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Annie Oakley TV Series (1954-1957)

by on 2012/06/17

“It is not fair, it is unjust.”

* * *

Last month, Miss_Tree attended “The F-Word,” a week-long enrichment mini-course on feminism at Carleton University. I was regaled every night with long, passionate speeches about the history of feminism, gay rights and equality.

She explained to every person she encountered over the course of that week that, “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.” I had something in my eye when she framed her course certificate with a pro-choice poster and hung it in her bedroom.

I am proud of her. I decided early in Miss_Tree life I wanted to show her – every, single day – that a woman could be strong and self-reliant. That women weren’t victims.

So far, so good.

Between the two of us, we never had to depend on anyone to make our way. We pay our own bills, own our own home and have made a life together – a fiercely independent life. If I can give my favourite teenager one thing – it is that passion for self-sufficiency.

It is the best feeling in the world and it will set her free.

Phoebe Ann (Annie) Moses was only eight when she started shooting and hunting to support her siblings and her widowed mother. At the age of 15, she went up against a travelling marksman at a local hotel and won.

She became the legendary Annie Oakley. Sharp-shooter, philantrophist, quiet activist, awesome, powerful lady. She was frontierswoman fierce, a survivor.

The Annie Oakley television series ran from 1954-1957 and starred Gail Davis. Gail Davis had the shiniest braids, a pluckiest attitude, all crammed into Annie Oakley’s signature fringed outfit. This character wasn’t just self-sufficient, she had so much power, the whole town looked to Annie to help them.

Annie had a few trusty sidekicks, handsome, affable Deputy Sheriff Lofty Craig (Brad Johnson), and comic relief and little brother Tagg is played by Billy Gray (The Day the Earth Stood Still).

Annie stands up for the little guy – the Chinese laundry man who is the victim of a frame up aimed at stealing away his valuable property. She’s the executor of a lonely barber’s will with special instructions to find his long-lost daughter. She’s brave, dedicated and accomplished.

This black and white television classic with its built-in advertisements for TV Time-brand popcorn was a lot more than your standard fare 1950s wholesome family entertainment, it was a slow, deliberate step in the right direction.

Lasting three seasons, and 81 episodes, Gail Davis as Annie was powerful and positive. She rode with a purpose. She was a trick rider, handy with a gun and defiantly, relentlessly honest.

Dusting off this old chestnut for the GeekvsGoth.com western month, I think every girl needs a role model like Annie – especially in times like these. It will make for a generation of strong, self-reliant, just and kind women.

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Unrated

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