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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Abel & Bobby & Other Things

Early yesterday morning Decades Television aired the Steve Canyon episode OPERATION BIG THUNDER, that introduced Abel Fernandez, Bob Hoy, Ted de Corsia and Jerry Paris in the series.

Lt. Colonel Steve Canyon, Major Williston, Master Sgt. Maconochie,  Sgt. Pete Berger and Airman 1C Abel Featherstone ponder a serious issue at Big Thunder Air Force Base.

So last month Abel Fernandez's 2nd year passing memorial slipped right by me...but better late than never (as Abel would sometimes say). Abel you are missed.

Abel's headstone at Riverside National Cemetary. Big thanks to Barbara Lima for this image!

I should have done something for both Abel and Bobby Hoy for Memorial Day but I'll just have to shoot for next year. Two of the greatest (and funniest) guys around. We had a blast recording their commentaries here! Coffee and sinkers just about blew our budget!

Bob Hoy, me (John Ellis) and Abel Fernandez clowning (after a commentary recording session) in my back yard Friday March 20, 2009. Less than a year later Bob would leave us on Monday February 8, 2010. We miss you, Bobby!

So OPERATION BIG THUNDER is the "change of format" episode to appease the Air Force and the aircraft industry (who felt trivialized by fictionalizing their successes)...the Air Force was just upset in principle and thought they knew how to do it better than the professional filmmakers. They should have just left them alone to make a good show.  What they did do was excellent and if allowed to continue "on their own flight-path", I suspect they would have gone another season or two. 

From left, Ken Lynch, Jerry Paris (seated), Bob Hoy, Dean Fredericks and Abel Fernandez in the 17th Steve Canyon episode produced, OPERATION BIG THUNDER. Lynch and Bob Hoy appeared together in THE DEVIL IN THE DARK episode of the original Star Trek!

The roots of this episode were in the Steve Canyon newspaper comic strip in a story from 1956!

Milton Caniff's Steve Canyon daily from Saturday November 17, 1956, story arc titled "The Girl From Little Dogie", which introduced Poteet Canyon AND was also the story which this TV episode was loosely based (which only happened twice during the series run). Alas, we could have used a bit of Poteet in the TV series, don't ya think?


Wow! I just noticed something today that I hadn't before: that the first 4 episodes he's in have Abel's rank being Airman First Class (A/1C):

Abel wore these stripes in his first 4 episodes ...currently these are the stripes designated for "Senior Airman", but back in late 1958 this designated "Airman First Class". They had serious Air Force technical advisors on set (such as Col. Frank P. Ball) who watched goings on like hawks and kept things accurate and crew on their toes! (Ball was an F-102 expert and actually survived being at "ground-zero" during an atomic blast! See this link!

...but apparently he got promoted to Staff Sergeant for the last 3 episodes he was in:

USAF "Staff Sergeant" stripes, then and now (as worn by Abel in his final 3 episodes of STEVE CANYON!

...pretty cool, Abel!

Now, some things about DECADES airing the series. They ARE running them in order, BUT they are running them in the original NBC broadcast order instead of the order they were made, which throws the episodes STRIKE FORCE and IRON CURTAIN out of order once in STRIKE FORCE take place immediately before IRON CURTAIN, but on Decades it will air 5 episodes later. Confusing? You bet.

Also, as is customary they are cutting out 3 minutes of each episode to make room for commercials. They are doing a pretty good job as the cuts are barely noticable (even to me), but if you want to see the shows uncut (and in the proper order and in the highest quality), I refer you to our 3 volume COMPLETE STEVE CANYON ON TV DVDs.

15 episodes have aired so far; 19 more to go. It's exciting seeing them on TV again in the United States for the first time in 58 years...I'm certain that the cast and crew and everyone involved in the series would be proud...and especially Milton Caniff. If you are watching Steve Canyon on Decades we'd like to hear from you, and we'd also like you to let Decades know you are watching and what you think. You can find them on Facebook at:

Monday, May 21, 2018

Reminder! - Steve Canyon Returns To TV!

Remember to set your DVR's...

For DECADES TV tomorrow, Tuesday at 5am eastern (or 2am pacific time if you are on the left coast) to record Steve's return to American Television, the first time since the episode "Iron Curtain" aired on ABC summer reruns on Thursday, September 8, 1960, nearly 58 years ago!

Several people wrote me about the last post and urged me to post this reminder. I enjoyed all the responses last week and enjoyed writing back to everyone that took the time to write.

I'm glad some of you get DECADES and can watch, and am sorry for those who don't have it in their area in the US and in foreign countries. I urge you to write to you local cable providers and local stations urging them to add DECADES, and to write or comment to DECADES about Steve Canyon on their Twitter account and their Facebook page.

So I hope you all enjoy seeing Colonel Canyon on broadcast television again!
(with closed-captioning for the hearing impaired)

Decades is a sister network to Me-TV.

John Ellis
Hollywood, California

Sunday, May 13, 2018



I'm thrilled to announce that in a little over a week, on early Tuesday May 22 during Decades TV's “Lost Television” 2 hour block, Steve Canyon will begin airing on american television for the first time in nearly 58 years…at 2am Pacific time / 5am Eastern time, starting with the very first episode “Operation Towline” and continuing 5 days a week (Tuesday am through Saturday am), in the order they were made in, AND with closed-captioning for the hearing impaired!

I’m really excited as the whole point of the project I started in 2006 was to get it back on TV, the DVDs were a way to fund the restoration and I never planned to handle every aspect of the back-breaking production and sales of them. But things don't always turn out the way we plan. It's been a battle and though it's 10 years later than I wanted, I'm glad to finally see it returning to TV, which Milton Caniff would have wanted.

The last time it aired in the US was on ABC on Thursday September 8, 1960, nearly 58 years it’ll be cool to watch it on TV again, right? Let me know what you think!

Decades is a sister network to Me-TV.

John Ellis
Hollywood, California

Friday, May 04, 2018

Big Mystery...Afoot!

There's somethin' happening here,
What it is ain't exactly clear...

Telegram from David Haft and Mike Meshekoff (the producers of the Steve Canyon TV series) to Milton Caniff, on the morning of September 13, 1958, the day the series premiered on NBC.

Stay tuned for some big news coming next week!

(this is NOT a drill!)

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays