The Everglades (TV series)

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This article is about the television series. For other uses, see Everglades (disambiguation).
The Everglades
The Everglades television program behind the scenes photo 1961.jpg
Ron Hayes (Lincoln Vail) being made up for a scene
Genre Adventure Crime drama
Created by Albert Wilmore
Written by Stuart Jerome
Richard Donovan
Stephen Kandel
Directed by Jack Herzberg (19 episodes)
John Floria (14)
Franklin Adreon (4)
Starring Ron Hayes
Gordon Casell
Theme music composer Warren Barker
Jerry Keller
Opening theme "The Everglades"
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 38
Executive producer(s) Ivan Tors
Producer(s) Budd Schulberg
Camera setup multi-camera
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Ziv Television Programs
United Artists Television
Distributor MGM Television
Peter Rodgers Organization
Original network Syndication
Picture format black-and-white (later color) 35mm film
Audio format monaural optical
Original release October 9, 1961 (1961-10-09) – June 26, 1962 (1962-06-26)

The Everglades is an American crime-adventure television series that aired in syndication for one season from 1961–62 and in reruns. Ron Hayes starred as Constable Lincoln Vail, a law enforcement officer of the fictional Everglades County Patrol who traveled the Florida Everglades in an airboat, a vehicle which was often the focus of the program.[1] Hayes, a northern California actor and stuntman, was an avid outdoorsman and conservationist.

Gordon Casell appeared in five of the 38 half-hour episodes as Chief Anderson, Vail's superior. Steve Brodie made three appearances as Captain Andy Benson; Dan Chandler was twice cast as Vail's sidekick, airboat guide Pete Hammond. Future film star Burt Reynolds appeared twice in the role of Lew Johnson and once as Trask.

Guest stars included R.G. Armstrong, Victor Buono, Roger C. Carmel, Paul Carr, Jack Cassidy, Lonny Chapman, John Doucette, Penny Edwards, Frank Ferguson, Luke Halpin, Douglas Kennedy, Robert Knapp, Paul Lambert, Tyler McVey, Larry Pennell, Mala Powers, Chris Robinson, Johnny Seven, Ray Teal, Bill Travers and Dawn Wells.[2]


The original script for the series, "Son of the Everglades", was written by model and actor Albert Wilmore of Miami, Florida, who spent his free time sailing and fishing in Whitewater Bay before the Everglades became a national park. Wilmore was fascinated by the myriad birds, wildlife and mangrove estuaries in the shallow water, and the native Seminoles. His son Scott recalled that Wilmore decided to meld a wildlands backdrop and the Seminoles with a park ranger and high-speed airboats. Wilmore pitched the story to a number of production companies in Miami and Hollywood, Florida.

After Wilmore's wife died, Scott discovered a deed for an acre of land within Everglades National Park. Wilmore explained that the deed was a gift from the Seminoles acknowledging his efforts for their inclusion. Scott Wilmore later sold the land, under threat of eminent domain, to the National Park Service for approximately $300.


South Florida shooting locations included Everglades National Park, Andytown, Coopertown, Frog City, Sweetwater and Forty Mile Bend along the Tamiami Trail.[3]

The original plan was to use white actors as Seminoles with makeup and studio-produced costumes, but native Seminoles, wearing their traditional dress, were used. They were pleased to have the comparatively easy work as both extras and, because of their expertise and mechanical abilities, to operate and maintain the airboats; and to have any employment other than beading, giving airboat rides and wrestling with alligators for the tourist trade. Few were given speaking parts and nearly all were denied entry into the Screen Actors Guild.

Because the show was on a tight budget (an episode was completed every two-and-a-half days), Chandler was given little training on airboats, so there were a few unintentional "flybys" and at least one crash, leaving the actor swinging from an overhanging tree. Hays, however, became an accomplished airboat driver and formed close bonds with the locals who supplied them.

During 1961, Tors was filming the first of his two Flipper feature films in Miami and the Florida Keys; Chandler was signed for a recurring role in his Flipper TV series, and for a part in the 1964 movie sequel, Flipper's New Adventure.[4]


  1. ^ McNeil, Alex (1996), Total Television, Penguin Books, ISBN 0-14-024916-8 
  2. ^ The Everglades at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ "Everglades"
  4. ^ The Everglades at the Internet Movie Database