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Clarence and Judy's finest hour.,
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This review is from: Daktari: The Complete First Season [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
A spin off From the 1965 film CLARENCE THE CROSS EYED LION,, time has been kind to this well remembered TV series. The setting is Africa, Daktari is Dr Marsh Tracy (Marshall Thompson),a vet who runs the Wameru Study Centre For Animal Behaviour along with his daughter Paula (Cheryl Miller) and also two capable assistants Jack and Mike. However, possibly the two biggest stars of the show are Clarence the Lion and Judy the Chimpanzee. I think it would be difficult to resist the appeal of two characters like this, who are as much a part of the cast as the actors. It is often the combined efforts of Clarence and Judy, who save a sticky situation. Throughout the 18 episodes, there are plenty of animal rescues, and a variety of animals from big cats to birds, pass through Daktari's Hospital, but this is no mere animal Hospital drama. Daktari and co. face danger from a variety of sources, including hunters, trappers, bush fires, ruthless killers evading justice, kidnappers, diamond smugglers and gun runners. The well paced and plotted episodes of fifty minutes (there are two double episodes) blend tension and drama, good humour and plenty of animal antics and a cast of actors who are skilled at blending all these elements together. It is said that animals and actors are not a good mix, but they all fare well here, Marshall Thompson and Cheryl Miller are particularly outstanding in this respect with many moments that are both funny and moving. A few example episodes- THE KILLER LION, a tame Lioness suddenly turns vicious and attacks a local farmer. Daktari investigates the cause, but can he prevent the man who was attacked from taking his revenge on the Lioness. THE ADVENTURE OF THE LION CUBS - Plenty of animal antics in this episode. Judy finds three abandoned Lion cubs, who's mother has been caught in a net trap With the help of Clarence, she leads the cubs back to Wameru, but can the cubs survive without their mother? THE MANEATER OF WAMERU - A renowned lady action photographer visits Wameru, but she puts lives in danger including that of Clarence, in order to get the shots that she requires. CRISIS AT THE COMPOUND - Certain protocols have to be observed, when a high ranking diplomat visits Wameru. Tensions rise when the Diplomat wants to shoot a Leopard, to take home as a trophy and Judy becomes the centre of a diplomatic argument. THE DIAMOND SMUGGLERS - Two Frenchmen are ostensibly collecting fossilised bones, but are really illegally mining diamonds. Their German Shepherd dog, Prince, appears in two later episodes, THE KILLER DOG and THE HOSTAGES. A great episode for Judy's acting talents JUDY AND THE HYENA. Everyone is too busy to pay attention to Judy and she and Paula are not getting along. There are some lovely moments in this episode, Judy sitting alone with tears in her eyes and the scene where she takes two apples from the bowl and hands one to Daktari.. In JUDY AND THE GUNRUNNERS. A skillful mix of plot elements that includes, some experiments in animal scents, a legend of hidden treasure and a gang of gunrunners. Can Judy save the day?. All great entertainment , great for nostalgia lovers and it still works well today with wide family and age appeal. A few words on the region one coding of this set. I have had no difficulty playing these discs on region two machines, but this set now seems to be available on a four disc region two version.
Are we likely to get further releases of Daktari? I don't know if it's true, but I have read that CBS are not particularly good at following up initial releases of old TV series?.
The episodes are: DISC 1 - THE ELEPHANT THIEVES, PREDATOR OF WAMERU, THE KILLER LION, ADVENTURE OF THE LION CUBS. DISC 2 - TRAIL OF THE CHEETAH, LEOPARDS OF MDALA GORGE, THE DIAMOND SMUGGLERS, THE CHIMP WHO WENT APE. DISC 3 - THE KILLER DOG, RETURN OF THE KILLER PART 1, RETURN OF THE KILLER PART 2, THE MANEATER OF WAMERU. DISC 4 - CRISIS AT THE COMPOUND, THE HOSTAGES, JUDY AND THE HYENA, WALL OF FLAMES PART 1. DISC 5 - WALL OF FLAMES PART 2, JUDY AND THE GUNRUNNERS.