What’s your favorite episode of Daktari?
Mine is from Season 2, called “Terror in the Bush.” This is why I was so excited when the announcement came from Warner Archives that they were releasing the complete second season on DVD (see here for more information).
First of all, “Terror in the Bush” featured my favorite character front and center: Paula Tracy. In the episode, she and Marsh are out on a training run. He is determined to teach his daughter to be responsible when all she really wants is to just be like every other girl her age. He reminds her that no every girl lives in Africa. Paula has not prepared well for the trip and many vital supplies are missing. She even scolded Judy unfairly for emptying out the medical kit when in fact Marsh had done it to teach her the necessity of check and double check.
All a hint that something bad was about to happen …
What few supplies were on hand had been destroyed in the crash and Paula had to rely on her wits, strength and resourceful thinking to bring her father to safety.
As a kid and as an adult
When I was ten, I loved this episode because it made Paula a heroine. It was exciting watching her do everything she could to save her father.
- A young woman comes of age, showing incredible guts, self-control and quick thinking.
- A daughter risks her life to save her beloved father
- A father cares enough for his daughter to teach her to be strong, independent and responsible.
- A father and daughter share a close and loving relationship.
Getting the message across
These are simple but important messages and the best part is, the writers use the story to impart them rather than pontificate about them. This is Daktari’s charm to me – in its gentle and unassuming way, the show conveys wonderful themes that are beneficial to children and good reminders for adults.
Sure, Daktari’s story lines are simplistic, the show’s pacing is very slow and the characters can be two-dimensional. But the scenery is beautiful, the themes universal and timely, the graphics in the opening sequence still cool and the music, cutting edge for that time.
In comparison with other popular shows
My husband and I have had a hankering lately for 60s shows since he got The Invaders with Roy Thinnes for Christmas. We traded in a bunch of DVDs and bought the second season of Bewitched starring Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York, and The Adventures of Superman with George Reeves. We also have I Dream of Jeannie starring Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman.
For the sake of laughs
Bewitched is still just as funny as it was in the 60s. I must say though that it is horrifying to see Samantha continually give up her identity as a witch just because her husband demands it of her, and often he is not appreciative of the difficulty of her task or the effort she makes. I’m no militant feminist but I do believe that each person, man or woman, deserves to be accepted for who they are.
This storyline is essential to the conflict in Bewitched that creates the funny situations. And the same is true with I Dream of Jeannie – goodness, a genie in a sexy costume is a slave to Tony, her master who doesn’t even want what makes Jeannie unique! Sets back the accomplishments of the women’s movement back fifty years. 🙂
Why Daktari ages well
The only point I’m trying to make is this: shows from the 60s often don’t age well and it’s not just the clothes, cars and the ancient technology. Daktari remains timely for me because it promotes themes that never age. I will be more than happy to save these DVDs for the days when I have grandchildren to share them with.
More power to girls like Paula! And kudos to fathers like Marsh who teach their daughters to be all they can be.
Here are some screen captures from the episode showing the many ways that Paula was a heroine in saving her father:
Click to Tweet & Share: My Favorite Daktari Episode: “Terror in the Bush” from Season 2; this is why Daktari ages well. http://wp.me/p3hKG3-8B
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