Fun fact: both Rick Ely and Alex Henteloff guest starred in episodes of M*A*S*H years after The Young Rebels went off the air, Henteloff in February 1973 and Ely in February 1974. The Young Rebels aren’t so young anymore. The series turns 45 today. It debuted on ABC on Sunday, September 20th, 1970. My article about the series can be found here.
Although it may have been a failure, cancelled after just 15 episodes, The Young Rebels had a lot of young fans back in 1970. Just not enough to keep it on the air. It also produced quite a bit of memorabilia for such a short-lived show, with two tie-in novels and a single tie-in comic book from Dell. I reviewed the second tie-in novel back in June 2009 and the comic book a few months later in September 2009.
The series was set in Chester, Pennsylvania. Rick Ely, Alex Henteloff and Lou Gossett starred as the young members of the Yankee Doodle Society dedicated to supporting the fight against the British during the Revolutionary War. Rounding out the cast was Hilarie Thompson, who played the girlfriend of Ely’s character. Philippe Forquet appeared in many episodes as General Lafayette.
Not surprisingly, The Young Rebels wasn’t always historically accurate. Scrolling text and voiceover at the end of every episode attempted to put people and events in their proper historical context but the closing credits also included the following disclaimer: “Some of the dates, events, and people in this episode were fictional.”
Critics were not kind to the series, which was yet another try at youthful “relevance” by one of the networks. I’ve seen a few episodes of The Young Rebels and they were entertaining enough. From the comments left at my article I’m guessing many of the viewers who enjoyed the series back in 1970 were young women who thought Rick Ely was cute. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you loved The Young Rebels, regardless of your feelings about Ricky Ely, hit the comments with your memories.