From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Genre: Children's drama
Created by: Art Arthur, Ivan Tors
Written by: William Clark, Meyer Dolinsky, Lawrence L. Goldman, Alf Harris, John Hogan, Jack Jacobs, Robert Lees, Robert Lewin, D. D. Oldland, S. S. Schweitzer, Stanley H. Silverman, Malvin Wald
Directed by: Paul Landres, Andrew Marton, Otto Lang
Starring: Marshall Thompson, Cheryl Miller, Hari Rhodes, Yale Summers, Hedley Mattingly
Theme Music Composer: Shelly Manne, Henry Vars
Composer(s): Herbert Doerfel, Shelly Manne, Henry Vars
Country of origin: United States
Number of seasons: 4
Number of episodes: 89
Executive producer: Ivan Tors
Producer: Leonard B. Kaufman
Editor: George Hively
Cinematography: William A. Fraker, Fred Mandl, Paul Ivano, Richard Moore
Running time: 45 - 48 minutes
Production company(s): Ivan Tors Productions, MGM Television
Original channel: CBS
Picture format: Metrocolor
Audio format: Monaural
Original run: January 11, 1966 - January 15, 1969
Chronology: Preceded by Clarence, the Cross Eyed Lion
Daktari (Swahili for ''doctor'') is an American children's drama series that aired on CBS between 1966 and 1969. The series, an Ivan Tors Films Production in association with MGM Television, stars Marshall Thompson as Dr. Marsh Tracy, a veterinarian at the fictional Wameru Study Centre for Animal Behaviour in East Africa. The show follows the work of Dr. Tracy, his daughter Paula (Cheryl Miller), and his staff, who frequently protected animals from poachers and local officials. Tracy's pets, a cross eyed lion named Clarence and a chimpanzee named Judy, were also popular characters.
Daktari was based upon the 1965 film Clarence, the Cross Eyed Lion, which also stars Thompson as Dr. Tracy. The concept was developed by producer Ivan Tors, inspired by the work of Dr. A.M. ''Toni'' Harthoorn and his wife Sue at their animal orphanage in Nairobi. Dr. Harthoorn was a tireless campaigner for animal rights, and with his research team developed the capture gun, used to sedate animals in order to capture them without injury.
On the series, Clarence didn't do all his own stunts, he also had a stand in. Leo, another Ralph Helfer trainer feline, doubled for Clarence whenever there were any trucks involved, since Clarence spooked at the sight of these vehicles. Leo even had his own makeup artist who applied cosmetic scarring like Clarence's, so that he would resemble Clarence when photographed in closeups. This was referred to in an inside joke from the preview trailer for the movie Clarence, the Cross Eyed Lion, that Leo (who also appeared in the MGM logo and had a gentle temperament very similar to Clarence's) that there was no relation between them! Another less friendly lion (also 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 from a family in Utah. His ferocity was due largely to abuse he received from former owners that beat him badly with a stick. In the show's final season, child star Erin Moran joined the cast as Jenny Jones, a seven year old orphan who becomes part of the Tracy household.
Marshall Thompson - Dr. Marsh Tracy
Cheryl Miller - Paula Tracy
Ross Hagen - Bart Jason (1968 - 1969)
Hedley Mattingley - District Officer Hedley
Erin Moran - Jenny Jones (1968 - 1969)
Hari Rhodes - Mike Makula
Yale Summers - Jack Dane (1966 - 1968)
According to the show's closing credits, it was ''filmed in Africa and Africa, U.S.A.,'' a 600 acre (2.4 km2) wild animal ranch created by animal trainers Ralph and Toni Helfer in Soledad Canyon 40 mi (64 km). north of Los Angeles. Ralph Helfer was the animal coordinator of the show. Leonard B. Kaufman, the producer, wrote in liner notes for Shelly Manne's Daktari, that he shot the series on location in Mozambique. Indeed, the outdoor scenes involving the actors were shot in the Africa, U.S.A. compound in California, with footage of African landscape and animals in between to get the African look and feel. The indoor scenes of the animal hospital were shot in Ivan Tors studios in Florida.
The show had distinctive accompanying music that was a fusion of jazz and African influences. Jazz drummer Shelly Manne contributed music; he released an affiliated record, Daktari: Shelly Manne Performs and Conducts His Original Music for the Hit TV Show, on the Atlantic Records label in 1968. On this album, Mike Wofford plays a tack piano to evoke an African sound, and Manne is joined by percussionists Emil Richards, Larry Bunker, Frank Carlson, and Victor Feldman. Together, according to the liner notes on the album, Manne and his fellow percussionists play ankle and wrist jingles, Thailand mouth organs, aungloongs, ocarinas, vibraphones, tympani, and different kinds of marimbas.