Wild Kingdom, sometimes known as Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, is an American television show that features wildlife and nature. It was originally produced from 1963 until 1988, and was revived in 2002.
The original Wild Kingdom grew from discussions that started in 1962 between zoologist Marlin Perkins and V. J. Skutt, the chairman and CEO of insurance company Mutual of Omaha. The company had been the sponsor of an earlier animal-related show, Zoo Parade, that Perkins had hosted from 1952 until 1957. Also intimately involved with the creation of Wild Kingdom was Zoo Parade producer Don Meier, who was credited as the series' creator. Mutual of Omaha sponsored and lent its name to the new program.
Wild Kingdom was first broadcast by NBC. The half-hour show aired on Sundays starting January 6, 1963. and continued until 1971, when the program entered syndication. As a prime-time syndicated program, Wild Kingdom enjoyed great popularity. Although most of the programs aired after 1971 were repeats, new shows continued to be produced until 1987. Several episodes were filmed by cameraman Roy Pinney. Perkins was the host for most of the show's history until he was forced to retire in 1985 for health reasons. (He died of cancer the following year.) Jim Fowler, Perkins' long-time assistant and sidekick, then became the host.
There were two amusing features in the format of the original show. One was the "sneaky commercial" segues, tying the commercials to the subject of the show. These had Perkins saying something like "Just as the mother lion protects her cubs, you can protect your children with an insurance policy from Mutual of Omaha..." The other was that Perkins was often an off-camera narrator describing Fowler's on-camera work with the wild animals; for this, Perkins became associated with the catchphrase "I'll wait here [someplace safe] while Jim [does something or other with the dangerous wild animal]". However, according to a 1997 interview with Fowler, Perkins never said any such thing: according to Fowler, "Johnny Carson started the jokes about me and Marlin in his monologues."
Wild Kingdom can be credited for increasing ecological and environmental awareness in the United States. Its exciting footage brought the wilds of Africa, the Amazon River and other exotic locales into the living rooms of millions of Americans. It created an interest in commercial nature programming that was a precursor to cable television networks such as the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet.
Marlin travels to Tanzania to observe primate research being conducted among the chimpanzees that live near the shores of vast Lake Tanganyika.
Sharks and moray eels inhabit an undersea mountain.
Vast pink flamingo flocks live on Kenya's Lake Nakuru.
Marlin goes rocknroll in this enormously impressive episode catching ant-eaters, tapirs, anacondas bascially with bare hands!
Observe and learn how birds of prey stalk and capture their victims by zig zagging.
Marlin and Jim step on pretty shaky ground.
In the Northwest of India lies an ancient, deserted castle. This is the story of a family of leopards who now occupies this castle.
Marlin and Stan challenge the buffalo, "M'Bogo" as the natives call him, as they take part in an unusual research project.
Canadian polar bears gather near people.
Join Marlin Perkins and Jim Fowler as they explore Africa's Sahara and see how its inhabitants, ranging from warthogs to lions, interact with their environment, both nature-made and man-made.
looking at other animals is healthy!
Marlin observes the study in operation during both winter and summer to learn what happens to elk of the Montana Rockies when forests are cut and logging roads built through their habitat.
The great tropical rain forest supports life at all levels. Fowler captures the largest mammal of the Amazon Jungle.
To study their habits, Marlin Perkins lives with a herd of elephants.
To Marlin and Jim, Africa's waters mean the chance to film the most exciting dramas and most unusual animals ever captured by the cameras...CROCODILES!
Laplanders near the Arctic Circle demonstrate how to rope and brand reindeer, and participate in a spring festival that precedes their annual reindeer drive.
The coastal waters of Nothern California are the habitat of the sea otter.
A pride of lions rests, relaxes and plays in its habitat.
looking at other animals is healthy!