My Friend Flicka

My Friend Flicka
In the early to mid 20th century, there was a spate of successful films and books that explored the close relationships between animals and children - National Velvet, Black Beauty, Flipper, Rin Tin Tin, Skippy, Lassie, to name a few. Many of the children in these stories find themselves, establishing their  identities through their interaction with their animal companions.

My Friend Flicka was originally a book written in 1941 by American author and screenwriter, Mary O'Hara. Although horse stories have a strong girl association, this particular tale follows the story of Ken Mclaughlin, a ten year-old boy, his life on a remote farm in Wyoming and the comfort and satisfaction he finds  in a  friendship with a wild filly, Flicka (Swedish for girl). Ken is the wistful type, who has a tendency to aggravate his authoritarian father with his daydreaming nature and unusually sensitive attitude.

Beautiful but Wild 
 When Flicka first comes to the farm, her wild bloodstock causes problems - she is uncontrollable, rambunctious and  just generally feisty. However, through love, commitment and devotion Ken not only manages to tame and befriend Flicka but pulls her out of a serious illness as well. it's a heart-warming, inspiring story typical of the era and while a tad sentimental (understatement), there's some reasonable lessons in there for adults and children. O'Hara herself had lived on a rambling Wyoming ranch and understood the rugged remoteness of the area.

The Wyoming ranch where author Mary O'Hara lived for over a decade and wrote My Friend Flicka
The TV Show
My Friend Flicka was certainly popular with young readers and many people will remember both the 1943 film, the sequel Thunderhead, Son of Flicka and the 1950s television series which ran from 56 to 57 through 39 episodes and enjoyed a few re-runs here and there. Although it had its fans, the series was relatively short-lived as it failed to successfully compete with its rival, Rin Tin Tin. The 50s and 60s was the age of kids and animals.

Film poster from Movie Goods
Film Cast
Ken - Roddy Macdowell

Ken's Dad, Rob McLaughlin - Preston Foster
Ken's Mum, Nell McLaughlin - Rita Johnson

Devoted Ranch Hand, Gus Broeberg - James Bell

TV Cast
Ken McLaughlin - Johnny Washbrook
Ken's Dad, Rob McLaughlin - Gene Evans
Ken's Mum, Nell McLaughlin -Anita Louise
Ranch Hand, Gus Broeberg - Frank Ferguson
Flicka - "Wahana"