The Forest Rangers (1963–1966)
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Horray for Joe Two-Rivers
Any kid growing up in the 60's or 70's would know all about this wonderfull show. But even now they are show in re-runs on some cable shows. I think they must have been filmed on filmed rather than video tape as the shows still are crisp and clear, somebody somewhere owns the rights to this series why oh why has it not been put out on VHS or DVD.
Re-watching it more recently, one sees things from a whold different perspective. Despite a rather simplistic set of stories, the message basically holds up.
Kind of a neat concept, the "Young Forest Rangers", a group similar to scouts, an auxillory troup of wardens, helping out Chief Ranger Keely (older brother of the lead Young ranger).
At the time, a lot of young Canadian actors were getting their start, many of whom have gone on to fame.
I can remember climbing off the homeward school bus one day and turning on my family's 19" black and white "Admiral" TV to see Rex Hagon (Pete Keeley) and Susan Conway (Kathy) appearing as guests of Razzle-Dazzle co-host Trudy Young. To that point in time, I really didn't know TFR was a drama! I was convinced what was on the show had to be reality! Being a kid you have strange perceptions - I thought people were only allowed to "act" in Hollywood, certainly not in the Canadian wilderness! When I realized that not only Americans could act, Canadians could too, I was so darned impressed!
The chemistry of the characters were what drew me to the show day after day. Pete and Chub (Ralph Endersby) always wanted to be the leader, but somehow, they'd eventually make up and get on with what had to be done. My favorite character was the wise native Joe Two Rivers (Michael Zenon), who always sent a chill up my spine with his familiar recant "Mebeeeee...mebee NAWT..." Of course, who could forget the stoic Sgt. Scott (Gordon Pinsent), a rather diminutive dude who still seemed to be able to scare us crapless even wearing a goofy hat, wide pants and a red serge.
I think everyone who ever heard it, loved the memorable theme music written and conducted by the great John Hubert Bath. The Forest Rangers always ended with that memorable flourish: Duh-duh-duh-dummmmmmm-dummmmmmmm-DAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! which concluded each episode. The same incidental musical pieces featured in TFR, also graced the 1958 movie "Wolf Dog," which I'll always love, but (sadly) you will probably never see.
My kudos to a Canadian gent named Clayton Self and his work on the TFR fansite - see the "miscellaneous" link at left. He also managed to put together a wonderful reunion for the cast and crew of the show. He was also instrumental in getting the series immortalized on an Imavision DVD series in 2007. Long live TFR in reruns.
One of my favorite episodes is the Wolverine in season one. During the entire episode the characters are struck with fear with the possibility of encountering this vicious animal. Joe Two Rivers describes its ability to jump to a tree top and escape by the tops of the trees.