DAD: Michael Larson (Frank Converse) / Widower
DAD’S JOB: Dolphin Researcher
KIDS: David (Trey Ames) (16), Katie (Karron Graves) (11)
WHERE’S MOM?: Dead. Tragic auto accident
STAND-IN "MOM": Didge (Ernie Dingo) / Mandatory Aborigine
Oh dear. Flipper-mania. Picture the story conference: "Okay, we want DOLPHINS! And AUSTRALIA! Put in some Aborigines!" So it is written, so it is done.
Dolphin researcher Michael Larson, broken up about the Tragic Auto Accident that killed his wife, does the only thing a TV Single Dad can do to heal his grieving family: move them all to Australia and stick them in a different culture. Gee, son David HATES Australia, and daughter Katie is so brain-bent with grief, she can only talk to her dad’s dolphins. What a fun show. The Yoda-like groundskeeper, Didge, dispenses Pearls of Wisdom to Mr. Larson in every episode. I guess he’d qualify as the foreign-born domestic, even though it’s HIS country. Kinda like Mr. T and Tina.
What kind of hack would pen this melodrama? No less than Mr. Jaws himself – Peter Benchley. Unbelievable. It was put on the barby after 13 episodes.
Last tidbit – if you’re like me, you’re snapping your fingers trying to remember who Frank Converse is. Here’s the key – he was the co-pilot with Claude Akins on Gerald Ford’s favorite show, NBC’s Movin’ On.