Father Murphy

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Father Murphy
Father Murphy.PNG
Title screen
Created byMichael Landon
StarringMerlin Olsen
Moses Gunn
Katherine Cannon
Timothy Gibbs
Byron Thames
Lisa Trusel
Richard Bergman
Ivy Bethune
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes34
Production
Executive producer(s)Michael Landon
Running time60 minutes
Release
Original networkNBC
Audio formatMono
Original releaseNovember 3, 1981 (1981-11-03) – September 18, 1983 (1983-09-18)

Father Murphy is an American television 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 directed the show in partnership with William F. Claxton, Maury Dexter, Victor French and Leo Penn.

Synopsis[edit]

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 internment in 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, John's true identity is revealed to the head of the workhouse, and the orphans seem destined for 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 Tucson, Arizona. The main village featured in the show was located at Big Sky Movie Ranch in Simi Valley, California; this was also the filming location for the television series Little House on the Prairie. The village was located approximately 200 yards (180 m) uphill from the Ingalls' farm set.

Father Murphy is an NBC production and is syndicated worldwide by Sony Pictures Television. However, Sony does not own the video rights.[citation needed]

Cast[edit]

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

US TV Ratings[edit]

Season Episodes Start Date End Date Nielsen Rank Nielsen Rating Tied With
1981-82 21 November 3, 1981 April 11, 1982 52[6] N/A N/A
1982-83 13 September 28, 1982 September 18, 1983 66[7] N/A N/A

List of episodes[edit]

Season 1 (1981-1982)[edit]

# # Title Original air date
1101"Father Murphy"November 3, 1981 (1981-11-03)
Two-hour (with commercials) movie.
2102"Eggs, Milk and a Dry Bed"November 10, 1981 (1981-11-10)
3103"Establish Thou the Works of Our Hands"November 17, 1981 (1981-11-17)
4104"A Horse from Heaven"November 24, 1981 (1981-11-24)
5105"By the Bear That Bit Me: Part 1"December 1, 1981 (1981-12-01)
6106"By the Bear That Bit Me: Part 2"December 8, 1981 (1981-12-08)
7107"False Blessings"December 15, 1981 (1981-12-15)
8108"The Ghost of Gold Hill"December 22, 1981 (1981-12-22)
9109"Graduation"January 5, 1982 (1982-01-05)
10110"Will's Surprise"January 12, 1982 (1982-01-12)
11111"Eighty-Eight Keys to Happiness"January 19, 1982 (1982-01-19)
12112"Knights of the White Camelia"February 2, 1982 (1982-02-02)
13113"The Parable of Amanda"February 9, 1982 (1982-02-09)
14114"The Spy"February 16, 1982 (1982-02-16)
15115"The Heir Apparent"February 23, 1982 (1982-02-23)
16116"In God's Arms"March 2, 1982 (1982-03-02)
17117"The Dream Day"March 14, 1982 (1982-03-14)
18118"Laddie"March 21, 1982 (1982-03-21)
19119"Matthew and Elizabeth"March 28, 1982 (1982-03-28)
20120"The First Miracle: Part 1"April 4, 1982 (1982-04-04)
21121"The First Miracle: Part 2"April 11, 1982 (1982-04-11)

Season 2 (1982-1983)[edit]

# # Title Original air date
22201"Happiness Is..."September 28, 1982 (1982-09-28)
23202"The Father Figure"October 5, 1982 (1982-10-05)
24203"Stopover in a One-Horse Town"October 26, 1982 (1982-10-26)
25204"Outrageous Fortune"November 9, 1982 (1982-11-09)
26205"The Reluctant Runaway: Part 1"November 16, 1982 (1982-11-16)
27206"The Reluctant Runaway: Part 2"November 23, 1982 (1982-11-23)
28207"Buttons and Beaux"November 30, 1982 (1982-11-30)
29208"John Michael Murphy, R.I.P."December 7, 1982 (1982-12-07)
30209"The Witness"December 14, 1982 (1982-12-14)
31210"Blood Right"December 21, 1982 (1982-12-21)
32211"Sweet Sixteen"December 28, 1982 (1982-12-28)
33212"The Rockets' Red Glare"June 1, 1983 (1983-06-01)
34213"The Matchmakers"September 18, 1983 (1983-09-18)

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]

  1. ^ "Merlin Olsen". IMDb.com.
  2. ^ "Katherine Cannon". IMDb.com.
  3. ^ "Timothy Gibbs". IMDb.
  4. ^ "Lisa Trusel". IMDb.
  5. ^ "Byron Thames". IMDb.
  6. ^ Lina. "The TV Ratings Guide: 1981-82 Ratings History -- Primetime is Awash in a Bubble Bath as Nighttime Soaps Become the Rage". Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  7. ^ Lina. "The TV Ratings Guide: 1982-83 Ratings History -- Soap Bubbles Rise, Several Veterans Part and NBC Renews Poorly Rated Masterpieces". Retrieved 1 April 2018.

External links[edit]