Radio Range Riders by Boyd Magers

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“Straight Arrow”
by Boyd Magers

Howard Culver as Straight Arrow.“Straight Arrow” initially began May 6, 1948, on the West Coast Don Lee network for 30 minutes on Thursday night at 8pm Pacific Time. The series moved to a three times a week format (Monday/Tuesday/ Thursday) at 5pm on Mutual on February 7, 1949. In February 1950 “Straight Arrow” became a Tuesday and Thursday 5pm show until June, 1951.

All 292 scripts were written by Sheldon Stark.

Howard Culver starred as Steve Adams, a young orphan of Comanche descent who was taken in by a ranching family and raised as a white man. In early adulthood Steve was told an Indian legend about a fabulous warrior who would someday appear to right wrongs. Steve himself was able to fulfill that destiny riding out of his secret gold cave in Sundown Valley astride Fury, a magnificent golden palomino.

The opening signature intoned by announcer Frank Bingham said it all—

“INDIAN DRUMBEATS. ANNOUNCER, CHANTING INDIAN-STYLE:
“N-a-b-i-s-c-o
Nabisco is the name to know.
For a breakfast you can’t beat,
Try Nabisco Shredded Wheat!
MUSIC UP (INDIAN THEME).
Keen eyes fixed on a flying target!
A gleaming arrow set against a rawhide string!
A strong bow bent almost to the breaking point!
And then…”
SOUND OF ARROW BEING SHOT (A SHIMMERING ORGAN TREMOLO EFFECT INDICATING FLIGHT). FOLLOWED BY THE ARROW’S IMPACT.
“Straaaaaiiiiight Arrow!”
MUSIC UP (DRIVING INDIAN THEME).
“To friends and neighbors alike, Steve Adams appeared to be nothing more than the young owner of the Broken Bow cattle spread. But when danger threatened innocent people, and when evil-doers plotted against justice, then Steve Adams, rancher, disappeared…and in his place came a mysterious stalwart Indian, wearing the dress and warpaint of a Comanche, and riding the great golden palomino Fury…galloping out of the darkness to take up the cause of law and order throughout the West comes the legendary figure of…
STRAAAAAIIIIIGHT ARROW!”

Fred Howard as Packy, Howard Colver as Straight Arrow. (Art by Bobb Lynes.)Straight Arrow’s true identity was known only to his grizzled sidekick, Packy McCloud (played by Fred Howard). Straight Arrow’s cry to his golden stallion “Ka-Nee-Wah, Fury!” was boomed through an echo chamber giving it a formidable sound. Using authentic-sounding Indian phrases such as “Manituwah” (farewell), Howard Culver modified his voice as he changed from Steve to Straight Arrow, much like Bud Collyer did when switching from Clark Kent to Superman.

Howard Culver.Born in 1918 in Colorado, Howard Culver’s (left) first radio shows were for CBS when he was in high school after the family re-located to Hollywood. He was heard on dozens of dramas and anthologies and for a brief time in ‘48 played Ellery Queen. He began working on TV in ‘52 with his most memorable role as Dodge House desk clerk Howie on “Gunsmoke”. Culver died in 1984.

Straight Arrow comic book.The series produced many boxtop premiums, on-package items and retail collectibles including a Mystic Wrist Kit, Injun-Uity cards, feather headband, war drum, jigsaw puzzle, plastic powder horn, brass portrait ring, golden nugget picture ring, tribal shoulder patch, target game, Rite-A-Lite Arrowhead, finger puppets, and more. ME Comics issued 55 STRAIGHT ARROW comics from ‘50-‘56, outlasting the radio show. There was even a newspaper strip syndicated to about 200 newspapers from July ‘50 to August ‘51.

 

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