Friday, July 21, 2017

Classic TV: Daktari (1966)

Ivan Tors' Daktari was spun off from the 1965 movie, "Clarence, The Cross-Eyed Lion", marking the 2nd series to come from one of Tors' theatrical films (Flipper was the other). Daktari bowed on CBS in January 1966 as a mid-season replacement, and, in addition to Clarence, Judy the chimp and human co-stars Marshall Thompson & Cheryl Miller continued from the movie.

Daktari continues the story of widowed doctor Marsh Tracy (Thompson) and his daughter, Paula (Miller), and their work in the Wameri animal preserve in Africa. Not everyone appreciated the Tracys' work, as there was a collection of generic poachers, smugglers, and disgruntled farmers causing all sorts of problems. I don't remember seeing this in primetime, but rather, in syndicated reruns after the series ended. In all, Daktari lasted four seasons (January 1966-December 1968) across three calendar years.

After the first three seasons, Yale Summers left the series, replaced by Ross Hagen. In addition, Erin Moran, better known from her later work on Happy Days, landed her first series role when she joined the cast in the truncated final season. Post-Daktari, Hari Rhodes moved on to The Protectors, a 1-season component of The Bold Ones, and later appeared in one of the "Planet of the Apes" movies.

Let's take a look at the intro and closing. The video quality isn't exactly perfect,  but.....!

If memory serves me correctly, "Clarence" would be included as part of the SFM Holiday Network package of movies in the 70's, but hasn't been seen all that much since. Then again, no network that I know of is running Daktari these days, but should, just for fun.

Rating: A-.


Hal Horn said...

A good solid show for what it was; was a big hit, reaching 7th in the Nielsens during 1966-67.

Warner Archive Instant has been streaming it.

hobbyfan said...

Uh-huh. Thanks for the tip.

Hal Horn said...

update: DAKTARI isn't on Warner Archive Instant at present (though they just brought back HAWAIIAN EYE) but should return in the near future. The available shows get rotated frequently.

hobbyfan said...

A straight up DVD release would be nice, though.