Friday, June 29, 2018

Forgotten Western Heroes ---Straight Arrow

  Straight Arrow was a radio show on the Mutual Radio Network from 1949-1951 I was born in 1941 so i was very young at the time, but I listened faithfully and was thrilled at the amazing adventures of of an Indian version of the Lone Ranger. He used gold arrow heads as the Lone Ranger used silver bullets.This time the hero was a full blooded Comanche Indian, raised by white people and passed for white. In adulthood he would pose as the young owner of the Broken Bow Ranch. His white man name was Steve Adams. Note the initials are the same as Straight Arrow. His friend and sidekick was a Gabby Hayes type older man, named Packy McLeod. When trouble arose, Steve would don the garb and and identity of Straight Arrow and bring evildoers to justice. This was exciting fair for a little boy experiencing the fantastic world of imagination as old time radio provided in its day. This is something, I fear current generations could not and would not accept.        The show aired at 5:00 pm every Tuesday and Thursday. Howard Culver starred as Steve and Straight Arrow. Years later he would portray Howie, the hotel keeper on Gunsmole. He was a little man and looked nothing like the way Straight Arrow was portrayed in a later comic book version as shown above. Much can be said about talented voice actors of the time who were great for radio and could personify leading and heroic parts in an audience's imagination, but did not have the physical looks for such parts in visual mediums.
  The show was sponsored by Nabisco Shredded Wheat. It came in a different shaped cereal box, which was  squarish all the way around, including depth-wise; not tall like most cereal boxes. There was a picture of Niagara Fall on the package and proclaimed it came direct from there, as their plant was in Buffalo, NY. The biscuits were not sealed in paper as they are today, but packed open in layers separated by a cardboard divider. These dividers were printed with the likeness of Straight Arrow. These were called Injun-Nuity Cards. They would have  pictures, descriptions and instructions to make Indian item such as bows, arrows, lances, moccasins, traps etc Also there would be first aid tips and instructions for horsemanship. These cards were also meant to be colored with crayon. This meant that hours of fun could be had from these free premiums. You could collect them all. I believe there were 32 in all.
   My favorite part of the show was when Steve rode off to his secret cave and turned into Straight Arrow. It was the same exact words by the announcer every time. To this day I remember it well, perhaps with a few mistakes along the way, but this is how I remember it:

  A short distance from the Broken Bow Ranch House, lies Sundown Valley and through it, a secret entrance known only to Steve Adams and Packy; a subteranean cave. The walls of the cave glitter with the sparkle of gold and the illumination of light from an unknown source. Comanche bow, Comanche arrows and Comanche garb hang on the wall and in the shimmering light stands the great golden stallion, Fury.

                    "Steady Fury"

    In a moment Steve Adams, rancher, is gone, and in his place...........

                 "Yes, Fury. It is I; STRAIGHT ARROW!"

   A clatter of hooves in the vast vaulted cave and out into the sunlight, riding bareback and clad in Indian garb from head to toe; STRAIGHT ARROW ON THE TRAIL OF JUSTICE!

                                      "KAN-NEE-WAY, FURY"

Such were the days!

Thanks for riding the trail.

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