Friday, September 3, 2010

"They call him, Flipper!"

When I was a kid, I was a TV kid. It was my babysitter. I knew the TV Guide magazine by heart. A great deal of my character came from several seminal TV shows, some of which involved the ocean.

Among them were, Flipper (1964-67), and Sea Hunt (1958-61). Sea Hunt gave me the adventures and action of the underwater world, but Flipper gave me that sense of wonder, beauty and peace.

There were other TV shows that shaped me in my childhood. I will mention some here just for posterity sake, such as: The Rifleman (1958-63) which I owe the most to of all the television programs from my childhood; I Spy (1965–68); The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1964-68); The Avengers (1961–69); Danger Man (1961-62) although I never saw this show until 2010, it later lead to the creation of Secret Agent (1964-66); The Saint (1962-69); 

The Addams Family (1964-66). Then there were plenty of comedy and sitcoms, Laugh-in, The Smothers Brothers Show, on and on.

Flipper was a spin off from the original 1963 movie starring Chuck Conners, who was the dad on The Rifleman, and a kind of surrogate father for me, as I'm sure he was for many boys back then. The man who captured and trained the dolphins in the Flipper TV Show was Ric O'Barry. In the 1960s, O'Barry helped capture and train the five wild dolphins who shared the role of "Flipper" in the hit television series.

Like many my age, I grew up watching and loving, Flipper. Kathy, was the real name of the main character, Flipper, although there were several females used for the show. I looked forward to every episode of the show and it shaded my view on the oceans, the creatures that live there and my understanding of what the oceans mean, or should mean to us as inhabitants of this planet.

Between Sea Hunt and Flipper, they opened me up for the grand adventures that are the oceans of the world. Also, Jacques Cousteau's contribution to my own and the world's sensibilities about the oceans are unlimited. These all led me to eventually becoming a SCUBA Diver in 1970. I also took two quarters of Oceanography in college and came close to changing my major to that discipline.

All my life, I've found it difficult to live very far inland from open salt waters. There is something life affirming to me about the oceans. There is more oxygen created from the oceans than all the world's forests put together. We have to appreciate what the oceans give us, but we seem to fail to on that account. Some of us do appreciate the life giver that the oceans are.

It takes having a connection, feeling that connection. Perhaps, we have too many cop shows on TV, too many reality shows, banal and superficial, unimportant, self-serving as they are. Its time we have a new show, one that will fire people up about the oceans, the greatest direct and last frontier on this planet. Some of us have that still, from our childhood.

And really, I have Flipper to thank for much of that.

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