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A sampling of Cheryl Miller’s television appearances in the 1960’s

When I set out to recreate my Cheryl Miller scrapbook, my vision was small. Just replace my pictures. I probably now have twice as many pictures as I ever had with my scrapbook, having replaced several treasured ones, and acquiring many more new photos.

As a kid I I wished I had been able to see Cheryl in some of her other television appearances. Thanks to readers Ken and Walter, I’ve been able to see many of them and now I will share them with you!

Here are some rare videos from some of Cheryl’s guest starring roles on classic 1960’s sitcoms:

Leave it To Beaver

as Helen in “The Party Spoiler” (1962) (episode available on Netflix)

Perry Mason

as First Girl in “The Case of the Lurid Letter” (1962)

My Three Sons

as Georgina Williams in “Never Look Back” (1964)

Be sure and check out the new Daktari Fan Site YouTube channel for more videos!

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Time for a Daktari Reboot? Who should play Marsh, Paula, Jack and Mike?

Guest post by Ken Lynch (author of our Episode Guides)

the man from uncleThe recent (June 2013) announcement that Henry Cavill is going from “Man of Steel” to a theatrical movie reboot of “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” has made me think about the possibilities for rebooting our favourite 1960s TV series “Daktari”.

Why not a reboot?

While “Daktari” didn’t have the onscreen longevity of “U.N.C.L.E.”, it certainly had a relatively good run of four seasons.  I have also read several entries on the internet asking why the show had never been remade over the years.

wameru3

Of course, I don’t think that “Daktari” has the pulling power to justify a big screen return but it could generate enough interest to consider a Made-for-TV remake (and potential series return?).

Original cast members that are still living

cheryl miller and erin moran daktari

The disadvantage that “Daktari” has is that only one of the original stars of the TV series (70 year old Cheryl Miller) is still alive – if you don’t count late entry to the TV series 52 year old Erin Moran.  However, as recent postings on this website have revealed, Cheryl Miller is still alive and well in Arizona and I am sure the right offer might coax her out of retirement for a return to the screen (even if it was a cameo appearance).

Where to film

The other factor against any “Daktari” reboot is the absence of the original film location Africa U.S.A.  However, I’m sure there are similar locations still available in the Soledad Canyon area that could substitute (maybe the Shambala Preserve?).

But enough of the negatives, let’s look at the positive possibilities for the return of “Daktari”!

Past or present?

Any reboot could obviously pick up the “Daktari” storyline years down the track and feature the descendents of the Tracy family continuing their adventures on the Wameru Reserve.  However, I think the better possibility might be to explore how Wameru was first established.

wameru7

There were passing references to this background in the TV series (with a reference to Marsh Tracy’s departed wife in the First Season and several mentions of Tracy gaining Government permission to run the Wameru Reserve) and even in some of the paperback books.

Exploring Daktari’s beginnings

But wouldn’t it be interesting to explore how Tracy’s love of animals and the African bush turned into his dream of creating Wameru?

This scenario would get over the problem of the absence of the original stars of the TV show and allow new actors to take on the key roles.  The storyline would have to obviously pre-date the events in “Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion” and ideally move through to the very early days of the Reserve after Jack Dane and Mike Makula had joined the team.

Motivation for Wameru

daktaritvshow.wordpress.com marshall thompson autograph actormunder.comThere would be plenty of opportunities to go into Tracy’s early days in Africa, the reason why he chose to start Wameru, the hardships in creating the Wameru compound alongside his wife and young daughter, the process of recruiting Jack and Mike, his first meeting with Hedley, etc.

If the TV movie was successful, this approach would leave the way open for lots more adventures on the small screen should “Daktari” be picked up as a TV series again.

Who would portray the characters?

The big question would be to consider which of today’s actors and actresses are best suited for the key roles of Marsh, Paula, Jack, Mike and Hedley (not forgetting animal ‘stars’ to portray Judy and Clarence, of course).  I have my own thoughts, but this late-night musing could perhaps be the basis of further discussion and input on this website?

Bring back Cheryl Miller

Any reboot wouldn’t be the same if Cheryl Miller did not have some involvement of course.  There are several ways in which this could be done (even if it was behind the scenes advising on the script) but my preference would be an onscreen appearance.

In my ‘back to the beginning’ scenario, Cheryl couldn’t really play Paula (or even her mother).  However, why not as Paula’s grandmother who could join the Tracy family in their quest to establish Wameru?

Precedent set?

wild at hearthayley millsThere is a precedent for this  approach with the successful UK TV series “Wild at Heart”, a similarly themed vet-goes-to-Africa show (remade less successfully for the US as “Life is Wild”).  Veteran actress Hayley Mills played the matriarchal figure of the Trevanion family who made semi-regular appearances on the show.  Cheryl Miller certainly looks well enough (and just as beautiful as she was onscreen all those years ago) to be able to put in similar appearances on any “Daktari” TV movie or subsequent series!

Time for a reboot?

The possibilities are endless and I’m sure many of this website’s readers have their own views.  I’d just like to ‘sow the seed’ for further discussion and perhaps start a groundswell of support for resurrecting one of the most popular animal adventure TV series of all time.

What do you think? Focus on the past or concentrate on the future? What actors/actresses would you choose for a reboot?

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Erin Moran Biographical Information

erin moran season four-2From Wikipedia: Erin Moran was cast as Jenny Jones in the television series Daktari, which ran from 1966 to 1969.  [Moran joined the cast during the fourth season to provide the father-daughter dynamic that was missing now that Cheryl Miller was 24 years old. Jenny Jones was an orphan adopted by Marsh. In an attempt to appeal to children, many of the stories from season 4 focused on Jenny. Unfortunately Daktari was cancelled in the middle of the fourth season.]

In 1968, she made her feature-film debut in How Sweet It Is! with Debbie Reynolds. She appeared in 80 Steps to Jonah (1969) and Watermelon Man (1970). She made regular appearances on The Don Rickles Show in 1972. She made guest appearances in The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, My Three Sons, Bearcats! and Family Affair. As a young child, she was also on the television series Gunsmoke.

erin moran from daktari and happy days5In 1974, Moran was cast to play her best known role, Joanie Cunningham on the sitcom Happy Days. She played the feisty younger sister of Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard). Moran continued the role in 1982 in the short-lived spin-off series Joanie Loves Chachi, alongside Scott Baio. After Joanie Loves Chachi’s cancellation in 1983, she returned to Happy Days for its final season.

Moran has made several other television guest appearances, including The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote and Diagnosis: Murder. In 2007, she made an appearance in the independent comedy feature Not Another B Movie. In 2008, she was a contestant on VH1’s reality show Celebrity Fit Club. In 2013, despite reports that she would be reunited with former Happy Days co-stars Henry Winkler, Ron Howard and Scott Baio in the fourth season of Arrested Development, she did not appear in the revamped Netflix series.

Wikipedia has more on Moran’s life and career – click here to read.

Click to Tweet & Share: Before Joannie Cunningham on Happy Days, there was Jenny Jones on Daktari Erin Moran Biographical Information http://wp.me/p3hKG3-eC
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Ross Hagen Biographical Information

ross hagen daktari season fourFrom Wikipedia: Ross Hagen (May 21, 1938 – May 7, 2011) was an American voice actor, actor, director, screenwriter and producer whose television acting credits included Daktari.

His film credits included The Sidehackers in 1969 and The Hellcats in 1967. His video game credits included Red Dead Redemption and Undead Nightmare.

Hagen was born Leland Lando Lilly in Williams, Arizona, on May 21, 1938. However, he was raised on an Oregon farm. Hagen and his first wife had two children, Bob Lilly and Julie Lilly-Beloit. He was married to his second wife, Claire Polan, an actress from 1963 until her death in 2003.

Outside of acting, Hagen also served in the United States Army.

daktaritvshow.wordpress.com ross hagen bart jason daktariHagen began his acting career during the 1960s. His early career included guest appearances on The Virginian and The Big Valley. He was cast in the CBS television series Daktari, in 1968. He portrayed a safari photographer named Bart Jason until the end of the show in 1969.

Hagen’s other film credits included The Mini-Skirt Mob and Speedway in 1968.

His other credits as a director and producer have included Reel Horror, The Media Madman and Time Wars. Before his death Ross, also provided the voice of Landon Ricketts, a retired gunslinger, in the video game Red Dead Redemption. He also starred in Dinosaur Island and Fugitive Rage, both directed by Fred Olen Ray.

Ross Hagen died of prostate cancer at his home in Brentwood, Los Angeles, on May 7, 2011, at the age of 72.

Here is a tribute to him with lots of extra information on the Tough and Gritty blog.

Click to Tweet & Share: Remember the character of Bart Jason on Dakari? He was played by Ross Hagen. Biographical Information http://wp.me/p3hKG3-e0
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Hedley Mattingly Biographical Information

hedley mattingly daktari2Born on May 7, 1915, Hedley Mattingly is best remembered by Daktari fans as Officer Hedley.

From All Movie Guide: British actor Hedley Mattingly primarily played character roles on television and only occasionally appeared in feature films of the 1960s. The London-born Mattingly launched his career as a Shakespearean actor. Following service in the Royal Air Force during WWII, he worked as the Front of House manager at the Theatre Royal, Windsor.

Mattingly and his wife, costume designer Barbara Mattingly, emigrated to Canada in the early ’50s. He became an actor for CBC Television and appeared in several dramas. The couple became Hollywood residents in the 1960s.

Mattingly made his feature film debut in 1963, playing a chauffeur in Norman Jewison’s The Thrill of It All. His subsequent film credits include King Rat (1965), Lost Horizon (1973), and All of Me (1984). ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

hedley marsh and paula on daktari season threeFrom Wikipedia: Born in London, England, Mattingly was featured in Alexander Galt: The Stubborn Idealist (1962), King Rat (1965), and The Bermuda Triangle (1979).

Mattingly portrayed the role of Officer Hedley in the CBS television series, Daktari (1966–1969) starring Marshall Thompson in the title role. In the 1960s and 1970s, he guest-starred in the NBC series Thriller (1962). He also appeared on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Perry Mason, Mannix, Night Gallery, Ironside, and Columbo. His last appearance was in the film Riot (1997), with Sugar Ray Leonard.

He passed away from cancer at the age of 82 on March 3, 1998.

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Daktari Season Two Episode Guide

The following episode guide for Season Two 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.

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

The Second Season

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

paula tracy mike makula jack dane and Daktari treat a patientA second season of 29 episodes was screened between September 1966 and April 1967 just four months after the conclusion of the shorter 18 episode Season One in May 1966.

The cast remained the same for this (and subsequent third) season. Cheryl Miller wore her straight bobbed hair style for most of the episodes.

One noticeable change however was the theme and incidental music. While the first season’s theme was specifically written by Henry Vars, most of the incidental music was pinched directly from what Vars had recorded for Flipper. This is very obvious if both TV shows are watched close together.

Jazz musician Shelly Manne wrote very African-themed music for the second season and it soon became identified with Daktari and enhanced the apparent authenticity and atmosphere of the show.

In the first season, stock footage of animals and scenery was repeated to the point of annoyance. However, during the production break, Marshall Thompson and a film crew actually visited Africa and filmed many background scenes of animals, the bush and natives in their villages.

cheryl miller and marshall thompson latter part of season two daktariThese sequences were effectively edited with the other stock footage to often give the series an authentic look that added to its appeal. One way this was achieved was by having Thompson almost always wearing his white hat.

Another difference in the second season was the absence of any scenes filmed on the lounge/bedroom sets of the compound house which were the primary setting for most of the first season.

Many of the same production crew continued their involvement in the second season. Writers such as Stephen Kendel (1), William Clark (3), Richard Carlson (1) were joined by new regulars D.D. Oldland (2) and Malvin Wald (6) (who was the series’ Story executive) with Alan Cailllou even writing one episode for this season.

Regular Paul Landres returned to direct over half this season’s episodes (15) with John Florea directing the bulk of the remaining episodes (8). Marshall Thompson’s behind-the-camera involvement became more intense when he directed one episode.

Storylines were generally stronger but the undercurrent between Paula and Jack only featured in a number of episodes.

The Second Season Episodes

(First aired on Tuesdays on CBS in the US)

2.1 (19) Return of Clarence (First aired 13 Sept 1966)

cheryl miller as paula tracy going after clarence on daktariSuffering from amnesia after Mike’s truck strikes him in the head, Clarence turns on Paula and causes her to tumble into a pit occupied by a baby leopard. When Clarence wanders away, the mother leopard springs into the pit where Paula protects herself temporarily by jabbing the big cat with a sedative. Knowing the animal will awaken in half-an-hour, Paula waits in terror for help to arrive.

Notes: Written by William Clark and directed by Paul Landres. New theme and incidental music by Shelly Manne is used for the first time. Several references to past episodes are made – Lady Pembrook (Episode 1.3) and the visual image cards (Episode 1.8). There is obvious body-doubling for Paula in some scenes.

2.2 (20) Deadline to Kill (First aired 20 Sept 1966)

Slow-moving livestock are easy prey for lions and leopards which, after learning how easy they are to bring down, may raid farms and ranches bordering the reserve. The cows are released by a playboy rancher who realises once the cats become livestock killers, it will be an excuse to drive Dr. Tracy from the area and claim the reserve’s land. Daktari sweeps the brush before the lions and leopards attack the cows. A killer lion then mauls Daktari during his desperate search for the cows.

Notes: Directed by John Florea and featuring rare footage of Marshall Thompson on horseback. Linden Chiles guest stars as the out-of-place playboy who makes a play for Paula (especially in her upturned hair) – prompting Jack’s jealousy. Prince, the dog, makes an appearance at the start.

2.3 (21) Daktari’s Last Hunt (First aired 27 Sept 1966)

Man hunts man when a white hunter forces Daktari to test his wildlife theories in a fight for survival. Dr. Tracy and Judy fall into his scheme when they enter the wild to investigate the presence of a tiger. Marsh survives, proving the hunter wrong. A desperate chase follows through the jungle when the white hunter stalks Daktari in a life-and-death struggle.

Notes: Written by Stephen Kandel and directed by John Florea. Jack Kelly guest stars. Better care seems to have been taken in this second season to match authentic African footage with US footage. This is one of the few occasions when the word “Daktari” is used consistently when addressing Marsh Tracy. Footage of gorillas from Clarence is re-used.

2.4 (22) Judy’s Hour of Peril (First aired 4 Oct 1966)

paula tracy preparing a hypo with judy the chimp on daktariDeath is hours away for Judy when Paula unknowingly injects her pet with a fatal virus. The accident occurs after Judy switches bottles while Paula is preparing a syringe for the chimp’s periodic fever shot. Unaware of the deadly situation, Judy vanishes into the bush. Discovering the mistake, Daktari assembles Judy’s friends – an elephant, a tiger, a dog, a bear and Clarence. With the animals assigned to Judy’s human friends as trackers, search parties set out with antidote packets in a race to find Judy before the virus destroys her.

Notes: Directed by John Florea who continues his habit of having actors walk into and from the camera for scene changes. Includes a seldom seen shot of the hippo pool. Prince appears again together with Hercules (from Episodes 1.10 and 1.11).

2.5 (23) Cheetah at Large (First aired 11 Oct 1966)

Natives lurk around the Wameru Study Center threatening to steal a prize cheetah entrusted to Dr. Tracy’s care by the chief of a rival African tribe. Judy creates trouble by leading the cheetah into the jungle. When the chief returns, Paula stalls him at the house while Dr. Tracy begins a desperate search of the bush in the hope of recovering the animal.

Notes: Written by Marvin Wald/D.D. Oldland and directed by Paul Landres. Raymond St Jacques guest stars. There is good banter between Jack and Paula. On-location African footage of Marshall Thompson is featured for the first time. Mike’s knowledge of the Emir’s water rights suggests he may have been around Wameru before Jack which had not been revealed previously.

2.6 (24) The Test (First aired 18 Oct 1966)

Mike uses Clarence to restore the courage of a young African boy whose chieftain father bans him from his village for cowardice. Allowing the youth to think Clarence is wild, Mike shows how a quick clap of the hands will send a lion running into the bush. When a killer lion terrorises the locale, the youth tracks the cat with the false courage Mike has given him. Daktari and Mike discover the boy as he is nearing the lion, but have their rescue efforts halted by the chief. The boy drops his spear and walks to the lion preparing to clap his hands.

Notes: Directed by Paul Landres. This episode is focussed on Mike and his native African background. Features a very rare scene of the cast in bathers swimming at a water hole.

2.7 (25) Born to Die (First aired 25 Oct 1966)

paula tracy comforts a panther on daktari played by cheryl millerA former circus panther is under Daktari’s care when it escapes after Judy forgets to lock its cage. Daktari’s staff are searching the bush for the panther when Paula, Judy and Clarence discover the cat preparing to give birth to her litter. Paula sends Clarence for Dr. Tracy as she prepares to become a midwife with Judy’s assistance.

Notes: Directed by John Florea who over-uses his walking-to-the-camera technique again. This is one of the few times Paula has an instant dislike to an animal. Also watch for the silly out-of-place Tarzan call when Judy swings through the trees.

2.8 (26) The Trial (First aired 1 Nov 1966)

A young African’s greed to control his chieftain-uncle’s tribal land prompts him to drug one of Daktari’s elephants which goes on a rampage and injures the chief. Dr. Tracy had loaned the huge beast to assist the chief in removing heavy trees. The elephant is given a trial by village elders who condemn the creature to death. Daktari volunteers to destroy the animal, but uses a dart filled with a sleep-inducing tranquilliser. With the elephant drugged for only an hour, Dr. Tracy, with Judy’s help, attempts to discover the reason for his elephant’s strange actions.

Notes: Written by William Clark and directed by Paul Landres. Bob Doqui (the young African) is the same actor who had played a policeman in Clarence. The first on-location shots of Thompson filmed with natives in an African village are edited into footage at Africa USA.

2.9 (27) Death in the African Sun (First aired 15 Nov 1966)

During an African drought Judy and Jack are near death from thirst after trailing herds of wildlife in the hope the animals will lead them to water. Daktari and Mike set out to locate Jack when he fails to arrive at the Study Center after returning a young giraffe to its herd. The pair find Jack’s disabled Jeep and realize he is wandering somewhere in the desert. With Clarence assisting, they begin a search.

Notes: Written by D.D. Oldland and directed by Paul Landres. Like Episode 2.6 focussed on Mike, this is a Jack episode with his ‘Aussie’ hat making its first appearance. Filming of several sequences were done at seldom seen open range locations at Africa USA.

2.10 (28) Revenge of the Leopard (First aired 22 Nov 1966)

Daktari agrees to escort a beautiful and wealthy woman on a filming safari unaware that she intends to kill a phantom leopard. The spoiled cat is nearly a legend, having roamed freely while escaping harm from hunters. After tracking the leopard, the woman reveals her true objective by substituting a high-powered rifle for a tranquilliser gun. Disarming her, Dr. Tracy learns that the phantom killed her father years ago. Still bent on revenge, the woman sets out to kill the leopard, accidentally wounding Dr. Tracy. While attending the wound, she hears the leopard prowling in the dark jungle.

Notes: Directed by John Florea whose directorial style for scene changes is evident again. Doris Dowling has a second guest starring role having been in Episode 1.12 (which actually has a similar storyline), and would appear yet again in Episode 3.11. Cheryl Miller only appears in the first scene – perhaps indicating she may have had a week off as series stars often had during a long season of filming.

2.11 (29) Shoot to Kill (First aired 29 Nov 1966)

Wildlife in the Wameru Reserve is threatened when a diseased bear escapes from its beautiful female trainer. While rushing the beast to Dr. Tracy for treatment, her truck is knocked off the road by a giraffe. Fearing for their cattle, local ranchers post a reward on the bear’s head. A desperate race follows with Clarence and Judy assisting Daktari in the search to reach the bear before bounty hunters kill the animal.

Notes: Written by Malvin Wald and directed by Paul Landres. Features some on-location African footage of Thompson in the bush plus him getting out of a truck at a real African village. Allot of screen time is given to the bear.

2.12 (30) Cry for Help (First aired 6 Dec 1966)

cheryl miller as paula tracy with zebra land rover on daktariDaktari attempts to save the life of a village chief after a self-made doctor fails to diagnose diabetes, mistaking the disease for an infection. The village doctor, a former Army medic, is ordered out of the area by the chief’s son who threatens death if his father dies. While Paula is assisting her father, a deadly spider bites her. She is near death and none of Dr. Tracy’s medicines will counter the insect’s poison. Only the banished doctor knows the correct antidote, but if he returns he would face death.

Notes: Directed by Paul Landres. Godfrey Cambridge (who actually looks like a cartoon character) guest stars.

2.13 (31) Clarence the Killer (First aired 20 Dec 1966)

Clarence is labelled a killer after a nearly-blind lion raids a village near the reserve. Hedley and Daktari discover Clarence with blood smears on his fur. The carcass of a goat from the village is nearby. Another lion with impaired vision is responsible. The cat belongs to Eric Lansing, a man Daktari once sent to jail for killing reserve animals. Lansing is determined to destroy everything Tracy has created in the hope of using the reserve for hunting. He also planted the blood on Clarence. Lansing traps Tracy in a pit with plans to tum his hostile lion loose against him. Once Tracy is mauled to death, Lansing will force Clarence to be blamed for Daktari’s death.

Notes: Written by Robert Lewin and directed by Paul Landres. Joe Higgins returns as Lansing, a role he played in Episode 1.12, but would also return in Episode 4.3 in a different role. Some scratchy film of the native girl in the village from the First Season is re-used here. But there are plenty of other good action scenes. Hedley also has a bigger and more authoritarian role than normal.

2.14 (32) The Chimp who cried Wolf (First aired 27 Dec 1966)

When a former TV comedian arrives at Daktari’s Study Center, animals at the compound and in the surrounding area are thrown into confusion as he attempts to record their various vocal sounds on tape. His bumbling efforts nearly cost Clarence his life and upset an experiment Jack is doing with a bear. While in lion country with Paula and Judy, he picks up a cub. The mother lioness spots his actions and calls her pride for assistance. Suddenly lions appear from the tall grass, and slowly move on the three intruders.

Notes: Directed by John Florea who uses his normal walk-to-camera technique – but he does try a few new editing ones to segue between scenes. Morey Amsterdam guest stars and hams it up shamelessly.

2.15 (33) Little Miss Nightingale (First aired 3 Jan 1967)

Judy finds herself in a desperate situation when the truck Mike, Judy and CIarence are riding overturns in the bush, pinning Mike’s leg under it. He must rely on Judy to keep animals from attacking the helpless pair until they are rescued, a rescue that can only come if Clarence makes it back to Wameru with a note tied to his collar. While vultures hover over Mike, Marsh and Hedley hunt for a giraffe which needs treatment for an infection. Only Paula suspects the truth – that Mike is in serious trouble.

Notes: Co-written by Malvin Wald and directed by Marshall Thompson. This was not Thompson’s first attempt at directing as he had directed several movies and episodes of Flipper. Watch for Paula kissing Jack at 9:40!!! Scenes of Clarence in the village had been used before but on-location scenes of Thompson capturing the giraffe are great. (Note: this possibly could have aired the third season because the show credits show Jack with the giraffe which was in the third season; note also Paula’s appearance is more like the third season. Other episode guides on the web list it as a second season episode so this is obviously in dispute.)

2.16 (34) Judy and the Gorilla (First aired 10 Jan 1967)

Poachers kidnap Judy, a gorilla and other animals from the study center. Earlier, the pair had killed the adult primates of the baby gorilla to capture the tyke. But the baby eludes the poachers and hides in a shed at the Compound where Jack and Paula discover him. When the poachers’ plans are uncovered, they sneak into the center and fill a truck with animals and vanish into the jungle.

Notes: Written by Malvin Wald and directed by Paul Landres. Virginia Mayo guest stars. The gorilla footage from Clarence is re-used yet again. Cheryl Miller’s hairstyle and the use of the back entrance of the house is a strong indication that this episode was filmed much earlier in the production schedule. It even features some of the ‘spark’ between Jack and Paula that had returned in the previous episode.

2.17 (35) House of Lions (First aired 17 Jan 1967)

Clarence is led to some deserted huts by an injured lioness who escapes Daktari’s hospital. While the cross-eyed lion follows the lioness, attempting to stop her, he is hit by a spear from a native trap. Dr. Tracy, Paula and Jack trail the bleeding lion and Daktari attempts to rescue Clarence from the house which is occupied by a family of lions.

Notes: Co-written by Malvin Wald and directed by John Florea. The soundtrack of this episode was released as an LP record. The deserted houses in the abandoned safari lodge was filmed in Africa with extensive scenes of Thompson wandering around outside. In fact for the only time in the series, the credits acknowledge that “much of this story was filmed at the Gorongoza National Park in Portuguese West Africa”. It would appear that the screenwriter built the story around the on-location footage.

2.18 (36) Undercover Judy (First aired 24 Jan 1967)

Judy’s duel undercover antics as an agent for both Hedley and Paula destroy the clever plan of two ex-German soldiers attempting to recover diamonds hidden on the reserve during the war. Hedley is tricked into assisting the pair, but he later uncovers their scheme. Hedley orders Judy to take the diamonds to Daktari. All return to the Study Center where the Germans attempt to force the chimp to reveal where she buried the diamonds.

Notes: Two well-known actors Alan Hewitt and Frank Marth guest star. Another of Jack’s seemingly never-ending experiments is a sub-plot. Paula’s birthday sets up the action at the start, but is never mentioned again! Hedley’s headquarters is seen again after being in Episode 2.14 and once before in the first season.

2.19 (37) Countdown for Paula (First aired 31 Jan 1967)

Paula attempts to outdrive a sweeping wall of water filling land behind a new dam. She is assisting Daktari in the removal of wildlife from the area when dynamite charges explode two hours earlier than expected, releasing the deluge. Unhappy over time lost in saving animals, a dam engineer has moved the timer forward on the explosives. He is not aware that Paula is in the area until she calls in over her radio, then he realizes it’s too late to save the girl.

Notes: Directed by John Florea. Despite the emphasis of the main storyline, there is time spent on an interesting experiment by Jack. There is some tension during the build-up to the flooding.

2.20 (38) Terror in the Bush (First aired 7 Feb 1967)

terror in the bush cheryl miller and marshall thompson daktari season 2-3When his Jeep overturns, Daktari suffers delirium from a head injury while Paula and Judy are faced with moving Marsh through the wilderness to safety. Paula battles lions, leopards and struggles with a crocodile in her efforts to assist her father. Following behind the trio are Jack and Mike who are using Clarence to track their missing friends. Once Clarence picks up the trail, the boys begin a race to find the three before the jungle can destroy them.

Notes: Directed by Paul Landres. Cheryl Miller has the majority of screen time and makes the most of it!

2.21 (39) Judy and the Baby Elephant (First aired 14 Feb 1967)

When Daktari is called to help fight a brush fire, Judy’s left to observe the Compound’s latest experiment: putting a gentle baby Indian elephant with wild African elephants to see if the breeds are compatible. When a Ieopard attacks the baby, Judy runs for help but to no avail, as the herd has adopted the little elephant and won’t let humans near for treatment. Marsh frantically tries to get to the wounded baby, but sees the old elephants prepare for the kill rather than let their new friend suffer at the hands of scavengers.

Notes: Written by Malvin Wald. Features some great new footage of the animals. Cheryl Miller’s hair is noticeably longer. Some of footage from the Wall of Flames episode is re-used here. Listen for when Jack refers to Paula as “My love!” during Clarence’s eye tests. Some of the ‘African’ elephants look suspiciously like ‘Indian’ elephants with stuck-on big ears. Judy’s extraordinary communication skills are clearly displayed in this episode.

2.22 (40) A Bullet for Hedley (First aired 21 Feb 1967)

Judy and Clarence thwart a ruthless diamond thief’s attempts to recover jewels after the chimp hides the stones. The man succeeds in capturing Hedley, Paula and Jack, holding them hostage while Daktari searches for the missing diamonds. When Dr. Tracy is unable to locate the stones, he substitutes crushed quartz but the thief isn’t fooled. Marsh manages to slug the man but is nearly overpowered when Clarence and Judy appear, turning the battle in the favour of Daktari.

Notes: Written and guest starring (in a fleeting appearance at the start) Alan Cailllou who had written and co-starred as the ‘Hedley’ character in the pilot movie. Directed by Paul Landres. For the first time ever, authentic footage of a game warden (Hedley) walking on the African savannah is shown. There are some good scenes of Jack and Paula together again.

2.23 (41) Judy the Poacher (First aired 28 Feb 1967)

With everyone too occupied to aid Mike in his latest project·- cheering up the old, rejected Wabula natives – Judy decides to do a good deed. Real intrigue develops complete with abducted experimental animals, stolen keys and sedatives, so Marsh calls in Hedley to solve the sabotage. There seems to be no answer to the case until the culprit is caught with a hidden camera, solving a second mystery and teaching Marsh a valuable lesson in medicine.

Notes: Directed by Paul Landres. Rex Ingram guest stars as the only Wabula native with a speaking part. He would later appear in Episode 3.21. Cheryl Miller does not appear in this episode, but it does include a fun sequence of the cast rounding up an ostrich.

2.24 (42) Goodbye, Mike Makula (First aired 7 Mar 1967)

mike makula and jack dane show paula tracy something special on daktariA beautiful visitor arrives at the Compound to buy animals for an American exhibit but Judy is suspicious. The new arrival convinces an enamored Mike to work for the organization in the States, but he’s unaware she is leading him on. When Marsh discovers a revealing letter, Jack rushes rescue his buddy but discovers his task is more dangerous than he thought.

Notes: Co-written by Marvin Wald and directed by Marshall Thompson. This was Thompson’s second directing job on this series after directing several movies and episodes of Flipper. This is definitely a Mike episode! It’s strange that much is made of his leaving when he ultimately continued to appear throughout the entire series. For the first time in the whole second season, the lounge room of the main house is shown and used – a welcome return!

2.25 (43) Operation Springtime (First aired 14 Mar 1967)

When Jack and Mike witness the death of an ostrich, they must somehow manage the almost impossible task of getting her eggs hatched. Judy helps by scaring away snakes and Clarence tries to keep the eggs warm, but it’s not enough. The boys find a substitute ostrich, which Clarence scares away, and with time running short, they receive more help than they bargained for.

Notes: Directed by Paul Landres. This has to be the silliest episode of all!

2.26 (44) King Clarence (First aired 21 Mar 1967)

Clarence becomes a hero when Daktari discovers he has the rare blood needed in surgery on the last of the royal tigers. But when Clarence and Judy are insulted by a general in charge of the valuable animal, they conspire and almost cause an international incident. Clarence disappears and is on the verge of starvation, Judy is placed in confinement, and Daktari must perform an almost hopeless operation.

Notes: Directed by Paul Landres. The treehut and ‘elevator’ is an affectionate homage to Tarzan. Being near the end of the season, the weather during filming may have been getting cold at Africa USA as all the cast wear jackets throughout the episode and additional key lights are used.

2.27 (45) The Long Hunt (First aired 28 Mar 1967)

When a young Indian visits the Compound, only Judy realises he has come to play a deadly game with one of Daktari’s tigers. Judy saves the tiger from death several times until Daktari’s suspicions are aroused by a wounded native and an animal who saves her enemy from destruction.

Notes: Written by William Clark. Paula’s older look becomes more pronounced with her long hair and newer clothes.

2.28 (46) Judy and the Vulture (First aired 4 Apr 1967)

Clarence becomes gravely ill when a new friend, Virgil the vulture, turns out to be a carrier of a dangerous germ. Virgil’s blood is necessary to create a serum, but he and Judy run away when they’re not allowed to play with Clarence. After being attacked by a leopard, the pair return to the compound, but Daktari is too far away to prepare the lifesaving liquid in time. Clarence’s life is in Paula’s hands (with some help from Toto).

Notes: Directed by Paul Landres. George Mitchell guest stars in a different role to when he played a rougher character in Episode 1.9 (as Prince’s owner). However, his house looks suspiciously the same as the one in the first season, only re-dressed. Some genuine suspense is built up when Clarence becomes sick, especially when he ‘dies’.

2.29 (47) A Cub called Danger (First aired 11 Apr 1967)

Paula violates the law of the wild and takes nature into her own hands when she discovers a cub being mistreated by his mother. She and Judy conspire to bring the cub to the Compound but almost lose their lives. Undaunted, they separately devise plans to save the starving baby. Judy’s comic efforts almost get Clarence killed while Paula’s well·meaning deed spells death for the cub.

Notes: Directed by Dick Moder. The false wall just inside the front door of the house is obviously used to shield off the inside which, once again, creates a difference to the first season’s ‘look’.

Photo Slide Show Season Two

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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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