Gentle Ben

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Ran from September 10th, 1967 to August 31st, 1969, airing a total of 58 episodes in two seasons.  Starring Dennis Weaver and Clint Howard (Opie’s brother) and oh yeah, a 650 lb. black bear.  The adventures of a Florida Everglades Game Warden.

 

Musician and voice actor Candy Candido provided the voice of Ben.  Dennis Weaver played Mark’s father, Wildlife Officer Tom Wedloe.   Beth Brickell had the role of his mother, Ellen.   Rance Howard, who is Clint’s real life father and the writer of several episodes for the show, played Weaver’s neighbor and friend, Henry Boomhauer.  Weaver’s character often traveled the Everglades via airboat and Jeep, while Howard senior’s Boomhauer drove a swamp buggy.  The series was produced by Ivan Tors, also the creator of Lloyd Bridges’s Sea Hunt.  The series also changed the locale from the book’s Alaska to Florida.
Although the bear character in a subsequent television series, The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, is also named Ben, there is no connection between the bears.

 

 

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