Sunday, February 16, 2014
YEAR 1954: ANNIE OAKLEY
There was of course no resemblance between the real-life sharpshooter Annie Oakley and this early television heroine, played by frequent Gene Autry leading lady Gail Davis.
I've only seen a couple of episodes of this now-obscure western series. From these few, I can still tell that though Davis's pigtailed Annie character wasn't stridently feminist, she made no bones about being a better shot than any man in her small town of Diablo, Arizona.
Though the show isn't of easy access today, it had a definite impact on the female audience of the 1950s. Ms. Davis is quoted as saying:
"Back then I knew the show was having a positive impact, especially on little girls. It wasn't until years later that I realized just how much. Little girls had turned into influential women, thanking my portrayal of Annie for showing them the way."