Widower Sheriff Andy and his son Opie live with Andy's Aunt Bee in Mayberry NC. With virtually no crimes to solve, most of Andy's time is spent philosophizing and calming down his cousin Deputy Barney.
Gravel-voiced zoo-keeper Andy Devine (as Branch Hawksbill) tells the heart-warming tale of young Jay North (as Christopher "Chris" Carlyle) and his mountain lion. "Sunshine" is an outside pet, which works out well because young North lives with his mom and dad on a farm. But that's about to change. After his father suffers an unseen mishap, the family must move to the city. North secretly brings the lion along. Sunshine startles the neighbors and must be sent to live at the local zoo. North is devastated. He is allowed in Sunshine's cage and gets the distressed feline to eat. A natural with animals, North gets a summer job as junior zoo keeper. He feels his pet and the other animals are in something like a "jail" and longs to set them free...
"Zebra in the Kitchen" is confusingly titled. You're expecting it to be about a pet zebra. That animal is barely seen. The title is just the first line of song played over the opening credits, written by Hal Hopper (North's uncle and a show business veteran) and sung by The Standells...
North is freshly free of his series "Dennis the Menace". He's got a different shade of hair color and successful sheds many of the TV character's quirky mannerisms. Producer-director Ivan Tors did much better with this fare on TV, with animal and kid adventure shows. So did earnest zoo manager Martin Milner (as Del Hartwood), herein between "Route 66" and "Adam-12". Best of the cameos is seeing Eddie Quillan enjoy watching Laurel and Hardy on TV, in the old film "Hollywood Party" (1934). Mr. Quillan was in that original movie, and his "I've Had My Moments" song and dance upstaged most, if not all, of his co-stars.
***** Zebra in the Kitchen (6/65) Ivan Tors ~ Jay North, Andy Devine, Martin Milner, Jim Davis
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