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Sally Fergus was a cantankerous, tobacco-chewing, rough-talking, hard-drinking old lady on her way west to pan for gold in California. Accompanying her and her mule-driven wagon was young gunfighter Cyrus Pike, who was looking forward to the riches of California, and was often chagrined by the constant delays as Sally decided to meddle in the lives of those that they met. Written by
Marty McKee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
It was nominated for an Emmy,but it was very short-lived
DIRTY SALLY was a far cry from the traditional violent western. Sally Fergus(Jeannette Nolan)was a hard drinking crusty old lady who was traveling west(from Kansas)to the California gold fields in a wagon pulled by her faithful mule,Worthless. Her traveling companion was Cyrus Pike(Dack Rambo)a young ex-gunfighter who accompanies Sally to California. The plot centers on the two being detained in their trip,not to mention met with constant frustration from Sally,who get herself involved in the lives of almost everyone they met along the way,and Sally's frequent meddling into the lives of the people they encounter along the trail from Kansas to California.
DIRTY SALLY was the spin off to CBS'"Gunsmoke",which was still on the air when this series began. It was a western mixed with drama and humor. Of the 13 episodes that this series produced,it was very short-lived. It was quickly cancelled by CBS,though Nolan was nominated for a prime-time Emmy as "Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series". DIRTY SALLY ran for half-hour in prime time for CBS from January 11,1974 until April 5,1974. However,the CBS continued this series in repeated episodes until August 9,1974.
While "Gunsmoke" was on Monday nights,"Dirty Sally" ran on Friday nights. The show was place in the 8:30p.m./EST time slot opposite ABC's "The Odd Couple" and NBC's powerhouse comedy hit "Sanford and Son",which clobbered it in the ratings. "Dirty Sally" preceded The CBS Friday Night Movie. It followed the cancelled military comedy "Roll Out!" which occupied that time slot for the first 12 weeks of the 1973-1974 season. When "Dirty Sally" was cancelled by CBS,the show that replaced it was the action-adventure short lived series "Planet of the Apes" which moved into that same time slot for the 1974-1975 season.
Nolan and Rambo first appeared in their roles in the Gunsmoke episode called "Pike" in 1973. The storyline had Nolan nursing a wounded Rambo back to health. His partners in a robbery were searching for him. In the series the two headed off for California,as Nolan's character of Sally begins to view Rambo as the son that she never had. Nolan had also appeared in a 1972 episode of Gunsmoke which introduced the character of Dirty Sally as something of a junk collector in the Old West,loathed by many townspeople of Dodge City but liked by the Gunsmoke cast which included Marshal Dillon,Miss Kitty,Doc Adams and Festus. The executive producer of this series was John Mantley along with Leonard Katzman who served as producer and writer along with James Arness. Interesting note: Actor Denver Pyle(who would later on played Uncle Jesse in The Dukes of Hazzard),was one of the writers for this show as well as doing directorial duties.
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