Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 34
First episode date 3 November 1981
Number of seasons 2
Number of episodes 34
Created by Michael Landon
No. of seasons 2
Executive producer(s) Michael Landon
Final episode date 18 September 1983
|Starring Merlin Olsen
Cast Merlin Olsen, Katherine Cannon, Moses Gunn, Timothy Gibbs, Lisa Trusel
Similar Little House on the Prairie, Highway to Heaven, Hell Town, Aaron's Way, Dr Quinn - Medicine Woman
Father Murphy is an American western drama series that aired on the NBC network from November 3, 1981 to September 18, 1983. Michael Landon created the series, was the executive producer, and also directed the show in partnership with William F. Claxton, Maury Dexter, Victor French and Leo Penn.
The series stars former NFL Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle football player and Little House on the Prairie actor Merlin Olsen as an 1870s frontiersman named John Michael Murphy who teams up with prospector Moses Gage (Moses Gunn) to shelter a group of orphans who are being threatened with a workhouse. Murphy disguises himself as a priest and befriends a schoolmarm to help the children find a home.
At the end of the first season, his true identity is revealed to the head of the workhouse, and the orphans seem destined to a life of labor. Instead, Murphy marries the schoolmarm and they get custody of the children.
Many of the episodes were filmed at the Old Tucson Studios and theme park just outside Tucson, Arizona. The main village from the show, however, was located at the Big Sky Movie Ranch in Simi Valley, California (the filming location for the famed television series Little House on the Prairie). The village was located approximately 200 yards up the hill from the Ingalls' farm.
The show is an NBC production and syndicated worldwide by Sony Pictures Television. However, Sony does not own the video rights, as indicated below.
Notable guest appearances on the series included: Shannen Doherty, Kellie Martin, John M. Pickard, Eddie Quillan, Christina Applegate, Amanda Peterson, Donna Wilkes, Tina Yothers, Mary Beth Evans, Wilfred Hyde-White, and James Cromwell.
Image Entertainment (under license from NBC Studios) released both seasons of Father Murphy on DVD in Region 1 in 2004/2005. As of 2010, these releases have been discontinued and are now out of print.