This article has created a flash back to 1965 I think it was when I was called down to Florida to do a screen test to play a recurring role in the television series Flipper for Ivan Tors. To make the trip worthwhile instead of a traditional screen test he gave me a small part in a feature film he was shooting called Around the World Under the Sea starring Lloyd Bridges.
I had an amazing experience during that time as part of my test would be to get into the big tank and swim with the two dolphins that played Flipper whose names were Kathy and Daisy. The “Flipper” television series caused so many of us to fall in love with Dolphins but I have never been much of a water baby and am not a great swimmer at but still I couldn’t miss the chance to do this.
When I met Kathy and Daisy I was wearing a dress over my bathing suit and they stood up on their tails (which I know has a different name) and they sang to me together and I swear every word was clear as a bell ‘HOW DRY I AM! and then they ‘kersplashed” down in the water causing a tidal wave of water from the tank to soak me and swam away cavorting and I am sure laughing at me…they like people wet you see! So off came my dress and into the tank I went. There was a trainer with me floating on his surf board that helped me have a place of safety but I played with them for about an hour, riding on their backs holding on to the dorsal finn…I was at the end of the day covered with bruises because both Kathy and Daisy loved to nudge you a bit with those big noses or bills of theirs..lets remember they can kill a shark this way and probably did not know their strength but sometimes they would just float and let me hug and kiss them…what an experience.
i didn’t get the role on Flipper for what ever reasons they came up with but I remain for a brief bit in the “Around the World Under the Sea” film as a Lab tech who becomes frightened when a rat escapes and I climb up on a desk..pretty stereotypical but none the less memorable for me..I would later write about communicating with animals in all 5 of my pet books including the latest entitled PALEO DOG and would be an advocate for ending animal testing.
Ivan Tors produced the Flipper series along with “Sea Hunt” also starring Lloyd Bridges. Both series were filmed at the well known Florida tourist attractions Miami Seaquarium and Silver Springs and the tank where I swam with Kathy and Daisy must have been located at and part of this place.
And this is the article that Nazim shared with me that prompted this flashback! http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/08/the-dolphin-who-loved-me