Flipper


1h 31m 1963
Flipper

Brief Synopsis

A fisherman in the Florida Keys opposes his son's friendship with a dolphin.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
G
Genre
Adventure
Drama
Family
Release Date
Jan 1963
Premiere Information
Miami, Florida, opening: 29 May 1963
Production Company
Ivan Tors Films
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 31m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Metrocolor)

Synopsis

When a plague destroys the fish in the area, Porter Ricks, a Florida Keys fisherman, searches for new grounds but is caught in a hurricane. Leaving behind his wife and 12-year-old son, Sandy, Porter goes to the mainland to have his damaged boat repaired. Sandy had promised to help repair the damage done to their house by the storm but is distracted when he finds an 8-foot wounded dolphin and tows him home. Sandy and his mother nurse the dolphin, which they call "Flipper," back to health in their fishpen, and the boy and Flipper become close friends. Porter returns, however, and orders Flipper to be returned to the ocean, annoyed because Sandy permitted his new friend to keep him from his work. The heartbroken boy releases Flipper, but the dolphin keeps returning and guides Sandy to a new fishing ground. He reports this discovery to his father, omitting any mention of Flipper. One day, while diving in the area, Sandy is attacked by sharks but is rescued by Flipper, who swims to Porter's approaching boat with the lad on his back. Porter, grateful for his son's life, permits Flipper to return to the family's lagoon where he and Sandy can romp and play together.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
G
Genre
Adventure
Drama
Family
Release Date
Jan 1963
Premiere Information
Miami, Florida, opening: 29 May 1963
Production Company
Ivan Tors Films
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 31m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Metrocolor)

Articles

Flipper (1963)


Who knew that Hollywood's most famous dolphin was inspired by a dog? "As I was watching Lassie on television with my kids, I thought, wouldn't it be great to do an animal show similar to Lassie with a boy and a dolphin?" said Ricou Browning, an underwater stuntman, who collaborated with a friend to write the book Flipper. But Browning's attempts to find a publisher were met with rejections, until he contacted television producer Ivan Tors, with whom he had previously worked. The producer, an animal trainer himself, immediately took to Browning's tale, telling him, "Let's make a movie of Flipper, that story of yours," and set Browning to the task of casting their title star. Due to her willingness to swim with humans, "Mitzi" was selected over the other dolphins being considered for the role.

The story of Flipper (1963) involves a young boy who befriends an injured dolphin and forms a special bond with the creature. The boy's father wants the animal returned to the wild, but is convinced of the inter-species friendship when Flipper ends up saving the young lad's life. Chuck Connors was cast in the role of the father; best known as the star of the television series The Rifleman (1958-63), his athletic build provided for a strong, paternal image. It was well earned: Connors was a professional player for three sporting teams in his career, the Brooklyn Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, and Boston Celtics. Child actor Luke Halpin won the role of devoted son, and Flipper remains his sole claim to fame: he starred not only in the original, but also the sequel, Flipper's New Adventure (1964), and the television series that ran from 1964-68. He even had a bit part as "Bounty Fisherman #3" in the 1996 remake starring Elijah Wood and Paul Hogan!

Sometimes the film's action sequences with Flipper look easier than they were to perform: even the seemingly simple act of carrying young Luke on her back proved difficult for Mitzi. Browning used his son, Ricky, to help perfect this stunt. An account from Amazing Animal Actors, by Pauline Bartel, details how the effect was finally achieved: [Browning] picked up his son, ordered Mitzi to fetch, then threw the boy in to the water about four feet from the dock. Mitzi swam to him, grabbed an unbuckled strap on the back of the child's cut off blue jeans, and pulled Ricky until she lost her grip on the strap. Ricky placed his arm over the top of Mitzi's fin and she pushed him to the dock. Browning rewarded her then threw Ricky in again. 'This time she swam to him and she immediately put her fin into his arm where his elbow bends. I yelled to him, 'Grab her fins!' He did, and she immediately pulled him back to me. As far as I know, that's the first time a trained dolphin had ever done that.' Browning said."

Flipper was an immediate hit with families, and what one critic dubbed, "a kind of bubbly variation on Androcles and the Lion." As mentioned it spawned not only a sequel and a television series, but a remake almost thirty years later, as well as an inspired syndicated series starring a young Dark Angel star Jessica Alba in 1996. Many of the dolphins used in the latter productions were recruited from the Miami Seaquarium, causing it to dub itself, "The Home of Flipper." Mitzi herself died at the ripe old age of twenty-two, of a heart attack in 1971. But the legend of the devoted dolphin lives on.

Producer: Ricou Browning, Harry Redmond, Jr., Ivan Tors
Director: James B. Clark
Screenplay: Arthur Weiss, Ricou Browning (story), Jack Cowden (story)
Cinematography: Lamar Boren, Joseph C. Brun
Film Editing: Warren Adams
Music: Henry Vars
Cast: Chuck Connors (Porter Ricks), Luke Halpin (Sandy Ricks), Connie Scott (Kim Parker), Jane Rose (Hettie White), Joe Higgins (Mr. L.C. Parett), Robertson White (Mr. Abrams).
C-91m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. Descriptive Video.

by Eleanor Quin
Flipper (1963)

Flipper (1963)

Who knew that Hollywood's most famous dolphin was inspired by a dog? "As I was watching Lassie on television with my kids, I thought, wouldn't it be great to do an animal show similar to Lassie with a boy and a dolphin?" said Ricou Browning, an underwater stuntman, who collaborated with a friend to write the book Flipper. But Browning's attempts to find a publisher were met with rejections, until he contacted television producer Ivan Tors, with whom he had previously worked. The producer, an animal trainer himself, immediately took to Browning's tale, telling him, "Let's make a movie of Flipper, that story of yours," and set Browning to the task of casting their title star. Due to her willingness to swim with humans, "Mitzi" was selected over the other dolphins being considered for the role. The story of Flipper (1963) involves a young boy who befriends an injured dolphin and forms a special bond with the creature. The boy's father wants the animal returned to the wild, but is convinced of the inter-species friendship when Flipper ends up saving the young lad's life. Chuck Connors was cast in the role of the father; best known as the star of the television series The Rifleman (1958-63), his athletic build provided for a strong, paternal image. It was well earned: Connors was a professional player for three sporting teams in his career, the Brooklyn Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, and Boston Celtics. Child actor Luke Halpin won the role of devoted son, and Flipper remains his sole claim to fame: he starred not only in the original, but also the sequel, Flipper's New Adventure (1964), and the television series that ran from 1964-68. He even had a bit part as "Bounty Fisherman #3" in the 1996 remake starring Elijah Wood and Paul Hogan! Sometimes the film's action sequences with Flipper look easier than they were to perform: even the seemingly simple act of carrying young Luke on her back proved difficult for Mitzi. Browning used his son, Ricky, to help perfect this stunt. An account from Amazing Animal Actors, by Pauline Bartel, details how the effect was finally achieved: [Browning] picked up his son, ordered Mitzi to fetch, then threw the boy in to the water about four feet from the dock. Mitzi swam to him, grabbed an unbuckled strap on the back of the child's cut off blue jeans, and pulled Ricky until she lost her grip on the strap. Ricky placed his arm over the top of Mitzi's fin and she pushed him to the dock. Browning rewarded her then threw Ricky in again. 'This time she swam to him and she immediately put her fin into his arm where his elbow bends. I yelled to him, 'Grab her fins!' He did, and she immediately pulled him back to me. As far as I know, that's the first time a trained dolphin had ever done that.' Browning said." Flipper was an immediate hit with families, and what one critic dubbed, "a kind of bubbly variation on Androcles and the Lion." As mentioned it spawned not only a sequel and a television series, but a remake almost thirty years later, as well as an inspired syndicated series starring a young Dark Angel star Jessica Alba in 1996. Many of the dolphins used in the latter productions were recruited from the Miami Seaquarium, causing it to dub itself, "The Home of Flipper." Mitzi herself died at the ripe old age of twenty-two, of a heart attack in 1971. But the legend of the devoted dolphin lives on. Producer: Ricou Browning, Harry Redmond, Jr., Ivan Tors Director: James B. Clark Screenplay: Arthur Weiss, Ricou Browning (story), Jack Cowden (story) Cinematography: Lamar Boren, Joseph C. Brun Film Editing: Warren Adams Music: Henry Vars Cast: Chuck Connors (Porter Ricks), Luke Halpin (Sandy Ricks), Connie Scott (Kim Parker), Jane Rose (Hettie White), Joe Higgins (Mr. L.C. Parett), Robertson White (Mr. Abrams). C-91m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. Descriptive Video. by Eleanor Quin

Flipper on DVD


Who knew that Hollywood's most famous dolphin was inspired by a dog? "As I was watching Lassie on television with my kids, I thought, wouldn't it be great to do an animal show similar to Lassie with a boy and a dolphin?" said Ricou Browning, an underwater stuntman, who collaborated with a friend to write the book Flipper. But Browning's attempts to find a publisher were met with rejections, until he contacted television producer Ivan Tors, with whom he had previously worked. The producer, an animal trainer himself, immediately took to Browning's tale, telling him, "Let's make a movie of Flipper, that story of yours," and set Browning to the task of casting their title star. Due to her willingness to swim with humans, "Mitzi" was selected over the other dolphins being considered for the role.

The story of Flipper (1963) involves a young boy who befriends an injured dolphin and forms a special bond with the creature. The boy's father wants the animal returned to the wild, but is convinced of the inter-species friendship when Flipper ends up saving the young lad's life. Chuck Connors was cast in the role of the father; best known as the star of the television series The Rifleman (1958-63), his athletic build provided for a strong, paternal image. It was well earned: Connors was a professional player for three sporting teams in his career, the Brooklyn Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, and Boston Celtics. Child actor Luke Halpin won the role of devoted son, and Flipper remains his sole claim to fame: he starred not only in the original, but also the sequel, Flipper's New Adventure (1964), and the television series that ran from 1964-68. He even had a bit part as "Bounty Fisherman #3" in the 1996 remake starring Elijah Wood and Paul Hogan!

Sometimes the film's action sequences with Flipper look easier than they were to perform: even the seemingly simple act of carrying young Luke on her back proved difficult for Mitzi. Browning used his son, Ricky, to help perfect this stunt. An account from Amazing Animal Actors, by Pauline Bartel, details how the effect was finally achieved:

"[Browning] picked up his son, ordered Mitzi to fetch, then threw the boy in to the water about four feet from the dock. Mitzi swam to him, grabbed an unbuckled strap on the back of the child's cut off blue jeans, and pulled Ricky until she lost her grip on the strap. Ricky placed his arm over the top of Mitzi's fin and she pushed him to the dock. Browning rewarded her then threw Ricky in again. `This time she swam to him and she immediately put her fin into his arm where his elbow bends. I yelled to him, 'Grab her fins!' He did, and she immediately pulled him back to me. As far as I know, that's the first time a trained dolphin had ever done that.' Browning said."

Flipper was an immediate hit with families, and what one critic dubbed, "a kind of bubbly variation on Androcles and the Lion." As mentioned it spawned not only a sequel and a television series, but a remake almost thirty years later, as well as an inspired syndicated series starring a young Dark Angel star Jessica Alba in 1996. Many of the dolphins used in the latter productions were recruited from the Miami Seaquarium, causing it to dub itself, "The Home of Flipper." Mitzi herself died at the ripe old age of twenty-two, of a heart attack in 1971. But the legend of the devoted dolphin lives on.

The Warner Video of Flipper boasts a sharp, clear color transfer of the 1963 film and the extras include theatrical trailers for this movie and its sequel, Flipper's New Adventure plus the Tom and Jerry cartoon, Salt Water Tabby.

For more information about Flipper, visit Warner Video. To order Flipper, go to TCM Shopping.

by Eleanor Quin

Flipper on DVD

Who knew that Hollywood's most famous dolphin was inspired by a dog? "As I was watching Lassie on television with my kids, I thought, wouldn't it be great to do an animal show similar to Lassie with a boy and a dolphin?" said Ricou Browning, an underwater stuntman, who collaborated with a friend to write the book Flipper. But Browning's attempts to find a publisher were met with rejections, until he contacted television producer Ivan Tors, with whom he had previously worked. The producer, an animal trainer himself, immediately took to Browning's tale, telling him, "Let's make a movie of Flipper, that story of yours," and set Browning to the task of casting their title star. Due to her willingness to swim with humans, "Mitzi" was selected over the other dolphins being considered for the role. The story of Flipper (1963) involves a young boy who befriends an injured dolphin and forms a special bond with the creature. The boy's father wants the animal returned to the wild, but is convinced of the inter-species friendship when Flipper ends up saving the young lad's life. Chuck Connors was cast in the role of the father; best known as the star of the television series The Rifleman (1958-63), his athletic build provided for a strong, paternal image. It was well earned: Connors was a professional player for three sporting teams in his career, the Brooklyn Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, and Boston Celtics. Child actor Luke Halpin won the role of devoted son, and Flipper remains his sole claim to fame: he starred not only in the original, but also the sequel, Flipper's New Adventure (1964), and the television series that ran from 1964-68. He even had a bit part as "Bounty Fisherman #3" in the 1996 remake starring Elijah Wood and Paul Hogan! Sometimes the film's action sequences with Flipper look easier than they were to perform: even the seemingly simple act of carrying young Luke on her back proved difficult for Mitzi. Browning used his son, Ricky, to help perfect this stunt. An account from Amazing Animal Actors, by Pauline Bartel, details how the effect was finally achieved: "[Browning] picked up his son, ordered Mitzi to fetch, then threw the boy in to the water about four feet from the dock. Mitzi swam to him, grabbed an unbuckled strap on the back of the child's cut off blue jeans, and pulled Ricky until she lost her grip on the strap. Ricky placed his arm over the top of Mitzi's fin and she pushed him to the dock. Browning rewarded her then threw Ricky in again. `This time she swam to him and she immediately put her fin into his arm where his elbow bends. I yelled to him, 'Grab her fins!' He did, and she immediately pulled him back to me. As far as I know, that's the first time a trained dolphin had ever done that.' Browning said." Flipper was an immediate hit with families, and what one critic dubbed, "a kind of bubbly variation on Androcles and the Lion." As mentioned it spawned not only a sequel and a television series, but a remake almost thirty years later, as well as an inspired syndicated series starring a young Dark Angel star Jessica Alba in 1996. Many of the dolphins used in the latter productions were recruited from the Miami Seaquarium, causing it to dub itself, "The Home of Flipper." Mitzi herself died at the ripe old age of twenty-two, of a heart attack in 1971. But the legend of the devoted dolphin lives on. The Warner Video of Flipper boasts a sharp, clear color transfer of the 1963 film and the extras include theatrical trailers for this movie and its sequel, Flipper's New Adventure plus the Tom and Jerry cartoon, Salt Water Tabby. For more information about Flipper, visit Warner Video. To order Flipper, go to TCM Shopping. by Eleanor Quin

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Filmed on location in Florida, the Bahamas, and the Virgin Islands. Producers thank the officials of New Providence Island in the Bahamas, Everglades City, and Miami for their cooperation.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1963

Released in United States 1963