Watch the Rare Test Video for the Forgotten Hank the Cowdog TV Show

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A stop at the “Hank the Cowdog” website will have you reading John R. Erickson’s biography details, which includes authoring more than 600 articles and 75 books. Born in Midland, Texas, Erickson moved to Perryton with his family at the age of three. His talent for writing went unnoticed until his high school senior year, following which he earned a BA at the University of Texas. But his greatest accomplishment in the literary world continues to be the Hank the Cowdog book series, and the unique opportunities that have sprouted from that, including a forgotten TV pilot.

Erickson married his wife Kris in Dallas in 1967, and he took up ranch work in both Oklahoma and Texas from the mid-1970s to 1981. Shortly afterward, he launched Hank the Cowdog with her, self-publishing the first of the popular children’s book series in 1983. It has since won over the hearts and minds of kids all over the world, and it’s been developed into highly-successful audiobooks as well as plays. But we’ll bet you weren’t aware there remains in existence a rare test video which was shot for a proposed TV show which never materialized.

Video: Hank The Cowdog from Kit Laybourne on Vimeo.

In addition to Erickson’s bio, the Hank the Cowdog website features supportive activities and questions for discussion in a “Teacher’s Corner” section. There are also reader games, the chance to join Hank’s Security Force, and music pieces! Shared on Vimeo, this footage was developed as part of a special made-for-TV project which Nickelodeon invested in, but following an executive turn over, the series was left dead in the water. Although a Hank the Cowdog TV series didn’t develop, his fans continue to grow in number, and the opportunities Hank has had at being what USA Today called “the best family entertainment in years” remains true, if only in book form.