Flipper (1964–1967)

TV Series  -   -  Adventure | Family
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Ranger Porter Ricks is responsible for the animal and human life in Coral Key Park, Florida. Stories center on his 15-year-old son Sandy and 10-year-old Bud and, especially, on their pet dolphin Flipper.

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Title: Flipper (1964–1967)

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3   2   1  
1967   1966   1965   1964  
2 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete series cast summary:
 Porter Ricks / ... (88 episodes, 1964-1967)
 Dolphin (88 episodes, 1964-1967)
 Sandy Ricks (85 episodes, 1964-1967)
Tommy Norden ...
 Bud Ricks (84 episodes, 1964-1967)


Ranger Porter Ricks is responsible for the animal and human life in Coral Key Park, Florida. Stories center on his 15-year-old son Sandy and 10-year-old Bud and, especially, on their pet dolphin Flipper.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Dive into a world full of wonder with the King of the Sea! (Season One DVD)


Adventure | Family


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

19 September 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flipper le dauphin  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(88 episodes)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Flipper was played by three dolphins named Mitzi, Little Bit, and Mr. Gipper. Mitzi did the close-up shots, but she wasn't very athletic, so Little Bit and Mr. Gipper did the stunt work. All three were trained by Milton Santini, a commercial fisherman who started working with dolphins after accidentally injuring one in a fishing net. See more »


Referenced in The Other Sister (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent blast from the past
15 May 2014 | by See all my reviews

I stumbled on the Flipper TV series on Hulu and it has been a wonderful journey back to a golden age of American television. In a modern world obsessed with violence, sex and with Hollywood now so determined to portray families riddled with problems and with pampered children, Flipper represents a dose of old fashioned values from an era now sadly largely gone. There is no cussing, sexual content or anxiety ridden acting out by children. Porter Ricks comes across as an earnest and conscientious father raising two rambunctious and inquisitive boys all the while keeping various crooks at bay at the Coral Keys Park and protecting and rescuing all manner of visitors to the southern Florida paradise.

The quality of the footage is superb - from the rich color (done in an era when color filming was not yet the norm), excellent clarity and of course the underwater footage which is as good as any you'll see in modern TV or films today. The plot lines are somewhat predictable, even a little corny but a number of episodes feature some excellent even gripping story lines. Yes - Flipper is invested with almost human powers and the dolphin footage gets spliced with lots of re-runs of similar Flipper scenes, but the result is one that carries on the endearing fondness between animal and human that was so richly on display between Luke Halpin and the various dolphins who starred as Flipper in the original two movies. It is interesting to note the insertion of an older pilot of the TV show as episode 3 of Series 1 that was clearly filmed right after the second movie in 1963 when Halpin was only 16 and Norden (playing Bud) was only 10 as both boys seem older when all the other episodes of Season 1 were filmed a year later in 1964 and screened that fall. It provides a neat transition from the 2nd Flipper movie (Flipper's New Adventure) that first featured Brian Kelly as Porter Ricks and enabled the studio to experiment with the mix of Tommy Norden as Bud with Kelly and Halpin.

The family chemistry is most endearing and enjoyable. The boys seem to live an idyllic carefree life mostly in the water where a vast playground of sand, sea, boats and diving is a stone's throw away. The ease in which Sandy and Bud jump into and pilot any available boat and throw on scuba tanks and roam the sea floor is one of the many attractions of the series - indeed Halpin became such an accomplished diver that once his post-Flipper career floundered after the advantage of his late maturation (giving NBC the ability to play an older teen in a mid-teen role) was negated by his eventual adulthood and thus growing out of the Sandy Ricks role, Halpin became a sought after diving consultant to the Florida movie industry for many decades. It's hard to find an actor after all these years who combined a depth of excellent acting talent with down home telegenic good looks AND superb athleticism. It's no wonder Halpin became a popular teen idol to the young teenage girl readers of teen magazines with his mop of blond hair, boyish innocence and lots of scenes featuring his tanned shirtless swimmer's physique.

The Flipper TV shows make for excellent television even 50 years later with new generations of children able to enjoy the fruits of Ricou Browning's excellent direction work. He features a number of famous older actors and some who went on to became household names (Martin Sheen, Burt Reynolds, and Barbara Feldman) in small cameo roles. By filming exclusively in Florida away from the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, it gives the show a sense of believable reality. In our jaded cynical world where children have to grow up too fast (and TV shows are hastening that process), it's great to watch a TV program that shows boys just being simple boys and a father requiring discipline, hard work, responsibility and consequences all against the backdrop of one of nature's most compelling animals playing a pivotal role in all episodes and all filmed in one of America's prettiest locations. There is so much to like about the Flipper TV series in addition to the trip down memory lane.

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