Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The original Crocodile Hunter

If you're over 35 - you might recall the original Crocodile Hunter, Marlon Perkins. Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom debuted in 1963 and ran for 27 years.

Johnny Carson used to poke fun at Marlon. I remember, "While Jim wrestles the elusive wild boar, I'll prepare beans back at the camp." My generation spent countless hours watching Marlon fire nets connected to rockets over flocks of birds. We watched Marlon race up to Zebras in a '66 Range Rover and tag it's ear at 30 miles per hour. He always showed us what was under the rock.

Marlon was doing this when no-one else was. There was no Discovery channel. There was no Animal Planet. All Marlon had was a little syndicated TV show that was provided free to TV stations, if they ran it intact - with the commercials for Mutual of Omaha. Remember, "The Koala bear protects it's young. You should do the same, with Mutual of Omaha!"

Steve Irwin was a dynamic personality. Marlon wasn't. His voice was monotone. He wasn't particularly handsome - but was certainly dapper. What happened to Irwin was sad, but I believe the Steve Irwin was saw on TV was a performance FOR television. Irwin certainly KNEW when the cameras were on - and "played to them." This isn't bad. This just wasn't Marlon Perkins. He was the same on & off camera. I know because I witnessed it first hand.

Marlon Perkins was the director of the St. Louis Zoo for the run of Wild Kingdom. One day (mid 60's) my family was visiting the zoo. While watching the alligators from a distance, a Cushman 3 wheel car pulls up. Marlin Perkins is behind the wheel. He parks, gets out, scales a small fence, climbs a small wall, wades into waste deep water, and literally bare-hand grabs a 5 foot alligator from the water. He puts it under one arm and ties it's snout with string. He then places the alligator into the back of the Cushman and drives away.

This was my only personal encounter with the host of Wild Kingdom. There were no cameras, make up or lights. This was a real Crocodile hunter - and he was doing it 40 years before Steve Irwin.

9 comments:

Your Daughter said...

I disagree. I believe that Steve Irwin was the same on and off camera. I watched Larry King Live last night and saw friends and colleagues of Steve Irwin, and the Steve Irwin they described showed unbridled enthusiasm for conservation and animals whether the camera was rolling or not.

Anonymous said...

"Hi I'm Marlon Perkins, while Jim wrestles those 3 anacondas into the burlap bag as the alligators approach, let me tell you about disablity coverage from Mutual of Omaha...

Anonymous said...

"I'll be in the helicopter watching from overhead while Jim attempts to tranquilize the rhinoceros and put a radio tracking device around his neck."

Anonymous said...

Did you ever notice that ol' Marlon Perkins ALWAYS sat in the jeep and Jim did all the heavy lifting? Pretty sweet deal, if you ask me.

Sam said...

What a great show that was and that Marlon Perkins was so cool. Me and my parents would sit watch this show every Sunday nights right before Chips.

Anonymous said...

After days of blaming everyone but himself, Wednesday morning the stingray responsible for the tragic death of the beloved tv personality Steve Irwin finally manned-up and apologized for killing Australia's most lovable bloke.

"To be honest I thought he was just another asshole tourist trying to ride me. How was I supposed to know that he was the freaking Crocodile Hunter?" the stingray said through his publicist Jo Brooks.

"There was one guy in front of me with a camera and Irwin above me. I know I have eyes on the top of my head but all you humans look the same to us - dumb. That could have been Kobe Bryant for all I know, and trust me, if I had wacked him I wouldn't be apologizing today."

The reclusive stingray is being held on a million dollar bond awaiting manslaughter charges in an unnamed Australian prison whose whereabouts are being withheld from the press in fear of retrobution from Irwin's millions of fans.

"I know my life is over, they should just kill me now," he said before breaking down. "Besides, how's a brother supposed to get any tail without... a tail? Just finish me off and get it over with."

The stingray has never had any run-ins with the law and is being represented by Johnnie Conchshell who guarantees to get his client off the hook.

Briblog Blog said...

To my daughter: No disrespect was intended at Steve Irwin. I said he was dynamic - and he was. I just can't believe he would do many of the things he did - if THERE WASN'T A CAMERA rolling. He mentioned himself he wanted to die on video-tape. He instructed camera people to keep shooting - no matter what. I was drawing a comparison to Marlon Perkins, whom I witnessed wrestle an alligator camera free. Would he have jumped into the water to swim with the rays if the camera wasn't working that day?

Anonymous said...

No, Steve Irwin was in the water with the stingrays because of the camera - because they were filming a special show. BUT he was catching crocs in the outback a long time before he started doing it in front of a camera. He was the real deal.

Joan

somebody said...

酒店經紀人,菲梵酒店經紀,酒店經紀,禮服酒店上班,酒店小姐,便服酒店經紀,酒店打工,酒店寒假打工,酒店經紀,酒店經紀,專業酒店經紀,合法酒店經紀,酒店暑假打工,酒店兼職,便服酒店工作,酒店打工經紀,制服酒店經紀,專業酒店經紀,合法酒店經紀,酒店暑假打工,酒店兼職,便服酒店工作,酒店打工,酒店經紀,制服酒店經紀,酒店經紀