Gorilla Cover Spotlight
Dr. Marsh Tracy, known as Daktari to the African locals (a Swahili word for "Doctor"), operates the Wameru Study Center for Animal Behavior with his daughter Paula and assistant Jack. Rounding out this crew is Judy the Chimp and Clarence the cross-eyed lion. The comic is based on the CBS television show that ran from 1966 to 1969. The show itself was a spin-off of the 1965 film "Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion" and was filmed at Africa, U.S.A., a wild-animal park in Soledad Canyon, CA.
The most sensational of the three stories in this issue has to be "Skydiving Chimp" (though I obviously have a bit of bias here!).
The story opens with the arrival of a native boy riding atop an ostrich who appeals to Dr. Tracy to help his sick Ossi. The bird collapses and following thorough inspection, Tracy suspects that a viral infection is the cause of the bird's distress. A quick peek under the microscope confirms the good doctor's theory and he informs the native boy Atinok that he needs to be quarantined at the compound until the vaccine arrives in about a week.
Dell Publishing October 1969
Cover Photo - Marshall Thompson of the television show
The Escaped Elephant
The Deadly Poachers
|That night, Judy the Chimp pays a visit to the penned up ostrich and attempts to comfort the bird during his first evening in a strange place. Unfortunately, Judy's attentions startle the bird, the gate is accidentally opened and Ossi makes a break for it.|
Knocked aside by the charging ostrich, Judy wakes up Clarence to aid her in rounding up the escapee. The pair chases after him but the speeding bird vanishes into the tall grass. Returning to the compound, a guilt-ridden Judy alerts Paula about the now empty cage. As dawn approaches there is no sign of Ossi and Dr. Tracy worries about the other wild ostriches this feathery Typhoid Mary
(uh - Michael, Mickey, Mark, Maurice maybe?) might infect.
In the morning, Atinok has returned to the compound and discovers the Doctor and his assistant Jack preparing their jeep and nets to search for his missing companion. It isn't long before the pair come across the bird (easily identified by the reins Atinok used to ride him) but catching up to the long legged turkey appears impossible (Tracy mentions the bird is capable of hitting 30 mph!) and he breaks into the jungle.
Dr. Tracy concludes that they will have to continue the hunt in the air. Stopping at a local crop dusting outfit, Dr. Tracy enlists the aid of an old R.A.F. fighter pilot "Winger" Thompson (after being warned he has a reputation for being a bit of a wild man in the air!). As the Doctor and Thompson take off in a rickety old biplane, Paula notices that Judy is missing. The stowaway is quickly revealed but with an impending storm the search has to continue. Within minutes Ossi is spotted an "Winger" the wild man starts justifying his reputation, sweeping down perilous close to the ground.
Several attempts to net the bird fail and Judy takes the initiative to redeem herself, leaping from the cockpit, and jumping onto the ostrich as they "buzz" the bird.
The fearless chimp gets Ossi under control, grasping the reins tightly, and meets up with Jack, Paula and a very distraught
Atinok. Judy's trespasses are forgiven as Ossi and all other ostriches are now safe. Paula questions Judy about what was worse - Riding Ossi or flying with "Winger"
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