The story of Africa, U.S.A. and its proprietors, animal trainer Ralph Helfer and Daktari producer Ivan Tors

In digging up old articles about my favorite TV show as a kid, Daktari, I came across this fascinating story about Africa, U.S.A, once a large complex where exotic animals were trained through “affection training” rather than through fear with the whip and chair. This was back in the 1960s before caring for animals and the environment was fashionable. I direct your attention especially to the end of the article and the heroic efforts of the trainers, saving animals from imminent death because of raging floods. It’s quite amazing.

Daktari TV Show

My thanks to Walter, a longtime Daktari fan from the Netherlands, for sharing this fascinating article about just what Africa, U.S.A. was all about.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Animal Kingdom, USA

Out in California flourishes a wild-animal domain located just this side of Unbelievable

by Cleveland Amory for TV Guide April 1966

cheryl miller of daktari with tiger in Africa U.S.A. TV Guide April 1966

Hollywood these days may or may not be still the Land of Make-Believe. But it boasts at leastone place, Africa, U.S.A., which has even the “natives” rubbing their eyes. “I’ve worked here every day for a year,” Marshall Thompson the star of Daktari told me, “and I still don’t believe it.”

To begin with, like most things in Hollywood, it is actually not…

View original post 2,752 more words