I get a lot of e-mails from people asking me about television shows, made-for-TV movies or miniseries they remember from years or decades past. I try to answer each question as best I can. Every now and then I like to dig through my inbox and pull out a few choice e-mails to answer here at Television Obscurities for everyone to read. Keep reading for today’s questions and answers.
Am I the only one who remembers an old show called Cannonball? It was in the late 50’s, about two truckers that traveled the country in their semi.
Cannonball was created by Robert Maxwell, one of the producers of The Adventures of Superman and the man responsible for Lassie. The New York Times reported on July 8th, 1958 that the series would be produced by Normandie Productions, Ltd. (the Canadian arm of Television Programs of America) with production set to begin in Toronto on July 14th . Television Programs of America was responsible for filmed programs like Private Secretary, Fury, Halls of Ivy and Last of the Mohicans, among others.
In September 1958, Television Programs of America and Normandie Productions were sold to the Independent Television Corporation .On December 3rd, a full-page advertisement in The New York Times for Independent Television Corporation called Cannonball a “stirring human-interest series about truckers on the highway to high adventure” . It was one of four shows the company had in production for “national sale” (the others were The Four Just Men, The Adventures of Tom Swift and Interpol Calling).
Paul Birch and William Campbell starred in Cannonball as Mike Malone, nicknamed Cannonball, and Jerry Austin, truckers working for C & A Transport who spent their days driving a big rig across Canada and the United States. Howard Milsom played Harry Butler, their dispatcher.Rounding out the cast were Beth Lockerbie, Beth Morris and Steve Barringer as Mike’s wife Mary and his children Ginny and Butch.
The series premiered in Canada on Monday, October 6th, 1958, broadcast by CBC. Because it was syndicated locally in the United States there was no nation-wide premiere date. But it appears the show wasn’t seen until 1959. Cannonball premiered in Los Angeles, for example, on Monday, May 18th, 1959 airing on KHJ from 8:30-9PM. In New York City, the series was seen on Fridays from 7:30-8PM beginning October 16th, 1959. And it aired on WGN-TV in Chicago from 8:30-9PM (7:30-8PM local time) starting on October 30th, 1959.
A total of 39 episodes of Cannonball were produced. In addition to Canada and the United States, the series was also seen in the United Kingdom. I’m afraid I don’t know who sang the theme song.