Really Wild Animals
This article may be written from a fan's point of view, rather than a neutral point of view. (November 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Really Wild Animals is a children's nature television series, hosted by Dudley Moore as Spin, an anthropomorphic globe. Comprising 26 episodes, the series aired between October 24, 1993 and March 2, 1998. The series was released on 13 VHS tapes, and later 13 DVDs. The creator and executive producer of Really Wild Animals was Andrew Carl Wilk. The series was nominated for five national Daytime Emmy Awards and won one.
|Really Wild Animals|
|Created by||Andrew Carl Wilk|
|Presented by||Dudley Moore|
|Voices of||Dudley Moore, Billy West|
|Narrated by||Dudley Moore|
|Theme music composer||Darryl Kubian|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||26|
|Executive producer(s)||Andrew Carl Wilk|
|Running time||VHS/DVD - 45 mins|
TV version - 30 mins
|Production company(s)||National Geographic Society|
Caesar Video Graphics (1993–1994)
Click 3X (1994–1998)
|Distributor||Columbia TriStar Home Video|
Warner Home Video
|Original network||Syndication (1993-1995)|
CBS Television Network (1995-1996)
Disney Channel (1996–1998)
|Original release||October 24, 1993 –|
March 2, 1998
Released by the National Geographic Society, the series educates children about many different species of animals. Initially, the series go to every continent describing the wildlife on each one. The series also has episodes that focuses on one specific group of animals, such as dogs, cats, endangered animals and animals of the African savannah.
Billy West was credited in later episodes of the series as doing additional voices.
One of the composers of the series was Alan O'Day. The underscore of most episodes, as well as the main theme of the series, were composed by Darryl Kubian. Songs for each episode were written, produced and performed by Alan O'Day and Janis Liebhart. In the end of an episode or the first half of an episode that is divided into mini-episodes, Spin says, "But (you know), there are lots more Really Wild Animals all across this wonderful world of ours, so be sure to join me on our next (exciting) adventure. Until then, this is your pal Spin. Spin ya later!"
The series was released on 13 VHS tapes. Around 2003, National Geographic began releasing the episodes on DVD. Around 2007, Warner Brothers released the episodes on DVD.
Swinging Safari - October 24, 1993
- Note: The DVD version omits the Weather Update, Africa's Most Wanted, Traffic Update, and As the Earth Turns signs.
This episode features animals from Africa, primarily in the Serengeti, but also the jungles of mid-Africa and the Kalahari Desert including Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve. These animals include elephants, zebras, rhinos, chimpanzees, cheetahs, meerkats, colobus monkeys, and lions. The law of survival and the food chain are also emphasized. Jane Goodall and Daphne Sheldrick appear.
This episode has five songs. The first is about lions (Hey Lion); the second is about baby animals (Young Thing); the third is about how humans, monkeys and apes are related (Family); the fourth is about zebras (Stripes); and the fifth is about Africa's beauty (The Heart That Beats in Africa) sung by Dorian Holley.
Wonders Down Under - November 16, 1993
In this episode, the animals of Australia are examined. The theme of "weirdness" among Australia's creatures (compared to the rest of the world) is explored by looking at mammals, birds and reptiles. The kangaroo, echinda, platypus, riflebird, bowerbird, lyrebird, emu, malleefowl, frilled lizard, water-holding frog, dingo, tasmanian devils, thorny devils, koalas, and more are featured.
This episode has five songs. The first is about Australia and how unique it is (Down Under); the second is about kangaroos (Wait Up, Kangaroo); the third is about the strange animals in Australia (Proud to Be Strange); the fourth is about the Outback's reptiles and amphibians (Tracks in the Sand); and the fifth is about how despite the "strange" appearances, all of Australia's animals make it a unique land (Strange New Friend).
Deep Sea Dive - December 1, 1993
- Note: This is the first episode where Spin explores around the world instead of just sticking to one continent and the final one where he appears in his original animation.
This episode plunges into the world's oceans and explores underwater life. Key destinations include the Great Barrier Reef and Antarctica. Some of the animals featured are dolphins, octopuses, seahorses, fish, sharks, cuttlefish, penguins, jellyfish, sea otters, and whales. It also attempts to capture the wonders of the sea and the importance of protecting it from pollution.
This episode has five songs. The first is about water (Water); the second is about strange animals that live deep in the sea (City of the Creeps); the third is about the importance of keeping the water clean (If the Water is Clear); the fourth is about animal movement (It's in the Way You Move); and the fifth is about the "real" underwater treasure, which is all the wildlife (I Found a Treasure).
Totally Tropical Rain Forest - October 9, 1994
- Notes: This is the first episode that Spin appears in his new animation . He will remain in this form for the rest of the series. In addition, this is the first episode with less than five songs. The end of this episode has prototype animation in which Spin doesn't put away his magnifying glass at the end, he just zooms in.
This episodes shows an in-depth look at the rainforests of Central and South America. It's structured around a journey through the layers of the forest, from the floor to the mid-layers to the canopy. During this journey the jaguar, tapir, leafcutter ant, howler monkey, basilisk lizard, poison arrow frog, parrot, tarantula, harpy eagle, piranha, vampire bat, hoatzin, uakari, three-toed sloth, and river dolphin are among the animals shown. Environmental issues surrounding deforestation are also looked at.
This episode has four songs. The first is about all the life that lives in the rainforest (Greenhouse); the second is about the importance of finding food and the food chain (What Do You Want for Lunch); the third is about the rainforest canopy and all the birds that call it home (Bird's-Eye View); and the fourth is about the importance of keeping the rainforest safe (This Must Be the Place).
Amazing North America - November 15, 1994
This episode looks at North America's ecosystems from its deserts and swamps to its cities and tundra. Ground squirrels, polar bears, alligators, beavers, woodpeckers, Arctic wolves, rattlesnakes, musk oxen, raccoons, black bears, corn snakes and red-bellied turtles are featured. The diversity of the North American landscape, and how all its animals have adapted to it, are key points in the film.
This episode has four songs. The first is about what animals need to do to survive in North America (I Gotta Be Wild); the second is about the places animals call home (Look Who's Moving In); the third is about difficulties in getting what animals want (To Get What You Want); and the fourth is about the winter season (Winter).
Adventures in Asia - December 20, 1994
The immense continent of Asia is explored. With such a large area to cover, Spin jumps from one place to the next including the Indonesian islands, the Arabian Peninsula, Indian jungles, and Chinese mountains. Some of the featured animals are the sea snake, Arabian oryx, dhole, proboscis monkey, tiger, Asian elephant, orangutan, white-bellied sea eagle, and giant panda. The difference between myth and reality is put to the test in uncovering the lifestyles of all these creatures.
This episode has four songs. The first is about all the Asian legends, and how much truth is in them (Legends in Asia); the second is about territories (Get Off of My Turf); the third is about animal roughhousing and how important it is (Roughhouse); and the fourth is about all the life, human and animal, in Asia (Keep the Legends Alive).
Polar Prowl - January 3, 1995
In this episode, Spin takes the viewer on a trip to the Arctic and Antarctic. Animals such as humpback whales, penguins, orca whales, arctic terns, polar bears, elephant seals, caribou, musk oxen, fur seals, Kodiak bears, and walruses are explored. Additionally, the show examines the three ways animals survive the harsh cold; hibernation, insulation and migration.
This episode has four songs. The first is about the cold temperatures and how the animals survive don't mind it (Cold, Cold, Cold); the second is about ways animals beat the cold (That's the Way We Do It Up Here); the third is about penguins, and names the 17 species (Penguins); and the fourth is a tribute to Antarctica (The Last Great Wilderness).
Hot Dogs and Cool Cats - February 20, 1996
- Note: This was the point where the series started airing on TV, so the episodes had to be cut down in length. Instead of one 45-minute episode, all VHS/DVDs released contained two 30 minute episodes. Also, beginning here, all episodes only have two songs. Only the VHS version has a bridging dog commercial between the two episodes, as they had further released separately. The second episode is also the first time Alan O'Day does not appear.
In the first episode, Spin looks at dogs and tries to determine if there is a link between wild and tame dogs. The first song is about why dogs do what they do (Hey Dog), and the second is about the loyalty that dogs possess (Best Friends).
In the second episode, Spin examines cats and learns that no matter how tame, they're always wild. The first song is about cats having an attitude (The Cat's Got an Attitude), and the second is about how they're wild inside (Wild Inside).
Dinosaurs and Other Creature Features - March 6, 1996
- Notes: This is the first episode where the background changes from the sky to outer space; this background, which had been in place since the first episode, will remain for the rest of the series. Also, Spin reads the title card as "Dinos and Other Creature Features". Paleontologist Robert T. Bakker appears in the first episode, and in the second episode, footage from the Three Stooges episode "Disorder in the Court" and a clip from Killer Shrews is shown. It's the only one to not feature Alan O'Day or Janis Liebhart singing the songs and the last episode where a guest singer was brought in.
In the first episode, Spin examines dinosaurs such as Hadrosaurs (Duck-Billed Dinosaurs), Struthiomimus, Tyrannosaurus rex, and Dromaeosaurs (Raptors), and tries to answer the questions surrounding them, including how they became extinct, and if relatives still exist such as alligators, snakes, Komodo dragons, lizards, ostriches, cassowaries, and other birds. The songs focus on dinosaurs (Dinosaurs), and how their modern-day relatives still "rock our world" (We're Gonna Rock Your World).
In the second episode, Spin looks at some of the world's creepiest creatures such as vampire bats, ants, flies, spiders, vultures, and dung beetles. He shows that no matter how scary they are, they all play an important part in the world. The first song is about how creatures are creepy and intriguing (Creepy Creatures; animation by Jim and Vezna Tozzi), and the second is about how important they all are (Keep on Creepin' on).
Monkey Business and Other Family Fun - November 12, 1996
- Note: Janis Liebhart performs both songs in the first episode; she only appears in a duet in the second episode. Also, this episode features a parody of Candid Camera called "Candid Critter Camera". It's hosted by "Alan Grunt" (a parody of Alan Funt), who is played by Billy West. Only the second "Candid Critter Camera" segment appears on the VHS and DVD versions, whereas the first "Candid Critter Camera", whose topic features meerkats, only appears in the VHS version, as the episodes had further released separately.
In the first episode, Spin looks at primates, including gibbons, langurs, bush babies, aye-ayes, capuchins, and baboons. He also explains that primates are our distant relatives. The first song is about all primates (Primates), and the second is about gorillas, our "gentle brothers" (Gentle Brother).
In the second episode, Spin looks at animal families including elephants, African bullfrogs, ostriches, octopuses, albatross, and sea turtles and shows that they're not all that different from human families. The first song is about how curious animal children are (I'm Curious), and the second is about how important families are (You're My Family).
Farmyard Friends - May 6, 1997
- Notes: This is the first VHS/DVD release that doesn't mention the second episode. The TV version of Farmyard Friends was titled Spin's Really Wild Farm Tour. Also, at this point, Warner Brothers became the distributor and started advertising before the episode began.
In the first episode, Spin looks at farm animals, such as turkeys, pigs, sheep, horses, and cows, and examines their wild relatives, such as dall sheep, wild turkeys, warthogs, and zebras, from all over the world. The first song is about all the animals on the farm (Farmer, Farmer), and the second is about whether the viewer would be wild or tame (Would You Rather be Wild, Would You Rather be Tame).
In the second episode, Spin looks at humans helping endangered animals, how animals rescue people and if people work together to save animals, they'll prevent them from becoming extinct. The first song is about help being available for animals (Help is on the Way), and the second is about humans working to save animals (Safe at Last).
Awesome Animal Builders - November 4, 1997
In the first episode, Spin shows animals that their own homes, such as termites, beavers, orb-weaver spiders, swiftlets, bees, silkworms, caterpillars, weaver birds, naked mole rats, and ospreys, and explains that they build their homes to have families. The first song is about the different kinds of animal homes (Anything to Make it Home) and the second is about why animals build homes (I Am an Architect).
In the second episode, Spin looks at animals that migrate, such as wildebeest, sockeye salmon, tundra swans, African elephants, geese, sharks, rays, pronghorn and toads, and explains that the cycle of migration never ends. The first song is about animals migrating (I'm Movin' Out) and the second is about how migration never ends for animals (Every Ending is a Beginning)
Secret Weapons and Great Escapes - March 2, 1998
- Note: Despite this being the last episode, the show still ends with Spin saying, "But there are lots more Really Wild Animals all across this wonderful world of ours, so be sure to join me on our next adventure. Until then, this is your pal, Spin. Spin ya later!" This is presumed to encourage the viewer to start over again.
In the first episode, Spin's a spy who is trying to find out how some animals have ways to defend themselves, such as frilled-neck lizards, poison dart frogs, owl butterflies, green tree pythons, Hemisphaerota beetles, army ants, skunks, Surinam toads, black widow spiders, bombardier beetles, mantis shrimp, cobras, tomato frogs, cone snails, and puffer fish, and finds why animals need defenses. The first song is about animals having secret defenses (I've Got a Secret) and the second is about animals needing watch out for other animals defenses (Trick of the Trade)
In the second episode, Spin shows animals that live on certain islands, such as lemurs and chameleons in Madagascar, Marine and land iguanas on the Galapagos, Tasmanian devils and quolls in Tasmania, gannets and keas in New Zealand, fur seals on the Juan Fernández Islands and eastern rockhopper penguins with Snares penguins in Snares Island, and shows how unique they are. Footage of New York City and its Twin Towers are shown as well as the Herons and egrets on the harbor's islands. Both songs are about islands and how unique they are. (Welcome to the Islands) (It's a World Within a World)