Whirlybirds

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Whirlybird (disambiguation).
Whirlybirds
Alt=Series titles over an image of a Bell 47 helicopter
Also known as The Whirlybirds
Copter Patrol
Genre Adventure
Created by Art Napoleon
Jo Napoleon
Starring Nancy Hale
Craig Hill
Sandra Spence
Kenneth Tobey
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 111
Production
Executive producer(s) Mort Briskin
N. Gayle Gitterman
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 25 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel Syndication
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original run February 4, 1957 (1957-02-04) – January 18, 1960 (1960-01-18)[1]

Whirlybirds (sometimes called The Whirlybirds or Copter Patrol) is a syndicated American drama/adventure television series, which aired for 111 episodes — broadcast from February 4, 1957, through January 18, 1960.[1] It was produced by Desilu Studios.

Plot synopsis[edit]

The program centers upon Chuck Martin and Pete (P. T.) Moore (Kenneth Tobey and Craig Hill, respectively), owners of a fictitious helicopter chartering company, Whirlybird Service, in the American West. Martin and Moore sell their services to various clients through the fictional Longwood Field.

The Whirlybirds series was, like I Love Lucy, a product of Desilu Studios. One particular episode of I Love Lucy, Number 140, became pivotal to the Bell 47's public image as the definitive light helicopter of the 1950s. In No. 140, entitled "Bon Voyage" and first aired on CBS on January 16, 1956, Lucy Ricardo misses the sailing of her trans-Atlantic oceanliner and commandeers a friendly Bell 47G to fly her to the ship; Jack Albertson guest stars in this episode. Down she goes on the hoist, in a studio sequence carefully staged using a 47G cabin mockup. Desilu Studios, intrigued by the Bell 47 and its manufacturer, began discussions with Bell Aircraft about how the entertainment potential of the Bell 47 might be further developed for a TV audience. The result of this collaboration became The Whirlybirds.

Tobey and Hill did not fly the helicopters on the show. That task was handled by expert copter pilots Ed Fuderich, Bob Gilbreath, and Harry Hauss of National Helicopter Service, Inc.

Production notes[edit]

The first four episodes were titled The Whirlybirds and the rest simply Whirlybirds. Many episodes were directed by Harve Foster and Robert Altman. The creators were Art Napoleon and Jo Napoleon.

The series was filmed on location in California. The production first used the Santa Susanna Airport in Simi Valley. The airport, no longer in existence, was near the Iverson Ranch, a dude ranch used to film westerns. Later episodes were filmed at the San Fernando Airport, which is also now closed. Much of the open area seen around both airports in the series has since been developed.

Helicopters used[edit]

The two helicopter types used were Bell models, a 47G and a 47J Ranger; the tail numbers were N975B and N2838B (and N1538B as back-up), respectively. In reality, many helicopters played the role of N975B. Other Bell 47Gs owned by National Helicopter Service were used in the filming with "N975B" decals covering their actual registrations.

Guest stars[edit]

Episodes status[edit]

Some copies of the series are sold on the internet, but no officially authorized DVD sets are available. The U.S. National Archives possesses a complete set of original 16 mm prints.

Syndication[edit]

After production of Whirlybirds ended, CBS returned 39 of the 111 episodes to syndication and retitled the series, Copter Patrol.

International airings[edit]

In the United Kingdom, it was shown by the BBC in the late 1950s and early 1960s and repeated in the 1970s and late 1980s. In Italy, RAI dubbed many episodes in the early 1960s with the title Avventure in elicottero.

Episodes list with original air dates[edit]

Whirlybirds - The first season[edit]

  • 1. Big U (2/4/1957)
  • 2. Rampage (2/18/1957)
  • 3. Boy On The Roof (2/11/1957)
  • 4. Fire Flight (2/25/1957)
  • 5. Hot Wire (3/18/1957)
  • 6. Mountain Flight (3/25/1957)
  • 7. Ghost Town Flight (3/11/1957)
  • 8. Hostage (3/4/1957)
  • 9. Diamond Smugglers (4/1/1957)
  • 10. Lynch Mob (4/8/1957)
  • 11. Sky Net (4/15/1957)
  • 12. Prison Break (4/22/1957)
  • 13. Top Of The Mountain (4/29/1957)
  • 14. Operation Blue Hen (5/6/1957)
  • 15. The Human Bomb (5/13/1957)
  • 16. Missing Witness (5/20/1957)
  • 17. The Egg Code (5/27/1957)
  • 18. Superstition Mountain (6/3/1957)
  • 19. Homicide Haven (6/10/1957)
  • 20. Riptide (6/17/1957)
  • 21. The Black Pearl (6/24/1957)
  • 22. Illegal Entry (7/1/1957)
  • 23. Lady Luck (7/8/1957)
  • 24. Hide And Seek (7/15/1957)
  • 25. Hobson's Choice (7/23/1957)
  • 26. Crisis (7/29/1957)
  • 27. Journey To The Past (8/5/1957)
  • 28. Aerial Circus (8/12/1957)
  • 29. Cycle Of Terror (8/19/1957)
  • 30. Fury Canyon (10/7/1957)
  • 31. The Rustlers (10/14/1957)
  • 32. I'll Get Even (10/21/1957)
  • 33. Incident In Del Rio (10/28/1957)
  • 34. Sky Hook (11/5/1957)
  • 35. The Secret Cove (11/11/1957)
  • 36. Take A Little, Leave A Little (2/10/1958)
  • 37. Airborne Gold (1/13/1958)
  • 38. Iron Mountain (1/20/1958)
  • 39. Panic At Green Ridge (1/27/1958)

Whirlybirds - The second season[edit]

  • 40. Seven Were Trapped (2/3/1958) First episode featuring the Bell 47J Ranger helicopter (2838B).
  • 41. The Ashley Case (2/10/1958)
  • 42. Hit And Run (2/17/1958)
  • 43. The Runaway (2/24/1958)
  • 44. The Brothers (3/3/1958)
  • 45. Search for an Unknown Man (3/10/1958)
  • 46. The Killer (3/17/1958)
  • 47. The Unwanted (3/24/1958)
  • 48. Mister Q (3/31/1958)
  • 49. Seven Orchids (4/7/1958)
  • 50. Father and Son (4/14/1958)
  • 51. Time Out Of Mind (4/21/1958)
  • 52. Buy Me A Miracle (4/28/1958)
  • 53. Infra-Red (5/5/1958)
  • 54. An Apple For The Teacher (5/12/1958)
  • 55. Blind Date (5/19/1958)
  • 56. Blind Victory (5/26/1958)
  • 57. Copters and Robbers (6/2/1958)
  • 58. If I Were King (6/9/1958)
  • 59. Dog Gone (6/16/1958)
  • 60. Fear (6/23/1958)
  • 61. Time To Kill (6/30/1958)
  • 62. Two Came Back (7/7/1958)
  • 63. Summit Meeting (7/14/1958)
  • 64. Robert Dixon, M.D. (10/20/1958)
  • 65. Uncle Pete (10/27/1958)
  • 66. Hide Out (11/3/1958)
  • 67. Baby Face (11/10/1958)
  • 68. Glamor (11/17/1958)
  • 69. Address Unknown (11/24/1958)
  • 70. The Story of Sister Bridget (12/1/1958)
  • 71. Midnight Show (12/8/1958)
  • 72. 27 Pieces of Gold (12/15/1958)
  • 73. Dead On Arrival (12/22/1958)
  • 74. An Act Of Fate (12/29/1958)
  • 75. Always A Gentleman (1/5/1959)
  • 76. Road Block (1/12/1959)
  • 77. C.O.D. (1/19/1959)
  • 78. Rest In Peace (1/26/1959)

Whirlybirds - The third season[edit]

  • 79. A Matter Of Trust (4/6/1959)
  • 80. Guilty Of Old Age (4/13/1959)
  • 81. Christmas in June (4/20/1959)
  • 82. Til Death Do Us Part (4/27/1959)
  • 83. Time Limit (5/4/1959)
  • 84. Experiment X-74 (5/11/1959)
  • 85. His Brother's Keeper (5/18/1959)
  • 86. Obsession (5/25/1959)
  • 87. The Challenge (6/1/1959)
  • 88. The Big Lie (6/8/1959)
  • 89. Without a Net (6/15/1959)
  • 90. The Fugitive (6/22/1959)
  • 91. The Perfect Crime (6/29/1959)
  • 92. The Unknown Soldier (7/6/1959)
  • 93. Two of a Kind (7/13/1959)
  • 94. In Ways Mysterious (7/20/1959)
  • 95. The Deadly Game (7/27/1959)
  • 96. Bankrupt Alibi (8/3/1959)
  • 97. The Black Maria (8/10/1959)
  • 98. This Sitting Duck (8/17/1959)
  • 99. Wanted - Alive (8/24/1959)
  • 100. The Deacon (8/31/1959)
  • 101. Rita Ames Is Missing (9/7/1959)
  • 102. The Story of Mary Scott (9/14/1959)
  • 103. Pink Is For Death (9/21/1959)
  • 104. Star Witness (9/28/1959)
  • 105. Mr. Jinx (10/5/1959)
  • 106. File 777 (10/12/1959)
  • 107. Hot Cargo (10/19/1959)
  • 108. Shoot Out (10/26/1959)
  • 109. Man, You Kill Me (11/2/1959)
  • 110. Dead Wrong (11/9/1959)
  • 111. Four Little Indians (1/18/1960)

References[edit]

External links[edit]