Flipper (TV Series 1964–1967) Poster


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In memoriam: Brian Kelly, 1931-2005
juliafwilliams17 June 2005
It is with sadness that, while surfing through this database, I read that Brian Kelly, the handsome actor who played patriarch Porter Ricks on the television version of Flipper, passed away in February 2005, just short of his 74th birthday. I believe that the news of Mr. Kelly's passing was quite under-reported.

Brian Kelly played a father who was intelligent, understanding, and when warranted, firm. His character of Porter Ricks raised his two sons, Bud and Sandy, with keen senses of the difference between right and wrong, values that are quite under-portrayed in an age of extreme dynamics surrounding sex, drugs, and violence.

After Flipper went off the air and into syndication, Mr. Kelly appeared in a handful of films and episodic television programs. Around 1970 or 1971, his acting career came to a tragic end following a freak motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed and with speech and health problems. Nevertheless, he continued in the entertainment industry as a motion picture producer. One such production effort is the 1980's action film 'Blade Runner'.

Brian Kelly will be missed, and may he rest in peace.
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Thoughts of Flipper makes me feel so nostalgic
kolyanbogie7 October 2004
I don't know if anyone will ever read this or care about my memories about this show, but after reading another commentary I had to put in my five cents worth. In the late 60s, when our family had never owned a TV, our next door neighbors bought a brand new color set. This was 1967 or 68. Older viewers will remember when color was a big deal, and the new shows were very exciting to watch. (Remember the NBC peacock which announced that a show was "in COLOR!") One of these shows was Flipper. Thinking of the theme song brings tears to my eyes ... I am taken back to my childhood as an innocent 8-year old who had hardly seen any television, kind of mesmerised. I always loved animals and thought a dolphin would be such a cool pet - although I do remember getting tired of flipper making that weird dolphin noise! Anyone who wants to share memories, feel free to e-mail me.
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Flipper was a great show growing up in the 60's.
fugazzi4918 December 2008
I was a big fan of Flipper since I saw the first film as a thirteen year old in 1963, and continued to follow Flipper in the second film and on TV. It's portrayal of an almost idyllic life for a boy and his pet dolphin was a wonderful fantasy for a boy who was about the same age as Sandy (Luke) at the time. The first film was a little more serious than the second: just look at that tiny fisherman's cottage the Ricks family lives in, and the dangers of the fisherman's life portrayed. The second film, despite featuring escaped convicts and a kidnapping plot is definitely light fare - the villains are stock characters and the tone is light enough to include an idyllic 'Eden" sequence much like a music video as Sandy and the girl he befriends tour the island.

The TV series, debuting in September, 1964 offered a lot of changes, mostly for reasons of budget or the target audience. Sandy's mother is now officially dead (she appeared in the first film and wasn't mentioned in the second) probably for budgetary reasons. In an era of stay-at-home moms she would have had to be in most episodes, but because Flipper was an action/adventure show and not a family sitcom, she would have had little to do.

The really big change was that Sandy now had a little brother, Bud (played by Tommy Norden). This was probably because the producers and network (NBC) aimed the show at kids, and felt they needed a younger character with whom they could identify. Even the balance of the character mix was changed: the movies had been pretty much all Sandy (Luke Halpin) who was in virtually every scene. Now Bud seemed to be the principal character, and most of the plots either were centered on him or were created by his mishaps.

The almost idyllic world depicted - a world where you ran around in nothing but shorts all day and swam around with a dolphin between adventures was irresistible to me and I sure would have wanted to be their friend.

Speaking of friends,where were their friends? Another element lost to the budgetary ax no doubt. Both Sandy and Bud were personable boys and it is often mentioned that they go to school,but the never seem to be with any friends,even though they have a house right on the ocean and a pet dolphin! A few friends would have made them seem less isolated.

Even Flipper himself changed dramatically between the movies and the TV series. His intelligence grew enormously. In the first film he does little more than play "fetch" with Sandy, and his dancing is a mere spin in the water, not his famous Tail Dance. In the second film he's adept at throwing various objects to shore.

But in the TV series there's practically nothing he can't do. He can follow the most amazingly complicated instructions, find people without being told where they might be, and even discern bad guys when everyone else believes them to be good. Well I guess it's as Bud and Sandy say in "Flipper's Treasure": "You can't fool Flipper!"

You could say that in the movies Flipper was a pet but in the TV show he became more like a Guardian Angel.

A wonderful classic TV show.
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It was a wonderful show, full of good values.
macpherr5 April 2000
The series was about this family living in paradise. A beautiful island called Coral Key Park, Florida. "Sandy" Luke Halpin (Matinee) was the older and wiser brother. The little and also teachable little brother was "Bud" Tommy Norden (Le Couteau dans la plaie) who left Hollywood to work in his family business. "Bud" reminded me of the middle son on "My Three Sons." The kids had this dream pet: an extremely intelligent dolphin named Flipper, any kid's dream pet, you know! Dad "Ranger Porter Ricks" Brian Kelly (I) (Company of Killers) was responsible for Flipper and the park. Unfortunately Brian Kelly's career was cut short because of an accident which left him in a situation similar to, but not the same, as dear actor Christopher Reeve (The Remains of the Day). Like the song goes ": Fame if you win it comes and goes in a minute, make someone happy and you will be happy too." I always looked forward to Flipper, it was wonderful show, full of good family values. Well, little did I know that I would wind up marrying a scuba-diver from Coral Gables, Florida. Isn't life interesting?
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All those years a go...
Won-tolla12 July 2001
I remember seeing this as a kid. I don't remember the exact year, but I must have been VERY young. Why? Well, there was this episode with a Swedish (?) guest star, and while they were waiting for Flipper to save the day, the guest sang a song in her own language. Then Sandy said something like "It's very pretty, what's it about?" I was actually surprised to find there was someone on the TV who didn't understand Swedish!!
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nothing to say but awe with tragedy
neighborlee_fromPalmer31 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I'll keep this short because the '10' I'm going to give it is obvious to most who love animals, yet feel some empathy and sadness for the outcome.

Most everyone by now has seen it, and if not SPOILER ALERT, but it needs to be said.

I loved this as a kid growing up. Period.

The eventual death of flipper in real life was tragic, but it brought to light the issues surrounding using wild animals in 'shows', not unlike some zoos and carnivals.

The person who trained flipper, a time after flipper died , came out and said he regretted doing it.

He is now, helping to stop the slaughter and abuse of dolphins, killer whales and other threatened innocent magnificent creatures of our oceans.

The show brings back memories, and it all deserved, but the story behind the story needed mentioned.

Its a enjoyable show but had sad results, but at least the trainer is doing the right thing now, in flippers memory and saving lots of marine life.

YOu can help donate to the cause and find him, by following Earth Island Institute.

That is not an ad, just my way of saying, if you enjoyed flipper, it wouldn't be a bad thing to follow what he is doing in the name of flipper, and donate as you see fit.
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Brian Kelly was stunning
georgepardee12 December 2009
When I was a kid, I really loved the dolphin Flipper, and the two boys were cute and much like me. But I really loved Dad, Porter Ricks, played by Brian Kelly. What a daddy he was! With his exquisitely handsome face and a perfectly sculpted, hairy body, he was out of this world. His ranger uniform, with its tight pants, tight, unbuttoned shirt with nice short sleeves, compared with Robert Conrad's sexy outfits on Wild, Wild West, which was showing during the same years. And, of course, there were his many, many scenes in a bathing suit - breathtaking! Wow! His voice and his movements dripped with masculinity. He was so frickin' virile! I loved that man as an 11-year-old and still love him now. So sad about the motorcycle accident. Rest in Peace, Brian.
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All those years ago.......
raysond2 April 2003
My,My,My..........All Those years ago!!!!!!!!!! Its amazes me that this show isn't shown anymore on either of the cable networks. The last time it shown was for one back in the mid 90's on the kids channel Nickelodeon,then was seen on The Family Channel,and then later on Animal Planet. Nowadays,it is being shown on one of those Discovery Kids channels if it ever comes on. Do I remember singing the 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 of wonder,finding them under,under the sea".

For one,you had two kids who were living in paradise. Their pet was an highly intelligent dolphin who was the kids family pet,and by the way,any kids dream pet!

Second,there was no mom around,so it was up to the father who looked after the kids,who was the park ranger of a Florida park and coral reef who was responsible for looking after the kids and Flipper.

Third,you had Bud(played by Luke Halpin)who was the oldest and you had the youngest one Bud(played by Tommy Norden)and their father(played by Brian Kelly). Also the show was very exciting to watch since it had some breathtaking underwater photography that was ever seen and in some of the episodes it was fascinating to look at all shot in color! And action? Lots of it including some very famous guest stars that were on the show like Andy Devine,Marshall Thompson and a young looking Burt Reynolds.

Fourth,the series ran for three seasons on NBC-TV(from 1964-67),and after which when the series went off the air,actor Brian Kelly was in a terrible accident,which to this day was never heard from again,until 30 years later in a new version of the series which came out in 1995.

Finally,this was a great kids show and also for adults as well. My,so many years ago.
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"They Call Him Flipper, Flipper, Faster Than Lightning..................."
bkoganbing1 March 2008
Was there anything that good old Flipper couldn't do? That is in the water and salt water at that. Dolphins have to be in the ocean or they drown. I do remember an episode where Flipper put himself in harm's way by swimming upstream in a channel where the water gradually turned fresh. But when you're man's best sea friend, that's what you do.

Luke Halpin who played the older Ricks son Sandy was with Flipper from the gitgo. He co-starred with Chuck Connors in the movie Flipper when it started. Luke also had a mother in Kathleen Maguire.

He did two subsequent movies however Connors and Maguire were dropped. Connors was a commercial fisherman and I guess producer Ivan Tors thought there were more story possibilities with him being the son of a park ranger. Brian Kelly starred with Halpin in two subsequent Flipper films and was a widower.

But for the television series Kelly stayed a widower and a younger son was added, little redheaded freckle-faced Tommy Norden, a poor man's version of Ronny Howard. When I watched reruns of the show, I never realized how annoying Norden was.

Kelly was a good father figure though and Halpin was a model kid, he might have been the role model for Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher. He also was enormously popular among the teenage adolescent girl bubble gum set. He definitely had appeal there and I can personally add also among young gay males.

I guess for the show to work though someone usually had to get in harm's way and by seniority and naiveté, Norden was usually the one. But somehow Flipper affected the rescue.

The series ran its course after about four seasons. Andy Devine was on for comic relief for a while and Swedish actress Ulla Stromstedt was brought on as an oceanographer to give a little romantic interest for Kelly.

Sadly Brian Kelly suffered some career ending injuries in a motorcycle accident in 1971. I guess Tommy Norden couldn't compete with Ronny Howard for the same parts and he left acting. And Luke Halpin went into the service after Flipper was canceled and when he came back he couldn't really get his career back on track.

Flipper was a nice show however, a nice likable family and episodes with a strong moral content. It would be nice to see them again.
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Excellent blast from the past
wrxsti5415 May 2014
I stumbled on the Flipper TV series on Hulu and it has been a wonderful journey back to a golden age of American television. In a modern world obsessed with violence, sex and with Hollywood now so determined to portray families riddled with problems and with pampered children, Flipper represents a dose of old fashioned values from an era now sadly largely gone. There is no cussing, sexual content or anxiety ridden acting out by children. Porter Ricks comes across as an earnest and conscientious father raising two rambunctious and inquisitive boys all the while keeping various crooks at bay at the Coral Keys Park and protecting and rescuing all manner of visitors to the southern Florida paradise.

The quality of the footage is superb - from the rich color (done in an era when color filming was not yet the norm), excellent clarity and of course the underwater footage which is as good as any you'll see in modern TV or films today. The plot lines are somewhat predictable, even a little corny but a number of episodes feature some excellent even gripping story lines. Yes - Flipper is invested with almost human powers and the dolphin footage gets spliced with lots of re-runs of similar Flipper scenes, but the result is one that carries on the endearing fondness between animal and human that was so richly on display between Luke Halpin and the various dolphins who starred as Flipper in the original two movies. It is interesting to note the insertion of an older pilot of the TV show as episode 3 of Series 1 that was clearly filmed right after the second movie in 1963 when Halpin was only 16 and Norden (playing Bud) was only 10 as both boys seem older when all the other episodes of Season 1 were filmed a year later in 1964 and screened that fall. It provides a neat transition from the 2nd Flipper movie (Flipper's New Adventure) that first featured Brian Kelly as Porter Ricks and enabled the studio to experiment with the mix of Tommy Norden as Bud with Kelly and Halpin.

The family chemistry is most endearing and enjoyable. The boys seem to live an idyllic carefree life mostly in the water where a vast playground of sand, sea, boats and diving is a stone's throw away. The ease in which Sandy and Bud jump into and pilot any available boat and throw on scuba tanks and roam the sea floor is one of the many attractions of the series - indeed Halpin became such an accomplished diver that once his post-Flipper career floundered after the advantage of his late maturation (giving NBC the ability to play an older teen in a mid-teen role) was negated by his eventual adulthood and thus growing out of the Sandy Ricks role, Halpin became a sought after diving consultant to the Florida movie industry for many decades. It's hard to find an actor after all these years who combined a depth of excellent acting talent with down home telegenic good looks AND superb athleticism. It's no wonder Halpin became a popular teen idol to the young teenage girl readers of teen magazines with his mop of blond hair, boyish innocence and lots of scenes featuring his tanned shirtless swimmer's physique.

The Flipper TV shows make for excellent television even 50 years later with new generations of children able to enjoy the fruits of Ricou Browning's excellent direction work. He features a number of famous older actors and some who went on to became household names (Martin Sheen, Burt Reynolds, and Barbara Feldman) in small cameo roles. By filming exclusively in Florida away from the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, it gives the show a sense of believable reality. In our jaded cynical world where children have to grow up too fast (and TV shows are hastening that process), it's great to watch a TV program that shows boys just being simple boys and a father requiring discipline, hard work, responsibility and consequences all against the backdrop of one of nature's most compelling animals playing a pivotal role in all episodes and all filmed in one of America's prettiest locations. There is so much to like about the Flipper TV series in addition to the trip down memory lane.
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They called him Flipper..........
raysond13 April 2003
THE THEME SONG: They called him Flipper,Flipper, Faster than the lightning,no one you see is smarter than he, And we know Flipper lives in a world full of wonder, hidden under,under the sea.

This was one of the most exciting children show that I ever had the pleasure of watching even though some cable networks nowadays doesn't seem to just bother repeating the episodes. However,the last time this show was one anywhere was back during the late 80's,early 90's when its repeats were seen first off on Nickelodeon,and then on The Family Channel,and about recently on Animal Planet. Now these episodes can be seen again on cable's Discovery Kids channel(check local listings).

The story consists of two kids who were living in paradise on the Key West part of Florida. There was no mom around,and dad was rarely there,and who was the park ranger in charge of the kids and also was responsible for Flipper,a extremely highly intelligent dolphin who was the family pet,any kids dream pet! However the show was breathtaking to watch especially with some of the spectacular underwater photography scenes that were shown in brilliant color! This show had it all,action,adventure,comedy and of course the star of the show himself Flipper! The kids who were in love with Flipper were Bud(played by Tommy Norden),and big brother Sandy(played by Luke Haplin),and each week there always something going on especially with dad Porter Ricks in charge and always getting them out of a tight situation(played by Brian Kelly). Unfortunately,Brian Kelly's acting career was cut short after a terrible motorcycle accident that left him injured two years after the Flipper series went off the air. I wonder where is he now?

This show needs to back on the air,quick! Bring back Flipper!
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1906s TV at its best
chris_gaskin12310 April 2013
I am a big fan of 1960s TV and Flipper was one of the best series. I have season one on DVD plus a few season 2 episodes on VHS which were released in the UK in the 1990s.

The series followed the 2 excellent feature films, Luke Halpin was the only actor in both movies and TV series. Brian Kelly was in the 2nd film and the storyline changed when the TV series started, Sandy gained a brother (Tommy Nordon) but his mother was killed off in the second movie, Flipper's New Adventure.

I regular watch episodes and never tire of them. Certainly good to see the nice Florida sunshine. Watching Flipper also gives you an idea on what life was like in the Florida Keys in the 1960s.

I wish Seasons 2 and 3 were released on DVD, although season 2 is available in the US.

They certainly don't make them like this anymore.
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Givin' children of the 60's a reason to come home quick from school.
The_Light_Triton4 January 2010
Flipper is the reason that Free Willy, the black stallion, and gentle Ben all exist on film. no question about it. I remember growing up on the original flipper movies from the 60s, in the 90s. i still love those films. but for the first time i was able to watch the TV show of flipper on youtube. and i liked it. it's certainly kid's fare, but family fare as well, as long as you don't take all the ridiculous stuff seriously.

First off, We need more dads in TV today like Porter ricks. Mainly because he was a stalwart dad, not like the cretins of today like homer Simpson and peter griffin. he laid down the line between right and wrong in front of his sons, and did everything right.

Sadly, the image of the shirtless, Ab-bared teenager has become more of a gay image, rather than a cool guy that you just wanna sit down and chill with a beer. sandy fills that role perfectly, and i think he's awesome. remember, it was just him and flipper from the start of the story. His little brother was where the camera was really pointed all the time. speaking of..

Bud was annoying. i found him to be more of a camera hog. but there are several little brothers all over the states, and they needed someone to relate to. i'm a little brother myself, but i just didn't like bud.

flipper her/himself was tough to work with. several scenes are reused, and i recall watching several scenes where they were supposedly in open water, but then you'd spot the pool's edge, or the chicken wire fence and you knew they were not filming where they were. but hey, if they brought flipper to open ocean, he'd/she'd swim off and die quickly.

But hey, i love this show. it's certainly a kids show, but thats what makes it so fun to watch. i say buy and enjoy.

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For a show so old I really liked it.
Andrew-Clements24 July 2011
These Flipper shows were fun to watch. I think the first series was the best. But I actually had fun watching all of them.

Some other guys laughed at me for watching this, but I noticed some continued to watch with me after they had dissed it. I think they liked it but just didn't want to say so since they called it "an old kiddie show". (I put it on my laptop and watched every now and then at school and stuff, so guys would come up and ask me what I was watching).

I'm 18 now but I still like chancing across these old shows. They are so different from the stuff u see these days.

I recommend this.
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Sweet show, helped my creativity, back to nicer days
ronniedanger7 August 2017
Flipper was as other reviewers stated very sweet, entertaining and sometimes educational. I remember having a crush on Sandy and on Porter. Even as a little girl who didn't know how to swim, I gladly entered Bud and Flipper's magical world. One other reviewer wrote about a lady singing a song, and I was actually looking for that song I think it is French, though. Shows like Flipper stretched my imagination. Later, as a short story writer, I can think back to my childhood and dream up fabulous situations; if a boy and his dolphin can have adventures then anything I can dream up is okay, too. Shows like this may have premises that stretched our imaginations but they also let kids be kids and the acting was so much better. People seemed more like three dimensional humans instead of caricatures. I vote 10 out of 10 for Flipper!
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Flipper was a tremendous influence
carolyn_davis225 January 2017

I've just written a middle-grade novel that is rooted in my love of cetaceans. Flipper, which I watched as a small child, aimed me in positive directions. The television program taught children many lessons: the virtue of self-sufficiency, the reality of single-parent households, and, above all, respect for nature and the virtues and abilities of other species.

Our generation can thank Flipper for its many lessons in cross-cultural, family, and inter-species cooperation and enjoyment.

And, as another reviewer posted, yes -- all in living color!
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An uplifting, feel-good family show!
OllieSuave-00725 November 2016
This is a 1960s show that I happened to come across on TV when I was home alone, sick with the chicken pox. It was a good show to pass the time, a story about Ranger Porter Ricks (Brian Kelly) and his sons 15-year-old Sandy (Luke Halpin) and 10-year-old Bud (Tommy Norden) keeping watch over life in Coral Key Park, Florida and over their trusty pet dolphin Flipper.

It's an entertaining show full of unending adventures and exciting plots, with the Ricks partnering up with Flipper to save the day from danger and petty crooks. The series also highlights the close bond between Porter Ricks, Sandy and Bud and their particularly heartwarming friendship with Flipper.

Flipper has saved the Ricks from mishaps a number of times throughout the show, and the elements of innocence, family-bond and old-fashion morals make this a great TV series for the entire general audience - elements that are sorely missing in much of the so-called shows Hollywood throws out today.

Even as a teenager from the 1990s watching this show from the 1960s created much nostalgia for me, making me want to meet the actors who portrayed Sandy and Bud at one point, and to visit the marine-life setting, which was filmed at Miami, Florida's Greenwich Studios and Key Biscayne, Florida's Miami Seaquarium.

An uplifting, feel-good family show that truly represented one of the best in TV entertainment!

Grade A
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Don't buy this on DVD from FxCloudMedia!
beek3822 July 2011
Seasons 1, 2 and 3 of Flipper The Original Series are for sale on Amazon. Great quality!

Don't buy this from fxcloudmedia! Most of their DVD's won't play in your standalone DVD player. The picture quality is horrible. They recorded Flipper from television (the Animal Planet logo is on screen all the time) and they must have used a VHS recorder for this. Also there is no artwork.

I've tried to contact Fx Cloud Media about this, but they are not responding.

Season 3 is not for sale yet on Amazon.com. On the German Amazon (amazon.de) all seasons have been for sale for years now. But the German DVD's don't contain the original soundtrack. It's all in German.

All episodes (seasons 1, 2 and 3) can been watched on Hulu.com.
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Excellent classic
mitchrmp20 October 2012
Anyone who grew up in the 60's, 70's or 80's remembers watching this on television. I remember my family watching this every day on the CBN. This is just a wholesome show with no cussing or sex and plenty of mischief! While Bud, the younger of the two Ricks children gets him and Flipper into all kinds of trouble; the older brother, Sandy usually finds himself right in the middle of it as well due to Bud's pleadings. Many times, Porter Ricks is right there with them - but since he's the dad, he usually does the punishing.

What ever happened to the days when an entertaining dolphin, two mischievous boys who practically live with the fish, and an old- fashioned widowed father who still believes spanking his kids can get a point across will fill our entertainment needs?

Though season two is available, it is a lot more expensive then the first season. Season three isn't available at all. Every few months I check back to see if we'll be in luck to get these last to seasons at a reasonable price, but so far no go...

Though this show is based on the movie with Chuck Connors, there are a lot of differences. Porter Ricks lives in a different house and closer to the ocean. Though the bird and Flipper are still in existence, the mother is not. Sandy now has a brother. Even Porter Ricks has undergone a personality change. The father is more loving. Though he may be as stern, he seems to be stern in a different type of way.

Until I'm able to get the last two seasons, I'll continue enjoying the one season I have!
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Harmless escapism-
Scott-16316 January 2001
Escapist fantasy about an "ideal" childhood- dad's absent much of the time, mom's gone permanently, there's just you, your brother and a super-intelligent seabeast (whose repertoire was actually very limited.) Gee, who'd have thought being a latchkey kid was such fun? Okay for young children, much too juvenile for anyone else.

MAD Magazine's© parody "Flapper" neatly dismembered the show and paraded its failings, including its use of recurrent themes and touting of "Flipper's" (few) talents.
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Everyone Loves Flipper
StrictlyConfidential23 July 2018
Yes. Indeed. Everyone loves Flipper, the smartest (and cutest) dolphin in the whole, wide world.

This entertaining, clean-cut, wholesome, family-oriented series was first aired on television back in the mid-1960's.

All of its action took place at Coral Key Park which was a "picture-perfect" location on the east coast of sunny Florida.

It's here that no-nonsense Ranger, Porter Ricks, his 2 sons, Sandy and Bud, and, of course, Flipper keep this beautiful marine-life sanctuary a safe and crime-free environment for all to enjoy.

Filmed in living colour - This 8-disc set contains all 32, half-hour episodes from the 2nd season of "Flipper" (1965-1966).

One of this program's strongest points was that it featured plenty of underwater photography, showcasing all of the diverse sea-life found in this ideal setting.
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