit]