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Case Number 10879

Buy Mutual Of Omaha's Wild Kingdom: The Definitive 50-Episode Collection at Amazon

Mutual Of Omaha's Wild Kingdom: The Definitive 50-Episode Collection

BCI Eclipse // 1963 // 1250 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // February 21st, 2007

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All Rise...

While Judge Brett Cullum sneaks up on the hungry, rabid pride of lions, let's learn how Mutual of Omaha's term life insurance is the King of Term Life...

The Charge

One of the longest running television series of all time!

Opening Statement

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom debuted in January of 1963, and has been in production ever since thanks to a 2000s resurrection by the Animal Planet Cable channel. In 1974 the show attracted over 35 million viewers in syndication as host Marlin Perkins and wild animal enthusiast Jim Fowler explored every facet of animal behavior. It's a show almost everyone grew up with, and after a series of single-disc themed releases we now get Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom—The Definitive 50 Episode Collection. It's hardly "definitive" when you consider there are literally hundreds of episodes, and this is only fifty. But who can complain? Once you see Marlin, Jim, and all the animals on your screen once again you forgive the misleading title.

Facts of the Case

This set includes seven flipper discs with fifty episodes mainly grouped in themes rather than any chronological episode order. The pilot, for example, is not shown until the seventh disc, and the first disc is a three-part focus on Dr. Dian Fossey and her now famous gorillas. Big cats, sharks, polar bears, rare birds, and countless others are featured in episodes culled from the show's original run hosted by Marlin Perkins in the '60s and '70s, along with some from the mid '80s run with Fowler as host and Peter Gros as reporter.

DISC ONE: THE AFRICAN WILD—SIDE A
• Gorillas of the Mountains
• Gorillas of the Mountains II
• Reunion with the Gorillas

DISC ONE: THE AFRICAN WILD—SIDE B
• African Game Catchers
• To Catch a Giraffe
• Hippo
• Memorable Moments in the Wild Kingdom

DISC TWO: WILD CATS—SIDE A
• King of the Beasts
• Lion Country
• Lions Under the Net

DISC TWO: WILD CATS—SIDE B
• Cheetah Country
• Lions of the Gir Forest
• Prowling Night Lions
• Wonderful Ways of the Wild

DISC THREE: DANGEROUS ENCOUNTERS IN THE WILD—SIDE A
• Hammerhead Sharks of the Sea of Cortez
• Sharks of the Blue Waters
• Sunken Ships and Sharks

DISC THREE: DANGEROUS ENCOUNTERS IN THE WILD—SIDE B
• Where the Crocodile is King
• Giants of Dadanawa
• Operation Alligator
• Challenge to Survival

DISC FOUR: MAMMALS OF NORTH AMERICA—SIDE A
• Polar Bears of Churchill
• Problem Bears of the North
• Under the Northern Ice

DISC FOUR: MAMMALS OF NORTH AMERICA—SIDE B
• Land of the Coati-Mundi
• Desert Bighorns of Gypsum Canyon
• Chincoteaque Roundup
• Why Conservation

DISC FIVE: HUNTERS OF THE SKY—SIDE A
• Hunters of the Sky
• Land of the Falcon
• Land of the Condor

DISC FIVE: HUNTERS OF THE SKY—SIDE B
• Miracle of Flight
• Day With the Sandhill Cranes
• Return of the Puffin
• Miracle of Motion

DISC SIX: THE AFRICAN WILD II—SIDE A
• Chimpanzees of Tanzania
• Women in the African Wild
• Motorcycle Roundup
• Strange But True

DISC SIX: NORTH AMERICA II—SIDE B
• Winter Comes to Yellowstone
• Big Horn Sheep
• Wildfire Part 1
• Wildfire Part 2

DISC SEVEN: HUNTERS OF THE SKY II—SIDE A
• Pilot—Defense Mechanisms for Survival
• Strange Ways of the Wild
• Animals That Time Forgot

DISC SEVEN: AUSTRALIA'S AWESOME ANIMALS—SIDE B
• Voyage of the Great Barrier Reef
• Coral Sea Night Drive
• Saltwater Crocs of Australia
• Land of the Giant Dragons

The Evidence

The magic of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom lies in the entertaining way educational lectures are delivered. From day one Marlin and Jim knew how to mix things up with demonstrations to drive home any point they were trying to make. The show evolved, but never deviated from a simple formula that hasn't changed in decades. If you look at Steve Irwin or any show on Animal Planet, you'll see the legacy this series has left which is copied again and again. The best thing about this set is how well it holds up. Kids and adults will still be fascinated, and there's still a ton of great drama and information to make this one a "must see" collection of vintage television.

The set is housed in a beautiful zebra-design-covered cardboard slip cover which houses four slim cases to house the seven discs. Each one allows you to either select only certain episodes, or use a "play all" option for marathon sessions of Wild Kingdom. This a real bargain when you consider you get over 20 hours of some of the best animal footage ever captured, and the gentle geek lectures from Marlin. This is a collector's dream—other than a season by season treatment (which would cost a fortune to produce or collect).

The Rebuttal Witnesses

The disappointing aspect of this Wild Kingdom set is how the episodes look visually dated, and many of the scratches and flaws have not been digitally scrubbed. These haven't been touched in years, and they look the same as when they aired three or four decades ago. Also there are no bonus features at all, which seems a crime given the show's rich history.

Closing Statement

Constantly imitated and never replaced, Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom still holds up decades later. Mutual of Omaha's: Wild Kingdom—The Definitive 50-Episode Collection provides us with a great collection to keep the memories alive for generations. This is classic television on DVD at its best. The only downside is we don't get any extras, and the presentation is just uncleaned-up film elements slapped onto flipper discs. Yet the show is so important, just having it on DVD is a special treat.

The Verdict

Free to go on showcasing the wildest animals and the most serene hosts on television.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 70
Audio: 70
Extras: 0
Acting: 94
Story: 94
Judgment: 92

Perp Profile

Studio: BCI Eclipse
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 1250 Minutes
Release Year: 1963
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Classic
• Documentary
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• None

Accomplices

• IMDb








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