1 9 6 1 – 1 9 6 3 (USA)
75 x 30 minute posts
“This is skydiving, controlled flight without wings. Even for experts, the most dangerous game going. This jump, like every jump you will see on this series, is made by a highly trained man who is playing the game for the highest stakes there are . . . his own life. He has one, and only one, safety device at his command . . . his parachute and its ripcord”.
Operating their skydiving service company “Ripcord”, Ted McKeever (Larry Pennell) and Jim Buckley (Ken Curtis) are able to get to places that others can’t and get there much faster.
This leads them on many exciting adventures from chasing bad guys to performing daring rescues – but our heroes always emphasised the paramount importance of safety and the “Don’t try this at home” message was key in Ripcord’s marketing strategy to drum up interest in the still-young sport of skydiving.
The jumps on the show were, in fact, real, but not made by lead actors Larry Pennell and Ken Curtis (though the two leads did do some experimental jumps of their own in secret so that they could understand and get the feel of the equipment for their scenes on the ground).
The Parachute Club of America nearly doubled its membership during Ripcord‘s run from 1961 to 1963.
The show had a number of marketing tie-ins for the youth market in the form of comic books, board games, and an especially popular plastic parachutist figure with an attached chute that could be thrown in the air and then glide slowly back to earth.