The TV Horse Flicka

The TV Horse Flicka

Newhall, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Death Jun 1968 (aged 17–18)
San Miguel County, New Mexico, USA
Burial Burial Details Unknown, Specifically: Buried at an unknown site, possibly on her owners' 500-acre Hal-Fran Ranch near Hermit's Peak, northwest of Las Vegas, New Mexico.
Memorial ID 92451561 View Source

Flicka was a chestnut purebred Arabian mare (Arabian Horse Association registered name Wahana – AHR*6513) that starred in the TV series "My Friend Flicka." The series was the very first TV series ever filmed in color (1955-1956) as well as the first television series produced by 20th Century-Fox (TCF Television). The series also starred Johnny Washbrook (whom Fox brought from Canada), as Ken McLaughlin (Flicka's juvenile owner); Gene Evans as Rob McLaughlin (Ken's father); Anita Louise as Nell McLaughlin (Ken's mother), and Frank Ferguson as Gus (ranch hand and trusted friend at the McLaughlin's Goose Bar Ranch).

Flicka stood fifteen hands (sixty inches) high and weighed approximately 900 pounds during the series filming. Her sire (father) was Abu Farwa, (AHR*1960), a famed chestnut Arabian who had been born on the Kellogg Arabian Ranch in Pomoma, Calfornia. Abu Farwa's own sire was Kellogg's famous stallion Rabiyas (later exported to South Africa)—one of the all-time greats in American horse breeding. Abu's dam (mother) was Rissletta, who had been foaled in 1930 at the Crabbet Arabian Stud in Sussex, England and brought over to the Kellogg ranch in 1936. Abu Farwa himself sired a total of 277 purebred foals during his lifetime. The majority of them were chestnut like their father and many—like Flicka—also had white markings. Flicka's dam (mother) was Mehana (AHR*1297), one of two purebred Spanish Arabian mares foaled by Meca (AHR 1219), a chestnut mare. Meca had been foaled by Ursus, a Polish stallion that had been brought to Spain in 1908 and sold for one million dollars. Mehana was brought to the U.S. from Spain with her sister, and she reportedly had thirteen other foals besides Flicka in her lifetime.

Flicka was owned by Patricia Ann Eaves of Santa Fe, New Mexico from birth. Her breeders were W. P. or Josephine Hawley. It is likely that she was leased by 20th Century-Fox for the series, as Ms. Eaves is shown as her official owner until 1967, when her ownership was transferred to Harold and Francis Saueressig, also of Santa Fe.

Flicka was trained by famed animal handler Les Hilton, who, while still apprenticing with Will Rogers, trained "Francis the Talking Mule" (real name, Molly for a series of seven successful motion pictures. He later also trained "Mr. Ed" (a palomino named Bamboo Harvester) for TV. Hilton also taught Johnny Washbrook (the juvenile lead actor in "My Friend Flicka") how to ride and handle her. During the whole time of filming the series, Flicka was kept at Clarence "Fat" Jones' movie horse stables on Sherman Way in North Hollywood, says Johnny Washbrook. She was brought by trailer down to the 20th Century-Fox Studios in Hollywood or out to the Fox Movie Ranch in Malibu Canyon for each day's shoot. Because of the series popularity, Flicka continued to make promotional appearances publicly with Johnny Washbrook during and for a short period after the series first run, and also supporting the series re-run period.

AHA records show that she foaled a grey Arabian stallion, Hanabu (AHR*20389), whose sire was Habu (AHR*9378) on March 11, 1961, and a chestnut half-Arabian mare, Ross Flicka (HAHR*1A26719) who was sired by a non-Arabian stallion named Wazat on March 16, 1962. Patricia Eaves is shown as the breeder for both of these foals. In July of 1967, presumably after the death of Ms Eaves, Flicka was purchased by a Francis Saueressig of Santa Fe, New Mexico and taken to her and her husband Harold's properties in New Mexico. There is no official record of her death, as it was never reported to the Arabian Horse Association. Current investigation reveals that Flicka died during foaling for the third time after being bred to the Sauressig's champion racing Quarter Horse Tonto Bars Hank with the foal dying within days afterwards. Based on her date of purchase by the Saueressigs, that she was likely bred sometime in July or August of 1967, and the 11-month gestation period for horses, her death was likely sometime in June or July of 1968. John Washbrook has said that at one time he was told that Flicka had died with foal. This story pre-dates a similar report from a different source. She may have been buried on the late Saueressig's former ranch (Hal-Fran Ranch) near Hermit's Peak, northwest of Las Vegas, New Mexico. However, the current owner, who bought the ranch more than twenty years ago, says he has been all over the property and has found no marker or anything else that would indicate a burial site (there were about twenty years between Flicka's estimated year of death and the current owner's purchase, though). Anyone having any additional information at all regarding the date of Flicka's death and/or her final disposition is requested to contact us. Our investigation is still on-going.

An comprehensive and informative web site dedicated exclusively to Flicka and to her human co-stars in the historic Twentieth Century-Fox television series can be found on the Internet by Googling the series title.

Story history: The television series "My Friend Flicka" was 20th Century-Fox's first TV series and the first TV show filmed entirely in color. Filming began in 1955 and it premiered in 1956, running for one season. It was filmed at the Fox Movie Ranch (now Malibu Creek State Park), the Iverson Movie Ranch, and at the Twentieth Century-Fox Studios at Sunset and Western in Hollywood, on sound stages and on their outdoor western street. The series ceased when co-star Anita Louise decided she no longer wanted to continue her role. "My Friend Flicka" was broadcast first on CBS and then on NBC. It later was shown in re-runs on the Disney Channel. The series was based on the earlier (1943) motion picture of the same name, which had starred Roddy McDowall, Preston Foster and Rita Johnson, and which had been very successful. The film had been based upon the 1941 best-selling novel of the same name by Mary O'Hara. Fast forward to 2006, and 20th Century-Fox made a grave mistake by wasting fifteen million dollars on a remake of the motion picture. Disappointing and ruthlessly panned by critics, little more than the original name seems to have be used. With the story shoved a hundred years into the present, all of sudden "Ken McLaughlin" was transformed into "Katy." (Apparenty in modern society riding horses is more girls' pleasure than man's work, and the film appeared an attempt to pander to that transmutation.) Besides grossing a meager profit (drawing viewers with its children's classic title), the film's biggest legacy seems to be the needless death of two horses during filming. Because of their deaths, the usual disclaimer of "No animals were harmed in the making of this film" does not appear in the end credits.

See more Flicka memorials in:

  • Created by: Gaz
  • Added: 23 Jun 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 92451561
  • DarrellC
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for The TV Horse Flicka (13 Jun 1950–Jun 1968), Find a Grave Memorial ID 92451561, ; Maintained by Gaz (contributor 47069400) Burial Details Unknown, who reports a Buried at an unknown site, possibly on her owners' 500-acre Hal-Fran Ranch near Hermit's Peak, northwest of Las Vegas, New Mexico..