OUT OF THE BLUE
The Life and Legend of Kirby “Sky King” Grant.
by Tim Trott
Do you remember the Sky King TV show? Do you know who flew the plane for the TV shows? Was Kirby Grant a “real” pilot? How many different “Songbird” planes were there? What happened to the “missing episodes”? What did Kirby Grant do after the TV series ended? Did you know that Kirby Grant was a musician?
Those of us of a certain age grew up with the Sky King television show. The old black and white TV shows inspired a lot of aviation careers, from pilots and flight instructors to airline pilots and NASA astronauts.
I had the personal pleasure of meeting and getting to know Kirby Grant and his wife after they retired to Central Florida in 1971. Shortly after his heart surgery in 1978, Kirby Grant spoke to me about the book he was “writing”, taking the title “Out of the Blue” from the iconic opening of the television show. It was only much later after Kirby’s passing in 1986 that I learned from his wife, Carolyn Grant, that the “book” had existed only in Kirby’s mind and good intentions. This book is the long over due fulfillment of a promise to Carolyn Grant.
The title includes the word “legend” because much of what has been written about Sky King has taken on a kind of mythology, and much that is “known” turns out to be fable. We will clear up some of those myths in this book and possibly reveal a few secrets.
One thing that made Kirby Grant a real legend was his dedication to the responsibility of upholding the traditions and values of the “white hat” that he proudly wore in the TV show as well as to all of his public appearances, as we will learn. I hope you enjoy the story of the life and legend of Kirby “Sky King” Grant, the TV hero of generations of aviators, who found inspiration in the adventures of the flying cowboy rancher who came “Out of the Blue of the Western Sky”.
(Cover photo: Songbird III at Oshkosh, WI, photo by and courtesy of David Vanderhoof)