Doris Day Show on DVD June Cleaver book

Doris Day Christmas Shows on DVD Doris Day Season 1 on DVD Thunderbirds on DVD Classic Commercials on DVD Tennesee Tuxedo on DVD Fractured Fairy Tales on DVD

 

TV western Dirty SallyDIRTY SALLY

by Cary O’Dell
 
Even among the very crowded genre of the TV western, it stands out.  And even among the long, long line of interesting women who have populated the small screen over the years, there have been very few like her:  tough, wise, unconcerned with vanity, and deeply, deeply self-reliant.
 
The series, and the character, is 1974’s “Dirty Sally.”  
 
The ballad of “Dirty Sally,” began on TV’s greatest and longest-running western, “Gunsmoke.”  In 1971, “Gunsmoke’s” 16th season on the air, they aired a two-part episode titled “Pike.”  It featured guest star Jeanette Nolan as a new Dodge character, the aforementioned Dirty Sally.
 
Sally was 67 year-old Sally Fergus who lived alone—save for her mule, named Worthless—in a run-down shanty about a few miles outside of town.  She eked out a living by gathering up items dropped by traveling stagecoaches and selling them in town.  The locals called her “Dirty Sally” for her unkempt appearance, uncombed hair and patchwork appearance.
 
The Pike of the episode’s title is young gunman Cyrus Pike (played by handsome Dack Rambo) who Sally happens upon one day.  Wounded in a gunfight, Sally takes Pike back to her shack and nurses him back to health while also protecting him from his greedy and vengeful former partners. 
 
As one can imagine, an most unlikely friendship emerges between these two disparate characters.
 
Originally aired in March of 1971, the Dirty Sally episodes received an extraordinary response from viewers—reportedly generating the most fan mail ever in the series’ already legendary run.


 
The episode would also win its scriptwriter Jack Miller the award that year for best TV script by the Western Writers of America.  There was also much talk of lead Nolan being Emmy-nominated for her work but a clerical error by the studio or network, failed to get her name submitted in time.
 
Nevertheless, emboldened by the success of the episodes, CBS and the “Gunsmoke” producers decided that a spin-off for Sally and her new young friend was feasible.  Surprisingly, “Dirty Sally” would become “Gunsmoke’s” only realized spin-off series.
 
Originally, “Gunsmoke” producer John Mantley envisioned the new series as following Sally and Pike moving further westward and encountering interesting people and events along the way.  Ultimately deemed too expense for shoot as a “road” series, “Dirty Sally” premiered as a more single-location-type series.
 
Nolan and Rambo were both signed to recreate their original roles.
 
Jeanette Nolan, age 63 at the time she took on full-time the role of the 67-year old Sally, was a well-respected and prolific character actress known for her work on both TV and in film.  Along with a long list of guest spots, TV watchers probably knew her best for her roles on “The Virginian” (1963-1970) and as a member of the stock company on the innovative anthology series “The Richard Boone Show” (1963-64).  Her Sally was cantankerous but loving and Nolan played her with equal parts eccentricity and heart. 
 
Her young co-star was Dack Rambo.  Rambo and his twin brother, Dirk Rambo, began his career at age 21 playing the sons of Loretta Young on her 1962-63 series “The New Loretta Young Show.”  (Young discovered the duo when she saw them sitting in a church pew.)  Afterward, the Young series, Dack would have roles on the series “Never Too Young” (1966) and “The Guns of Will Sonnett” (1967-69).
 
Unlike its parent program, “Gunsmoke,” each of “Sally’s” episodes would only be a half-hour in length.  And unlike the classic shootouts and saloon fights to be found on “’Smoke” and other popular Westerns of the day, “Sally” sometimes bent towards comedy.  This was especially true in an episode late in the series, where ego gets the best of Pike when he undertakes his stage debut in a locally-produced melodrama.
 
“Dirty Sally” debuted on January 11, 1974.  It would run 14 episodes and then be put out to pasture.  During its endurance, it attracted some interesting guest stars, both veterans of the industry and up-and-comers.  Among them:  Annette O’Toole, Beulah Bondi, Millie Perkins, Denver Pyle, and Harold Gould.  Appearing the show’s debut episode, was long-time character actor John McIntire, Nolan’s real-life husband.
 
Over the course of the series, Sally (unkempt as ever) and Pike had a variety of adventures with them, usually, stumbling upon someone in need and choosing to help them out.  In one installment, they help an ex-solider get off the bottle; in another, they go all “My Fair Lady” on a tomboy-ish young maiden (played by the previously mentioned O’Toole); and, in another, help a family of five orphans trying to stick together and survive on the prairie.
 
After airing its 14 Friday-night episodes, “Dirty Sally” got cancelled, the victim, as always, of low ratings.  The reason for its low viewership is, probably, multiple.  Despite the presence of shows like “Annie Oakley” and Barbara Stanwyck on “Big Valley,” a female-led Western was probably a tough sell as a weekly program.  Additionally, the entire TV Western genre, after being so dominate in the 1960s, was beginning to wane by this time and “Sally,” sadly came along to ride this stagecoach.  Finally, the heady mix of comedy elements, a half-hour running time, plus keeping it a proper Western to please the purists probably confused as many viewers as it attracted.
 
The show’s demise, however, did nothing to slowdown the careers of either of its stars.  The lovely Nolan—almost unrecognizable out of her “Dirty Sally” fright wig and make-up—went right back to guest spot after guest spot.  There was hardly a show of the 1970s or ‘80s she didn’t appear in.  She had her last role in 1998, in the big screen’s “The Horse Whisperer.”  Nolan passed away 1998 at age 86.
 
Dack Rambo, 33 at the time of the series, would also keep working and become a very familiar face to TV viewers and enjoy reoccurring roles on shows like “Paper Dolls,” “Dallas” and on the soaps “Another World” and “All My Children.”  Rambo’s life often, however, contained tragedy.  His brother died in 1967, in a car accident.  Rambo, who was bisexual, died of AIDS-related causes in 1994; he was only 52 years old.
 
Despite its brief run, “Dirty Sally” remains a deeply interesting, even significant, program.  Not only in terms of its mixing of genres—and generations—but certainly in its depiction of its vitally important lead female character.  As a persona, Sally seems to pick up where Irene Ryan’s Granny from “The Beverly Hillbillies” left off.  A woman completely self-possessed and unencumbered—and completely unconcerned by male/patriarchal conventions.  A woman that couldn’t even be put down by being called “dirty,” but, instead, seemed to wear it as a revolutionary compliment.


 

TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!

TV western Dirty Sally

 

 

Local Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Video Vault / TV Goodbyes / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / More Modern TV Shows / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog

TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!
Classic TV on the Internet!

Television's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the 1970s / The Eighties / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments

Hit Shows of the Seventies: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy / Gene Roddenberry in the 1970s / 1977-1978 Superhero & Science Fiction TV Shows / Funniest SNL Skit Ever! / Prisoner: Cell Block H / Why John Amos Left Good Times / Reviving Match Game / TV Dads Talk Sex & Fatherhood / Angie Dickinson Blows Off This Is Your Life / Orson Welles' Last Interview / Best Columbo Episodes / One of the Most Controversial Episodes of All In The Family / Outside Chance / Norman Mailer & Muhammad Ali / Charles Nelson Reilly Flops on Broadway / Dirty Sally / The Protectors / Chevy Chase Talks Hollywood Cocaine Parties / 1977 Season Show Openings / Tim Conway's 'The Dentist' Sketch / Henry Winkler on His Happy Days Audition / Patrick Duffy of Dallas Interview / Wonder Woman Leaves Paradise Island / 1972-73 TV Season / George Burns on the Carson Tonight Show in 1989 / Best Season of Dallas Ever? / Ken Berry Interview / Why Barney Miller Ended / Vivian Vance Almost Joined the Cast of Rhoda / Marilu Henner Talks About Andy Kaufman / Cher on Mike Douglas 1979 / TV Show Book Tie-Ins / 1972 Jackie Robinson Interview / Dr. Strange 1978 TV Movie / Kathy Garver Interview / Space: 1999 / Mary Kay Place Albums of the 1970s / The Supremes - Mary Wilson vs Diana Ross / 1974 Tom Snyder Our Gang Special / Remembering Ken Berry / Bruce / Caitllyn Jenner? / Billy Crash Craddock Interview / Melissa McCarthy Almost Quit Acting Days Before Landing Gilmore Girls / Bar Rescue's Wildest Customers! / TV HITS - By the Numbers / Alex Baldwin On His TV and Film Roles / Top Ten Sitcoms of the 1970s / James Cameron Made No Money for Titanic / Growing Up In The Playboy Mansion / Ed McMahon Drunk on the Air! / Lucy Interviewed by Barbara Walters / Valerie Harper Cancer / Jeff Bridges Breaks Down His Iconic Roles / Dallas vs Eight is Enough / 1974 MAD Magazine TV Special - Never Aired! / Iconic M*A*S*H Restaurant Coming To Kroger? / When Lucy Got Fired / Partridge Family and Brady Bunch at Kings Island theme park 1972-73 / Awkward Talk Show Moments / Allan Blye Interview / Jack Benny's Last Tonight Show 1974 / Patricia Heaton's Audition for Everybody Loves Raymond / Luke Perry's Last Role / Johnny Cash's Last Interview / Judy Garland's Last Film / Richard Dreyfuss vs Bill Murray / Jeff Ross vs Everybody / Tennessee Williams 1972 Interview / Ed Asner Interview / Norm Macdonald vs OJ Simpson / Tony Kornheiser Interview / Freddy's Nightmares TV Series / Emmy Award Multiple Winners / Nathaniel Taylor aka Rollo Lawson / Mary Kay Place Albums of the 1970s / That Girl & TV's Single Working Women / Can You Identify These Stars? / Betty White vs Joan Rivers / Paul Lynde's Greatest Hollywood Squares Zingers / Sonny Comedy Revue / Star Trek Animated / Dark Shadows / Hal Linden Interview / Dark Shadows Movies / Dark Shadows Novels / The Night Stalker / One of the Funniest Carol Burnett Show Skits Ever / Fred 'The Hammer' Williamson / Johnny Carson interviews Lucille Ball / Dawn Wells / Betty White : An Appreciation / Bette Davis' 2 Best Interviews 1971 / Barbara Eden Interview / Gavin McLeod / Spider-Man 77 / The Next Step Beyond / The Music Dark Shadows / 1970 TV Shows / Mike Connors Remembered / Mike Wallace, Virginia Graham & Jim Longworth / Dick Clark / Woody Allen Hosts Tonight Show 1971 / Carson Tonight Show / Alan Alda Interview / Jackie Gleason Show / 1973 TV Shows / Thriller / Post Modern Sitcoms / Elvis in Greensboro / Remembering Dick Van Patten / TV Dating Shows / The Jacksons TV Show / Fall Previews of the 70s / Lance Link, Secret Chimp / Star Wars Holiday Special / Alias Smith and Jones / 1977 Year in Review / Top Ten 1970-76 / The Rockford Files / All in the Family / Sam Hall (Dark Shadows) Interview / Actor Ed Nelson / Death of Archie / Battlestar Galactica / Wonder Woman / Network Jingles / Class of '74 / Happy Days / Good Times / Mr. Bill / Dinah! / Maude / Doris Day Show / Pamelyn Ferdin Interview / The Bicentennial Minute / Jingles & Catch Phrases of the 1970s / Early Cable TV 1970s / TV commercials for Women / TV Moms / Country Music TV Shows of the 1960s & 1970s / Betty White Show / Ron Palillo / Shirley Jones Interview / Tom Bosley / Rodney Dangerfield / How Sanford & Son Ended / Sanford & Son Spin-Off Grady / Great Memoirs / Virginia Graham Show / The "N" Word on TV / 10 Classic Comedy Routines You Have To Laugh At Before You Die / Hollywood Squares / 1970's Teen Idols & The Hudson Brothers / TV Stars with 3 Hit Shows / The Rookies / Unsold Pilots / Jackie Cooper / The Good Guys / Match Game / Make Room For Granddaddy / Mannix & Gail Fisher / Bette Midler in the 1970s / Bonus 1970's Stuff: Silent Star Marion Mack / Biff Burger / 1970s Fast Food Chains / Latin Casino / Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire / 1970's Daytime Talk Shows / The Fess Parker Show / Brady Bunch Sex Dungeon? / Love, Loss & What I Watched

Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / 1970's TV / Groucho vs William F Buckley / / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / Classic Cars / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Rockford Files / Sea Hunt / 1970s Commercial Jingles / Superman on DVD / Toy Gun Ads / Flip Wilson Show / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / What's In Oprah's Purse? / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / 1966 ABC TV Shows / 1967 TV Shows / 1968 TV Shows / Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll / Fridays / TV Moms / Red Skelton / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / ABC Movie of the Week / The Goldbergs / Daws Butler Commercials / Saturday Morning Commercials / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Amos 'n' Andy / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You / Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Commercial Icons of the 1960s / Soupy Sales / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor Show / George Burns / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More! 

Diver Dan TV show on DVD Little Rascals on DVD Soupy Sales Show on DVD Saturday Morning Cartoons 1970s V1 on DVD Patty Duke Show on DVD

Book About Greensboro

Tennessee Tuxedo on DVD
Looking for classic TV on DVD? See below:
Everything
you're looking
for is right here:


Save money!