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Saturday, February 06, 2021

NEWS FLASH! Steve Canyon Returns to TV...Once More!

A week from today, Saturday February 13th at 7am eastern time (4am pacific), Steve Canyon will be returning to DECADES Television for it's fourth complete modern re-run on free American broadcast television! Be aware there may be two episodes in a row each Saturday as that information was not made clear to me. Let's hope so!

((Note that I am amending this post to mention that I just found out there will be two episodes each Saturday, a whole hour of Steve Canyon goodness, from 7am to 8am, starting next Saturday with OPERATION TOWLINE followed by OPERATION THUNDERBIRDS! Will run through Saturday June 12th!))

ALL 34 episodes only ran ONCE in it's initial run on NBC primetime in the 1958-1959 season. NBC only repeated 14 episodes in 1959, and ABC then only repeated 20 episodes in 1960. 11 episodes were NEVER rerun in the US until last summer on Decades. So set your DVRs accordingly!

Paul Frees as R.A.F. pilot "Durkle" in the premiere Steve Canyon episode OPERATION TOWLINE. Frees was known as "The Man of a Thousand Voices", you may remember him as the voice of Boris Badenov on THE BULLWINKLE SHOW and as well as The Pillsbury Dough Boy and many others. More info on him here.

You can also find Decades on facebook at:

Decades TV is a TV network that is broadcast on many local stations (and some cable providers) throughout the US. Can't find it? Click the link below for a current list of stations that carry DECADES:

John Ellis
Hollywood, CA

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Steve Canyon Returns...Again!

This morning, Tuesday November 12th at 4am eastern time (1am pacific), Steve Canyon returned to DECADES Television for it's third complete modern rerun on free american broadcast television!

ALL 34 episodes only ran ONCE in it's initial run on NBC primetime in the 1958-1959 season. NBC only repeated 14 episodes in 1959, and ABC then only repeated 20 episodes in 1960. 11 episodes were NEVER rerun in the US until last summer on Decades. So set your DVRs accordingly!

The juvenile delinquent Jaybirds, from left, Skippy (Ronnie Knox), Hawk (Larry Pennell) and Buck (Burt Metcalfe) give Col. Steve Canyon (Dean Fredericks) a bad time in the 2nd Steve Canyon episode, "OPERATION THUNDERBIRDS", airing early Wednesday November 13, 2019. Note that Metcalfe co-created the M*A*S*H* TV series and was one of the producers of the show for the entire run of 251 episodes.

Decades TV is a TV network that is broadcast on many local stations (and some cable providers) throughout the US. Can't find it? Click the link below for a current list of stations that carry DECADES

John Ellis
Hollywood, CA

Monday, November 11, 2019

Veterans Day 2019

Happy Veteran's Day 2019 to those who served and their families.

Fred Foote (aka Dean Fredericks, later star of The Steve Canyon TV series) following US Army basic training in 1942. He was later promoted to Master Sergeant and then was wounded in 1944 during the invasion of the Philippines.

John Ellis
Milton Caniff Estate Releasing

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Memorial Day 2019

UPDATED from Memorial Day post May 29, 2011

"Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. In other words, the purpose of Memorial Day is to memorialize the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. We spend time remembering those who lost their lives and could not come home, reflecting on their service and why we have the luxury and freedom that we enjoy today. We might consider how we can support and safeguard their grieving families and loved ones who are left behind." - The Farmer's Almanac

Newspaper clipping from the Antelope Valley Ledger Gazette, Thursday May 10, 1945

Sgt. Fred J. Foote was serving in action against the Japanese in New Guinea when he got the word that his brother "Bud" had been killed in a Japanese ambush on July 20, 1944. Fred's unit was preparing for the invasion of the Philippines in October. He would miss his fallen brother for the rest of his life, and visited his grave in Hawaii whenever he could over the years.

Airman Edward "Bud" Foote

Edward "Bud" Foote enlisted in Los Angeles in March of 1942...just 7 months before his younger brother. While Fred had later joined the famed 1st Cavalry Division, Bud wanted to be a pilot and joined the Army Air Corps as a Private...he eventually attained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant with the 5307th Composite Unit, more popularly known as MERRILL'S MARAUDERS as a C-47 pilot.

"Merrill's Marauder" Edward "Bud" Foote

Though they were only operational for 6 months, their exploits in Burma under impossible odds and horrible conditions are legendary. Their battles against the enemy's superior forces as well as struggles against constant torrential downpours, hunger and disease (which took more of their lives than the Japanese did) were noted when the unit was awarded a Distinguished Service Citation in recognition of their heroism. Bud Foote (and each soldier in the unit) also received The Bronze Star...though his was posthumous, and was accompanied by a Purple Heart.

Bronze Star and Purple Heart service medals

I'm certain those reading this until now have never heard of Lt. Edward G. Foote, but he gave his life in the service of our country back in July of 1944, and was a hero in the very true sense of the word.

Remember him the next time you watch an episode of Steve Canyon, for his brother, who also was a hero during WWII...

Corporal Frederick J. Foote at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas 1943

(aka Dean Fredericks, star and namesake of STEVE CANYON)

Happier times: Teenaged brothers Bud and Fred Foote before the war.

The following is an excerpt from the book, “We Remember” by Dayle L. DeBry (courtesy of the author):

Bud's Junior High School yearbook picture.

     Edward G. Foote, Jr., was born about 1922 in Illinois, the son of Edward G. and Margaret Foote, Sr., from New York and Illinois, respectively.  By 1930 the family was living in the South Gate area of Los Angeles Co., California where Edward, Sr. was employed as a salesman for an oil refining company.  The family included Edward’s wife, Margaret, and sons Edward, Jr. and Fred Foote.

     While attending AVJUHS, Edward was involved in many activities including three years of Varsity football, and two years of basketball.  In his junior year he was elected the Jr. Class yell leader and was also a member of the Letterman’s Club.  Edward graduated from AVJUHS with the class of 1941.

     On March 20, 1942, Edward enlisted in the U.S. Army and served with the U.S. Army Air Forces before attending Officer Candidate School.   In 1943, Edward was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army after the successful completion of the Officer Candidate course at the Infantry School in Fort Benning, Georgia. He held the rank of corporal before being commissioned.

     As part of the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), Edward was sent to Myitkyina, Burma.  The group later became known as “Merrill’s Marauders” named after its leader, Brigadier General Frank Merrill.  The jungles of Burma were thick with vegetation – no room for the jeeps and trucks needed to carry supplies.  The men had to carry all their equipment and supplies over 800 miles, marching over jungle and mountain roads.  All the equipment was carried by the soldiers, on their back, or on the backs of pack mules.  They were re-supplied by air drops after clearing the thick jungles areas below.  Landing strips were hacked out to allow small planes in to evacuate the sick and wounded.  At the end of the Burma Campaign, all remaining soldiers were evacuated to hospitals suffering from tropical diseases, exhaustion and malnutrition. 

     On July 2, 1944, Edward was killed in action.  He was awarded the Purple Heart Medal and the Bronze Star.  For their accomplishments in Burma, the Marauders were awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation in July 1944.  The Marauders also have the rare distinction of having every member of the unit receive a Bronze Star, duly awarded for their “heroism and outstanding achievement in a combat theater.”

     2nd Lieutenant Edward G. Foote, Jr. was buried at the Honolulu Memorial, in Honolulu, Hawaii, where his name is joined with thousands of other soldiers who died in World War II.

Battle of Myitkyina – Author unknown

At Myitkyina today they lie at rest
There were soldiers all and gave their best
They fought and died in days of rain
And prayed for sun that never came.

Through mud they crawled to find their foe
They cursed and swore but on they go
As days went by and night fell
They all slept on the walls of hell.

Artillery shells with their melody of death
Whizzed by with each and every breath
As dawn came to light the earth
Amid sniper fire through dirt
In falling rain they fought on
Hope to live by those had gone.

Myitkyina has fallen at last
They would be glad to know of the finished task              
But the trails are filled with Yankee blood
Of gallant men who fought, died in Burma mud
Courageous men these, they fought and fell;  Bless them all, God; treat them well.


Remembering our Veterans and fallen service men and women on Memorial Day 2019.

John Ellis

Hollywood, CA

Monday, December 17, 2018

A Ray Bradbury Christmas!

( Watch Steve Canyon "The Gift" early-early morning Wednesday December 19th 2018 on DECADES TV! )

Dean Fredericks as Steve Canyon.
Saturday December 20th 1958 marked the only Christmas network airing of Ray Bradbury's Steve Canyon teleplay THE GIFT. In fact it was the ONLY airing of this episode in the US until Decades TV ran it this past June 7th.  Early morning Wednesday December 19th Decades TV will air it once again for the first holiday airing of this Christmas episode in nearly 60 years to the day. As promised, here's some background on this unique story.

Ray Bradbury.
Ray Bradbury's THE GIFT began life as a science fiction short story that appeared in the December 1952 issue of ESQUIRE Magazine. It has been reprinted many times over the years since, most notably in the Bradbury anthology R IS FOR ROCKET (1st printing by Doubleday 1960), and has been translated into French, Italian, German, Romanian and Dutch.

Steve Canyon Story Editor Sidney Carroll.
Bradbury told me in 2006 that he did it as a favor for his friend, Sidney Carroll (Steve Canyon Story Editor), who thought it could be adapted for the TV series as their "Christmas episode".

Cover of the first printing of Bradbury's anthology in 1952 with Carroll's short story.
Carroll had written short story called "None Before Me" which which impressed Ray Bradbury so much he included in his 1952 anthology "Timeless Stories for Today and Tomorrow". It describes a lonely miser who becomes fascinated by a lavish dollhouse. Bradbury's book is an anthology of fantasy stories, and it is only in the last sentence that Carroll's story turns to fantasy, with rather startling result.

Cover of Bradbury's script with the "1968" typo.
Carroll wrote an outline for Bradbury adapting "The Gift" short story to fit the Steve Canyon TV series format, and Bradbury turned in a 35 page teleplay on September 26, 1958 (mis-typed on the cover by the Steve Canyon typist/secretary as September 26, 1968). This was too long for a half-hour show, and although Bradbury probably performed a shorter second draft, the final shooting script was undoubtedly polished by Sid Carroll and turned in on October 23rd, 1958...nearly a week before shooting commenced on Wednesday October 29th.

First page of the revised shooting script for THE GIFT.
Most of the Steve Canyon episodes had only one day of rehearsal, which was customary for half-hour network shows, but curiously The Gift had two. It appears that something wasn't working out that day (Monday, October 27th) with the child-actress that had been cast, as the daily production report page notes (besides the "Child Welfare Worker" and "School from 9am to 12pm") that, "Above child-actress was re-cast as of this date."

Barbara Beaird and Dean Fredericks in a publicity shot from THE GIFT.
Barbara Beaird was then cast as "Lisa Serenko", and following that rehearsal day (with Director Don Taylor and cast members Dean Fredericks, Sean McClory, Celia Lovsky, Trudi Ziskind, Wendy Stuart, Frank Nehez, Lillian Adams and William Bryant) began filming the next day, Wednesday October 29, for 3 days, ending on Friday October 31st. Shooting that had been every week since Monday July 14 would stop for two weeks to "re-tool the series" and not begin again until Friday November 14th (with the 17th episode "Operation Big Thunder").

Exterior scene from THE GIFT, shot Thursday October 30, 1958, Universal Studios. Left to right, Sean McClory, Celia Lovsky, Barbara Beaird and Dean Fredericks.
Not long after, Producer David Haft commented in a letter to Canyon-creator Milton Caniff that he had a funny feeling that at some point during the season the Air Force, advertising agency and the show's sponsor got together, and said "Let's teach Haft the television business", and had apparently done so. The remaining half of the series' shows would be very different in content (in an attempt to make it more like Caniff's comic strip and to not upset the aerospace industry, test pilots. etc). More about this in a future post.

Producer David Haft with Steve Canyon creator Milton Caniff during Caniff's visit to Universal Studios at the end of June 1958, about 2 weeks before shooting commenced on the TV series on July 14th.
Barbara Beaird apparently impressed sufficiently to warrant returning for a sequel episode (along with Celia Lovsky), "Iron Curtain", though not written by Bradbury. Beaird was later the voice of "Rolly" in "One Hundred And One Dalmatians" (1961, and Lovsky appeared as "T'Pau", the ruler of the planet Vulcan on Star Trek in 1967. William Bryant returned to Steve Canyon as "Kirby" (with a promotion to Captain) a few months later in the episode "Strike Force". More about that particular "peculiar" episode in a later post.

Barbara Beaird reprises her role as Lisa Serenko in a publicity photo taken during the filming of the 25th episode of Steve canyon, "Iron Curtain", on the Universal Studios "European Street" backlot on Thursday January 15, 1959.
Two and a half weeks after the episode aired on NBC, Ray Bradbury wrote a letter to Sid Carroll. In it he mentions "I'm sorry the stars didn't work out at the end". What that means is they didn't have the budget (or technical ability at the time) to create a shot that we would take for granted today. Here is the snippet of his script for you to compare to the end of the filmed episode:

Last page of the September 26th draft of Bradbury's script.
Here's Bradbury's letter to Sid Carroll, courtesy of my pal Matt Tauber, and be sure to visit his EXCELLENT Caniff/Comics blog at

Ray Bradbury's January 8th 1959 letter to Steve Canyon Story Editor Sid Carroll.
I previously reported that this episode played on NBC exactly 60 years ago to the day of this screening...well, I apologize for my "senior moment, I was one day off, it was on December 20th bad.

Art by Ren Wicks that appeared in the December 1952 Esquire magazine
illustrating the first printing of Ray Bradbury's "The Gift".
You can read Ray Bradbury's entire short story "The Gift" online here and here.

I had intended to post this yesterday (Sunday) but health issues intervened. I hope you get to watch Steve Canyon "The Gift" early Wednesday December 19th 2018 at 4am Eastern time (1am Pacific time) on Decades TV. Alternately "The Gift" can be seen uncut on our The Complete Steve Canyon On TV Volume 2 DVD available from us on our web-store here and via these links on eBay and Amazon.

Watch the Steve Canyon Christmas episode "The Gift" Wednesday December 19th at 4am Eastern time (1am Pacific time) on Decades TV's LOST TV.
Finally, though I knew Ray and Maggie Bradbury a bit, and had dinner with several them times and attended a social event with them years ago, my dear friend Patricia Rogers was also a dear friend to Ray and Maggie, and this post is dedicated to her.

Ray Bradbury and Patricia Rogers

John R. Ellis
Hollywood, CA