"Hi-Yi Kalamakooya kama-kiya!"
Four Feather Falls is a fictional Western town,
and it's the home of Sheriff Tex
Tucker. He's an All-American cowboy with magical
gun skills, and the ability
to talk to his animal pals Rocky the horse, and Dusty
the dog. He acquired
these mighty useful abilities from four magical
feathers, given to him by Chief
Kalamakooya, and thanks to him and them Tex has
become a legend in his
own lifetime, he keeps the streets clean
of trouble, and the townsfolk darn-near
idolise him, especially Little Jake who yearns
for the day he too can take on
grizzled villains like Pedro, Fernando and Big
Ben in a sharp-shootin'
This rootin'-tootin' puppet series shot from the
minds of Barry Gray
and Gerry Anderson, and it was the first Anderson series
to have been
produced directly by him. Predecessors "Twizzle"
and "Torchy the Battery
Boy" had both been produced by Roberta Leigh.
It's a super production,
and the first to utilise that special string-and-radio-controlled
combination that went on to be known as "Supermarionation",
that famous billing didn't premiere until the
arrival of the next Anderson
There's real confidence driving the show, as if
the team have finally been able to step out in
to the limelight and
cut loose with their first all-action project.
horse! - You've made him talk!
But he's got the darnedest English accent!"
We learn how Tex acquired his magic feathers in the
very first episode,
it all Began". You see, Tex took care of little Makooya, who
in the desert. And Makooya just happened to be the young
son of Chief
Kalamakooya. As a thank you, the chief conjured forth
water and food,
in the form of a great waterfall and an orchard that
sprung up in its wake.
And he gave Tex four magic feathers from his headdress.
The first enabled Tex
to speak with Rocky and the second allowed him to talk
with Dusty. But only
Tex could converse with them, you understand, the animals
heard by regular folks. As for the third and fourth
feathers, well, they put
some magic in his guns, allowing them to fire without
Tex even touching
them. And the town of Four Feather Falls takes its name from
founding encounter. So
we don't forget, we're reminded of the feathers
and their magical properties in an introductory voice-over
at the start
of each episode.
Back in the day, Western adventures were all the rage,
with the likes of
"Wagon Train", "Gunsmoke" and "Bonanza"
wiping the floor with the
schedules each week, and the cowboy was a staple role-play
kids here in blighty. So after two science-fiction adventure
and Torchy) it
made sense for Gerry Anderson and his team to turn
West for their next adventure series.
Tex isn't as famous today as the supermarionated sci-fi
"Thunderbirds" et al, but he's still a star Sheriff,
and "Four Feather Falls".
is a magical series that's defies its age. Perhaps
its the sharpness of
the stories, they play upon all the cowboy tropes that
you'd expect with
their grizzled bad guys, quick draws, shoot-outs, clinking
clopalong horses. They're not shy, either, and there's plenty
of talk about
killin' and gunnin' folks down cold. It's the kind of talk
that's almost been
erased from our kids TV schedules. And what a contrast
to the slight
and - if we're honest - slightly twee tales of
Torchy and Twizzle that
Of course, there are also all those fabulous marionette
puppets, with their
beautiful blinking heads, and there are some equally-splendid
show. But what really brings it all together is the music,
because - darn it -
"Four Feather Falls" also celebrates the campfire
cowboy in all his singsong
glory. There's the thundercracking opening drums,
and the loping harmonica
twang of "Two Gun Tex" which ends each
tale. And in between there's
mellow ol' Tex himself, moseying around town with tunes
"Two Gun Tex from Texas,
will never let you down..."
Tex's singing voice was provided by Michael Holliday.
He could croon with
the best of them, and had a voice as smooth and as mellow
as Bing Crosby.
was a Big Deal at the time, having recently had a number one hit
with "Starry Eyed" and AP Films paid a handsome
£2000 for his talents.
He provided five songs that circulated through the series. Alas,
died of an overdose in 1963. He was only 38 years old. He's
recalled by fans of a certain age, but he could have been
like ol' Tex Tucker.
And whilst we're voicing opinion, you might like to
note that Nicholas
Parsons gave Tex his speaking voice. He got the job
via a recommendation
from his wife, Denise Bryer. If you grew up in the seventies
you'll know that
his name is synonymous with the TV gameshow "Sale of
He wasn't the only star voice, though, because "Carry
Kenneth Connor was on the bill too. He'd previously provided
voices for "Torchy", and here he took on Rocky
and Dusty and more!
The series premiered on ITV on Thursday 25th February
1960 at 5.00pm
and featured on the cover of that week’s "TV Times"