A perfect story for a Sunday… reposted from WE LOVE ARABIANS
FLICKA was a 900-pound pure Arabian mare. She was a copper-red shade of chestnut, and had originally been called Wahana. Says Johnny Washbrook, “I refer to my friend as Flicka, not Wahana, since with the filming of the series her name was changed in the sense that everyone always called her Flicka.” “And” he adds, “I really did love her—she’s a great horse!”
She had been foaled on June 13, 1950 at the Newhall, California ranch of W. P. and Josephine Hawley. She was Purchased by Patricia Ann Eaves of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Although it is generally accepted as fact that Twentieth-Century Fox was her owner during the My Friend Flicka TV series, it is not known at present exactly when she was purchased, and if it was directly from Eaves. We know for certain, though, that she was trained by famous horse trainer Les Hilton.
At the time she was chosen to star in her own television show, Flicka stood fifteen hands high. During the whole time of filming the My Friend Flicka series, Flicka was kept at Clarence “Fat” Jones’ movie horse stables 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.
Like her human counterparts, Flicka—the star—got the love scenes while her stunt double got to take the falls. Flicka was a gentle, intelligent and adaptable horse who responded instinctively to the signals of her talented and experienced trainer. Johnny Washbrook remembers, “Les had done such a good job of training Flicka that I virtually had only to think of what I wanted Flicka to do and she sensed it and responded.”
The marvelously talented and strikingly beautiful chestnut purebred mare that millions of children and adults around the world had fondly known as Flicka is most likely buried on the Saueressig ranch in New Mexico. However, her line continues on, as there are descendants of Flicka in the United States to this very day. One such descendant was Amala Beau Lelait, a beautiful bay mare. Her mother was Amala Talit, granddaughter of Hanabu (son of Flicka) through his daughter Jumana Nawal. It must be a special thrill to own a descendant of television’s elegant and talented equine superstar—the inimitable purebred actress Flicka!
I do remember Flicka; the half hour show was on television every Saturday morning, along with Fury, Rin Tin Tin, and a couple of singing cowboy shows. When I was in seventh grade I discovered Mary O’Hara’s trilogy, MY FRIEND FLICKA, THUNDERHEAD and THE GREEN GRASS OF WYOMING. I own these books and I reread them every few years.
I rode one of the Flickas in my youth! My parents had church friends and their mare was stabled on their beautiful estate on the Nissequogue River (Long Island, NY). Every so often, they would invite us to their home after church and I would get to ride her. I think this is where my lifelong love affair with horses began. They told me she was the original Flicka, but from this story, I know that isn’t true (we were on opposite coasts from this TV star!). But, no matter. Thank you SO much for jostling a wonderful memory for long ago!
Loved that show! Flicka was a beautiful mare but the pic doesn’t do her justice. Can’t see her dished face! Arabs are the epitome of beautiful