Four Feather Falls

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Four Feather Falls
Alt= series titles over a waterfall
Genre Action
Adventure
Children's
Fantasy
Western
Format Supermarionation puppetry
Created by Gerry Anderson
Barry Gray
Directed by Gerry Anderson
David Elliott
Alan Pattillo
Voices of Denise Bryer
Kenneth Connor
David Graham
Nicholas Parsons
Ending theme "Two Gun Tex of Texas" sung by Michael Holliday
Composer(s) Barry Gray
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 39 (List of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) Gerry Anderson
Editor(s) Bert Rule
Alan Pattillo
Cinematography Arthur Provis
John Read
Camera setup Single
Running time 12–13 minutes
Production company(s) AP Films
Distributor Granada Television
Broadcast
Original channel ITV
Picture format Black and white
Film (35 mm)
Audio format Mono
Original run 25 February 1960 (1960-02-25) – 17 November 1960 (1960-11-17)
Chronology
Followed by Supercar

Four Feather Falls was the third puppet TV show produced by Gerry Anderson for Granada Television. It was based on an idea by Barry Gray, who also wrote the show's music.[1] The series was the first to use an early version of Anderson's Supermarionation puppetry. Thirty-nine 13-minute episodes were produced, broadcast by Granada from February until November 1960. The setting is the late 19th-century fictional Kansas town of Four Feather Falls, where the hero of the series, Tex Tucker, is sheriff. The four feathers of the title refers to four magical feathers given to Tex by the Indian chief Kalamakooya as a reward for saving his grandson: two allowed Tex's guns to swivel and fire without being touched whenever he was in danger, and two conferred the power of speech on Tex's horse and dog.

Tex's speaking voice was provided by Nicholas Parsons, and his singing voice by Michael Holliday. The series has never been repeated on British television, but it was released on DVD in 2005.

Production[edit]

American Western television shows such as Wagon Train and Gunsmoke were popular with British audiences, therefore Gerry Anderson and his business partner Arthur Provis decided to make a cowboy series, based on an idea offered to them by Barry Gray.[1] Anderson considered the puppets with static heads, made by Christine Glanville for his earlier productions, to be unacceptable because the viewer could not tell which character was talking unless its puppet moved up or down. Anderson's aim was to make the puppets look as realistic as possible, the beginning of the Supermarionation puppetry process, although that term was not coined until his next series, Supercar.

The puppets' papier-mâché heads were replaced by interchangeable hollow fibre glass heads with internal rods that could move the eyes from side to side. The heads also contained sound-activated solenoids, which allowed the puppets' lips to move automatically in synchronisation with the dialogue.[2] The electronics of the day required more space than would be available in a human-scale head, therefore all the puppets in Four Feather Falls had oversized heads.

Except for the pilot episode, which was made in AP Films' studios at Islet Park,[3] the series was produced in a converted warehouse in the Slough Trading Estate.[2] The cast assembled to record each script without seeing the puppets, much like recording a radio series; synchronisation of each character's speech with the movement of its puppet's mouth was performed later.[4] The show was filmed in black and white. [3] Its tight budget precluded the use of sophisticated special effects, and less-costly alternatives were used. For example, to achieve the effect of muzzle flashes, small specks of black paint were carefully applied to the 35 mm negatives so they would appear as white flashes on the finished prints. The wires used to control the puppets were eight feet long and made of tungsten, an improvement on the curtain wire used in the two earlier series, and were only 1/200 of an inch thick. Being shiny, the wires had to be blackened. The puppets were made one-third life size with the puppeteers on a bridge eight feet above the set. The horses moved by being pulled along on a trolley, which meant the viewer never saw their feet when they were moving.

Continuity for the series was provided by Sylvia Thamm who married Gerry Anderson.

Plot[edit]

The series is set in the fictitious late 19th-century Western town of Four Feather Falls, Kansas, and features the adventures of its sheriff, Tex Tucker. In the first episode, Grandpa Twink relates the story of how it all began to grandson, Little Jake. Tex is riding up from the valley and comes across a lost and hungry Indian boy, Makooya and saves him. Tex is given four magic feathers by the boy's grandfather, chief Kalamakooya, as a reward for saving his grandson. Two of the feathers allow his guns to swivel and fire automatically (often while Tex's hands are raised),[a] and the other two allow his horse, Rocky, and his dog, Dusty, to speak. As Tex, his horse, and dog are very thirsty, Kalamakooya also makes a waterfall where there had been no water before, and so when the town was built it was named after Tex's feathers and the waterfall.

The characters of the town are Grandpa Twink, who does little but rest in a chair; his grandson Little Jake, the only child in town; Ma Jones, who runs the town store; Doc Haggerty; Slim Jim, the bartender of the Denison saloon; Marvin Jackson, the bank manager; and Dan Morse, the telegraphist. Other characters appeared from time to time for only one episode, often just visiting town. The villains included Pedro, who was introduced in the first show and Fernando, who first appeared in the second episode as a sidekick and someone Pedro could blame when things went wrong, as they always did. Big Ben was another villain who appeared from time to time, as did Red Scalp, a renegade Indian. Other villains only appeared in single episodes.

Episodes[edit]

Only one series of 39 episodes was produced:[5]

Ep. No. Title Directed by[6] Written by Original air date[7] Production No.
1 "How it began" Gerry Anderson Mary Cathcart Borer 25 February 1960 (1960-02-25) 1
Grandpa Twink and Jake are chatting on the veranda when they hear shooting. Tex has prevented Pedro's attempted bank robbery, and Grandpa Twink tells Jake about Tex's origin. Once upon a time, Tex, together with his horse, Rocky, and his dog, Dusty, were crossing a desolate trail when they came across a child, a little Indian boy named Makooya. The boy was very hungry and so were Tex and his friends. But this was a barren place and there was no food to be found. Tex built a fire and little Makooya fell asleep. In the middle of the night he woke up screaming the word 'Kalamakooya" and an Indian Chief materialised. He caused the trees to bloom and the water falls to flow, and as a reward for finding his son, he gave Tex four magic feathers. One gave Dusty the power of speech, another did the same for Rocky, and the two remaining feathers made Tex' s guns swivel and fire automatically whenever he was in danger.
2 "Kidnapped" Gerry Anderson Mary Cathcart Borer 3 March 1960 (1960-03-03) 33
Pedro and Fernando hatch a plan to kidnap Doc Haggarty and hold him for ransom. Fernando rides into Four Feather Falls and tells Doc that Pedro is wounded and needs his help. When the pair arrive at the bandits' shack, Doc is tied to a chair and Pedro writes a note to Tex demanding $5000 for his return. Meanwhile, Makooya has fallen ill, and his grandfather, Chief Kalamakooya, wants Doc to attend to him. Tex rides to the bandits' shack. When Pedro and Fernando see that he has brought no money they decide to shoot him, but Tex's magic guns are too fast for them. Doc is rescued and taken to Makooya, who is soon restored to health.
3 "Pedro Has A Plan" Gerry Anderson Phil Wrestler 10 March 1960 (1960-03-10) 4
Pedro attempts to steal Tex's four feathers, which Tex keeps in his hat, by having Fernando create a diversion while he slips into Tex's office and switches the magic feathers for ordinary ones. Dusty sees what Pedro has done, follows him, and succeeds in retrieving the magic feathers from Pedro's pocket. He then rides out on Rocky's back to find Tex, who without his feathers is at the mercy of the two bandits. They arrive in time to put the magic feathers in Tex's hand, and he once again wins the day.
4 "Pedro's Pardon" Gerry Anderson Phil Wrestler 17 March 1960 (1960-03-17) 8
Pedro arrives in Four Feather Falls and announces that he is a reformed character. Unconvinced, Tex arrests him, but after a few days in jail he decides to give Pedro a chance to prove himself. While shopping for a new sombrero, Pedro cheats Ma Jones out of $4, and just as he is leaving the shop he is confronted by Red Scalp, who accuses Pedro of horse rustling. Tex forces Pedro to pay what he owes, and then the bandit leaves town in disgrace.
5 "A Close Shave" Gerry Anderson Phil Wrestler 24 March 1960 (1960-03-24) 7
Tex Tucker is out of town riding with Little Jake, when Pedro the Bandit holds up Ma Jones' store. He shoots bottles off the counter then makes off with provisions and some money. On his return to Four Feather Falls, Tex is met by Grandpa Twink who tells him what has happened. Meanwhile, Pedro has been trailed by Dusty to Rock Canyon. Here Pedro is met by Red Scalp with whom he cooks up another scheme to "make ourselves a little money". Red Scalp is to tell Tex Tucker that his people have been attacked by white banditos in Yellow Gulch Hills so Tex will ride out of town to find the culprits and leave the way clear for Pedro to rob the bank. Red Scalp is worried by the threat of the "magic guns" but Pedro tells him that they do not work on Indians. The faithful Dusty has overheard their plans, and he scampers off to warn Tex. So when Red Scalp comes along with his "attack story" the next morning, the Sheriff is prepared for him. He absolutely refuses to leave town. When he turns his back on Red Scalp the Indian raises his tomahawk to strike a death blow. It doesn't fall however for, like lightning, the "magic guns" swivel backwards and shoot the tomahawk out of Red Scalp's grasp. Later, when Red Scalp is about to give Pedro the closest haircut of his life for lying about the guns not working on Indians, Tex Tucker appears on the scene. Tex decides not to intervene. He allows Red Scalp to carry on the good work; tells Pedro to cover his bald head with his hat; then proceeds to shoot the hat away up Main Street.
6 "Indian Attack" Gerry Anderson Phil Wrestler 31 March 1960 (1960-03-31) 6
Fernando attempts to rob Grandpa Twink of his gold watch, but as Tex intervenes smoke signals appear in the hills around the town. Convinced that Four Feather Falls is about to be attacked by Indians, Tex orders barricades to be built. While Tex and the other townsfolk are waiting for the attack to begin he has a little nap, during which Fernando substitutes Tex's hat for a similar looking one. But he's spotted by Dusty, who exchanges the hats once again. When the attack begins it becomes clear that the "Indians" are Pedro and Fernando, and Tex's magic guns once again save the day.
7 "Sheriff For A Day" Gerry Anderson Phil Wrestler 7 April 1960 (1960-04-07) 5
Tex Tucker is lured out of Four Feather Falls by a phoney telegraph message sent by Big Ben the Bandit. The message says that the town's stage-coach will be attacked at Redstone Pass. Tex leaves his magic guns with Little Jake and rides off. At the Pass, Tex is ambushed by Big Ben who ties him up and puts a noose around his neck. He leaves Tex sitting on Rocky, underneath a tree. If Rocky moves Tex will be left hanging. Big Ben's plan is to take over Four Feather Falls, but he hasn't reckoned on Tex's magic guns which are held by Little Jake. Little Jake soon disarms Big Ben and claps him in jail, Then he sets off to find Tex and Rocky. Little Jake arrives at Redstone Pass just as a rattlesnake is slithering towards Rocky. Tex is urging his horse to save himself, but Rocky refuses to move, knowing that if he does Tex will die by the hangman's noose. The magic guns quickly take care of the rattlesnake and Tex and Rocky are saved, thanks to Little Jake.
8 "Dusty Becomes Deputy" Gerry Anderson Phil Wrestler 14 April 1960 (1960-04-14) 13
Pedro and Fernando start a prairie fire to lure Tex out of Four Feather Falls, giving them an opportunity to rob the bank of its latest gold consignment. Tex deputizes Dusty to keep an eye on the bank, and when the dog sees Pedro and Fernando ride into town, he runs out to warn Tex. But while fighting the fire Tex has lost one of his magic feathers, and Dusty is therefore unable to speak. Eventually they find the missing feather, Dusty is able to deliver his message, and they arrive back in town just in time to prevent the bank robbery.
9 "Gunrunners" Gerry Anderson Phil Wrestler 21 April 1960 (1960-04-21) 10
Chief Kalamakooya tells Tex that Red Scalp is buying guns from a white man. Tex suspects Big Ben the Bandit and visits him with Dusty and Rocky. He warns Big Ben to stop gun-trading with Red Scalp. When Tex returns to Four Feather Falls, Dusty stays behind to keep an eye on Big Ben's cabin. He overhears Big Ben tell Red Scalp to meet him at Dead Man's Hill the following day. The next day Tex is waiting at the Hill. Big Ben and Red Scalp arrive separately, but they both see Tex's hat move behind a boulder. The Bandit and the Indian both think that the other has brought an accomplice to double-cross them, and start a shooting match. Tex intervenes and arrests them both. Chief Kalamakooya punishes Red Scalp according to Indian law and Big Ben is taken to jail.
10 "Trouble in Yellow Gulch" Gerry Anderson Phil Wrestler 28 April 1960 (1960-04-28) 2
While out driving in their buggy, Grandpa Twink and Ma Jones are stopped in Yellow Gulch Pass at a new toll gate built by Pedro and Fernando. Ma Jones refuses to pay and insists on taking an alternative route to Four Feather Falls through the forbidding Black Boulder Canyon, named after a huge boulder that hangs precipitously over the pass. Pedro and Fernando decide to block Black Boulder Canyon by stealing some dynamite and placing it under the boulder to dislodge it. Having heard of the toll gate, Tex rides to Black Boulder Canyon in anticipation of the bandits' next move, and arrives just in time to relocate the dynamite so that it dislodges the boulder into Yellow Gulch Pass, where it smashes the toll gate.
11 "Frame-Up" Gerry Anderson Phil Wrestler 5 May 1960 (1960-05-05) 3
On their way to Silver City in response to a request for help from Sheriff Jameson, Tex, Dusty and Rocky make camp on the prairie. Rocky is stolen during the night, and Tex and Dusty set off on foot after him. They meet Ruff Snyder, who sells Tex his spare horse for $50. Continuing on their journey to Silver City they encounter Sheriff Jameson, who discovers a stolen bag of money on the horse Tex has just bought and throws him in jail. Looking out of their cell window Tex and Dusty see Big Ben tethering Rocky in the yard behind the jail. Rocky manages to untie himself and kicks down the door to the jail. Ben tells Tex that Jameson is on his way to Four Feather Falls to take over the town, and with the help of his magic guns Tex escapes, realising that he has been framed. He returns to Four Feather Falls to deal with Jameson and Snyder.
12 "Gold Diggers" Gerry Anderson Phil Wrestler 12 May 1960 (1960-05-12) 30
Pedro and Fernando, the Bandits, find a map which leads to buried gold underneath the jail in Four Feather Falls. Tex overhears Pedro arranging for Fernando to be arrested so that he can dig for the gold in the jail. As the jail needs a new floor digging out and as the buried treasure doesn't exist, Tex happily arrests Pedro, instead of Fernando, and leaves the lazy Bandit alone in jail so that he can get along with the hard task of digging. Meanwhile, Mr. Jackson, the Bank Manager has broken the key to his strongroom, and the local cowboys can't be paid. Back in the jailhouse, Pedro is digging so well that he has made a passage beneath the street and right into the bank's strongroom. He thinks he has found buried treasure and starts handing out bags of gold through the jailhouse window where Fernando should be waiting to collect. But Fernando is asleep, and instead Pedro unknowingly hands out the bags of gold to Tex Tucker. Everyone is happy, the Bank can pay the cowboys and the jailhouse is ready for a new floor. Everyone, except Pedro and Fernado !
13 "Gold Is Where You Find It" Gerry Anderson Phil Wrestler 19 May 1960 (1960-05-19) 29
Pedro and Fernando plan to make a fortune out of Yellow Gulch - their own property - by pretending to have found gold there. They fire some gold dust into a piece of rock so that it glitters in the sunshine; take the rock into the saloon; and spread the word that they've struck it rich. Everyone wants to buy a piece of Yellow Gulch , and, after consultation, the two bandits decide to sell equal shares to all. Later, Tex Tucker notices the townspeople making off with picks and shovels. In Ma Jones' store he learns of the "gold" in Yellow Gulch. Tex is suspicious; and he asks Ma Jones and Dan Morse to help him carry out an idea. When silence has descended on Four Feather Falls, Ma Jones is confronted by Pedro and Fernando. Their intention is to commandeer some supplies and leave while the goings good, but Ma drops a hint about a telegram that has arrived, stating that the gold strike in Yellow Gulch is the biggest ever. Pedro and Fernando make a speedy exit, rather puzzled, but determined to buy back all the land that they have sold. That evening all the "prospectors" are gathered in the Saloon Pedro is sobbing and Tex announces that Pedro's grandmother has died and by family tradition, she has to be buried at Yellow Gulch but unfortunately now the Gulch no longer belongs to Pedro and the bandit is very upset. "I guess the only fair thing to do," he says, "is to put the land up for auction. That way Pedro will have the chance to buy it back at a fair price". All are agreed on the auction, and, naturally, do very well out of it. As they leave the Saloon Pedro and Fernando are happy, too. But they wonder why Tex and his friends are laughing heartily.
14 "Trapped" David Elliott Phil Wrestler 26 May 1960 (1960-05-26) 12
Jake and Makooya wander off together for an afternoon's fishing. While they are exploring some caves down by the creek they surprise Red Scalp at work while he's manufacturing counterfeit money, Red Scalp pushes a boulder across the entrance of one of the caves, trapping Jake and Makooya inside. Red Scalp goes into town and pays Ma Jones for some goods with dud noney. Grampa Twink is beginning to worry about Jake, so he goes to See Tex. While Jake and Makooya are trying to escape from the cave, they overhear Big Ben talking to Red Scalp. Big Ben says that they've found out about the dud money Red Scalp spent in Four Feather Falls and that they're on his trail. Ben tells Red Scalp he's bound to be caught; and that he's through with him. Tex arrives at the creek looking for Jake, He arrests Red Scalp and takes him back to Four Feather Falls. Red Scalp says he'll tell Tex where Jake and Makooya are if he'll drop the charge about the counterfeit money.
15 "The Best Laid Plans" Gerry Anderson Phil Wrestler 2 June 1960 (1960-06-02) 19
Hank Frisbee arrives in town and tells Pedro and Fernando about his plan to rob the bank. Nobody knows him in Four Feather Falls, so he reckons on taking a room over the bank, then they'll be able to cut a way in. Frisbee takes the room, then goes off to the saloon where he buys drinks all round and gets music and singing going; the noise is supposed to cover up the row that Pedro and Fernando make as they cut their way into the bank. The plan works fine until Pedro gets stuck as he tries to clamber through the hole into the bank and makes an almighty row. Tex hears the noise and guesses that it's coming from the bank. Frisbee tries to stop Tex from going to investigate, He draws his firearms, but Tex and the magic guns win the fight. Pedro and Fernando hear the shooting, they grab hold of an iron box, and make a run for it. But there's nothing in the box except a collection of old iron, They decide to go back to Four Feather Falls and join Hank in jail - at least they'll be able to get something to eat there, even if they haven't got the gold.
16 "Escort" David Elliott Phil Wrestler 9 June 1960 (1960-06-09) 17
Tex Tucker releases Pedro and Fernando from custody, but neither is keen to leave the comfort of the jail. On their way out they overhear a message from a Mister Huckenbacker requesting a Sheriff's escort into Four Feather Falls. Huckenbacker is on his way to town with a load of gold. Big Ben, too, has heard this news and hits the trail to meet with the gold shipment. Can Tex deal with all the robbers?
17 "The Toughest Guy in the West" Gerry Anderson Phil Wrestler 16 June 1960 (1960-06-16) 9
Grampa Twink boasts of the times when he had a wonderful singing voice and when he wiped out a whole tribe of Comanches single handed. His audience - Tex, Rocky, Doc and Slim Jim - laughingly disbelieve him, much to Twink's annoyance. Slim Jim later puts up a poster reading: "Five Hundred Dollars Reward. Wanted, Indian Jack - For Gun Running and Horse Stealing." Twink, who is about to set off for Silver City, promises to look out for Indian Jack. Twink and Ma Jones are bowling along in a buggy when they catch sight of an Indian head-dress and then some more. Twink is certain they belong to Kalamakooya's men.... until a Comanche arrow buries itself in the upholstery between them. The frightened pair seek refuge in a tumble-down shack. But from out of the shadows steps Indian Jack. He says the Comanches are after him. Inside the shack Grampa Twink and Ma Jones have run out of ammunition, and Indian Jack is on the point of killing them, when an arrow pins his gun arm to the wall. Twink grabs the gun - Indian Jack is his prisoner and kalamakooya's braves have scared off the Comanches. Later Twink - in an "I told you so" attitude - relates his story to an admiring audiencc outside Ma Jones' store. As he turns to go, the gathering fire their guns into the air in a roal western salute and Grampa Twink rushes off, panic-stricken shouting: "Help. Help. Injuns...".
18 "Chance Of A Ghost" Gerry Anderson Phil Wrestler 23 June 1960 (1960-06-23) 23
Marvin Jackson is handling the sale of a gold mine. Zeke Harman offers $5000, way below the asking price of $20,000, and to persuade the owners to accept his offer, he hires Pedro and Fernando to pretend to be ghosts and make the mine seem haunted. The miners stop working and Jackson offers $2000 to anyone who can deal with the ghosts. Rocky and Dusty overhear Pedro and Fernando planning to claim the reward, and tell Tex. Meanwhile, Jackson has seen through Harman's plot and confronts him. Harman draws his gun, but Tex arrives in the nick of time and runs Harman out of town.
19 "Gunplay" David Elliott Phil Wrestler 30 June 1960 (1960-06-30) 16
Johnny Pasto and Tho Nevado Kid want to take ten thousand head of stolen cattle through "Four Feather Falls" to the railhead. Big Ben warns them about Tex Tucker and his magic guns. Pasto goes to see Tex who tells him that he doesn't allow stolen cattle to be driven through the town. So the two rustlers and Big Ben decide to ambush Tex under cover of darkness. But the ambush fails due to the extraordinary power of the magic guns. Pasto then pins up a notice, outside the telegraph office, to the effect that Tex Tucker is a "low-down yeller coward that ain't got the guts to fight without his magic guns." Tex replies by announcing that he will meet Pasto the next day at sun-up armed with a standard "forty-four". Once again Tex Tucker's very special guns have come to his rescue whilst at the same time he has proved that even without them he is surely the "fastest gun alive".
20 "A Lawman Rides Alone" David Elliott Phil Wrestler 7 July 1960 (1960-07-07) 14
Dan Morse shows Tex Tucker a poster offering five-hundred dollars reward for the capture of Blackie and Whitey Strutt who, with the help of a third party, have robbed the West Fargo Office in Laredo. Later, Blackie Strutt turns up in town and Tex puts him in jail. Whitey Strutt, too, is soon on the scene and meets Big Ben, who is revealed to be the third man on the Laredo robbery, he tells Whitey that Blackie is under lock and key in Four Feather Falls. Whitey and Ben hatch a plan to break him out by launching an assult on the jailhouse when Tex brings him out to stand trial in James City. But when they arrive at the jailhouse, suddenly, Ben turns his gun on Whitey. It seems that the Strutts double-crossed him on the Laredo job. Then Blackie takes everyone by surprise and orderes Tex to throw his guns on the ground; But, of course, the "magic guns" are as effective there as anywhere else. The episode ends with Tex leading the Strutt brothers off to jail along with Big Ben.
21 "Jailbreak" Gerry Anderson Phil Wrestler 14 July 1960 (1960-07-14) 11
Zack Morrill a bandit wanted for murder, cattle rustling, horse stealing and train robbery, has a wanted poster outside the Sheriff's office offering a reward of £500 for the capture of him. Pedro sees the poster and is pretty cut up as not only does he regard it as his right to have *his* wanted poster outside the sheriff's office. Morrill has also double crossed Pedro back in Tucson, So Pedro decides to go out single-handed and bring him in and collect the $500 reward money for himself. But Fernando reckons that Pedro can't do this alone, so he follows him. On the way Fernando bumps into Zack Morrill himself and, not realising who he is, takes him along with him. When they meet up with Pedro, Morrill draws his guns on them both, but Fernando tricks him and ties him up. Morrill reminds Pedro of the $10,000 he stole in Tucson, and offers to split it with him. Pedro wants the $500 reward as well, so they evolve a cunning plan to take Morrill back to Four Feather Falls, collect the reward, bust him out of Jail, then collect the ten thousand dollars. Pedro and Fernando bring back Morrill and collect the reward. Tex is astounded. Pedro demands that he takes Morrill's wanted down down and puts his up instead. The plot thickens when Pedro and Fernando tie ropes to the bars of the jail and fasten the other ends to their horses. But Dusty sees them at work, and runs to fetch Tex who arrives just in time to catch all of them.
22 "A Little Bit of Luck" David Elliott Phil Wrestler 21 July 1960 (1960-07-21) 18
Tex Tucker is out of town for a month, visiting his family. In Tex's absence crime is running rife in the town as the temporary sheriff, Marshal Ike Burns, has proven hopelessly ineffective. But the sheriff's a crook and is not a real lawman but is secretly in league with Big Ben and another outlaw called Johnny. Four Feather Falls becomes lawless and Mr. Jackson has been robbed three times in one week. Grandpa Twink proposes forming a vigilante Committee, taking the law into their own hands until Tex returns next month - particularly to guard the load of gold dust which is just about to come down from the mines. Burns warns that anyone he finds toting hardware will be thrown in jail, but with a little persuasion from Ma Jones the townsfolk agree to go ahead with their plans to guard the gold dust. Burns gets worried as Jackson, Doc and Grampa Twink are going to ride the rig with the gold, however they make a big mistake: they ask Marshal Burns to ride with them. Big Ben and Johnny decide to rob the gold and ambush them. Grampa Twink tries to speed up the rig to get them to Redstone Pass where the Vigilante Committee are waiting with their guns, but Burns draws his gun and forces them to rein to a stop. Johnny makes the others get off the rig and he's about to shoot them down in cold blood when Tex Tucker arrives just in time to save the day and take the lawbreakers back to Four Feather Falls and justice.
23 "Landgrabbers" Gerry Anderson Phil Wrestler 28 July 1960 (1960-07-28) 25
24 "Once A Lawman" David Elliott Phil Wrestler 4 August 1960 (1960-08-04) 24
25 "Election Day" Gerry Anderson Phil Wrestler 11 August 1960 (1960-08-11) 21
Pedro plans to have himself elected sheriff by swapping the ballot box for one filled with forged votes for himself, but is spotted in the act by Jake and Dusty. They tell Tex, but meanwhile Big Ben has ridden away with the real ballot box. There is consternation when every vote counted is for Pedro, until Tex arrives back in town with Big Ben and the stolen ballot box.
26 "Gunfight On Main Street" David Elliott Phil Wrestler 18 August 1960 (1960-08-18) 22
27 "A Bad Name" David Elliott Phil Wrestler 25 August 1960 (1960-08-25) 32
28 "Horse Thieves" Alan Pattillo Phil Wrestler 1 September 1960 (1960-09-01) 38
Big Ben persuades Pedro and Fernando that horse-rustling is an easy way to earn some quick money, and offers to buy all the horses they can get hold of. They steal every horse in Four Feather Falls, including Rocky, and take them back to their cabin to await the arrival of Big Ben, secure in the knowledge that Tex can do nothing to interfere with their scheme without his horse. But with Dusty's help Rocky manages to escape, and returns to town. Tex saddles him up and gallops off to the bandits' cabin, where he apprehends Pedro and Fernando.
29 "The Ma Jones Story" Alan Pattillo Jill Allgood 8 September 1960 (1960-09-08) 20
Two strangers trick Ma Jones into signing a document giving them possession of her store. Heartbroken, she leaves Four Feather Falls in her buggy. When Tex hears the news he forces the crooks to hand over the paper Ma Jones signed, before setting out after her. He finds her in the desert just as she is about to be attacked by a mountain cat, and escorts her back to town.
30 "Bandits Abroad" David Elliott Jill Allgood 15 September 1960 (1960-09-15) 27
Pedro and Fernando hatch a scheme to claim the $200 reward offered for the capture of the notorious bandit Pancho Gomez, by disguising Fernando as Gomez. Pedro delivers Fernando to Tex, collects the reward, and helps Fernando to escape. Chased by a posse, Pedro and Fernando decide to split up. Pedro encounters the real Pancho Gomez, believing him to be the disguised Fernando. Realising that Pedro has collected the reward, Pancho decides to play along and pretend that he is indeed Fernando. An argument ensues back at the bandits' shack as to who is the real Fernando, interrupted by Tex's arrival. The three bandits are apprehended and the real Pancho Gomez identified.
31 "A Cure For Everything" Alan pattillo Jill Allgood 22 September 1960 (1960-09-22) 26
Two medicine peddlers arrive in Four Feather Falls selling water from a secret spring claimed to have invigorating properties and able to cure anything. So impressed are the people of the town that Doc Haggerty is forced out of business. Tex learns of the location of the spring from Chief Kalamakooya, and he decides to lie in wait until the peddlers come for a fresh supply of water. After overhearing one of the men joke to the other that the townsfolk are drinking nothing but coloured water, Tex runs the pair out of town.
32 "Teething Troubles" David Elliott Jill Allgood 29 September 1960 (1960-09-29) 34
33 "Buffalo Rocky" Alan Pattillo Jill Allgood 6 October 1960 (1960-10-06) 15
34 "Safe As Houses" David Elliott Martin Woodhouse 13 October 1960 (1960-10-13) 28
Missouri Mike arrives in Four Feather Falls selling safes at $5 each. He persuades the townsfolk that their money may not be secure in the local bank, and sweetens the deal with a complementary bottle of brandy with every sale. The free bottles of brandy are drugged, and soon everyone who has bought a safe and withdrawn their money from the bank falls asleep, including Tex, presenting Missouri Mike with the opportunity to empty all their safes. But Tex had suspected some kind of trickery and is only pretending to be asleep when Missouri Mike arrives to rifle the safe in his office, allowing him to arrest the crook.
35 "First Train Through" Alan Pattillo Jill Allgood 20 October 1960 (1960-10-20) 31
36 "Fancy Shooting" David Elliott Martin Woodhouse 27 October 1960 (1960-10-27) 35
37 "Happy Birthday" Alan Pattillo Jill Allgood 3 November 1960 (1960-11-03) 39
38 "Ambush" David Elliott Jill Allgood 10 November 1960 (1960-11-10) 37
Red Scalp leads an Indian war party on a raid to ambush the train from Dallas and steal the $10,000 payroll on board, with the help of bank messenger William J. Haddon, who is apparently kidnapped during the raid to add some authenticity. But Red Scalp decides to double-cross Haddon and keep all the money for himself, until Tex recovers Haddon and the money.
39 "Ride 'Em Cowboy" Alan Pattillo Jill Allgood 17 November 1960 (1960-11-17) 36

Syndication[edit]

The series has not been repeated or rerun in Britain since its original broadcast. In December 2004 it was announced that the rights had been acquired by Network Distributing, and it was released on three Region 2 DVDs in May 2005. It is the only Supermarionation series not yet released to DVD in North America as of January 2006. Sylvia Anderson wrote two British children's annuals based on the show, published by Collins in 1960 and 1961. The first book featured a short text story based on the pilot episode of the TV series.

In Pop Culture[edit]

The fictional TV show Woody's Roundup from the 1999 Disney Pixar film Toy Story 2 was inspired by Four Feather Falls.[8]

Music[edit]

The show's music and song lyrics were composed by Barry Gray. Michael Holliday provided Tex's singing voice, and Tommy Reilly performed the harmonica pieces.[1] The best known song to come out of the series was "Four Feather Falls", sung in some episodes by Michael Holliday in the style of Bing Crosby and sometimes incorrectly described as the theme song to the series. The closing theme song was "Two Gun Tex of Texas." Holliday was paid £2000 for his singing work on the pilot episode, equivalent to about £38,000[9][b] as of 2010, a significant part of the show's £6000 budget.[3] In all, Holliday recorded six songs for the series: "Four Feather Falls", "The Phantom Rider", "The Rick-Rick-A-Rackety Train", "Happy Hearts and Friendly Faces", "My Home Town", and "Two Gun Tex of Texas".[3]

Cast[edit]

Denise Bryer had worked with Anderson on The Adventures of Twizzle, and he wanted her to play some of the voices in Four Feather Falls. Anderson visited Bryer at her home with some scripts and asked her husband, Nicholas Parsons, to help by reading some of the other parts, including the sheriff Tex Tucker. Anderson liked Parsons' interpretation and offered him the job of providing Tex's speaking voice.[4]

  • Nicholas Parsons – Sheriff Tex Tucker (speaking voice)[1] / Telegraph Operator Dan Morse[3]
  • Michael Holliday – Sheriff Tex Tucker (singing voice)[1]
  • Kenneth Connor – Dusty the Dog / Rocky the Horse / Pedro the Bandit / Big Chief Kalamakooya / Bank Manager Marvin Jackson,[1] / Doc Haggerty / Saloon Owner Slim Jim Denison[3]
  • David Graham – Grandpa Ebenezer Twink / Fernando the Bandit[1] / Big Ben the Horse Rustler Bandit / Red Scalp the Renegade Indian[3]
  • Denise Bryer – Martha 'Ma' Jones / Little Jake[1] / Makooya the Little Indian Boy

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ The swivelling guns solved the problem of how a puppet cowboy could be quick on the draw without looking like he had gone into a spasm when one of his wires was suddenly yanked.[1]
  2. ^ Comparing the retail price index of £2000 in 1959, when the pilot episode was completed,[3] with 2010

Citations

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Clark, Anthony, "Four Feather Falls (1960)", BFI Screenonline, retrieved 8 January 2013 
  2. ^ a b Thorn, Emma, "Supermarionation: Gerry Anderson, a life in puppetry", National Media Museum, retrieved 10 January 2013 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Four Feather Falls", Television Heaven, retrieved 21 January 2013 
  4. ^ a b Parsons (2011), The Joys of Television
  5. ^ Green (2009), p. 93
  6. ^ Pirani (1989), p. 26
  7. ^ "Four Feather Falls", tv.com, retrieved 15 January 2013 
  8. ^ "Four Feather Falls (TV Series 1960) - Connectons - IMDb". 
  9. ^ Officer, Lawrence H. (2009), Five Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a UK Pound Amount, 1270 to Present, MeasuringWorth, retrieved 21 January 2013 

Bibliography

  • Green, Paul (2009), Encyclopedia of Weird Westerns, McFarland, ISBN 978-0-7864-4390-1 
  • Parsons, Nicholas (2011), With Just a Touch of Hesitation, Repetition and Deviation: My Life in Comedy, Mainstream Publishing, ISBN 978-1-84596-712-3 
  • Pirani, Adam (1989), The Complete Gerry Anderson Episode Guide, Titan Books, ISBN 978-1-85286-216-9 

External links[edit]