Daktari (Swahili for "doctor") is an American family drama series that aired on CBS between 1966 and 1969. The series is an Ivan Tors Films Production in association with MGM Television starring Marshall Thompson as Dr. Marsh Tracy, a veterinarian at the fictional Wameru Study Centre for Animal Behaviour in East Africa.
Clarence and Judy
|Created by||Art Arthur|
|Written by||William Clark|
Lawrence L. Goldman
Stanley H. Silverman
|Directed by||Paul Landres|
|Theme music composer||Shelly Manne|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||89 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Ivan Tors|
|Producer(s)||Leonard B. Kaufman|
|Cinematography||William A. Fraker|
|Running time||45–48 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Ivan Tors Productions|
Warner Bros. Television
|Original release||January 11, 1966 –|
January 15, 1969
|Preceded by||Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion|
The show follows the work of Dr. Tracy, his daughter Paula (Cheryl Miller), and his staff, who frequently protect 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 and Miller as his daughter. The concept was developed by producer Ivan Tors, inspired by the work of Dr. Antonie Marinus Harthoorn and his wife Sue at their animal orphanage in Nairobi. Dr. Harthoorn was a tireless campaigner for animal rights.
On the series, Clarence did not do all his own stunts; he had a stand-in. Leo, another lion trained by Ralph Helfer, doubled for Clarence whenever any trucks were involved because Clarence was spooked by these vehicles. Leo had his own makeup artist apply cosmetic scarring like Clarence's so that he would resemble Clarence in closeups. An inside joke from the preview trailer for the movie Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion was that Leo the MGM logo was not related to Clarence (in addition to similar appearances, the lions had similar temperaments).
Another less friendly lion, also named Leo, doubled for Clarence in some scenes. He was used only for the snarling scenes and scenes not involving proximity with humans. His ferocity was genuine, the result of physical abuse by his previous owners.
- Marshall Thompson as Dr. Marsh Tracy
- Cheryl Miller as Paula Tracy
- Hedley Mattingly as District Officer Hedley
- Hari Rhodes as Mike Makula
- Yale Summers as Jack Dane (1966–1968)
- Ross Hagen as Bart Jason (1968–1969)
- Erin Moran as Jenny Jones (1968–1969)
- Judy the Chimp as Judy
Judy the Chimp also portrayed "Debbie the Bloop" on Lost in Space.
Clarence the Lion passed away at the age of 7 on July 14, 1969, six months after Daktari was last telecast on CBS. When he was not being filmed, the lion was booked as an attraction at expositions and died in Peoria, Illinois, where he was scheduled to appear at the "Heart of Illinois Fair". 
Broadcast history and Nielsen ratingsEdit
|Season||Time slot (ET)||Rank||Rating|
|1965–66||Tuesday at 7:30 pm||14||23.9|
|1966–67||7||23.4 (Tied with Bewitched and The Beverly Hillbillies)|
|1967–68||Not in the Top 30|
|1968–69||Wednesday at 7:30 pm|
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 close to a ranch once owned by Antonio Pintos' father 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. Some of the animals shown were, however, at odds with the location – a tiger (not native to Africa) is shown in the starting credit sequence, as well as an Indian elephant.
Other indoor and some outdoor scenes of the animal hospital were shot in Ivan Tors' studios in Florida.
The show had distinctive theme and incidental music, a fusion of jazz and African influences, conducted by American jazz drummer Shelly Manne. Manne released the associated record, Daktari: Shelly Manne Performs and Conducts His Original Music for the Hit TV Show, on the Atlantic label in 1967. On the 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. According to the record liner notes, Manne and fellow percussionists play ankle and wrist jingles, Thai mouth organs, angklungs, ocarinas, vibraphones, tympani, and different kinds of marimbas.
The series featured several Land Rover four-wheel-drive cars and also a Jeep Gladiator pickup truck with an iconic zebra-striped paint job. Corgi Toys produced a green and black zebra-striped toy version of a Land Rover, available in several different action sets.
- Hart, Susanne (1969). Life with Daktari: Two Vets in East Africa. Atheneum. p. 35.
- "TV Daktari's Clarence The Lion Is Dead", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 15, 1969, p1
- Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (Ninth Edition). Ballantine Books. p. 1684. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
- "Vasquez Rocks". Bonanza: Scenery of the Ponderosa. Retrieved on July 15, 2013.
- Leonard B. Kaufman, liner notes for Shelly Manne, "Daktari", Atlantic Records SD 8157
- Lambert, David (November 15, 2011). "Daktari - 'The Complete 1st Season' is Now Available from the Warner Archive" Archived 2012-09-18 at the Wayback Machine. TVShowsOnDVD.com.
- Lambert, David (March 12, 2013). "Daktari - Packaging Pics for 'The Complete 2nd Season' Shows It's 2 Half-Season Sets Bundled" Archived 2013-03-15 at the Wayback Machine. TVShowsOnDVD.com.
- MOD Release for 'The Complete 3rd Season' is Now Available Archived 2014-06-27 at the Wayback Machine
- The 4th and Final Season is Coming to DVD Very Soon Archived 2015-05-27 at the Wayback Machine