Ark II

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Ark II
Ark II title card.jpg
title card
Genre Science fiction
Created by Martin Roth
Starring Terry Lester
Jean Marie Hon
Jose Flores
Adam the chimpanzee
(owned and trained by Darrell Keener)
Composer(s) Yvette Blais
Jeff Michael
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 15 (list of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) Norm Prescott
Lou Scheimer
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 22–24 minutes (without commercials)
30 minutes (with commercials)
Production company(s) Filmation
Distributor NBCUniversal Television Distribution
Release
Original network CBS
Audio format Monaural
Original release September 11 (1976-09-11) – December 18, 1976 (1976-12-18)
Chronology
Related shows Space Academy

Ark II is an American live-action science fiction television series, aimed at children, that aired on CBS from September 11 to December 18, 1976 (with reruns continuing through November 13, 1977) as part of its weekend line-up. It returned again in rerun from September 16, 1978 through August 25, 1979. Only 15 half-hour episodes were ever produced. The program's central characters were created by Martin Roth; Ted Post helped Roth develop its core format.

Series overview[edit]

The opening titles for each episode, as narrated first by executive producer Lou Scheimer (using his then uncredited pseudonym Erik Gunden), then by the voice of Terry Lester, who portrayed Jonah, summarized the show's backstory:

For millions of years, Earth was fertile and rich. Then pollution and waste began to take their toll. Civilization fell into ruin. This is the world of the 25th century. Only a handful of scientists remain, men who have vowed to rebuild what has been destroyed. This is their achievement: Ark II, a mobile storehouse of scientific knowledge, manned by a highly trained crew of young people. Their mission: to bring the hope of a new future to mankind.

(Voice of Jonah): Ark II log, Entry Number 1. I, Jonah,...Ruth,...Samuel,...and Adam are fully aware of the dangers we face as we venture into unknown, maybe even hostile, areas. But we’re determined to bring the promise of a new civilization to our people and our planet.

"Ark II" had a racially mixed cast starring Terry Lester as Ark II's commander, Jonah, Jean Marie Hon as Ruth, José Flores as Samuel, and a chimpanzee named Moochie (owned and trained by Darrell Keener) responding to the name of Adam (voiced by Lou Scheimer). The show's premise was inspired by the story of Noah's Ark, and the characters were given names taken from the Hebrew Bible. It was set in a post-apocalyptic 25th Century (specifically, 2476, the show having debuted in 1976), after Earth's civilizations had been decimated by the effects of waste, pollution, and warfare, falling back to a civilization comparable to the Dark Ages. The surviving scientists pooled their knowledge and resources, training three young people (and the chimp, who was capable of speech and abstract reasoning) to search for remnants of humanity, reintroducing lost ideas as they traveled the barren landscape in the high-tech Ark II.[1]

The show mentions a "headquarters" and that the crew are scientists. The titles "Commander" and "Captain" are both used to refer to Jonah. All the installments began and ended with numbered entries in the Ark II's log, which Lester, in character as Jonah, narrated in voiceover.

Production[edit]

In "The Launch of Ark II," the documentary filmed for the release of the DVD set, Lou Scheimer and others mention that the program was filmed during the summer of 1976 predominantly on location at Paramount Ranch near Malibu, California.

Technology[edit]

The series is best-remembered for its eponymous vehicle: a futuristic-looking six-wheeled combination RV and mobile laboratory. The 44 ft long vehicle was a fiberglass body on a 1971 Ford C-Series (C-700) cabover, by the Brubaker Group. The front end of the Ark II prop was later re-used as the nose portion of the Seeker spacecraft in the Filmation series Space Academy and Jason of Star Command.[citation needed]

It is sometimes incorrectly reported that the Ark II was built by Dean Jeffries, who constructed various fantastic vehicles for science-fiction films and television. These include the Landmaster for the film Damnation Alley, with which the Ark II is sometimes confused. In addition, the series also featured a jetpack called the Jet Jumper, and the Ark Roamer, a smaller, 4-wheeled all-terrain vehicle built by Brubaker from a modified Brubaker Box, a kit car using a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle sedan chassis. The Roamer was carried in the rear of the Ark II.[2]

Guest stars[edit]

Guest stars included Jonathan Harris, Malachi Throne, Jim Backus, Geoffrey Lewis, Philip Abbott, Robert Ridgely, Helen Hunt, and Robby the Robot as the title character built by Samuel in the episode "The Robot." Helen Hunt appears in the episode "Omega." Actor Daniel Selby auditioned for the role of Samuel, but Jose Flores won the role.

Episodes[edit]

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1"The Flies"Ted PostMartin RothSeptember 11, 1976 (1976-09-11)
A group of feral children find ancient canisters of poison gas.
2"The Slaves"Hollingsworth MorseDavid DworskiSeptember 18, 1976 (1976-09-18)
Jonah is captured by a local Baron while scouting a village.
3"The Wild Boy"Hollingsworth MorseSusan DworskiSeptember 25, 1976 (1976-09-25)
The crew of the Ark II befriend a feral man.
4"The Robot"Ted PostChuck Menville & Len JansonOctober 2, 1976 (1976-10-02)
Samuel constructs a robot with limited artificial intelligence.
5"Omega"Hollingsworth MorseBill Danch & Jim RyanOctober 9, 1976 (1976-10-09)
The Ark II's crew discovers an enclave enslaved by a rogue artificial intelligence.
6"The Tank"Ted PostTeleplay by: Mark Jones & Michael Prescott & Robert Specht
Story by: Mark Jones & Michael Prescott
October 16, 1976 (1976-10-16)
The crew refits an old military tank as a farm tractor.
7"The Cryogenic Man"Ted PostMartin RothOctober 23, 1976 (1976-10-23)
A cryogenically frozen man is revived.
8"The Rule"Ted PostMartin RothOctober 30, 1976 (1976-10-30)
The team comes across a settlement which has discarded the elderly and the weak.
9"Robin Hood"Hollingsworth MorseLen Janson & Chuck MenvilleNovember 6, 1976 (1976-11-06)
An act of civil disobedience goes awry.
10"The Drought"Ted PostMartin RothNovember 13, 1976 (1976-11-13)
The feral children from episode 101 return to steal the Ark.
11"The Lottery"Ted PostPhyllis White & Robert WhiteNovember 20, 1976 (1976-11-20)
The team encounter a community of "grasshoppers" as seen in the Ant and the Grasshopper.
12"The Mind Group"Hollingsworth MorseRobert SpechtNovember 27, 1976 (1976-11-27)
The team runs afoul of a group of psionic children.
13"The Balloon"Hollingsworth MorsePeter L. Dixon & Robert SpechtDecember 4, 1976 (1976-12-04)
The team evacuates a plague stricken village using a hot air balloon.
14"Don Quixote"Ted PostRobert Specht & Len JansonDecember 11, 1976 (1976-12-11)
A "modern" Don Quixote believes that the Ark vehicle is a dragon.
15"Orkus"Henry J. Lange Jr.Robert Specht & Chuck MenvilleDecember 18, 1976 (1976-12-18)
After discovering a community of self-styled "immortals," members of the crew begin to age rapidly.

DVD release[edit]

BCI Eclipse LLC, under a license it had obtained from Entertainment Rights, released Ark II: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1 on November 7, 2006.[3] The BCI Eclipse 4-disc set included many special features, and the episodes were presented in production order. But as of 2009, this release had been discontinued and was out of print, as BCI Eclipse ceased operations.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ark II". TV.com. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 
  2. ^ Pickup Van & 4WD magazine, January 1977, Vol. 5, NO. 4
  3. ^ "Ark II DVD news: BCI issues Ark II press release". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 9 August 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 
  4. ^ "Site News DVD news: Navarre shutters BCI Eclipse division". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 31 May 2010. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 

External links[edit]