Fury

TV classics: Fury

USA 1955-60, five seasons, 116 episodes, approximately 30 minutes each, NBC, black & white. Cast: Peter Graves, Bobby Diamond, Jimmy Baird, William Fawcett, Roger Mobley, Ann Robinson.

Plot summary: “The story of a horse and the boy who loved him.”

Review: As an orphan, Joey Clark never had an easy life. When Jim Newton witnesses a fight the boy wins over a bigger rival, both of their lives change forever. Jim lost his wife and son to an accident and has lived alone since. Brining Joey home to his Broken Wheel ranch, he doesn’t only show him a life of hard work, freedom and adventure, but also introduces him to a wild Mustang called Fury. Independent in spirit and dangerous to experienced horsemen, the horse calms down in Joey’s presence and becomes the kind of friend Joey never had.

As one of those children’s favorites that re-ran for years after the show’s conclusion, Fury is dearly remembered by anyone who grew up with classic, quality shows. Value-laden, innocent and exciting, each episode focused on Joey’s friendship with the dark horse and the lessons the boy learned from his substitute father, farm hands and weekly adventures. Intelligent, heroic and gentle with his human friend, the Mustang was the main attraction of a show that allowed each child to be a cowboy for a while, inviting them to ride along with Joey every week. Available now on DVD as an incomplete collection, the show still has the potential to fire the imagination of members of all generations.

Don’t you already hear Joey calling out Fury’s name? Aren’t you already looking for your Fury lunch box in the basement and feel like dusting it off for your (grand)kids?! I don’t know about you, but with a gem like this on my shelves, I cannot wait to feel like a kid again – if only for a moment – and then pass it on to the next generation.

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Animal Film Stars

Some of them already existed in books before they made us fall in love with them on screen. Others were turned into a franchise, creating a longing to have a pet out of the ordinary: a dolphin, 101 Dalmatians or a talking horse. I’m talking about animal film stars of course!

When I look back, I fondly remember Lassie, Black Beauty, Fury and Flipper. They all starred in their own shows and movies. So did Mr. Ed. Rin Tin Tin may still be the most famous one of them all, at least when it comes to vintage gems, as well as all the darling characters Disney has created or adapted over the years. On the animation side, who doesn’t remember The Lady and the Tramp or Bambi whose story probably broke every kid’s heart. And then there’s Mickey Mouse and Minnie along with Donald Duck and Daisy, as well as Bugs Bunny or Sylvester and Tweety.

Animal film stars have long come in all shapes and sizes. They have been humanized and enriched our lives by being our best friends and companions, teaching us lessons about relationships and nature. They have also been an animated mirror to our human condition. And their popularity has not really ceased from Rin Tin Tin‘s first appearance almost a hundred years ago to Boomer and Hart to Hart‘s Freeway in the 80s, to Free Willy in the 90s and Bolt today.

Animals still open our hearts on screen, make us cry and create that wish deep inside to adopt them. Animals, like children, also still steal the show and outshine the most decent of actors. And like none of their human colleagues they make us laugh about the silliest things.