| FIRE FIGHTING, GUIDES PROVIDED, FISHING TRIPS, ANIMALS TRAINED, RESCUE WORK UNDERTAKEN, MAIN DEPOT of the INDIAN RIVER JUNIOR FOREST RANGERS
Does this ring a bell? What Canadian kid growing up in the 1960's or 1970's could forget the immensely popular television series The Forest Rangers or the opening melodic theme? This catchy musical piece met the colourful backdrop of wilderness scenes set in Ontario's Great Outdoors. Here, a group of kids- Junior Forest Rangers- live, work and play in a large Hudson's Bay fort, while their older and wiser friends from the village of Indian River keep watch. (Indian River lies on the south-east side of Algonquin Park, north-east of Barry's Bay, with a population of 317). The junior rangers were the envy of many kids the world over for they came complete with a fort, CB radios, walkie-talkies, canoes, horses, ranger t-shirts, a Smokey the Bear flag and most of all-- "ADVENTURE!!"
The rangers usually manage to become heroes by putting out forest fires, rescuing people and thwarting villains with the aid of an RCMP officer named Sergeant Brian Scott (legendary Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent); the Indian River "Department of Lands and Forests" Chief Forest Ranger, George Keeley (Graydon Gould); and the local Metis-Ojibway guide, Joe Two Rivers (Michael Zenon).
The Junior Forest Rangers live in a "Never-never land, unmarred by schools or parents, in which the only rules are the rules of conservation." Though the kids always manage to get involved in trouble, there is little violence involved; mainly just threats from wayward adults who put themselves in danger because they didn't heed the advice of the Chief Ranger. In the end, the wrong-doers are usually brought back to the Chief Ranger's (Department of Lands and Forests) office and scolded, but are rarely handed over to the law. However, I can recall a few of my favourite episodes where lawbreakers are brought to Sgt. Scott's office for punishment (check the Episode Synopsis section for the episode "Hole in the Ice").
Here are the names of the junior rangers and the actors who played them:
Chub Stanley- Ralph Endersby (My Side of the Mountain, Rip-off, Homer)
Pete Keeley- Rex Hagon (Polka Dot Door, The Reincarnate, Drop In)
Kathy- Susan Conway (Adventures in Rainbow Country, Return To Oz, Drop In, Rip-off, Heartaches)
Mike Forbes- Peter Tully (Macbeth)
Gaby LaRoche- Syme Jago (The Incredible Journey, A Very Special Pair of Shoes)
Zeke- Ronald Cohoon (The Incredible Journey)
Danny Bailey- Mathew Ferguson
Ted Keeley- George Allan (The Boy King, A Very Special Pair of Shoes, My Side of the Mountain)
Johnny O'Reilly- Michael Tully
Herbert- Kenneth Ponzo
Timmy Forbes- Simon Tully (The Johnstown Monster)
There were also some other major colourful characters on the show:
Uncle Raoul LaRoche (Rolland Bedard, La Famille Plouffe)- a lovable French Canadian personality.
Mr. John Angus Mcleod (Joe Austin, The Beachcombers, Razzle Dazzle)- the 100 year old, ornary, yet likeable gold prospector.
Deputy Ranger Brody (Tom Harvey, Bizarre, Spiderman cartoon)- the dimwitted and by-the-book backup to Ranger Keeley.
Matt Craig (Eric Cryderman, Face-off)- the towerman over at Pike Fire Tower Lookout.
Shing Wauk (Eric Clavering, The Incredible Journey)- the old Ojibway Indian medicine man.
Ms. Aggie Apple (Barbara Hamilton, Road to Avonlea, Check it Out, Razzle Dazzle)- the owner of the marina and restaurant.
Radio Operator Dobbie (Steven Barringer)- the CB radio operator at the Chief Ranger's Office.
Charlie Appleby (Gerard Parkes, Fraggle Rock)- the low-flying RCAF pilot and WW1 ace.
Fred Cooper (Doug Master, Maggie Muggins)- the Indian River General Store owner.
The Forest Rangers was seen on The CBC every Saturday afternoon at 5 pm EST and was in production from 1963 to 1965. It has remained in syndication ever since, popping up on different channels the world over. As the CBC Times wrote in a 1966 column, "The Norwegians called it Skogwokterkklubben. We know it as "The Forest Rangers." But in any language it's "Great," according to young viewers in the 40 countries where this popular Canadian-made outdoor adventure series is seen." Countries as far away as Australia, Hungary, Portugal, Peru, Argentina, Jamaica, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, The Philippines and Hong Kong had the show running on their tv sets.
The show became the most profitable and successful tv show in Canadian history up to that point in the mid 1960's. It was also one of the first programs filmed in high production colour in the world. Looking back it's hard to believe that 104 complete episodes could have been made in the span of only 2.5 years.
|LINKS (CLICK ON ONE BELOW)|
|Production of the Forest Rangers|
|Complete Episode Synopsis|
|New Photos from the Show|
|Facts and Filming Locations|
|Forest Rangers Reunion 2004|
|Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Click this Guestbook Archive here to see six of the junior rangers who have signed in.|
|To see a photo montage of the show with the theme music click here. The theme music was written by John Bath (his photo).|
|To learn about what happened to the former actors from the show and what they are up to these days click here.|
|To see all of my other web sites click here. There are some Forest Rangers photos and stories on this page that you will truly enjoy- McLeod's shack was also found as were the fire towers used in the series.
|The 40th Anniversary Reunion of the show was a resounding success with the cast and fans. The Indian River Junior Forest Rangers from left to right are: Jesse (Ron) Cohoon, Susan Conway, Ralph Endersby, Syme Jago, Rex Hagon, and all the way from Ireland- Peter Tully. A 50 year reunion was held, June 15, 2013 with Gordon Pinsent and 9 junior rangers in attendance and all the photos can be seen at the facebook page link at the top of this page. CLICK HERE for details and photos of the June 19th, 2004 history making event. |
The "Adventures in Rainbow Country" Reunion held Aug 11-13, 2006 in the LaCloche Mountains at Whitefish Falls, ON was another great success. We had Buckley Petawabano and others there for the weekend-long festivities. Check the link for all the details and photos.