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The Incredible Inman: CBS' 'Daktari' followed adventures of animal doctor in Africa

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By David Inman
Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, 8:39 p.m.

Question: As a youngster growing up in the 1960s, I remember a series about an animal sanctuary based somewhere in Africa. Aside from the main cast, there was a trained monkey and several other tame animals were featured. Can you help solve this mystery?

Answer: Let's all sing the theme song from “Daktari,” shall we?




They don't write 'em like that anymore.

As we all know, “Daktari” means “doctor” in Swahili, and “Daktari” ran on CBS from 1966-69. Produced by Ivan Tors, who also gave us “Flipper” and “Gentle Ben,” “Daktari” dealt with the exploits of Dr. Marshall “Marsh” Tracy (Marshall Thompson), who ran an animal clinic in Africa.

Also along for the ride was Marsh's daughter Paula (Cheryl Miller) and sidekicks Mike (Hari Rhodes) and Jack (Yale Summers). Providing animal-based comic relief were Judy the Chimp (She's a funny one!) and Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion. During the show's final season, a young Erin Moran (later Joanie on “Happy Days”) joined the cast as Jenny Jones, curious orphan.

Q: What's the name of the song that played at the end of the Dec. 17 episode of “How I Met Your Mother?”

A: The song is “Let Your Heart Hold Fast” by Fort Atlantic.

Q: What is the name of the movie in which Jeanette MacDonald sings “I'll See You In My Dreams” to a group of injured soldiers in a hospital ward?

A: That's the 1944 film “Follow the Boys,” one of those all-star World War II movies. This one also stars George Raft, W.C. Fields, Orson Welles, Marlene Dietrich, Dinah Shore, Donald O'Connor and the Andrews Sisters.

Q: I remember my dad and mom taking me to a drive-in movie in the mid 1950s, and seeing part of a movie that I have never seen again. It was a story about a guy who was too close to one of the early A-bomb tests, and he was radioactive (including glowing in the dark). I remember them going out and walking through a casino in Las Vegas, and, because of his radioactivity, when he walked past the slot machines they all started paying out money. I believe that Abbott and Costello did something similar, but I know that it wasn't that movie. Can you help me?

A: Radioactivity is a million laughs, isn't it? Sounds like the 1954 film “The Atomic Kid,” with Mickey Rooney, Robert Strauss and Rooney's wife at the time, Elaine Devry.

Q: My wife and I have been going goofy trying to find the name of a movie that we never saw the end of years ago. It took place in Australia. Stacy Keach played a truck driver, and he had a dingo as a sidekick. He met with Jamie Lee Curtis, and that's where it ends for me. Help!

A: Why, that's the 1981 film “Roadgames,” which stars, well, a bunch of Australians and a dingo.

Q: What was the name of George Kirby's St. Bernard on the old “Topper” series?

A: First, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, let the record show that “Topper” ran on CBS from 1953-55. It was based on the 1937 film of the same name, about a fun-loving young couple, George and Marion Kirby, who were killed and came back as fun-loving ghosts to torment stuffy banker Cosmo Topper.

In the original film, the Kirbys were played by Cary Grant and Constance Bennett, with Topper played by Roland Young. In the TV series, the Kirbys were played by Robert Sterling and Anne Jeffreys, and Topper was played by Leo G. Carroll.

And the Kirbys' dog — which could disappear as easily as his masters — was named Neil.

Q: Has “The Good Wife” been canceled? Will it be back?

A: Fret not — “The Good Wife” is scheduled to return Jan. 6.

Write David Inman in care of The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal, 525 W. Broadway, P.O. Box 740031, Louisville, Ky. 40201-7431; or email him at Questions of general interest will be answered; personal replies are not possible.

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