The Gray Ghost 1957-1958

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Rusk County Avengers

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I was first exposed to this, shall we say interesting, show years ago when in school, by a friend and mentor on CW reenacting. I recall when he got a DVD set of it, he was so excited because he hadn't seen the show since he was a little kid. He had been excited, but when re-watching it for the first time in decades, and as an older man who had dedicated decades to CW research, he was a appalled. Mosby with a pair of revolvers in flap holsters, the obvious California surroundings, the funky style of saluting and the outright made up stories were a shock to him. For me, I found the show to be a typical example of a 1950's TV show. A decade has gone by since my first exposure to it, and a couple of years ago I found a DVD set of all known episodes and grabbed it up. Mainly because it being an old show, its a relic of the past itself.

So here in this thread I'm curious what everyone else to say about it, things they like, and the laughable things in the show that are bad.

For me, seeing Sgt. Schultz, (excuse me, John Banner) as Heros Von Borke with a serious attitude, but a habit of screwing up they're big attack, along with the episode they try to replicate Mosby's raid on Fairfax Courthouse to be interesting.

As for the bad, to numerous to mention, but memorable moments would be, Union infantry marching about on picket duty with sabers, Mosby and his men wearing blue cloaks with blue kepis when "in disguise" and their gray still showing (cracks me up every time), along with numerous other quirks of the show.

Of course the show is incredibly inaccurate, and as my old friend and mentor said, hokey. I'm curious, what are y'all's thoughts?
 

TnFed

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It was hokey but as a kid I loved it. (Even though I tend to favor the boys in blue.) Started my interest in the Civil War. The Gray Ghost was a hero to kids all over the country. Just like the versions of Day Crockett, Swamp Fox, Daniel Boone and the Scarecrow that we see from that time period. Sure it's hokey to us today but as kids they heros to boys and girls all over. We wanted to be brave and fair and stand up for the underdog like they were portrayed.
 
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I was first exposed to this, shall we say interesting, show years ago when in school, by a friend and mentor on CW reenacting. I recall when he got a DVD set of it, he was so excited because he hadn't seen the show since he was a little kid. He had been excited, but when re-watching it for the first time in decades, and as an older man who had dedicated decades to CW research, he was a appalled. Mosby with a pair of revolvers in flap holsters, the obvious California surroundings, the funky style of saluting and the outright made up stories were a shock to him. For me, I found the show to be a typical example of a 1950's TV show. A decade has gone by since my first exposure to it, and a couple of years ago I found a DVD set of all known episodes and grabbed it up. Mainly because it being an old show, its a relic of the past itself.

So here in this thread I'm curious what everyone else to say about it, things they like, and the laughable things in the show that are bad.

For me, seeing Sgt. Schultz, (excuse me, John Banner) as Heros Von Borke with a serious attitude, but a habit of screwing up they're big attack, along with the episode they try to replicate Mosby's raid on Fairfax Courthouse to be interesting.

As for the bad, to numerous to mention, but memorable moments would be, Union infantry marching about on picket duty with sabers, Mosby and his men wearing blue cloaks with blue kepis when "in disguise" and their gray still showing (cracks me up every time), along with numerous other quirks of the show.

Of course the show is incredibly inaccurate, and as my old friend and mentor said, hokey. I'm curious, what are y'all's thoughts?
This was about the same time a local t.v. station WCYB in Bristol TN/VA came on the air. As fate would have it, Mosby practiced law in Bristol either prior to or right after the war, (I can't recall, maybe both). Anyway, they took real advantage of that fact with promos for the show. "Fridays nights at 8 pm! Don't miss the thrilling adventures of Bristol's own Colonel John Singleton Mosby, The Gray Ghost"! My paternal grandmother lived with us and we faithfully watched every episode. She'd cheer for the Rebels right along with me! During commercials, she'd tell me stories she was told as a girl, (born in 1894), about her grandmothers that were widowed during the war. How they had to cope with raising children while their husbands, (that never came home) were gone. About trying to hide food and maybe one old sickly cow or plow horse from both armies. Thus began a life-long interest in the "late unpleasantness" as grandma called it. Both her grandfathers that died were Tennessee Yankees, a fact she probably never knew, and one I learned years later.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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I think the most interesting part of those pictures, is the fact in the second one Andrews, ("Mosby") is holding a CW Remington New Model Army, and yet in the actual series I have no recollection of him using anything besides a mocked up to look like a 1875 Remington Colt Model P.

I guess the armorer and directors said "NO!" and stuck with the mock ups for ease of blank usage. Bad call on their part.
 
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bankerpapaw

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It was hokey but as a kid I loved it. (Even though I tend to favor the boys in blue.) Started my interest in the Civil War. The Gray Ghost was a hero to kids all over the country. Just like the versions of Day Crockett, Swamp Fox, Daniel Boone and the Scarecrow that we see from that time period. Sure it's hokey to us today but as kids they heros to boys and girls all over. We wanted to be brave and fair and stand up for the underdog like they were portrayed.
I too, enjoyed watching the Gray Ghost when I was a kid.
 

redbob

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That show was my first introduction to anything Civil War and just look at where that has led. The Grey Ghost along with Whirlybirds, Rescue 8, Seahunt, Lassie and Howdy Doody seemed to be the basis of my young TV viewing life.:D Oh yes, I almost forgot Sky King, I really had the hots for Sky's pretty niece Peggy...oops-Penny.
 
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redbob

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That show was my first introduction to anything Civil War and just look at where that has led. The Grey Ghost along with Whirlybirds, Rescue 8, Seahunt, Lassie and Howdy Doody seemed to be the basis of my young TV viewing life.:D
@rebob, I hear ya. I loved watching those programs. Last year I saw a couple of Swamp Fox shows. I was stunned. Hokey is the word. Nevertheless I enjoyed seeing them again, brought back memories of singing the theme song walking home from school with buddies. One of my 14yr old dogs is named Francis Marion.
I had forgotten about Leslie Neilson as Francis Marion.
 
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Being a child of the 50's I remember this show very well and it is fair to say that it kick started my inexplicable interest in a past conflict that was fought on another continent and which (at the time) I thought had little to do with me, my family and my people. Back then we only had a 9" screen black and white TV so the Gray Ghost really was 'Grey' for me. I was only 7 years old when the show was first aired so I have little recollection of actors and plot lines never mind historical inaccuracies LOL. But I do regard it as being the spark that ignited my life long attachment to a conflict which we all clearly hold so very special.

Thanks for the thread.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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I can't help but notice that every old timer I've ever spoke to who has a deep interest in the war, traces it back to this show. For me, my original mentor that got me hooked, this show got him hooked, talk about a short lived show having long lasting effects. I've also noticed it got young folks so interested that many became early reenactors. This show was influential. Also its news to me it got broadcasted outside the US.

Perhaps a remake is needed to interest more generations...
 
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mkyzzzrdet

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I can't help but notice that every old timer I've ever spoke to who has a deep interest in the war, traces it back to this show. For me, my original mentor that got me hooked, this show got him hooked, talk about a short lived show having long lasting effects. I've also noticed it got young folks so interested that many became early reenactors. This show was influential. Also its news to me it got broadcasted outside the US.

Perhaps a remake is needed to interest more generations...
A more accurate "remake" would be interesting, but probably not likely in today's political environment. Even if they tried to be fair, and show the bad things about the southern cause as well as the heroism - it just would not work....Same idea as I don't think they could do "The Rebel" (remember Nick Adams as Johnny Yuma). Even if they tried to show the individual and his heroism, they just could not get away today with a Confederate "hero" main character. Even if it takes place AFTER the Civil War, like "The Rebel". Would offend certain "groups", I'm afraid. Must not glorify the "Confederate" cause even if all you are trying to do is tell the story of a fascinating character of history!!.
 

Snowbound

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I too was impressed by the "Gray Ghost" as a first grader. If you liked that, you'll love Hollywood's 1954 big screen "The Raid". Just as dated in todays term. I can see where it may have influenced production of the TV series. By coincidence I'm watching the conclusion on FXM Retro. Some bigtime stars - Van Heflin and Lee Marvin.
 
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James N.

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I too was impressed by the "Gray Ghost" as a first grader. If you liked that, you'll love Hollywood's 1954 big screen "The Raid". Just as dated in todays term. I can see where it may have influenced production of the TV series. By coincidence I'm watching the conclusion on FXM Retro. Some bigtime stars - Van Heflin and Lee Marvin.
Gray Ghost had a few notable actors in it occasionally - I can remember one episode featuring Angie Dickenson as a damsel in distress, and at least a couple with John Banner - who later played Sergeant Schulz in Hogan's Heroes - as a rather unlikely Heros Von Borcke!
 

redbob

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Yep, as another poster said
..I remember singing the Swamp Fox song. Also wearing the Davey Crockett "coonskin hat". Felt like Superman...lol.
.
My Grandfather took my brother and me to the local airport to see "Davy Crockett" aka Fess Parker arrive for a public appearance and when the man himself stepped out, he was wearing a business suit and a coonskin hat...I was emotionally scarred for quite a while after that. But that said, it is still one of my prized childhood memories.:D
 
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