Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Not So Wild Kingdom


When I was a kid, about the only wildlife show on television was Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. Each week, Marlin Perkins and his sidekick, Jim, would bring the world of nature into our living rooms. Not satisfied with merely observing the animals doing their thing, the hosts would get right in there--wrestling alligators or swooping down on an unsuspecting (and terrified) deer.

Huh?

Wild Kingdom may have opened nature's back door to a generation of viewers, but their tactics were, at best, questionable. Why did they have to get so close to the animals? When I think back on it, one of the hosts was always on screen, and the wildlife merely a backdrop to be manipulated into following a set script. Or maybe I'm just getting more cynical and cranky.

8 comments:

NuclearToast said...

I remember it more like, "As I watch from the safety of the helicopter, Jim wrestles the anaconda in the murky waters of the Amazon where the piranha dwell."

Lynn Sinclair said...

True, nt, that Jim was a nutbar.

Tatum Tot said...

I remember watching it as well, though I don't really remember what they did. I seem to remember sometimes they would catch large herds in big pens... to separate some out. Hrm. Bad memory.

Lynn Sinclair said...

I can't rely too much on my own memory cells, tatum--I had to look up sidekick Jim's name when I wrote this post. Heck, sometimes I have to look up my own name, but don't tell anyone else about that. :)

Raggedy Angst said...

Yeah, compare that to the non-interfering filming of Blue Planet, for example. I always hate those shows where they bait an animal into "attacking" (read: defending itself) just to give the audience a thrill. Alligators are plenty thrilling without someone sticking his arm in up to the elbow to prove it.

Lynn Sinclair said...

Wild Kingdom was out in the early 60s--before most people considered animals or nature as something to be respected and cherished.

Hmmm....come to think of think, we haven't come very far, have we?

Debbie99 said...

I remember this show so well...it was my favorite when I was a kid. I recently seen a clip on the Fifth Estate (http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/)
about how cruel they really were to those animals. I'm just so upset over it. I had no idea. There isn't really much about it online either, this was the only place I found so far that made a comment about it being not so friendly. I was just looking for a place to mention it so I could get it out of my head.

Lynn Sinclair said...

It is troubling, Debbie. I'm glad I didn't watch the Fifth Estate when that was on--I hate it when a show or news article puts a picture into my head that I can't shake.