Sunday, January 6, 1963: 'Wild Kingdom'

The nature show, hosted by Marlin Perkins (left) and Jim Fowler, debuts on NBC. From The Associated Press:

   An old favorite has returned to network television with undiminished charm, it is a pleasure to report. That is Marlin Perkins, the eminent naturalist with his fascinating tales of nature.
   Perkins, now head of the St. Louis Zoo and a bit snowier atop after five years away, still has his way with beasts, birds and reptiles -- calm and gentle.
   In the first program of "Wild Kingdom," the new Sunday afternoon series on NBC, Perkins undertook to demolish some familiar myths. He showed that elephants do not fear mice, although the baby elephant in the demonstration promptly and violently hosed the white mouse off his head in a subsequent illustration of how pachyderms drink. He also conducted experiments demonstrating that vultures see food and don't "smell death"; that cobras follow movements and do not dance to music (they have no ears); and that animals can't foretell weather any better than humans.
   The most interesting portion of the program was Perkins' demolition of the "abominable snowman" myth. He showed pictures and charts suggesting that the mysterious tracks found in the Himalayas are made by a combination of foxprints in the snow and the melting action in the sun, rather than by a large supernatural beast.
   It is a happy, family type program.

Note:  The earlier show referred to in the story was "Zoo Parade," which Perkins hosted in the 1950s.
Note: Perkins was the zoologist on a 1960 Himalayas expedition led by Sir Edmund Hillary. Blog post: @

* "Wild Kingdom" website: @
* YouTube channel: @
* Entry from The Museum of Broadcast Communications: @
* "New Series 'Wild Kingdom' To Explode Animal Myths" (January 6): @ 
* "A Running Start for 'Wild Kingdom' " (United Press International, January 7): @ 

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