The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams
|The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Richard Friedenberg|
|Produced by||Charles E. Sellier Jr.
Raylan D. Jensen
|Written by||Lawrence Dobkin|
|Music by||Thom Pace|
|Edited by||George Stapleford|
|Distributed by||Sunn Classic Pictures
Paramount Pictures (current)
|Running time||93 min.|
|Box office||$65 million|
Dan Haggerty and Ben, 1977.
|Created by||Charles E. Sellier Jr.|
|Narrated by||Denver Pyle|
|Theme music composer||Thom Pace|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||38|
|Running time||1 hour|
|Production company(s)||Sunn Classic Pictures|
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution|
|Original run||February 9, 1977 – May 12, 1978
(two TV films aired later on)
The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams was a 1974 independent feature film inspired by a 1972 historical fiction novella written by Charles E. Sellier Jr.. The film's popularity led to a hit NBC television series. The title character, played by Dan Haggerty, was loosely based on the famous California mountain man, James "Grizzly" Adams (1812-1860) whose real name was "John Capen Adams," a one time Boston shoe and boot maker.
The film and TV 'fictionalized' Grizzly Adams portrayed a frontier woodsman who fled into the mountains after he was wrongly accused of murder. While struggling to survive, Adams saves an orphaned grizzly bear cub he adopts and names Ben. The bear, while growing to its huge adult size, becomes Adams's closest companion. Adams discovers and demonstrates an uncanny ability to gain the trust of most of the indigenous wildlife of the region, and he helps, sometimes rescues, takes-in and tames many species. Originally a hunter, with his learned affection for wildlife Adams resolves never to harm another animal whenever possible. In the television series, Adams had two human companions, an old mountain man trader named 'Mad Jack' played by Denver Pyle who was often featured with his mule, ("Number Seven") and a native American by the name of 'Nakoma' played by Don Shanks. Together during each episode, Adams, Mad Jack, and Nakoma helped myriad mountain visitors while protecting wildlife at the same time.
NBC aired the series finale on February 21, 1982 by way of a two-hour TV movie called The Capture of Grizzly Adams where a bounty hunter used Adams's daughter, who was not seen or mentioned since the 1974 film, in a kidnap-extortion ploy to lure the fugitive mountain man back to civilization. In the end Adams proves his innocence.
- Dan Haggerty as James Capen 'Grizzly' Adams
- Denver Pyle as Mad Jack
- Don Shanks as Nakoma
- John Bishop as Robbie Cartman
- Bozo (a grizzly bear) as Ben (named after Benjamin Franklin
In addition to Ben, there were many other named animals in the series, the most prominent being Number 7, Mad Jack's ornery mule.
Gene Edwards—a stunt double for Dan Haggerty—later played Grizzly Adams in the otherwise unrelated 1990 film The Legend of Grizzly Adams.
Grizzly Adams was created and produced by Shick-Sunn Classic Pictures, a company based in Park City, Utah and operated by its founding executives, Patrick Frawley, Charles E. Sellier Jr., and Rayland Jenson. The low-budget independent studio successfully introduced innovative marketing and promotional methods. Its 1974 'Grizzly Adams' movie was a runaway success made for a budget of $140,000 before earning close to $45 million at the domestic box office and $65 million worldwide. It was the 7th highest grossing film of 1974. The 43% market share captured by a 1976 airing of the film on NBC led to network executives green-lighting the television series. The series drew a 32% market share, a significant figure to this day. The series also aired at a time when the environmental movement flourished.
The show's theme song, “Maybe,” was written and sung by Thom Pace. The song was released as a single in Europe, where it reached number one, and in 1980 won Germany's Goldene Europa award for best song.
After selling many products bearing the Grizzly Adams brand name, the brand was eventually trademarked by its creator, film producer, Charles E. Sellier, Jr. Following Sellier's passing in early 2011, the brand, featuring all rights going forward for film and television, downloading and streaming, and product merchandising was transferred to the Grizzly Adams Company, an LLC based in Los Angeles and represented by Tedesco Management and brand licensing agency, C3 Entertainment.
|—||The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams||November 13, 1974|
|701||"Unwelcome Neighbor"||March 2, 1977|
|702||"Beaver Dam"||April 27, 1977|
|703||"Blood Brothers"||February 16, 1977|
|704||"Adam's Cub"||February 9, 1977|
|705||"The Fugitive"||February 23, 1977|
|706||"Howdy-Do, I'm Mad Jack"||March 9, 1977|
|707||"The Tenderfoot"||March 30, 1977|
|708||"Home of the Hawk"||May 5, 1977|
|709||"Adam's Ark"||March 16, 1977|
|710||"The Redemption of Ben"||March 23, 1977|
|711||"The Unholy Beast"||April 20, 1977|
|712||"The Rivals"||April 6, 1977|
|713||"The Storm"||May 12, 1977|
|714||"The Trial"||October 26, 1977|
|715||"Survival"||October 12, 1977|
|716||"A Bear's Life"||October 19, 1977|
|717||"The Choice"||December 21, 1977|
|718||"Hot Air Hero"||September 28, 1977|
|719||"Track of the Cougar"||December 14, 1977|
|720||"The Search"||November 9, 1977|
|721||"Marvin the Magnificent"||January 11, 1978|
|722||"Woman in the Wilderness"||December 28, 1977|
|723||"The Orphans"||November 2, 1977|
|724||"Gold Is Where You Find It"||November 23, 1977|
|725||"A Time of Thirsting"||January 18, 1978|
|726||"The Seekers"||January 25, 1978|
|727||"The Spoilers"||January 4, 1978|
|728||"The Stranger"||April 5, 1978|
|729||"The Runaway"||February 22, 1978|
|730||"A Gentleman Tinker"||February 8, 1978|
|731||"The World's Greatest Bounty Hunter"||May 12, 1978|
|732||"The Littlest Greenhorn"||March 15, 1978|
|733||"The Great Burro Race"||March 1, 1978|
|734||"The Quest"||April 26, 1978|
|735||"The Skyrider"||May 5, 1978|
|736||"The Renewal" (two hours)||March 22, 1978|
|737||Once Upon a Starry Night (two hours)
Theatrically released as Legend of the Wild 
|December 19, 1978
|—||The Capture of Grizzly Adams (two hours)||February 21, 1982|
The Season 1 set does not include the 1974 film The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams which led to the series. The Season 2 set does include Once Upon a Starry Night which aired after the regular series ended, but not The Capture of Grizzly Adams which aired in 1982.
Referenced in pop-culture
Dan Haggerty also played Jeremiah—a modern day version of Grizzly Adams—in the films Grizzly Mountain (1997) and Escape to Grizzly Mountain (2000).
Television and film references to Haggerty's portrayal of Adams include SCTV (1980–1981 season), Clerks (1994 film), Happy Gilmore (1996 film), the "Brian Wallows and Peter's Swallows" episode of Family Guy (2002), and What Just Happened? (2008 film).
- Grizzly Adams Returns - Classic Series Now on DVD. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- "Box Office Information for The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams". The Numbers. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- "The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams: Episode Guide". TV.com.
- "Once Upon a Starry Night". BFI.org.uk.
- "The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams – Season 1". TV shows on DVD.
- "The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams – Season 2". TV shows on DVD.
- DVD Announced for 'The Capture of Grizzly Adams' Wrap-Up Telefilm