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Flipper the dolphin

flipper

Flipper was a show about a game ranger named Porter Ricks, and his two sons, Sandy and Bud. The show centers around a precocious pet dolphin, named Flipper, and all their adventures. The show ran for three seasons, and they stopped making new episodes in 1967.

The series was a spin off of the feature film "Flipper" in 1963. The film had a sequel, "Flipper's New Adventure" in 1964. A new Flipper TV series appeared for a short time in the 1990s. A feature film also entitled "Flipper" was released in 1996, starring Paul Hogan as Porter Ricks, and Elijah Wood as his nephew, Sandy, and of course, Flipper.

The original Flipper was named Mitzi and she lived from 1958 to 1972. The dolphin had died of a heart attack. Flipper had a stunt double (Mr. Gipper) to do all of the tail walking.

Flipper Theme Song

They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning,
No-one you see, is smarter than he,
And we know Flipper, lives in a world full of wonder,
Flying there-under, under the sea!

Everyone loves the king of the sea,
Ever so kind and gentle is he,
Tricks he will do when children appear,
And how they laugh when he's near!

They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning,
No-one you see, is smarter than he,
And we know Flipper, lives in a world full of wonder,
Flying there-under, under the sea!

(written by "Henry Vars and Dunham")

 

Two hours south of Miami on US 1 is Grassy Key, a subtropical island in the heart of the Florida Keys. At mile marker 59, on the Gulf side, stands a 30-foot concrete statue of a mother and baby dolphin. This marks the entrance to the Dolphin Research Center, a serious-minded facility devoted to education and public awareness. It is also the final resting place of the most famous dolphin ever -- Mitzi, better known to the world by her stage name, Flipper.

It may shock some to learn that Flipper was a she, although a male stunt dolphin, Mr. Gipper, did all of Flipper's tail-walking (Mitzi never could master that trick). Nevertheless, the dolphin who nudged wayward boats to safety, knocked guns out of poachers' hands with well-timed leaps, and warned Bud and Sandy whenever danger lurked, was a lady.
Back in the early sixties, the DRC was known as Santini's Porpoise School. It was run by Milton Santini, a pioneer in dolphin husbandry and training. Mitzi, who was Santini's first pupil, was picked to star as Flipper in the original movie (with "Branded" heartthrob Chuck Connors), which was filmed at the School.

Mitzi's lively screen presence made the film (and its accompanying TV series) a hit, and she became a beloved celebrity at Grassy Key. When she died, of a heart attack, she was buried beneath a dolphin statue in the School's courtyard. The DRC maintains the grave, and in honor of her accomplishments they always make it the first stop on the tour. A small plaque reads:

Died 1972 - Grassy Key, Florida

Dedicated to the memory of Mitzi
The original Flipper
1958 -1972

 

Flipper´s episode guide