Tuesday, August 1, 2017


From Wikipedia:
"The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams" is a 1974 independent feature film inspired by a 1972 historical fiction novella written by Charles E. Sellier Jr.. The film's popularity led to an NBC television series of the same name. The title character, played by Dan Haggerty, was loosely based on California mountain man James "Grizzly" Adams (1812-1860), whose real name was John Capen Adams, a one-time Boston shoe and boot maker.
The film and TV series portrayed the fictional Grizzly Adams as a frontier woodsman who fled into the mountains after he was wrongly accused of murder. While struggling to survive, Adams saves an orphaned grizzly bear cub he adopts and names Ben. The bear, while growing to its huge adult size, becomes Adams' closest companion. Consistently kind and gentle, Adams discovers and demonstrates an uncanny ability to gain the trust of most of the indigenous wildlife of the region, and he helps, sometimes rescues, takes in and tames many species. Originally a hunter, with his learned affection for wildlife Adams resolves never to harm another animal whenever possible. In the television series, Adams had two human friends, an old mountain man trader named "Mad Jack" played by Denver Pyle who was often featured with his mule ("Number Seven"), and a Native American by the name of "Nakoma" played by Don Shanks. Adams, Mad Jack, and Nakoma helped myriad mountain visitors while protecting wildlife at the same time.

NBC aired the series finale on February 21, 1982 by way of a two-hour TV movie called "The Capture of Grizzly Adams" where a bounty hunter used Adams' daughter, who was not seen or mentioned since the 1974 film, in a kidnap-extortion ploy to lure the fugitive mountain man back to civilization. In the end Adams proves his innocence.

There were other portrayals of Grizzly Adams in the greater TV Universe but they are all relegated to other TV dimensions, including the Tooniverse (as seen above).  Dan Haggarty, though he is gone now, will always be the Grizzly Adams of the main Toobworld.

The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams (1974) 
Played by Dan Haggerty (as James Capen Adams)

"The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams" 
37 episodes

Once Upon a Starry Night (1978) 

Legend of the Wild (1981) 

The Capture of Grizzly Adams (1982)

That first entry on the list, although it was made as a theatrical film and can be found in the Cineverse, has been absorbed into the world Earth Prime-Time.  As far as I can see, there were no recastaway situations to deal with.

And so for our month showcasing the TV Western, we honor the memory of Dan Haggerty by inducting this historical mountain man into the Crossover Hall of Fame.

And because you really can't think of one without the other, Ben the Bear will be joining Adams in the Hall.  (It is Two For Tuesday after all.)  He's not the first animal who's been inducted, and he won't be the last.

Here's to you, Sir.....

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