As a kid I never missed Sky King. The formula of a modern cowboy hero flying from his ranch to battle evil in a twin engine Cessna was magic.
He started with a wartime Cessna T-50 'Bobcat' that really was Kirby Grant's personal plane. When the first Songbird developed problems with its wooden airframe (the most common reason for them to end up on the scrap heap) Cessna stepped up with a sleek new Cessna 310. It was a beautiful plane, but I always preferred the T-50.
Long after I should have 'outgrown' Sky King I kept tuning in. Like every other American male I had a thing for Sky's niece Penny, played by Gloria Winters. Sky King planted the seed that made me want to fly, but Penny and the 50's flying rancher setting kept me watching. She had a magic all her own. If you ever saw the show, you know what I'm talking about.
After Sky King Gloria's career in front of the camera pretty much ended. She married the sound man from the series (who she confessed in an interview once she 'didn't know was alive' during the show) and worked off camera for years afterwards.
I was heartbroken yesterday to learn that Gloria Winters had passed away last August. I'm sure it was in the news, but I missed it somehow.
Go with God Gloria, we will never forget you.