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This is the earliest show I can remember watching from it's first run,
with the possible exceptions of the Roy Roger Show or The Adventures of
Superman. I was born in 1953 and recall this show was on about the time
my Dad got home from work. He wanted to spend some time with me after a
long day at the office and we curled up together on the coach and
watched Casey Jones "cannonballing down the track." I got a tape of the
premiere episode a couple years and showed it to him. He couldn't
remember the show, (He's pushing 90). But I could. It was an exciting
episode about the railroad line trying to stay in business by proving
it could deliver a mail contract faster than a rival running on
conveniently parallel tracks. The "bad guys" cheated a lot but were
beaten in the end. I noted with some amusement that they seemed to go
past the same tree at least a dozen times. But it was fun and brought
back warm memories.
I wholly agree with the comments above. It was a gentle family western with plenty of action but little "violence". It gave Alan Hale Jr. probably his best, if not his most famous role. He still expansively friendly and warm but also reasonably intelligent and well-principled, a good hero to have in a show such as this. There are so many actors famous for their TV roles who become prisoners of them and Mr. Hale was certainly one of them He was wonderful as "The Skipper", but he was excellent in this role as well and could have done a lot more than he was offered later in his career.
As I read the former comments,they brought back at lot of memories for me and I for one am certainly glad for these heart warming words.Casey Jones was my favorite TV show as a kid growing up in the 1950s.I had a Lionel train set and with Casey Jones on the TV,well could it get any better?.Recently I came across a fellow who will be lending me a recording of some of the episodes and what a joy it will be to see my childhood heroes again after almost 47 years!I think it is really interesting too ,to follow the other actors as many of them went on to do more work and provide people like me with hours of entertainment.Dubb Taylor who played the part of the steam locomotive fireman is also another hero of mine,I can still hear his very unique voice as he talks to Casey(Alan Hale Jr).I hope that some day more of this show will come out to entertain another generation of kids and big kids too,like me.
"Casey Jones" was a first-run syndicated half-hour western series that ran
during the '58-'59 television season and was a folksy, gentler family
western series as opposed to some of the more violent adult westerns on the
air during the late '50's and early '60's. Alan Hale Jr. played the
legendary railroad engineer of the Cannonball Express for the Midwest and
Central Railroad. Mary Lawrence portrayed Casey's wife Alice, Bobby Clark
portrayed their son Casey Jr., Dub Taylor portrayed Casey's fireman Wallie
Sims and Eddie Waller portrayed conductor Red Rock.
The series featured some of the same types of plots as other westerns of the time such as train robbers, vandals, etc. but the plots also centered as much on Casey's interaction with his family, particularly his young son, giving the series a much more laid back sort of ambiance. Alan Hale Jr. would go on to bigger and better (and stupider!) series after "Casey Jones" ended its single season run but this series was a solid family entertainment without insulting the intelligence as "Gilligan's Island" would do six years later.
Casey Jones was just the best program on TV. i would like the series. does anyone know if it is available? This program was about a train driver played by Alan Hale. it was about the adventures he had while driving the cannonball express, a steam engine in America. i grew up watching this show, and it was quite good for young folk. the adventures were exciting and interesting.i would like this program to be repeated on television these days so the young people of today could understand what great programs we watched in Australia as we were growing up. all boys love trains, and some continue through their life enjoying them. i am one of these.Summary. A great show for all.
I remember the first time that I saw Gilligan's Island at the age of 14 and immediately flashed back to having seen Al Hale Jr. about 7 years earlier in the Casey Jones TV series. I like Hale in both, but given my propensity for railroad-related genre, I give the sentimental vote to Hale for Casey Jones and the comedy vote to Hale for Gilligan's Island. In any case, it would be great to see re-runs on cable, probably best on TV Land but certainly would be appreciated on Nickelodeon. Also would be good as part of a documentary on the wide variations of 1950's TV westerns. The other Casey Jones that I remember was the very excellent Walt Disney color cartoon (about 15-20 minutes in length) that was always paired with The Legend of Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed, on the Disneyland TV show.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's great to be able to add to the other comments which reflect the
affection felt for this show. Obviously 'Casey Jones' meant a lot to
boys growing up in the late 50's and early 60's, and it's something
we've never outgrown. I saw the show in the UK. It was repeated a
couple of times but, unlike 'Robinson Crusoe' or 'White Horses', seemed
to disappear after about 1972. Maybe the BBC see lost the broadcast
rights. At any rate, 36 years later I am the proud owner of all 32
episodes on 4 DVD's (admittedly they seem to be recorded from a cable
channel or something). I never realised there were so many.
The verdict after such a lapse of time? Obviously the plots seem obvious and the characters are very basic, but this is a kids' show so there's no fault there. On the whole the show holds up well. The basic premise is very moral: doing the right thing is always the right thing to do; family life is central to everything; a real man is honest and lives up to his responsibilities. Alan Hale projects these virtues very well, without any hokeyness at all, he makes Casey a solidly dependable figure.
Other aspects are interesting from the point of view of the time they were made. In one episode Casey delivers supplies to an army fort where the commanding officer has just ordered two Native Americans (whom he calls "savages") to be shot without trial. My heart sank, but the plot turned - what did I just say about them being obvious? - on the fact that the officer was incompetent and unfit for command (a touch of the Captain Queegs) and a regime based on mutual respect is shown as the way forward. Another nice moral tied up in 25 minutes of TV.
The supporting cast give good value (look out for Lee Van Cleef in one episode), especially Dub Taylor - a lovely character actor. He often seems to be a prototype Engineer Scott from 'Star Trek'. When Casey asks for more steam he says the Cannonball is "ready to bust wide open" already - "She'll no' take much more, Captain!" Long may Casey continue "steamin' and a-rollin'"!
I appear to be the only person from the UK with a review for this superb show. It was shown in the UK in the 60's about 9 years after it was first produced. I was 7 years old then and remember the show with burning clarity . I still can't believe that they only made 32 episodes, and only 26 were ever shown in the UK, the show seemed to run forever ! I suppose when you're 7 years old, time seems to stretch out into infinity. Even now when I spot Alan Hale Jr. on a rerun of a film such as "Young at Heart" or a TV show such as the "Land of the Giants" I say to myself there goes Casey Jones. He played the role so brilliantly. Even when I spot his Dad, Alan Hale Snr. On one of the many films he made with Errol Flynn, I say to myself there goes Casey Jones's Dad ! If he had made another season of shows typecasting would have inevitably followed. It seems that he didn't, because of a prior commitment to another show at the time. How strange show business is. When you're 7 it's not show business though. Alan Hale Jr. really was Casey Jones, riding the Cannonball Express, and always will be.
When Gilligan's Island first came out, I remember my family and I
exclaiming whenever we saw Alan Hale Jr. appear on the screen, "Hey,
it's Casey Jones!" I truthfully don't remember much about the series,
as I was but a tyke when I watched it, other than seeing Alan Hale Jr's
friendly, smiling face looking out from the train as the opening
credits rolled. I remember liking the show and our family sitting
around the t.v. enjoying Hale's characterization of the legendary
engineer. I enjoyed the other comments and remember it as good,
wholesome family entertainment.
When I was in my twenties and living in Los Angeles at the time, I took my fiancé (now, wife) to visit Alan Hale Jr's Fish and Chips Restaurant in Glendale. Hale just seemed like a very happy and likable fellow as well as a great character actor.
When I spotted the complete 32 episodes on 4 DVD set of Casey Jones released here in Australia, I jumped on it. One of my fond memories of my early teens back in the late 50's. Always thought Alan Hale Jnr. was perfect in the title role. Possessing one of Hollywood's great smiles, he made you feel good the minute you saw it. Normally a fine character actor in supporting roles, like his Father before him, he proved here he could carry the lead with ease. A big, but handsome man, he went on to even greater fame as the Skipper in Gilligan's Island, but to me, will always be Casey Jones, yes, I suppose it's a kid's show, but that doesn't mean adults can't enjoy the fun too. The DVD's are very good quality considering the episodes are 60 years old now. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the simple fun, quite therapeutic after today's more full on drama, the Cannonball Express will carry you away to a more enjoyable time!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I Wish there was a way of watching this TV show again ! Any chance of that would be great. I've never forgotten this to series because I guess it was because it was such a feel good show. It's funny, that I can't remember any thing specific, but it must have been good! I am in my 60,s and keep looking to find a way to re-fresh my memory. All I can recall is that Casey Jones was a kind man ! Any one got any ideas on how to recapture my childhood memory would be fantastic ! I search everywhere that I know about and come up with blanks. Thanks in advance. P.s I'm sure I'm not alone in my quest ! CASEY JONES was the best series on TV -even though it was in black and white.
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