While James Arness was on Gunsmoke, his brother Peter Graves starred in a British Western series

Yes, the British had Westerns, too. They're in Australia.

Read to Me

Yes, British television had its own Westerns, too. And, no, they are not shows about livestock ranchers in Cornwall. During the peak of Westerns' popularity on television, specifically the late-'50s and early-'60s, the United Kingdom looked to another corner of the Commonwealth for its cowboys. British television went Down Under.

The credits sequence to Whiplash, which originally aired in 1960–61, opens on a pack of kangaroos hopping across the Outback. It looks and sounds like a bizarro version of Rawhide, but with marsupials instead of cattle. Whiplash was a joint production of Australia's Seven Network and the British endeavors ATV and ITC Entertainment. But the star was a strapping young man from Minnesota.

Peter Aurness grew up with his older brother James in Minneapolis. The two boys both joined the Army in World War II and later fell into acting. James altered the family surname to Arness. Peter opted for a stage name from his maternal side, Graves.

James Arness and Peter Graves might have chosen different names, but their early careers were rather similar. As James Arness was keeping the peace in Dodge City as Marshal Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke, Peter Graves portrayed a California rancher on the horse-centric Western called Fury. Following the end of Fury in 1960, Graves headed to Australia to headline Whiplash.

Graves' character, Chris Cobb, was an American living in Australia in the 1850s to help establish a stagecoach line. Like Indiana Jones, his weapon of choice was a bullwhip.

Surrounding Graves was a cast of local Australian actors. But Graves was not the only American involved. The first episode of the series — and four out of the first eight episodes overall — were written by none other than Gene Roddenberry. The first episode featured a muscular Graves emerging topless from the ocean in a scene reminiscent of a James Bond film.

Roddenberry and the other writers pulled from history, as they lightly based the adventures on the real-life figure of Freeman Cobb. Of course, Roddenberry would go on to much bigger things later in the decade as the creator of Star Trek, while Graves headlined Mission: Impossible. Both series were a Desilu Production.

Whiplash would air on Seven in Australia and ITV in the U.K. 

After a few months of filming in and around Sydney, Graves returned to the U.S. The show was using up loads of money and, surprisingly, the available acting stock. 

"[The actors] we got were very good," Graves told a reporter in 1960. "But there just wasn't enough of them."


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nightshade 18 days ago
how long did it last? it sounds like it didn't last long ....
Wiseguy nightshade 14 days ago
One season (1960-61), in syndication, 34 episodes.
QueensJack 19 days ago
Are any plans on the horizon to show ''Fury'' ???
Keljer 20 days ago
Hope I read that correct! Your bringing back those cartoons from my decade!? Awesome!, those 90's ⚽️ mom's protested til the networks pulled them for being too violent! They don't even compare to the violence on these modern cartoon! Keep up the great programming ME TV!
tvnutt76 20 days ago
Sadly James Arness once took a script, a piece of gum and stuck them on William Windom's head. Gunsmoke was also the reason Windom's My World and Welcome to It lost in the ratings. Meanwhile Peter Graves appeared on The Farmer's Daughter with Windom. Mr. Windom
also appeared 4 times on MI. I always liked Mr. Graves better.
Big3Fan 20 days ago
I've always enjoyed his work on MI as well as other projects and as Captain Oveur in Airplane. "What's our vector, Victor?"
BustaNutter1 Big3Fan 19 days ago
"Give me ham on five, hold the mayo". LOVE Airplane!
Big3Fan BustaNutter1 18 days ago
"And stop calling me Shirley!"
MarkSpeck BustaNutter1 18 days ago
I borrowed the FBI DVD set from the local library that has Graves's guest appearance (the second season episode "Rope of Gold"). There's a scene where Graves is on the phone, and all I could think of was the 'Ham on five, hold the Mayo' line!
BustaNutter1 Big3Fan 18 days ago
That was Leslie Nielsen. He was so good he went on to play the lead in The Naked Gun movies and TV show.
Big3Fan BustaNutter1 18 days ago
Police Squad was a great series. I remember being really disappointed when it got canceled after only six episodes. I do have the complete series on DVD though.
justjeff 20 days ago
My previous post (to which MrsPhil Harris replied "well said) is not showing up. I'm re-posting it after these comments. I've had other posts disappear. I think MeTV is arbitrarily censoring or deleting things, which is not cool.

Here's what I'd replied to stephaniestavropoulos' post -

Let's not forget that our own country holds that same sad history for its treatment of indigenous natives. Red state, blue state or polka-dot state - anyone who says "this is my country' in any way other than as in patriotic pride is conveniently forgetful that *we* are the foreigners or descendants of foreigners who emigrated here to find a better life. Many of those found their 'better lives' by land grabs and displacement of Native Americans not relegated to the Central and Western states, but even in the Alaskan and Hawaiian territories.
woyzeck justjeff 13 days ago
I agree. Very excellent points
UTZAAKE 21 days ago
Australia's Seven Network is most famous for its Australian Open tennis telecasts.
stephaniestavropoulos 22 days ago
Anybody else anxious, looking forward to seeing, Toon In With Me, beginning 1/1/21? If not, you should be. This is the line up you've been begging and pleading METV to air. They have listened to your requests/demands.
Go to AnimationMagazine.net, for more information.
stephaniestavropoulos 22 days ago
A bit of a backstory about Australia, for those that don't know. There is no such thing as a Native Australian. Australia was first colonized as a Penal Colony with English criminals. Hence the reason for the partial Union Jack on the Aussie flag.
WHOA! The Aurness gene pool! There was some good DNA flowing through those circulatory systems!
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Was it a fly!
Here's what I found Steph (from your resource)

https://www.animationmagazine.net/tv/metv-announces-hosted-morning-classics-show-toon-in-with-me-for-2021/
Below is a quote from the announcement:

"Toon In With Me is scheduled to debut on MeTV in January 2021 with the show host and character cast performing in segments produced around timeless and beloved cartoons, starring Warner Bros. superstars Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety, Road Runner and the many other fan favorites from the Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes shorts. In addition, the theatrical cartoon library of MGM shorts that includes Tom & Jerry, Droopy Dog and the Tex Avery catalog will be part of the show. Also included are the original Popeye cartoons from Max Fleischer. In all, the library includes more than 1000 cartoons that will be seen on MeTV."

Seems like a very special (and unique) connection (contract) between the syndication offering and MeTV network. Guess they've been paying attention to all your viewer fan requests for a very long time! Congratulations for this achievement!
Pacificsun Pacificsun 20 days ago
More detail:

“Toon In With Me will evoke the hosted children’s shows of decades past, blending nostalgia, fun, charm, comedy and cartoons, reimagined with new, original, live-action characters,” said Neal Sabin, Vice Chairman of Weigel Broadcasting Co. “It all adds up to a new program for viewers of all ages, ready to share the fun and positive energy together weekday mornings.”
Jeffrey Pacificsun 19 days ago
That's nice to read & hear (so to speak) Pacificsun!! Thank you for the info.
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