Clarence and Judy.
|Created by||Art Arthur
|Written by||William Clark
Lawrence L. Goldman
Stanley H. Silverman
|Directed by||Paul Landres
|Theme music composer||Shelly Manne
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||89 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Ivan Tors|
|Producer(s)||Leonard B. Kaufman|
|Cinematography||William A. Fraker
|Running time||45–48 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Ivan Tors Productions
Warner Bros. Television (current distribution)
|Original run||January 11, 1966– January 15, 1969|
|Preceded by||Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion|
Daktari (Swahili for "doctor") is an American children's drama series that aired on CBS between 1966 and 1969. The series, an Ivan Tors Films Production in association with MGM Television, stars Marshall Thompson as Dr. Marsh Tracy, a veterinarian at the fictional Wameru Study Centre for Animal Behaviour in East Africa.
The show follows the work of Dr. Tracy, his daughter Paula (Cheryl Miller), and his staff, who frequently protected animals from poachers and local officials. Tracy's pets, a cross-eyed lion named Clarence and a chimpanzee named Judy, were also popular characters.
Daktari was based upon the 1965 film Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion, which also stars Thompson as Dr. Tracy and Miller as his daughter. The concept was developed by producer Ivan Tors, inspired by the work of Dr. A.M. "Toni" Harthoorn and his wife Sue at their animal orphanage in Nairobi. Dr. Harthoorn was a tireless campaigner for animal rights, and with his research team developed the capture gun, used to sedate animals in order to capture them without injury.
On the series, Clarence didn't do all his own stunts, he also had a stand in. Leo, another Ralph Helfer-trained lion, doubled for Clarence whenever there were any trucks involved, since Clarence spooked at the sight of these vehicles. Leo even had his own makeup artist who applied cosmetic scarring like Clarence's, so that he would resemble Clarence when photographed in closeups. This was referred to in an inside joke from the preview trailer for the movie Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion, that Leo (who also appeared in the MGM logo and had a gentle temperament very similar to Clarence's) was not related to Clarence.
Another less-friendly lion, also named Leo, doubled for Clarence in some scenes. He was used only for the snarling scenes and general scenes which didn't involve close proximity with humans. This Leo had come from a family in Utah. His ferocity was due largely to abuse he received from former owners that beat him badly with a stick.
- Marshall Thompson .... Dr. Marsh Tracy
- Cheryl Miller .... Paula Tracy
- Ross Hagen .... Bart Jason (1968–1969)
- Hedley Mattingly .... District Officer Hedley
- Erin Moran .... Jenny Jones (1968–1969)
- Hari Rhodes .... Mike Makula
- Yale Summers .... Jack Dane (1966–1968)
According to the show's closing credits, it was "filmed in Africa and Africa, U.S.A.," a 600-acre (2.4 km2) wild animal ranch created by animal trainers Ralph and Toni Helfer in Soledad Canyon 40 mi (64 km). north of Los Angeles. Ralph Helfer was the animal coordinator of the show. Leonard B. Kaufman, the producer, wrote in liner notes for Shelly Manne's Daktari, that he shot the series on location in Mozambique. Indeed, the outdoor scenes involving the actors were shot in the Africa, U.S.A. compound in California, with footage of African landscape and animals in between to get the African look and feel. Some of the animals shown were however at odds with the location - a tiger (not native to Africa) is shown in the starting credit sequence, as well as an Indian elephant.
The indoor scenes of the animal hospital were shot in Ivan Tors' studios in Florida.
The show had distinctive theme and incidental music, a fusion of jazz and African influences, conducted by American jazz drummer Shelly Manne. Manne released the associated record, Daktari: Shelly Manne Performs and Conducts His Original Music for the Hit TV Show, on the Atlantic Records label in 1968. On the album, Mike Wofford plays a tack piano to evoke an African sound, and Manne is joined by percussionists Emil Richards, Larry Bunker, Frank Carlson, and Victor Feldman. According to the record liner notes, Manne and fellow percussionists play ankle and wrist jingles, Thai mouth organs, angklungs, ocarinas, vibraphones, tympani, and different kinds of marimbas.
The series featured a Land Rover with an iconic zebra-striped paint job. Corgi Toys produced a green and black zebra-striped toy version, available in several different action sets.
Warner Bros. released the complete first season on DVD in Region 1 via their Warner Archive Collection manufacture-on-demand series on November 15, 2011. The second season was released on March 19, 2013.
- Hart, Susanne (1969). Life with Daktari: Two Vets in East Africa. Atheneum. p. 35.
- Brown, Alexander Claude (1977). A History of Scientific Endeavour in South Africa. Royal Society of South Africa. p. 145.
- "Vasquez Rocks". Bonanza: Scenery of the Ponderosa. Retrieved on July 15, 2013.
- Leonard B. Kaufman, liner notes for Shelly Manne, "Daktari," Atlantic Records SD 8157
- Lambert, David (November 15, 2011). "Daktari - 'The Complete 1st Season' is Now Available from the Warner Archive". TVShowsOnDVD.com.
- Lambert, David (March 12, 2013). "Daktari - Packaging Pics for 'The Complete 2nd Season' Shows It's 2 Half-Season Sets Bundled". TVShowsOnDVD.com.
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