The story of Africa, U.S.A. and its proprietors, animal trainer Ralph Helfer and Daktari producer Ivan Tors

My thanks to Walter, a longtime Daktari fan from the Netherlands, for sharing this fascinating article about just what Africa, U.S.A. was all about.

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Animal Kingdom, USA

Out in California flourishes a wild-animal domain located just this side of Unbelievable

by Cleveland Amory for TV Guide April 1966

cheryl miller of daktari with tiger in Africa U.S.A. TV Guide April 1966

Hollywood these days may or may not be still the Land of Make-Believe. But it boasts at leastone place, Africa, U.S.A., which has even the “natives” rubbing their eyes. “I’ve worked here every day for a year,” Marshall Thompson the star of Daktari told me, “and I still don’t believe it.”

To begin with, like most things in Hollywood, it is actually not in Hollywood at all. It is located more than 50 miles northeast, almost surrounded by mountains, in beautiful Soledad Canyon. Here, in simulated “jungleland,” complete with “Zulu” villages, live more than 300 African, Asian and, in fact, world -wild animals-ranging from aardvarks, alligators and anteaters to Xiphosuras, yaks and zebras.

Animal affection trainer Ralph Helfer in the 1960s

Animal affection trainer Ralph Helfer in the 1960s

Founded by animal trainer Ralph Helfer, and now owned and operated by him in partnership with Ivan Tors (producer of Flipper), it is–now that the new acreage is operating–one of the world’s largest zoos, except, of course, that it isn’t really a zoo at all, because it is not open to the public and because a large number of its animals are never caged—even leopards and jaguars seem to roam about almost at will.

Africa, U.S.A., is the place where they film 90 percent of all the difficult animal acts you see-both in the movies and on TV. And to do these, acts has required, among other things, a totally new concept in animal training. Ivan Tors calls it “affection training.” Ralph Helfer calls it “emotion training.” Marshall Thompson doesn’t call it anything–but he says, “All I know is that every night, before 1 go home, I go around and say goodnight to my friends.”

As you approach Africa, U.S.A., you hear it before you can see it. You hear the exciting sounds, the trumpeting of elephants and the roaring of lions and tigers; the eerie sounds, the hooting of owls and the howling of wolves and coyotes and finally the enchanting sounds, the bleating of young antelopes and the chattering of baby chimpanzees. Then, when you actually come upon it, the sight is breath-taking. Off in the distance you actually see the veld—all the way from the galloping giraffes to the high-jumping kudus–and, close by, you also see what they call “Beverly Hills,” which is the residence of the animal “stars.”

Producer Ivan Tors in the 1960s

Producer Ivan Tors in the 1960s

Inside, in front of half a dozen floodlights, grinding cameras and sound trucks, you see a cross-eyed lion spring at a man. On another “stage”– equally surrounded–a chimpanzee is guiding a baby lion on the back of a crocodile. On still a third “stage” vu1tures crowd around while a cheetah attacks a hyena which is attacking Dina Merrill. Off in the distance, also surrounded, a rhinoceros is charging a station wagon filled with people. You’ll shake your head–and, as you do, a full-grown Bengal tiger jumps into a truck for what appears to be a coffee break with a very pretty girl named Cheryl Miller (she’s Paula, of course, in Daktari).

But the most amazing thing of all is, even after the most ferocious appearing “fights,” the animals, the minute the camera stops rolling, break cleanly and come out playing.

If you think, however, it all just happened–you have another thing coming. The telephone rang while I was interviewing Ralph Helfer. “Yes, Ivan,” he said, “I can give it to you Thursday.” He put down the phone. “Ivan asks the darnedest things,” he said. “Sometimes I think he did Daktari just to test us. Do you know what he wants this time? To have an animal crossing a river using a python for a bridge.”

After we had talked a while more, the phone rang again. This time it was a director of another show, who wanted to know if he could have a dog “kill” a lion in a fight. I told him I could,” Helfer said, putting down the phone, “but I want you to know that back of that answer was four years of work.”

I saw a scene that day—a full-grown lion fighting a German shepherd dog, Prince, Ralph’s own personal pet and the animal he prizes even more than any other of his “wild” ones. (“But,” he says, a little sadly, I had to teach Prince to be wild. I didn’t feed him and he foraged on his own to get tough enough for the job.”) “In any case, Prince brought the full-grown lion to bay in a wild, furious, growling, snarling fray. At the end I was sure that Prince would be, at least, a hospital case. Afterward I examined him, and, sure enough, he had to go to the infirmary. He had it seemed, a small cut on his left ear.”

Change in tactics

ralph helfer2

Ralph Helfer with Bruno the bear

In the old days difficult fight scenes were shot either with split-screen photography—which was very expensive—or with glass in between the combatants, or by use of double. In some instances men dressed as gorillas; one famous scene used a “lion” which was actually a St. Bernard. But all of it was, generally speaking, based on the old-school “whip and chair” fear method—one perhaps best exemplified by a curious Bulgarian trainer who was recently quoted in a national magazine as saying, Most animals you got to beat to make them obey.”

Today, to Helfer and Tors, this kind of thing is not only cruel and stupid, it is also not true. Even in the “Beverly Hills” section their animals are not to be confused with Park Avenue’s pampered poodles (“If we did that, says Tors, “we’d get spoiled animals”) but anywhere in Africa, U.S.A., the use of whip, chair or any other means of intimidation is strictly forbidden. One of Ivan Tors’ rules is that, even with the older animals, every one has personal contact with a human every day. “I feel,” he adds, it’s actually a physiological process.” Ralph Helfer adds that it is also a psychological process. “If an animal has only fear of you,” he says, “you can only go so far with him, You say, under the old method, you are going to bring him into your life—or else—and he may come. He may even come almost all the way. But not actually all. He’ll keep one door locked, and someday he’s going to explode and hurt you, or even kill you. But if from the beginning you’ve always gone to him in an entirely different way, with respect and affection, he’ll finally unlock that last door himself. You never know when. With an older animal who’s had ‘fear training’ it may be never.

“When I’m asked how long our system takes, I only say, ‘Forever.’ But I do know the greatest moment a human can have is when that animal finally unlocks that last door for him. When that moment comes, the animal will do anything for you just to please you. The reward thing, the good or whatever, is only a small part of it.”

photo provided by Ken Lynch

photo provided by Ken Lynch

Only with the baby animals is Mr. Tors’ and Mr. Helfer’s process a relatively quick one—because, of course, these animals have never known a fear method. Actually, these animals fall under the distaff domain of Helfer’s beautiful wife, Toni. A former model, she has brought up her own baby girl, 2-1/2-year-old Tana, among the animals.

The hardest scene Mr. Helfer told me he ever had to do was a scene in the movie “The Lion.” Here the father was supposed to have shot his daughter’s pet lion, and the director wanted the lion to “die” in the girl’s arms. “On top of it all,” Helfer told me, they wanted it in a rainstorm.

“I defy anyone,” he said, “to get that scene without our kind of training. How are you going to do it? To get the lion to go completely limp, with his tongue out, with not a movement—not even an eyelid?

“I did it with Zamba, my favorite lion, but I’m not proud of it. To do it, I had to double-cross him. Before we shot the scene, I bawled the devil out of him. I told him I was surprised at him—that he was no good, that would never be any good, that he had let me down. Zamba was so hurt, he ‘died.”

An animal to be remembered

Of course, Zamba didn’t actually die—and, in time, he did get over the double-cross. But today he is dead, and, although there is a new Zamba in Africa, U.S.A., there is also, in the very center of the compound, a statue to the original. The legend is simple. “Zamba,” it says, “Friend to All.” Helfer points to it quietly. “I know it doesn’t sound right, but I got my religion from Zamba.

Ralph Helfer with lion, possibly his beloved Zamba

Ralph Helfer with lion, possibly his beloved Zamba

Besides Zamba, the cast of characters in “Beverly Hills” includes Judy, the 3-year-old chimp who is tops in all the animal kingdom in what Ivan Toors calls “human” intelligence (he makes a sharp and not entirely favorable comparison between this and “animal” intelligence); Clarence, the cross-eyed lion (“He really does see double. We took him to the top eye doctor in the world, but nothing can be done about it”); Bruce, the ocelot in Honey West (“he’s actually very gentle, but he can act fierce enough to make the humans around him look brave”); Patricia, a 450-pound Bengal tiger, who starred in Disney’s “A Tiger Walks;” Bruno, a 7-foot, 700-pound black bear, perhaps the biggest “working” bear in the world and yet so gentle children can ride him; Sir Tom, a mountain-lion veteran of at least 60 movies; Raunchy, a 250-pound jaguar (“They said you could never train a jaguar. We didn’t—he trained us”); and, finally, Big Mo and Margie—Big Mo, a 4-ton, 50-year-old elephant who is the largest, strongest, and certainly the best actor in elephant history, and Margie, who is a small 7-year-old pachyderm who can do everything but talk.

Once in a while ex-pets are taken n despite both Helfer’s and Tors’ strong opinions on wild animals as pets (they are 100 percent again it—“it’s all affection and no respect”), they turn out to be fine performers.

Not long ago, a new director on the Daktari set went right up to a lion. “I’m not afraid of him,” he said. Marshall Thompson grabbed the man. “You should be,” he said, pulling him back. “You don’t know enough not to be.” Helfer puts it this way. “Lack of fear is just as dangerous as fear itself—which is, of course, lack of understanding. And the moment you understand, you can’t fear. When we have a guest star in Daktari, we tell him three things: Don’t make a sudden movement, don’t make a loud noise and don’t approach the animal until someone who knows more than you do has ‘read’ him and knows what mood he is in.”

Training for tarantulas

Both Helfer and Tors have not only gone all out in their new beliefs (“Even our tarantulas,” they point out, “get affection training”) Then, too, they have even challenged what has gone down in animal books as going “against nature.” Tors has, for example, hundreds of times, with no difficulty raised a ‘killer” with his natural prey–a tiger with a fawn, for one instance—and he is even now engaged in proving that “killer” whales are not necessarily killers at all. “I told my scriptwriter just one thing,” he says. “The whale is Captain Dreyfus and you are Zola.”

Tors’ philosophy

But there is no question that Tors feels he is doing something far more important than any one television show. “I was born a mammal,” he says, “and now in a big city 1 have to live like an insect. In a car I feel like a bug. Even on a freeway I’m just an ant in a long line of other ants. In New York it may be more like a beehive, but it’s all wrong. We live a phony existence. We don’t understand life and death. We fell out of rhythm with nature. We pretend we don’t kill, but let others kill for us.”

Ivan Tors with Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion

photo provided by Ken Lynch

I asked Mr. Tors if he saw any hope. ”Well,” he said, “Ian MacPhail, the campaigns director of the World Wildlife Fund, told me that three years ago, when a safari started out from the New Stanley Hotel in Nairobi, the natives would cheer. Now they jeer. And right here in our country there’s beginning to be an entirely different feeling about everything to do with animals–from hunting all the way to laboratory animals.”

I also asked Mr. Tors what was his own favorite animal. “Cheetahs,” he replied. Finally, I asked him what was the most difficult animal to train. He smiled. “Your own house cat,” he said. “He has the most’ independence–and integrity.”

The acid test of the effectiveness Of the Africa, U.SA. training came one dark and stormy night this winter.

Thirty inches of rain, the heaviest downpour in Los Angeles history, washed out a flood-control dam, and before it could be restored, a second storm dumped 14 more inches, within 24 hours, on the area.

The entire reservation was flooded–engulfed by waves with 8-foot crests and with power enough to splinter barracks into matchboxes, to overturn a 45-foot trailer truck, to pick up 1000-pound animal cages as if they were made of cardboard and carry them off down a river which had become raging torrent. So amazingly quickly did it all happen that Ted Derby and Frank Lamping, two head trainers, were both carried off nearly half a mile down the river before they were rescued. Once back, they, Mr. and Mrs. Helfer , Joyce Freeman, the general manager  and other employees had but one purpose–to save as many animals as they could.

At first their task seemed hopeless. Africa, U.S.A., had become a underwater arena full of confused, fear-crazed animals. In a few minutes, years of work were, it seemed, to go literally down drain.

But then, that dark night, as they had done every day for so long under happier circumstances, they approached the animals. Toni Helfer made for the animal nursery and opened the door. The water-soaked, half-drowned, terrified young animals suddenly stopped their frantic fighting of the water and each other and fought to get to her. Carrying some, leading others and calling still others, she brought every single one to safety.

Meanwhile the others approached the older animals–the lions, tigers, the leopards and the jaguars.  Frightened as they were, the animals did not forget their lessons at Africa, U .S.A. There was no time to tie and pull them–they had to come, or else. Each sight of these huge animals being taken to higher ground, and safety, was more remarkable than the one before–a keeper, Jack Silk, carrying a cheetah piggyback across the river, literally swimming under him; 90-pound trainer Harley Tony alone carrying a 115-pound python, a snake that normally takes three men to lift. But perhaps the most amazing sight of all was Big Mo. For one of the trainers, unable to budge a cage sliding into the water had suddenly thought of the elephant. He had gone and untied him. Without a word of command, Big Mo went down to the river and set himself in position. A rope was put around the cage—and Big Mo pulled it to high ground.

Ralph Helfer (left, still living, currently an author) and Ivan Tors (deceased 1983)

Ralph Helfer (left, still living, currently an author) and Ivan Tors (deceased 1983)

In all only four animals were lost—a new lion which had not yet had affection training and refused to leave her cage; a rare eagle from Pakistan, which had drowned, and two wolves which became so terrified nothing could be done to save them. A third wolf was, at least, freed frorn its cage. However, when a sheriff saw it swimming to freedom across the river to the wrong side, he refused to let it go. “I cannot allow it,” he shouted, and pulled out his gun. Immediately one of the trainers dove into the icy water and put his arms around the wolf, foiling the shooting.

Nowhere though, that night when the storm subsided and they took stock, could anyone find Bruno. The 700 pound black hear was gone. Frantically Tors and Helfer advertised on the radio and television not to shoot him–that he was affectionate. Two days later, to the amazement of all, Bruno casually ambled back into camp and headed for his cage. He seemed none the worse for whatever experiences he had had—only tired–and to this day no one knows where he had been.

“My guess,” says Tors, “is that he decided it was time for a personal appearance tour.”

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Cheryl Miller’s first acting gig – at the tender age of nineteen days!

daktaritvshow.wordpress.com 03 cheryl miller as a baby in casanova brownCheryl Miller’s first break in show business came straight from the maternity ward.

A casting man from the soon-to-be-produced movie Casanova Brown needed a baby. Coming to Hollywood’s St. John’s Hospital, he pointed to a calmly sleeping Cheryl and said, “That one please, if her parents approve.” They did. She was cast as the son of Gary Cooper and Teresa Wright!

“Happily,” Cheryl says, “I didn’t get typed.”

“Then,” Cheryl reports, “Mother told me word got around that I was  quiet baby, not a scene spoiler and 28 days later, I appeared in another movie. This time as a girl.” (quoted from article by Erskine Johnson)

By the time she starred in Daktari, Cheryl appeared in over 100 films.

Here’s some shots from her debut appearance on the silver screen:

Click to Tweet & Share: Cheryl Miller’s first acting gig – at the tender age of nineteen days http://wp.me/p3hKG3-cg
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Daktari Season One Episode Guide

The following episode guide for Season One was contributed by Ken Lynch who hails from Australia. Photos are by Patrick Sansano. Patrick is from France and has an excellent and entertaining Episode Guide of his own which I encourage you to visit. If you don’t speak French, use Google Translate to read his commentary.

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The First Season

Note: photo slide show of Season One at the bottom on this post.

The first season of 18 episodes (including two double-episode specials) did a great job in establishing the premise of the series.

jack and paula nearly kiss - cheryl miller and yale summers of daktariBesides the action-adventure aspects of the series, a central feature of this and the next two seasons was the undercurrent of a potential love affair between Jack and Paula which was always there (particularly in some early episodes) but never actually went anywhere.

The outdoor scenes created a believable African atmosphere despite some annoyingly frequent re-use of selected scenes (such as the black leopards leaping around their cage, the baby giraffe looking up) and some obvious mis-matching of real-life African footage with sequences filmed at Africa USA (eg. the medical attention given to a zebra in Episode 1.5 is a prime example).

Despite this, the quality of the first season episodes improved over time – perhaps due to the use of a core of writers – including Stephen Kandel (5), William Clark (4), Robert Lewin (2), Richard Carlson (3) – and three directors – Otto Lang (4), Paul Landres (7), Andrew Marton (7) who progressively knew the characters and played up the elements that worked.

yale summers don marshall marshall thompson daktariDon Marshall appeared in three episodes as Luke. It is unclear from the screening order of this season as to whether he actually appeared in the first three episodes filmed and was then replaced by Hari Rhodes, or whether he appeared intermittently in Episodes 1.2, 1.3 and 1.5 as screened.

It is most likely that it was the first scenario with Episode 1.1 being specifically written and filmed later in the schedule (with Hari Rhodes) to create an episode that very effectively explains the setting and introduces the characters.

The First Season Episodes

(First aired on Tuesdays on CBS in the US)

1.1 The Elephant Thieves (First aired 11 Jan 1966)

A baby elephant strays into the reserve and so Marsh, Paula and Jack try to find its parents. In the search, they encounter two men claiming to be photographers, but who have really killed the elephant’s mother. The men steal the baby elephant, Clarence and Judy, but discover they’ve got more than they bargained for when Judy steals the keys from their truck and lets the air out of their tyres. When Marsh catches the thieves, he is shot with his own tranquilliser rifle, leaving the two men a clear path to escape with the prize animals.

Notes: Written by Robert Lewin and directed by Otto Lang. This appears to have been a specially written episode to introduce the series, and to explain the purpose of the Study Centre and the tranquiliser guns, etc. It was filmed some time into the shooting schedule. Watch for Hari Rhodes’ obvious fright when the cheetah is first brought in. The Dispensary set used would change overtime.

1.2 Predator of Wameru (First aired 18 Jan 1966)

Marsh, Paula and Jack are on the trail of a Wakanda animal poacher when he is injured by one of his own snares. As the native goes into a coma, he sees a lion chase away hyenas and vultures before he awakes at the study center. As he is nursed back to health, he is convinced that it is not right to hunt on the game reserve. The native disappears with Judy and, while Marsh searches for him, bandits take the animals from the centre. With the native still missing, Marsh, Luke and Jack are captured by the poachers and locked in an animal cage.

Notes: Written by Stephen Kendal and directed by Paul Landres. Guest stars Don Marshall and Percy Rodriguez as the native. Rodriguez would return in another role in Episode 3.7. There are some badly mis-matched shots during the zebra-capture scenes. The bush setting location used for this scene had been featured in the Clarence movie and was re-used several times in subsequent episodes. Marsh refers to Jack and Luke as ‘interns’, rather than ‘associates’ as he does later in the series. The hunting Wakanda tribe is referred to again in Episode 1.12.

1.3 Killer Lion (First aired 25 Jan 1966)

One of Marsh’s neighbours has a pet lioness named Lady Pembrook who has recently become irritable. While bringing the lion to the study center for treatment, a farmer threatens to shoot the lion. The lion mauls the farmer during the argument, and he becomes determined to kill the animal. Marsh removes a tumour from the lioness which is the cause of the animal’s bad behaviour. When the lion recovers, the farmer arranges to let it out of its cage and to track her down.

Notes: Written by William Clark and directed by Otto Lang. Guest stars Don Marshall as Luke and Alan Napier (from Batman). A subsequent reference is made to Lady Pembrook in Episode 2.1. The road taken to deliver Lady Penbrook was re-used in several episodes, including Episode 1.5. This episode includes the first ever look at the outside and inside of Hedley’s sub-district office.

1.4 Adventure of the Lion Cubs (First aired 1 Feb 1966)

Marsh, Paula and Jack are taking samples from a water hole when Judy disappears into the bush. They return to the Wameru compound knowing that Judy and Clarence will return home. Judy takes Clarence to where a mother lioness is trapped in a net set by poachers Giles and Stokes. Nearby are three cubs which Judy takes home, protecting them from hungry animals. At the house, Judy and Clarence care for the cubs which will not accept food. Marsh guesses that the cubs’ mother has been injured or is sick. Meanwhile, the poachers have the lioness in a cage when Hedley enters the scene. This starts a conflict which becomes tense and dangerous before all is well.

Notes: Written by William Clark and directed by Paul Landres. This episode is heavily reliant on specially filmed scenes with Judy and the lion cubs interspersed with the actors saying dialogue that sets up the scenes. Mike has some of his first extended scenes. Some explanatory shots of the bear with the lion cubs were re-used later in the series.

1.5 Trail of the Cheetah (First aired 8 Feb 1966)

Marsh and Paula are on their way to pick up Janet Lorne, from a foundation supporting the animal study center, when they find a wounded zebra on the game reserve. After treating the animal, they hear from Hedley that Roy Meadows, a suspected murderer, is thought to be in the area. While Marsh shows his guest around the reserve, she falls into a pit and breaks her leg. With the help of Judy and the murderer, Marsh gets her from the pit, but Meadows steals the truck and forces him to drive toward the border. Paula and Jack, with the help of Clarence, lead Hedley on an exciting rescue mission.

Notes: Guest stars Don Marshall as Luke, Dina Merrill as Janet Lorne, and Ron Hayes as Roy Meadows. Ron Hayes would re-appear as Meadows in the two-part episode Return of the Killer (Episodes 1.10 and 1.11) and even came back in a completely different role in Episode 3.20. This looks suspiciously like the first episode filmed (perhaps as a pilot?) with explanations to set the scene for the series. Paula (unusually) wears a dress and the episode features a different recording of the First Season theme music. It also features a couple of scenes (including the last segment) where Paula and Jack exchange glances hinting at a romance that never really went anywhere, and infers the episode is set very early in Jack’s stay at Wameru. The scenes at the river when Meadows is captured looks like the same spot used for the gorilla crossing from the original movie. The episode was directed by Andrew Marton and was co-written by Alan Caillou (along with Stephen Kendal) who had co-written the earlier Clarence the Cross Eyed Lion film.

1.6 Leopards of Mdala Gorge (First aired 15 Feb 1966)

When Dr. Teresa Warren and Dr. Gene Barr, archaeologists, pitch their tents in Mdala Gorge, they are fearful of attack from predatory animals. They hire a local hunter to kill off the potential man-eaters. Marsh, who has been in conflict with the hunter before, hears of this and he takes Paula, Jack and Mike to the camp to avoid this slaughter. Marsh finds the hunter on the job and offers to capture the animals and relocate them so the scientists can work in safety. But the hunter wants none of this as he has a contract to kill the animals.

Notes: Directed by Otto Lang. Harry Lauder plays a rather sympathetic version of a hunter. There are a couple of scenes of hammy acting with routine dialogue, and staged shots with the animals. The rocks featured as the leopards’ lair were used in many subsequent episodes. Many of the publicity shots for the series were actually taken during this episode. The scenes with the leopard on a leash were done with an obvious double for Paula!

1.7 The Diamond Smugglers (First aired 1 Mar 1966)

Amoux and Duval are illegally mining diamonds at a jungle site, posing as palaeontologists digging for prehistoric bones. Despite some snooping by Judy, they convince Marsh, Paula and Jack they are genuine scientists. The smugglers have stowed diamonds in a false bottom of a crate packed with bones. They hire Roy Kimba to fly the crate in his small plane to Nairobi. They are sure their cargo will pass customs. When the plane crashes and Roy is knocked unconscious, a chase develops as the team rush to save Roy from man-eating animals while the smugglers rush for their diamonds.

Notes: Directed by Paul Landres. Nico Minardos (from The Flying Nun) and Paul Winfield guest star. Prince, an alsatian dog, is introduced in this episode as a pet of the smugglers. Prince would re-appear in the episode after the next (Episode 1.9) and make several more appearances thereafter. Jack and Paula have great interplay when Jack shows some jealousy towards the two thieves. A different set is used for internal shots of the main house indicating a different concept of the lounge/bedroom area. Marsh wears an Aussie-style hat for the first time.

1.8 The Chimp Who Went Ape (First aired 8 Mar 1966)

Paula is despondent as Judy has gone missing for a week. Marsh suggests she may not have been killed or hurt but is visiting a chimp family. While Judy is with the chimps, a baby chimp falls from a tree and is critically hurt. Judy steals the baby and gets it to the clinic where the team operate on it. When the baby needs care, Judy acts as the nurse. Later, thinking to reassure the jungle family, Judy brings them all to the clinic. They wreck the place to bring the baby home. Although Judy tries to stop them, they carry the baby away. Because the injured baby needs medication to survive, Marsh goes in pursuit to retrieve the baby from the hostile chimp family.

Notes: Written by Robert Lewin and directed by Otto Lang. The standard internal house set from the movie returns and Marsh makes one of his rare references to Paula’s mother. Marshall Thompson does one of his famous narrative voice-overs to explain many of the chimps’ scenes. This episode introduces Toto who subsequently appeared as Judy’s constant companion in later seasons. This is the first of many episodes that is built around footage of Judy, although Clarence has his first scenes testing his eyesight.

1.9 The Killer Dog (First aired 15 Mar 1966)

A farmer is full of hate and bitterness and has trained Prince (see Episode 1.7) to become a vicious killer of wildlife. When Prince is injured and rescued by Paula and Jack, he is taken to Wameru for treatment where the dog learns affection and succeeds in installing a will to live in a Bengal tiger. When the farmer recovers Prince and resumes turning the dog into a savage beast, Judy and Clarence come to the rescue and Marsh is faced with the challenge of trying to make the farmer realise that his hatred will lead to his own destruction.

Notes: Written by William Clark and directed by Paul Landres. There are a couple of amusing scenes featured. It is the first of several episodes that continue a storyline from a previous episode (see Episodes 1.10 and 1.11).

1.10 Return of the Killer (Part 1) (First aired 22 Mar 1966)

Weak from a bullet wound suffered during a prison break, Roy Meadows (see Episode 1.5) struggles through the bush with a fellow inmate to reach Wameru. His partner wounds a leopard and when Marsh hears of this, he drives off, leaving Paula behind for voice lessons from Mrs Fusby. The convicts discover Marsh’s parked truck and drive it to the center. Meadows insists Paula operate on his wounded arm. Paula gives Clarence the walkie-talkie and sends him to find Marsh. Hedley arrives at the center and is held prisoner too. Clarence finds Marsh who must now instruct Paula on surgical proceedings to remove the bullet.

Notes: Written by Richard Carlson and directed by Andrew Marton. Guest stars Ron Hayes again as Roy Meadows (see comments on his multiple appearances in Episode 1.5), Steve Brodie (from several Elvis movies) as his partner, and Jan Clayton as Mrs. Fusby, a female character very similar to Mr Rowbotham in the Clarence movie.. Jan Clayton would make another appearance as a different character (Sister Maria Francis) in Episode 3.17. Lydia the elephant (also featured in the Daktari books) makes her first appearance. Mike comes across as being inexperienced (and perhaps newly arrived at Wameru) and so the episode could have been written (or even filmed) earlier in the schedule.

1.11 Return of the Killer (Part 2) (First aired 29 Mar 1966)

Using Marsh’s instructions, Paula removes the bullet. Prior to the surgery, two policemen arrive and Hedley talks to them. They leave to search for the convicts but find Marsh instead. While they race back to the center, the convicts take Paula in a truck towards the border. Both cars nearly collide, forcing each off the road. Meadows threatens Paula’s life, but Lydia, a pet elephant, which has followed them from the compound, helps rescue her.

Notes: Written by Richard Carlson and directed by Andrew Marton. Guest stars Ron Hayes as Roy Meadows and Jan Clayton as Mrs. Fusby. This is the first episode to have its title specified in the introductory scenes plus a narrative summary of Part 1 by Marshall Thompson. In fact, one of the recap scenes explaining what had happened previously did not actually feature in Part 1 but was filmed especially for this purpose.

1.12 Maneater of Wameru (First aired 5 Apr 1966)

Barbara Ingram, a magazine photographer, arrives at Wameru to photograph wildlife. She engages a hunter to seek out the Wakanda, a hostile tribe of poachers, to encourage them to enter the reserve. When Hedley discovers them poaching, they attack him. He fights them off until he is wounded. Barbara, who has been filming the battle, finally comes to his aid, dragging him into her photographic blind. Marsh manages to save Hedley’s life, but Barbara goes back to her hide. Unbeknown to her, the hunter has stolen Clarence with a plan to release him to hostile lions so they can be filmed as they fight. Paula discovers the situation, but during their fight the lions tumble into the hide, injuring Paula. Judy attempts to contact Marsh on the walkie-talkie.

Notes: Directed by Paul Landres. Joe Higgins would return as the same character in Episode 2.13 and as another character in Episode 4.3, while Doris Dowling would return in different roles in Episodes 2.10 and 3.11. Paula’s jealous bickering (from Episode 1.7) is evident again. The ‘fight’ between Clarence and the other lion looks ferocious but was probably filmed as they played together. Hercules the bear (from Episodes 1.10 and 1.11) appears again. A double (probably Ralph Helfer) is used for Marsh when separating the two lions.

1.13 Crisis at the Compound (First aired 12 Apr 1966)

Marsh returns to the center to discover Hedley has invited a visiting official and his daughter to his home. Marsh is unhappy to learn they plan to hunt a leopard that has been cured at the hospital. After Jack and Mike destroy every attempt to kill the animal, Judy saves his daughter’s life when approached by a snake. They then agree to accept Marsh’s offer of a live trophy rather than a dead one. When they select Judy, Paula is heartbroken. Hedley escorts the hunting party off the reserve. Judy unlocks her cage and returns to the compound. She returns with Bonnie, another chimp, and everyone is happy even after they learn that the daughter knows of the deception.

Notes: Written by Marvin Wald and directed by Paul Landres. David Opatoshu guest stars. Paula’s jealousy features yet again! This is the most obvious example of using the house veranda as an internal studio set rather than the real outdoor actual setting.

1.14 The Hostages (First aired 19 Apr 1966)

After two hunters witness Marsh receiving a grant from their foundation, they steal Clarence and Judy, holding them for ransom. Hedley is powerless because the animals are public property. Paula and Jack take Prince and start a search. When the dog leads them to the pair, Jack is shot and Paula is captured, leaving Jack for dead. The dog revives Jack and is sent to find Marsh. Paula escapes but is pursued. When one of them is about to shoot Paula, Clarence faces him head on, forcing him to surrender. When Marsh and Hedley arrive, Paula and her two pets have everything under control.

Notes: Written by Stephen Kendal and directed by Andrew Marton. Aussie Chips Rafferty guest stars in a very over-the-top performance. This appearance was one of his last US TV roles before he returned to Australia for roles in Skippy, Woobinda and Spyforce. The team appear in suits and a dress in the opening ceremony – a rare occurrence. Paula and Jack’s interplay is a feature of this episode prior to perhaps their best pairing in Episodes 1.16 and 1.17. The hilltop location used in Episodes 1.3 and 1.5 is featured again. Prince has his second episode with major screentime.

1.15 Judy and the Hyena (First aired 26 Apr 1966)

Clarence, Judy, Paula and Jack discover a hyena in a pit. Judy intentionally pushes a tree limb into the pit, injuring the hyena, as she was bitten by one as a young chimp. The hyena is removed and returned to Wameru where Marsh operates. Paula nurses Willie but rejects Judy who is jealous. She harasses the hyena by destroying its medicine and leading it into the jungle. A visitor, Col. Colby, accidentally leaves Willie’s cage open, allowing it to escape. Judy is blamed and the search begins. Judy finds Willie with another hyena who attacks. Clarence appears and chases it off.

Notes: Written by William Clark and directed by Paul Landres. Paula’s tirades against Judy are perhaps the worst ever in this episode!

1.16 Wall of Flames (Part 1) (First aired 3 May 1966)

Fire burns the African bush into a flaming wall of fire after two hunters set the dry bush ablaze in an attempt to drive a herd of rhino off the reserve. Paula, Jack and Judy fight the fire while studying the migration habits of a buffalo named Winston. They start a backfire to create an escape corridor for the fleeing animals, but fall into the hands of the hunters who realise they must kill them to keep their identities unknown.

Notes: Written by Stephen Kendel and directed by Andrew Marton. Aussie Michael Pate guest stars (with an Irish accent). This is an entertaining and well-written piece that could stand on its own as a movie. Efforts were made to use some new bush locations which are well integrated with bushfire sequences. The use of smoke pots in some seldom seen canyons is very effective. The actors seem very relaxed and are enjoying their roles – and it shows!

1.17 Wall of Flames (Part 2) (First aired 10 May 1966)

After setting the bush ablaze, the two hunters have Jack and Paula who escape into a hill of rocks. Jack sees Winston and gets the transmitter attached to his horn to send an SOS to Marsh.

Notes: Written by Stephen Kendel and directed by Andrew Marton. Guest stars Aussie Michael Pate. The episode title is featured in the introduction for only the second time. Marshall Thompson does his best voice-over narration again. The lion pit with the cheetah is also used again as are the leopards’ lair cliff rocks. Watch for the second kiss between Jack and Paula (admittedly on her forehead!).

1.18 Judy and the Gunrunners (First aired 17 May 1966)

Thirst and starvation face Marsh, Jack and Judy when a power-mad revolutionary abandons them behind prison bars in a deserted African cave once used to hold slaves. Outside, the baddies are loading a truck with rifles that will be used to overthrow the government. The plan is to establish a base at Wameru using the animals as food for the revolutionaries.

Notes: Written by Richard Carlson (to include some great interplay between Marsh and Jack) and directed by Andrew Marton. Guest stars Theodore Marcuse (from Elvis’ Harum Scarum) as Dr. Akubar. Marsh wears his Aussie-style hat so that his double could be used when greeting Clarence.

Photo Slide Show Season One

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How it all began: Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion

Ken Lynch, one of our readers, contributed this write-up of the movie that started it all.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Daktari was a spin-off from Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion, a movie in which Marshall Thompson starred and collaborated on the script with Alan Caillou.

clarence the cross-eyed lion movie poster

The Movie

Before Daktari was broadcast on American television for the first time in 1966, it had already been a 1965 MGM feature film with the title Clarence the Cross Eyed Lion.

Here are two trailers from the movie:

from Warner Brothers

from TCM

Discovery of Clarence

Ivan Tors first discovered Clarence at Africa USA, an affection training compound located in Soledad Canyon about 40 miles north of Los Angeles. Born cross-eyed, Clarence’s strange physical condition inspired Ivan Tors to create the feature film.

Because of his unusual condition, Clarence was almost given away as a cub. But Tors, who had a successful track record with animal pictures – Flipper (1963) and Rhino! (1964) – took an interest in the lion and decided he had star potential. “I’ve never seen a cross-eyed lion,” said Tors. “And neither has the rest of the world.”

The trainers even made Clarence a lion-sized pair of glasses which make a cameo appearance in the movie (they proved to be totally ineffective and were eventually discarded). Eventually, Clarence’s vision did improve.

clarence the cross-eyed lion with glasses in movie

Clarence stand-in

Another not so friendly lion 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. Leo had come to Africa USA from a family in Utah. His ferocity was due in part to the mistreatment he received from former owners who reportedly beat him with a stick.

Cast members

Director Andrew Marton sets up the family-friendly history for the series: the veterinary surgeon Dr. Marsh Tracy (Marshall Thompson) leading the animal research station Wameru Study Center in East Africa with his daughter Paula (Cheryl Miller), whose favourite animal is a python (Mary Lou). The film also starred Betsy Drake as a Dian Fossey-inspired love interest. Clarence is soon adopted by Paula and later saves the day when Drake and her research gorillas are threatened by poachers.

daktaritvshow.wordpress.com clarence the cross-eyed lion movie cheryl miller paula tracy paula and clarence1

Richard Haydn (from Sound of Music) plays a bumbling tutor.  (co-screenwriter) plays the local District Officer – again a character that was replicated as Hedley in the series.

Clarence the Cross Eyed Lion was an excellent family-oriented animal adventure film with plenty of human interaction and comedy.

daktaritvshow.wordpress.com clarence the cross-eyed lion movie cheryl miller paula tracy with snakeMarshall Thompson is really convincing as the head of the animal study compound who, as a widow, must take care of his teenage daughter Paula who is a bit of tom-boy but is growing up into a woman (she tapes her stockings to her thighs with masking tape to hold them up).

Betsy Drake (the former Mrs. Cary Grant) is Julie Harper who is the romantic interest for Dr. Tracy. Richard Haydn is excellent as the comic relief Rupert Rowbotham.

Add some wrestling with wild cheetahs, a few dangerous gorilla poachers, the antics of Doris the chimpanzee (Judy) and, of course, Clarence and what you have is one of the most consistently entertaining of the African animal adventure films.

The movie was a mixture of safaris, animals and adventure with some humour. A particular technique used during the film was showing the world from the view of the cross eyed lion. Authentic film footage of gorillas, shot in their natural habitat, adds to the realism.

Success leads to Daktari

The original movie was such a large public success that it led actor Marshall Thompson together with experienced producer Ivan Tors to continue the format in television as Daktari.

Here is a slide show of pictures from the movie. You can order Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion from Amazon.

And here are pictures from Ken’s collection

Click to Tweet & Share: Daktari – how it all began: Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion http://wp.me/p3hKG3-ao
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TV Guide feature on Cheryl Miller: April 1-7, 1967

My biggest regret in losing my scrapbook was losing all the great articles I had on Cheryl Miller. She was into all kinds of interesting activities and it was fun to learn about them. One of my favorite articles was the TV Guide feature in April of 1967.

daktaritvshow.wordpress.com cheryl miller actress TV guide cover

Thanks to sites like eBay, I am beginning to restore these items to my collection.

Here is the complete article featured in TV Guide for the week of April 1-7, 1967:

The Lady and the Tiger

For Cheryl Miller this is just the beginning of togetherness on the ‘Daktari’ set

BV DWIGHT WHITNEY (TV Guide April 1-7, 1967)

cheryl miller as paula tracy with sarang the tiger on daktariWe are in a sandy, wind-whipped arroyo in Soledad Canyon some 40 miles north of Los Angeles–and a hundred feet south of a plastic cornfield that is the only synthetic thing about the wild animal compound known as Africa, U.S.A. Up the line a ways Albert the elk is bellowing because he’s rutting, and Shanga the jaguar is crying because his pads are sore and he can’t be with the other animals until they heal. Shanga believes in Togetherness, and Togetherness is what it’s all about on the set of Daktari

Cheryl Miller, the beautiful 24-year-old lady star of this animal shebang, believes in Togetherness, too. She is the kind of girl who looks smashing at 6 o’clock in the morning in her form-fitting Levi’s and two suits of red thermal underwear. Right now she is nose-to-nose with a 425-pound Bengal tiger named Sarang, and not a cage in sight.

No guns, no whips, no chairs. Only love. Cheryl loves Sarang. Sarang loves Cheryl. They are the Garbo and Gilbert of the zoological set, Hollywood film-making division. They nuzzle. They cuddle. Sarang makes gurgling love sounds. Cheryl returns them in kind, whispering tigerish nothings–”love talk,” she calls it–into a hairy ear.

Suddenly the beast is licking her throat. The four trainers in their jungle camouflage suits tense. She grabs the animal by the scruff of the neck. “Sarang, I love you, too.Now stop it!”

“OK, let hirn settle down,” commands director Paul Landres, an affable but businesslike gentleman with a wicker safari hat and a Mr. Magoo-like nose. “Let’s make a picture.”

Make a picture indeed! This place is alive with wild beasts! This is Africa, U.S.A., the creation of affection trainer Ralph Helfer and his movie-making partner and fellow animal-lover, Ivan” (Flipper) Tors; and there are 499 more of these loving creatures roaming the place practically at will! I mean like 30 lions, eight tigers, eight leopards, 28 bears, four jaguars, four hyenas, six mountain lions, six elephants, two rhinos, five hippos, eight ostriches, four giraffes, 40 baboons, eight chimps, 12 rattlesnakes, five pythons, five two sloths and a scorpion all of them, to hear Helfer tell it, as gentle as babies!

On the immediate set, however, we are exposed to only a modest cross section of Africa, U.S.A.’s wildlife. There is Sultan, Sarang’s 385-pound double, pacing on his chain leash. If he brushes an actor or a crewman they hardly seem to notice.There is the Daktari company’s ever-present light comedienne and farceur, Judy the chirnp, mugging shamelessly, mad because she isn’t in the scene. In the absence of Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion, indisposed today, there is a full-grown African leopard named Yang beingchucked under the chin by Toni Helfer, Ralph’s attractive blonde wife. When the animal knocks over some photographic equipment, she bats him. “That’s a no-no!” she says.

In front of the camera, Sarang sits dog-fashion in the back of the “Wameru Study Center for Animal Behavior” jeep. Leaning against the vehicle, back to Sarang, is little Miss Got-guts herself. Cool? I mean this is nothing. Not for a girl who, since she first started making Daktari about a year ago, has rassled leopards (they’re the tricky ones), ridden a one-and-a-half ton white rhinoceros, wound a 5-foot African rock python around her neck, and allowed a scorpion to walk on her hand.

“Hi, Dad,” Miss Miller is saying breezily into a walkie-talkie as the cameras roll. “Yes, Sarang is fine, too. . . . You want me to photograph the mating processes of wart hogs? You gotta be kidding. . . .You’re not?” Sarang’s nose nuzzles the back of her neck. “Sometimes I wish I were a man. I might get some easy assignments.”

Throughout the scene the trainers wave, grimace and bark instructions from under the camera, behind the jeep or simply hidden in the foliage. “Hey, hey, hey, Sarang! … over here, boy. . . . Stay, Sarang.

Stay! . . . Settle down, boy. . . .” Sarang may be restless today but Miss Miller seems unperturbed. With her free hand she brushes him off as one might a fly. “. . . OK, Dad. Bye now …. You know, Sarang, I’ve got a feeling that—“

But the beast is not remembering what Helfer taught him in acting class. He is leaning forward affectionately, his weight inadvertently bending her 5-foot-7, 114-pound frame back over the jeep’s spare tire. Oh, this will kill ‘em in Des Moines. The trainers jump in “for safety’s sake,” they explain later and extricate their lady star, who wipes a bit of slaver from her eye and flicks it on the ground daintily. “Cut!” yells Landres, disappointed that he couldn’t keep his cameras rolling longer .

Minutes later the scene is complete and Miss Miller is explaining how a girl gets to be Bernhardt to the Beasts. First of all she has to be born of solidly middle-class parents in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles. Cheryl’s mother, then a housewife, now a travel agent, registered her pretty baby with the Screen Actors Guild at birth. The picture people came out to look at her while she was still in the hospital, succumbed immediately, and cast her as the infant in a Gary Cooper movie called “Casanova Brown.” She was all of four days old.

Even though she did what her studio biography optimistically describes as “over a hundred” movies in the next 20 years, and as many TV shows and commercials, Cheryl could hardly be described as gung ho for show biz. Not our Cheryl. She preferred the girls’ track teamand once ran the 50-yard dash in 6.5 seconds. She kept iguanas “for four or five years.” She was on intimate terms with hamsters, white rats, lizards, chameleons and a jar full of black widow spiders.

She had a sweet soprano voice, studied guitar and piano, and later harmony and composition at UCLA. She was very big in the church, and even after the late Walt Disney picked her up and made her a leading woman of sorts in a movie called “Monkey’s Uncle,” she could hardly wait to get back into the Christian Education department of the Bel-Air Presbyterian.

When Ivan Tors stole her for his movie version of Daktari called “Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion,” Disney was too polite to complain. Tors cast her, he says, “because she had the basic chemistry. You either like animals or you don’t.” When he asked her what her age was, she replied, “Do you want my agent’s version, or do you want the truth?” She told him the truth. She worked with Helfer and the beasts for four weeks before a camera ever turned. Helfer, a youngish-looking man with dedication written all over him, was to explain, “She wasn’t one of the sweaty-palmed ones. The animal knows. That girl is so good that she can do things with Sarang not even the trainers can do.”

As for Cheryl, she was already hip-deep in animal mystique. “Every animal has his own personality and his own ways,” she is saying. “Certain sounds, certain attitudes. We call this love talk. When I talk to Sarang this way, we get a better scene.

“An animal is like a person. You pay him a fantastic compliment and he’s 10 feet off the ground. But with an animal it can’t be false. That’s what Daktari is all about.”

That’s what Cheryl is all about. Acting? What is acting compared to the “experience” of working with the· beasts?” How many times in my lifetime,” she asks, “will I have such a unique opportunity?” She is constantly amazed at how many people visit the Daktari set without recognizing its subtler philosophical implications. “They draw me aside and say, ‘How can you stand working with these smelly animals?’ or ‘Tell me the truth, now, how many times have you been clawed or bitten?’ “To which I reply, ‘Oh, hundreds of times. Can’t you see the scars on my face?’”

Cheryl does not consider it extraordinary. She considers co-star Marshall Thompson the real magician with animals. “Marsh really does understand their ways,” she says.

Her long-term interests lie elsewhere. She flies jet airplanes. She horseback rides. She skis. She mountain climbs. She designs and makes her own clothes. She goes to flight school to study aerodynamics twice a week. She goes to French cooking class at UCLA twice a week.

She lives at home with her divorced mother and a Saluki dog named Sally, and keeps company with a neighbor’s son who is a lieutenant in the Air Force. When she ever sees them is the mystery. She arises at 4: 30 A.M. on working days, 6 A.M. on all others, often works a 13-hour day, and sometimes sleeps as much as six hours a night. “My 30-hour day,” she calls it. She has a brother who is a dentist, an estranged father who is an architect, and enough energy to move an army. If you need a Miss Christmas Seal or a marshall to decorate your parade, or a pretty fund-raiser for the Junior Foundation for the Blind, Cheryl is always available.

She even does some shopping. When she does, a peculiar thing happens. “If I wear my Levi’s I’m mobbed . Wear a dress and nobody even recognizes me.” Which, of course, is the price a girl has to pay for her Beastmanship.

But the beasts are calling now.The trainers are spraying Judy—aft—with nontoxic vegetable-dye spray, cosmetically preparing her for ·the scene. Sarang is pacing off-scene. Sultan stands by if Sarang should falter. The prop men are lighting the butane campfire and Landres is lining up his shot. They are bringing the beast in now. Some of the more skittish visitors move back uneasily. Us old Iron Nerves stay where we are. Really nothing to worry about. They’re just going to photograph Sarang and the lady sharing the same bedroll, that’s all.

Landres has the tape measure on the animal’s snout to determine the focus, and the lady has just placed her lovely blonde head on the animal’s rib cage. He stirs. “Now what’s frightened you?” she coos cajolingly. “The moon out there? Don’t worry, I’ll protect you,” as we fade out.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Here is the actual article as it appeared in TV Guide:

Click to Tweet & Share: Read the complete TV Guide feature on Cheryl Miller from the April 1-7, 1967 issue http://wp.me/p3hKG3-a3
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Cheryl Miller back in 1998: we should all look this good!

Mathijs from the Netherlands was kind enough to send this picture of Cheryl Miller with a fan named Todd (check out Google Groups Todd’s Day of TV Nostalgia). She was 55 at the time.

cheryl miller in 1998

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Cheryl Miller today

cheryl miller today at 69 (as of March 2012)

Cheryl Miller today at 69 (as of March 2012)

Recently a reader (aptly named “Cheryl”) mentioned a German magazine article that appeared last year on Cheryl Miller. She graciously shared with us the article, a beautiful two-page spread.  She writes, “The magazine is called Freizeit Revue and I believe that it is issue number 11 of 2012 which I think came out last March. I found it online while doing a search on Cheryl Miller after the Daktari season 1 came out and this was for sale on a German eBay-type site called hood.de so I bought it.”

The article is of course in German so I asked if she could send us a summary of the content. She did and I also translated it through Google Translate and added my own comments in the brackets.

Title: Daktari’s Paula is still entirely crazy about wild animals.

cheryl miller of daktari in march of 2012Page two, first paragraph talks about how Judy, the chimp was giving her a kiss on the mouth but  suddenly a leopard which was supposed to go after the chimp went after her and knocked her to the ground. It took three men to get the leopard off. The men stared at her with shocked looks to see if she had any injuries.

Second paragraph - She only had a few bruises but the attack scared the pants off of her. Another time she had to wrestle a crocodile with a a rubber knife underwater. The croc’s mouth was wired shut and she had to do wrestle it three times which was not fun. (Note: this was for the episode “Terror in the Bush” which I wrote about in the last post. There is a picture of her wrestling with the crocodile.)

cheryl miller of daktari with giraffe in march 2012Third paragraph talks about how much Clarence liked her.

Fourth paragraph – Cheryl says her time on Daktari was wonderful compared to what came after, a soap opera and a couple of mediocre films. Eventually she gave up acting altogether. She had saved up enough money to start a family. She didn’t want her son and stepsons to think their mother was anything special. [She has a son Eric, 31, and two stepsons, Ronn, 45, and Rob, 43.]

cheryl miller of daktari march 2012 in AZ homeFifth paragraph – she didn’t have much luck with love. Her first marriage started to fall apart after two months and a second marriage only lasted a few years. Finally in 1987 she found the man of her dreams, Robert Kasselmann. They were married about 20 years. Seven years ago he died of a rare, incurable heart disease.

Last paragraph- talks about how she works for the diocese [Diocese of Tucson] with terminally ill children which she says is very hard, yet fulfilling. She has many friends with whom she goes to the theatre. Sports play a large role in her life as well. She participated in the senior Olympics (she and her group, the Pebblecreek Panthers took the silver in the Bocce). She shoots bow and arrow, swims and cross country skis. And there is still always the wild animals. The time she spent on Daktari seems like only yesterday.

Cheryl is featured in the Pepplecreek Press displaying her medal with her teammates.

Cheryl is featured in the Pepplecreek Press displaying her medal with her teammates.

My thanks again to “Cheryl” for all this wonderful information! It sounds like Cheryl Miller Kasselmann is leading a happy and fulfilling life.

Here is the spread. If you would like the full size scan of the article, email me at daktartvshow@gmail.com and I’ll send it to you.

Freizeit Revue March 2013, first page

Freizeit Revue March 2013, first page

Freizeit Revue article on Cheryl Miller, page 2

Freizeit Revue article on Cheryl Miller, page 2

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