Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 13 - Favorite childhood show

As a kid, there was only one show we watched on a routine basis, and it was already done airing and out on VHS.  In fact, it's the first show I saw every episode of.  That show is Five Mile Creek.  It's a little-known show that ran for three seasons on the Disney Channel from 1983 to 1985.  When I was a kid growing up in MI, we would watch two episodes every week, rented from the local video store.  I think we made it through all 39 episodes three or four times.

Five Mile Creek is loosely adapted from a Louis L'Amour book, The Cherokee Trail.  Only it's set in the Australian outback, not the American west.  It begins when an American named Maggie Scott (Louise Caire Clark) and her young daughter Hannah (Priscilla Weems) arrive in Australia in search of their husband/father, Adam Scott (Jonathan Frakes), who's already there hunting for gold.  He's supposed to meet up with them at the port, but he never does, so Maggie and Hannah find a temporary haven with Kate Wallace (Liz Burch).  Kate's just starting up a way station for the fledgling coach line, the Australian Express.  Kate asks Maggie to stay and help out until Adam comes to get her, as Kate's only help at the way station is a somewhat disreputable Irishman, Paddy Malone (Michael Caton).

Con and Jack driving a coach.
 The Australian Express is run by an Aussie named Jack Taylor (Rod Mullinar) and another Yank who came on the same ship as Maggie and Hannah.  His name is Conway Madigan (Jay Kerr), and he's an honest-to-goodness Texas cowboy and one of my earliest crushes.  These are the main characters, along with an orphan named Sam (Martin Lewis) and an old muleskinner pal of Con's named Ben Jones (Gus Mercurio) who join us later.  Eventually, in the later episodes, we also meet up with a former Pony Express rider named Matt Buckland (Shannon Presby) and a spunky sheepherder named Annie (a young and gorgeous Nicole Kidman).  And I can't forget Charlie Withers (Peter Carroll), the banker who grudgingly loans the Australian Express its start-up money.

Jay Kerr as Con Madigan
They encounter bush rangers, they fall in and out of love, they deal with all kinds of trials and tribulations, and they form a make-shift family in the process.  All that, with horses, a bit of gun play now and then (generally involving Con Madigan), and completely gorgeous scenery.  Because my favorite movie since I was 2 has been The Man from Snowy River, which is also set and filmed in Australia, I was primed to love this show, and love it I do.  I own the first season on DVD, and fervently wish Disney would release the other two seasons.  Meanwhile, I'm acquiring the VHS tapes of the remaining eps.

Nicole Kidman as Annie
Cowboy asked me why it's called Five Mile Creek.  It's because the way station is situated next to a creek called Five Mile Creek.  One can assume it is five miles long, or five miles from somewhere.  They never really explain, at least not that I can recall.

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