Sunday, 25 January 2015
73 The Adventures of Dr Dolittle
First watched : 1971
This is one I'd forgotten and a mite uncomfortable to write about since it means giving some credit to one of my least favourite teachers , Mrs Chapman , who read out one of Hugh Lofting's books about the good Doctor in class and I was entranced. I had the "benefit" of the good lady twice , in Infant 1 and Infant 3 ( for a reason it's unfair to people who are still alive to disclose ) and I can't recall in which of them she read the story but it was definitely before this was first broadcast on Thursday 25th September 1971.
I was greatly excited of course but it was a generally disappointing series, made by the DePatie Freleng team behind The Pink Panther Show rather than Hanna-Barbera. It placed Dr Dolittle on a ship with his apprentice Tommy Stubbins, the two-headed llama Pushmi-Pullyu and various other animals including a rock group comprised of grasshoppers who once per episode would break up the flow by performing a psychedelic rock song. Dolittle's ship toured the world on humanitarian missions but was pursued by a crew of pirates led by Sam Scurvy who had vaguely-conceived plans to rule the world once Dolittle told him the secret of conversing with the animals. By summoning animal aid Dolittle always managed to evade his clutches.
The series didn't really please anyone - Lofting himself was well past caring - and hasn't been repeated much. A second animated show The Voyages of Dr Dolittle was made in the eighties by 20th Century Fox but I've never seen that.