Flipper (1963)

90 mins | Adventure | 29 May 1963

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HISTORY

According to Hedda Hopper’s 5 Sep 1962 LAT column, producer Ivan Tors was inspired to make the film following a conversation he and the reporter had about dolphins. Tors was in the process of finding a twelve-year-old male swimmer with acting ability to star in the picture. Professor John C. Lilly, an expert on dolphins, was consulted for technical advice. The 21 Jun 1962 DV noted that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., agreed to release the film as part of its “option deal” with Tors.
       The 5 Sep 1962 DV identified the Florida Keys, the Bahama Islands, and the Virgin Islands as likely locations. As stated in the 24 Oct 1962 issue, actor Chuck Connors made four episodes of his television series, The Rifleman (ABC, 30 Sep 1958—8 Apr 1963), over a three-week period to ensure his availability for the picture. Also joining the cast was Mary Fickett, according to the 1 Nov 1962 DV. The 14 Nov 1962 Var reported that child actress Connie Scott had already arrived on location at an unidentified island in Caribbean Sea. The 14 Dec 1962 DV noted the 4 Dec 1962 start of production in the Bahamas.
       The 26 Mar 1963 and 2 Apr 1963 issues of DV announced a preview screening at that year’s PATSY Awards ceremony on 20 Apr 1963. Approximately 1,000 disabled children were expected to attend. The event, held at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles, CA, was hosted by Chuck Connors, and sponsored by “the Community Chest for under-privileged children.” ...

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According to Hedda Hopper’s 5 Sep 1962 LAT column, producer Ivan Tors was inspired to make the film following a conversation he and the reporter had about dolphins. Tors was in the process of finding a twelve-year-old male swimmer with acting ability to star in the picture. Professor John C. Lilly, an expert on dolphins, was consulted for technical advice. The 21 Jun 1962 DV noted that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., agreed to release the film as part of its “option deal” with Tors.
       The 5 Sep 1962 DV identified the Florida Keys, the Bahama Islands, and the Virgin Islands as likely locations. As stated in the 24 Oct 1962 issue, actor Chuck Connors made four episodes of his television series, The Rifleman (ABC, 30 Sep 1958—8 Apr 1963), over a three-week period to ensure his availability for the picture. Also joining the cast was Mary Fickett, according to the 1 Nov 1962 DV. The 14 Nov 1962 Var reported that child actress Connie Scott had already arrived on location at an unidentified island in Caribbean Sea. The 14 Dec 1962 DV noted the 4 Dec 1962 start of production in the Bahamas.
       The 26 Mar 1963 and 2 Apr 1963 issues of DV announced a preview screening at that year’s PATSY Awards ceremony on 20 Apr 1963. Approximately 1,000 disabled children were expected to attend. The event, held at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles, CA, was hosted by Chuck Connors, and sponsored by “the Community Chest for under-privileged children.”
       Flipper opened 7 Aug 1963 in Los Angeles, CA, and 18 Sep 1963 in New York City. Reviews were generally positive, although the 30 Apr 1963 DV noted that adults familiar with performing dolphins would likely be bored with the film.
       On 28 Jun 1963, DV reported that the picture had already recovered its $500,000 production budget. The 22 Aug 1963 issue anticipated profits of $3 million. As of 8 Jan 1964, the film had earned $2.5 million in rentals, according to that day’s Var.
       The 10 Apr 1963 LAT noted that Tors had requested “two pilot whales” from the Marineland aquatic park in San Diego, CA, for a sequel, Flipper’s New Adventure (1964, see entry). The films also spawned the television series, Flipper (NBC, 19 Sep 1964—15 Apr 1967).
       Screen credits include thanks to the officials of New Providence Island in the Bahamas, Everglades City, and Miami for their cooperation.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
21 Jun 1962
p. 2
Daily Variety
5 Sep 1962
p. 3
Daily Variety
24 Oct 1962
p. 8
Daily Variety
1 Nov 1962
p. 3
Daily Variety
14 Dec 1962
p. 6
Daily Variety
26 Mar 1963
p. 15
Daily Variety
2 Apr 1963
p. 4
Daily Variety
30 Apr 1963
p. 3
Daily Variety
28 Jun 1963
p. 2
Daily Variety
16 Jul 1963
p. 2
Daily Variety
22 Aug 1963
p. 2
Los Angeles Times
5 Sep 1962
Section C, p. 9
Los Angeles Times
10 Apr 1963
Section C, p. 15
Los Angeles Times
6 Aug 1963
Section D, p. 8
Los Angeles Times
9 Aug 1963
Section D, p. 11
New York Times
15 Sep 1963
p. 133
New York Times
19 Sep 1963
p. 23
Variety
14 Nov 1962
p. 38
Variety
8 Jan 1964
p. 69, 71
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
Harry Redmond Jr.
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus comp & cond
SOUND
Sd rec
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Asst to the prod
Asst to the prod
Scientific adv
Mitzi's owners & trainers
Mitzi's owners & trainers
SOURCES
SONGS
"Flipper," music and lyrics by "By" Dunham and Henry Vars.
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
29 May 1963
Premiere Information:
Miami, Florida, opening: 29 May 1963; Los Angeles opening: 7 Aug 1963; New York opening: 18 Sep 1963
Production Date:
began 4 Dec 1962
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Ivan Tors Films
19 March 1963
LP24116
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Color
Metrocolor
Duration(in mins):
90
Country:
United States
Language:
English
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 ...

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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.

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GENRE
Genre:


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.