Memory of Dolphin Island

About fifty years ago I used to watch ‘Flipper’ on the TV. A 1960’s show it was all about the adventures of a dolphin called Flipper. I didn’t know then that there was more than one dolphin and I think I remember reading they were not well looked after during filming?

I remember finding a book in the library called ‘Dolphin Island’ by Arthur C Clarke. It had the effect of waking an interest in science in me. I remembered a boy being shipwrecked and rescued by dolphins. He ends up on a Pacific Island and goes through several more adventures until the inevitable happy ending.

Recently someone mentioned the book so I decided to order a second hand copy. What I got was bitter sweet memories. The book was a lot shorter than I remembered. I read it in a couple of nights. The adventures that had been in it are now seen through older eyes. Where I had been on the edge of my seat, the tension was no longer there. It was still interesting, and I would love to know if there is any chance of finding a dolphin language. But I don’t think I will re-read it. This is an old fashioned Children’s Book. Give me 2001 a space odessey any day.

14 thoughts on “Memory of Dolphin Island

  1. I’m still waiting for this to be delivered and hoping it gets here before Christmas at least.

    Ric O’Barry was the main trainer of the dolphins used during “Flipper” and it was the death of its main star and most used dolphin named “Kathy” that prompted his complete U-Turn to become one of the world’s leaders in anti-captivity and created “The Dolphin Project” which sees him travel the world trying to end wild captures and improve conditions / move captive whales and dolphins to sea sanctuaries etc. Don’t know about the actual conditions they lived in but know he said during filming the dolphins were stimulated, mentally challenged and keen / willing because of the intensity of the schedule and them always being on their toes and learning new things. After filming ceased and they went back to their inane days spent inside marine parks they became so depressed and Ric remains convinced Kathy actually committed suicide which was the turning point Whales and dolphins don’t breathe automatically or involuntary the way we do they have to consciously surface for air and he is adamant she just chose not to take a next breath and died whilst he was holding her in the pool.

    I do like Ric and every time I see him or watch any of his interviews I can’t help feeling he is a tortured soul and the job he used to do back in the 50’s and 60’s when demand for wild captures was at its height must haunt him. He’s a good guy though but I do sense he seldom gets a good night’s rest it’s sad.

    I’m gonna check where that book is now you reminded me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve never seen any episodes of Flipper and looked up old clips on YouTube which included this of the opening and closing theme. The irony of the lyrics including “No one you see, is smarter than he…” That’s the actual truth. We humans think we’re the most intelligent, most superior and most evolved because we can talk, fly planes and capture wild animals but even the smartest of humans doesn’t know shit compared to the average dolphin.

        There’s also “The Ballad of Namu The Killer Whale” which is a jaunty, happy and upbeat song with lyrics that include “Live and let live, let nature be your teacher. Respect the life of your fellow creature” It’s mind-blowing that even whilst we were hunting, netting and capturing these animals, songwriters and TV producers were writing and recording songs that actually gave a moral, ethical view about doing them harm.


      2. That’s amazing. I don’t suppose you remember the other animal themed TV shows for kids from the same era? There was Daktari with Clarence the Cross eyed lion, and Skippy the Bush kangaroo. I saw a wonderful comedy skit on that in the 80’s or 90’s on a TV show called goodness gracious me.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I know and loved “Goodness Gracious Me” but the other two I don’t know. I was born late 77 and think the only animal related kids show I do remember is Black Beauty but I never liked it. Watched it purely to get my horse fix 😂


      4. Oh no I’m lying – The Littlest Hobo. I remember watching that and always feeling really sad because that poor dog just roamed the planet and never had a home 😦


      5. I just read Littlest Hobo was first aired in UK back in 1963 – didn’t realise it was that old. I remember watching it in the 80’s but it was basically a stray German Shepherd that went roaming the world helping people in different situations each week, saving lives and doing all that stuff and then off he went, trotting down the road never going home. Used to really bother me as a kid.


      6. Have they? How weird.

        Will try again but if the links are still broken just search YouTube with the title

        “Flipper 1964 – 1967 Opening and Closing Theme”

        “Tom Glazer – Ballad of Namu The Killer Whale”


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