- 08/03/2011, 01:18PM ET
NEW NAME said 08/03, 01:18 PM
Over the years, TV shows featuring the outdoors have evolved into a number of fine programs, and even a whole network devoted to outdoor content
But there once was a time no such programming existed. Back in the days of the Big 3 networks, one show emerged to present hunting, fishing and a wide variety of other outdoor recreations to the American people. It would last 20 years on ABC from 1965-1986
In the words of host Curt Gowdy, it was "the granddaddy of all the outdoor shows"
The show regularly featured famous entertainers and sports figures out in the wild hunting and fishing. Some of the more memorable episodes had William Shatner hunting a black bear with a recurve bow. In another, Terry Bradshaw lost his fishing rod to a fish and dove in after it - To name just 2 of many
And it wasn't just hunting and fishing - climbing, scuba-diving, rafting and kayaking - all sorts of outdoor activities were featured during its long run
The best outdoors-related TV show of all-time, the gold standard by which all other outdoors shows are measured was
The American Sportsman
GL my friend
UnBiasedPerspective said 08/03, 10:42 PM
Very good choice K, but I think there is a program that tops all that. I???m talking about a program that started in 1963 and ran 27 years in original production and then the last 9 years and still going strong in its revival on the Animal Planet. 36 years and counting is impressive for any program, let alone 1 based on the outdoors. But it takes more than ratings and viewers buying sponsors products to make a show great.
How about awards? Well if you count, 41 major awards including 4 EMMYs and a National PTA ???Recommended for Family Viewing??? designation. That???s a very impressive record for an outdoor show. Let???s look at shooting locations and subjects. They visited every continent, every ecosystem ???spanning the globe??? to steal from ABC. And subjects included most marine and land animals, birds, reptiles, fish and sea creatures. All filmed in their natural habitats. Filmed without the graphic violence that would have prevented it from becoming a go to destination for families.
Finally, social responsibility, this was 1 of the first programs to promote conservation of species and habitat.
I give you Mutual of Omaha???s Wild Kingdom! Good luck K, been looking forward to this!
NEW NAME said 08/04, 11:58 AM
Fine choice UBP
However, Wild Kingdom is strictly a wildlife and nature program. While it may be older and more culturally PC (hence more awards) it is only an "Outdoors" program by virtue of the fact that wild animals do not live in houses (or should not, Mike Tyson)
While WK may have helped many appreciate animals, it did nothing for appreciating the outdoors
It was a show for "armchair" naturalists and people who felt guilty they didn't go to the zoo more
WK was good TV, but not good Outdoors TV
AS related to the everyman in us. It transported you to being part of whatever the adventure was that week - Gowdy's narration made you feel the excitement and camaraderie of outdoor recreation, not the flat lifeless monotones of Marlin Perkins as he blatantly tried to sell you life insurance
Wouldn't you like to go pheasant hunting with Tom Seaver? How about taking part in a wild horse roundup with Tanya Tucker?
Go hunting. Go Fishing. Go climb a peak - at the very least go camping once in a while
AS inspired one to get OUTSIDE and DO something - Live Life, not just watch it on TV
AS is the blueprint for every outdoors show we now enjoy
UnBiasedPerspective said 08/04, 08:16 PM
American Sportsman and Wild Kingdom had basically the same formats. Take the viewers to places they hadn't or might not ever go and show them things they hadn't seen. Both required going to an outdoor environment. Your right, wild animals don't live in houses and you don't fish in your bathtub either. And how do you support the argument that a show that has Cheryl Tiegs going on a photo safari to Africa is superior to a show that takes you on a video safari to Africa? Twin sons of different mothers! And Wild Kingdom did more than help viewers appreciate animals, it jump started the conservation movement that helped save some of the places and creatures that you want people to go out and experience.
Yes, Marlon was there to help sell insurance. It funded the show and it was no secret it was Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. But all the hosts actively went out ant taught conservation.
And as far as "armchair", do you really believe that any of the people watching American Sportsman actually got up out of their armchair and went hunting with Tom or on a roundup with Tanya? NOT!
You are right, go out and live life no matter your inspiration and thank WK for helping save it!
NEW NAME said 08/05, 11:08 AM
The Tiegs episode was but ONE episode, which brings up another point why AS is better - VARIETY
Safari with Cheryl Tiegs one week - next week fishing in Alaska - week after that the 1st women's expedition to climb Annapurna
WK was just animals. Something for kids to watch before Disney came on
That's why AS won 6 Emmy's compared to WK's 4 - Similar shows? Perhaps. Except AS was the superior program in every way
AS spoke to the sportsperson in all of us. That's why AS was revived as well, but on ESPN - you know, a SPORTS channel, not an animal documentary channel
And yes, AS did inspire me and countless others to get out and go explore the outdoors. Maybe not fishing for 1000 lbs marlin, but at least get out and go fishing
AS brought the conservation message home to people who love outdoors. While WK wanted us to worry about Africa or the Amazon, AS taught us to protect and preserve the great spaces in our own country, as well as venturing to other countries and their beautiful places
Variety - Emmy's - Sports-based outdoor recreation
AS was simply the best Outdoor show of All-Time
UnBiasedPerspective said 08/05, 05:37 PM
It's obvious that these are the top 2 outdoor shows of all time. What it all boils down to is personal preference. If you like exotic as well as North American wildlife, you will probably pick Wild Kingdom. I you enjoy celebrities and outdoor activities, then American Sportsman is more on your radar. Growing up watching both, my memories are pretty vivid. Sunday evening It was me, mom, dad and my little sister glued to WK. Even my little sister was hooked on it. Not only did we watch, we talked about the program, hosts and wildlife. We all got a kick out of Marlin, off camera describing the predicaments Jim Fowler was getting into.
Although I watched AS, I was usually on my own unless dad happened to be walking thru the den and I pointed something out.
WK must have done something right. All 3 hosts have made multiple visits to the Tonight show with both Johny and Jay, live with Regis and Kelly and the Early Show. They have held executive or board positions on the Explorers Club, Friends of Conservation, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Global Communications for Conservation, Assoc. for Wildlife Educators and Zoological Assoc. of America to name just a few.
Thanks K, enjoyed it!
- Awful Announcing
- Free Darko
- Pro Football Talk
- The Big Lead
- Joe Posnanski
- The Sporting Blog
- Big League Stew
- Bugs and Cranks
- Every day Should Be Saturday
- Mr. Irrelevant
- With Leather
- The Sports Hernia