Doctor Dolittle (TV series)
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
|Created by||David H. DePatie
|Written by||Paul Harrison
|Voices of||Bob Holt
|Opening theme||"Talk to the Animals" by Bob Holt and Lennie Weinrib|
|Ending theme||"Talk to the Animals" (instrumental)|
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of seasons||1|
|Executive producer(s)||David H. DePatie
|Running time||30 min.|
|Distributor||20th Century Fox Television|
|Original release||September 12, 1970 – September 2, 1971|
Doctor Dolittle is an animated series produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises in association with 20th Century Fox Television. It was created for television by David H. DePatie and Friz Freleng in association with Paul Harrison and Lennie Weinrib. The series was broadcast on the NBC network. The series received mostly negative reviews. An altered version of the song "Talk to the Animals" was heard during the opening credits.
The series is loosely based on the books by Hugh Lofting, as well as the 1967 film of the same name which center around Doctor Dolittle (voiced by Bob Holt), an animal doctor who has the ability to talk to animals. Doctor Dolittle travels around the world by ship to help out any sick animal in need. He is aided in his missions by his first mate, young sailor Tommy Stubbins (voiced by Hal Smith), who can also talk to animals. Tommy who was apparently taught how to talk to animals by Dolittle share the ship with its animal crew, which includes
- Chee-Chee - The cabin monkey.
- Dab-Dab - A duck who is also the ship's cook.
- Polynesa Parrot -
- The Pushmi-Pullyu - A llama which has two heads (one of each) at opposite ends of its body. It serves as the ship's lookout.
- Too-Too - The wise owl.
- Jip - The Hound Dog.
The series' other notable characters are George and the Grasshoppers (a rock group of grasshoppers that lives inside Doctor Dolittle's medicine case). At one point during each episode of the series, the group would launch into a rock or pop song, popping the sides of the medicine case open and using it like a stage, with Doctor Dolittle's bottles of pills and medicines glowing and flashing into different psychedelic colors behind the group as they sang.
Wherever the Doctor Dolittle's ship was, Pirate Island is never far behind. A disguised submarine, Pirate Island is actually the stronghold of Sam Scurvy (voiced by Lennie Weinrib) and his pirate crew:
- Cyclops - A hulking dimwit pirate with an eye patch over his good eye.
- Zig-Zag - An uptight Frenchman.
- Nico - An Italian pirate.
- Miko - A Chinese pirate.
The pirates dress in an unusual mixture of old-fashioned pirate and gangster gear. Sam Scurvy wears a fedora and a business suit and speaks with a Brooklyn accent. The pirate crew were also a branch of the Democratic Order of Pirates, International, or "DOPI" for short. Sam Scurvy has one goal in life: world domination. He believes that if he can get the secret to talking to animals from Doctor Dolittle, he will be able to raise an army of "creepy creatures" to help him take over the world. By using his eavesdropping device the Sneaky Snorkel, Scurvy gets wind of Doctor Dolittle's latest missions and then plots to hinder, disrupt, or even kidnap the Doctor in order to force him to reveal how he is capable of talking to animals. However, due to Doctor Dolittle's skills as well as the pirates' ineptitude, they never succeed.
- The Grasshoppers Are Coming, Hooray, Hooray! -
- The Bird Who Was Afraid to Fly -
- The Land of the Tiger Moo - The creatures of a Florida swamp are upset by an agitated alligator for whom the cure is milk from the Tiger-Moo, a hybrid of a cow and a tiger. But when the Doctor travels to Tiger-Moo island to acquire the milk, he finds the pirates have arrived there first and now the unique animal is in danger...
- The Great Turkey Race - Polynesia's old friend, Toots the turkey, attempts to escape from Sandwich Island turkey farm. When she is captured before escaping, she becomes the first prize in the Thanksgiving Ocean race. Dolittle enters the Flounder in the race knowing he has to win to save Toots - but runs into some engine trouble along the way!
- The Peanut Conspiracy - Eric the elephant is allergic to peanuts, so the Doctor needs to find some Peanut Cillin. Along with Tommy and Chee-Chee, he visits the jungle drugstore - run by a very strange pharmacist - but only Peanut oil is at hand. The Doctor's plan is to make the medicine using green-scented mushrooms mixed with the oil, so Tommy and Chee-Chee set out to pick them. Behind those giant mushrooms, though, lurks a trap...
- The Bare Bear - Dolittle heads for the Bering Strait to assist the thin-skinned polar bears living there who have lost their fur and are freezing. He concocts a special formula to restore their fur coats, but with the pirates trying to steal his medicine it looks like the Doctor will need help from the local Mountie.
- High Flying Hippo - Hannah, the overweight hippo, isn't looking where she's going and falls down a mountain, but fortunately lands on a ledge. A pair of eagles spot her and summon the Doctor, and they help him up onto the ledge to treat Hannah. The ingenious Doctor contrives a makeshift balloon for getting them all off the crumbling mountain, but as they are about to go Hannah loses her nerve - can George and the grasshoppers inspire her?
- The Near-Sighted Bull - The group are in Spain sourcing supplies for the Flounder when Romeo, the bull who can't see a thing, goes on a rampage and ends in the water. After the crew rescue the animal, his owner Don Carlos asks Doctor Dolittle for help. The Doctor provides Romeo with glasses which somehow transform him into the best bull in town, and now he must enter the ring in the fiesta - where Scurvy is posing as the matador and has taken the bull's glasses.
- The Silver Seals at the Circus - Stanley and Cyrus, two performing seals, are injured in a fall during a show and send for Doctor Dolittle. With the seals out of action, it's up to the Pushmi-Pullyu to save the circus. The pirates, meanwhile, trick their way into the big top disguised as trapeze artists, and once inside use clown costumes in their latest attempt to steal the Doctor's secret - with a determined sheriff on their tail.
- A Girl for Greco Gorilla - The Doctor and Tommy are visiting a zoo in Ireland where they encounter Greco, a lonely and homesick gorilla whom they agree to take back to Africa. Aboard the ship it's discovered he's also pining for a mate, so they resolve to find the ape a girlfriend. In the jungle, Greco sees his dreamboat and chases her, but then the Doctor and Tommy meet attractive gorilla Raquel ...and they quickly realise the female Greco's after isn't who she seems!
- A Tale of Two Snails - Oil pollution has destroyed the habitat of Hamilton, the last of the giant pink sea snails, and has also meant there are no sea-cumbers - his only food source. Dolittle plans to tow the snail to Sea-cumber Island, with a cargo of three tons of sea-cumbers cut from the ocean bed by the swordfish. All is going well until the appearance of a second giant snail...only this one's on wheels and hides the pirates inside!
- A Fox Called...Sherlock? - As the crew are taking the opening tour of the Doctor Dolittle Wax Museum, Jip is 'dog-napped' by the pirates. The Doctor, Tommy and the animals enlist the help of Sherlock, the fox sleuth, to crack the case and rescue Jip, but time is short - eight hours, to be precise. Further confusion arises when the pirates use Jip to create a second statue of the dog - how will the real one be identified?
- The Tomb of the Phoenix Bird - Polynesia tells of the legend of the Phoenix Bird, a supposedly mythical creature who comes back to life once every hundred years. As the fateful day approaches, the group head off to Egypt to verify the tale and find out if the animal really exists. Scurvy and his men are there too, and capture the Doctor with the use of a fake 'pyramid'...but help is at hand from one magical bird set to have the time of his century!
- The Barnyard Rumble - In mid-West America, Cogburn the rooster loses his voice and can't wake up the barnyard. The Doctor diagnoses laryngitis and, after the treatment, finds that Cogburn can't stop talking, a useful talent when a band of motor-cyclists turn up looking to cause mayhem.
- The Baffled Buffalo - The Flounder is docked in Washington, on the Potomac river when the Doctor is summoned by the President. He requests that the Doctor goes West to find a buffalo to be the model for a special commemorative medallion - a mission made harder by a runaway train, a buffalo deeply mistrustful of all humans and a posse of 'Indians' who look worryingly familiar...
- A Hatful of Rabbit - While in London preparing for another leg of the round-the-world trip, the Doctor is called to treat a hyperactive rabbit which is part of a magician's act. The group then attend the magic show, unaware that it has been taken over by the pirates. Scurvy, disguised as the magician, selects an audience volunteer to help with the disappearing trick - guess who gets the call-up?
- The Bird from O.O.P.S. - As a birthday gift from his people, the Maharajah Sheldon will receive his weight in diamonds. Unfortunately for his mum, Sheldon is 'all skin and bone' and thus won't earn her many jewels. She plans to fatten him up by feeding him a rare ogle-bird egg - so rare, in fact, it's the only one in existence. Can the Doctor save the Ogle bird from extinction...or will Scurvy's levitation device help the pirates make off with the prize?
- Bob Holt - Dr. John Dolittle
- Don Messick - Jip the Dog, Pushmi-Pullyu, Chee-Chee, Niko
- Hal Smith - Tommy Stubbins
- Robert Towers -
- Tom Bosley –
- Lennie Weinrib - Sam Scurvy, Zig-Zag, George Grasshopper
Aside from a brief period in the early 1980s as part of "The Krofft Supershow," the series has never been shown in syndication, possibly due to the politically incorrect stereotypes of the pirate crew, as well as the strong drug implications present during George and the Grasshoppers' rock and pop numbers.
It first appeared on British TV on BBC 1 on Thursday, 25 November 1971.