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"Out of the clear blue of the western sky comes Sky King!" Yes, the Cessna on the previous page was the last of the three "Songbirds" used for the TV show "Sky King". "Songbird III" is owned by Paul and Valerie Erickson of Novato, California who commissioned the plane's restoration a few years ago. Apparently, the plane was used only in the promotion of the show, not in the production of the show.

"Sky King" started as a radio serial in the 40's and was introduced as a TV show in 1952. In all, there were 136 episodes produced in several production runs between 1952 and 1962. All of the shows produced after 1959 were destroyed in a film vault fire. There are about 70 surviving shows. Here is an audio clip of the show's intro ( 6 seconds, MP3 file, file size 19.2 KB).


Kirby Grant played Schuyler "Sky" King in the TV show and Gloria Winters played Penny, his niece. Kirby Grant was a former child violin prodigy and was an active pilot for most of his life. The first Songbird was a Cessna T-50 Bobcat, the second was a 1956 Cessna 310B, and the third was the 1960 Cessna 310D pictured on the previous page.

"Sky King" was essentially a western adventure/shoot-'em-up with an aviation twist. The show's production values were marginal—early episodes were shot on a $9,000 budget—and the show was definitely geared towards kids. Nonetheless, many people credit "Sky King" with sparking a childhood interest in aviation that would later lead them to a career in aviation. Most of the surviving shows are available on VHS cassette from the EAA.