If you're of a certain age you will remember MUTUAL OF OMAHA'S WILD KINGDOM, a television ritual sandwiched somewhere between WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY and the opening credits of THE CBS MYSTERY MOVIE, which is all you got to see of THE CBS MYSTERY MOVIE before you were sent to bed. Sponsored by the Mutual Of Omaha insurance company, WILD KINGDOM in some way hoped to impress you with the wonder and intense danger of nature and thereby convince you to be protected with their insurance, as represented by the genial, benevolent Marlon Perkins. What we actually got out of WILD KINGDOM was something different. For one thing, we got a comic book!


The wonders of the natural world, as presented by WILD KINGDOM, were simply there for white men to screw around with.


"They're a peaceful bunch now, but watch what happens when we screw with 'em!" This is basically the script for every WILD KINGDOM segment ever, a "poke it with a stick" approach to wildlife management shared by 8 year old boys of all ages.


Yeah, it's tough to keep track of that hippo you shot. I know a solution to your problem. DON'T SHOOT THE HIPPO.


Oh no! That hippo we drugged is in danger! Maybe things would be better off if we hadn't interfered with--- no, no, can't even BEGIN to let myself consider the possibility of NOT screwing with nature.


Saved from death by getting trampled, the drugged hippo is now in danger of death by drowning. Thanks Marlon Perkins you are really saving some wildlife here.


Now we come to what we veteran MUTUAL OF OMAHA'S WILD KINGDOM watchers like to call "The Jim Segment". If there's anything dangerous or messy or tough to be done, Marlon steps aside and lets his younger, stronger sidekick Jim do the hard work. Every standup comedian's routine circa 1975 included a Marlon Perkins-Jim routine. "And now Jim will wrestle the giant anaconda in the mud! How's it going there Jim?" "Glurrggg!" "Hurry Jim! Get in there and manhandle that drugged hippo before the other hippos trample you to death! I'll watch!"


There is no "try", moustache man. There is only DO, as in "do unto nature, then split!"


"This could mean trouble." That's what wildlife says when they see Marlon Perkins coming.


But with the help of gunfire, the hippo (which Marlon and Jim endangered) has been saved and will be transported to another pool. Back before the white man came to Africa with jeeps, hippos had to be transported from pool to pool via rude oxen carts. Because they can't, you know, get from place to place on their own! Nature can't get along without Marlon Perkins, the Helicopter Parent of the animal kingdom! He knows what's best for nature!


"Capturing The White King Of The North?" They're finally bringing King Haakon of Norway to justice? No wait, it's Marlon and Jim, spanning the globe in search of animals to bother. No latitude is safe!


So wait, Jim and Marlon just fly in and start blasting away at polar bears. Shouldn't you get a permit or something? Is the Canadian government aware of what these guys are doing? This can't be legal.


Oh yeah, here it comes. Vengeance for the entire animal world delivered by the most dangerous animal alive: the polar bear. This is gonna be great.


Come on, what a fake out. No heads ripped off, no hideous slashing wounds - Jim isn't even crushed by the two thousand pound bulk of the polar bear he shot. Now THAT would have been a great ironic comic book fate!


I only wish that the polar bear could realize that being stared at in the zoo may help her kind to survive! Why don't those stupid animals realize we're trying to help them?! Well I for one will not stop shooting animals with darts and catching them in nets until ALL ANIMALS realize I ONLY HAVE THEIR BEST INTERESTS AT HEART. Someday nature will thank me! Now turn off the TV, it's time for bed.

No, you can't stay up and watch "Mannix." Too violent.
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