|Index||3 reviews in total|
"Bring 'Em Back Alive" was one of two television attempts to cash in on
the success of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, in 1982 ("Tales of the Gold
Monkey" was the other), and it was a marvelous escapist adventure that,
sadly, only ran a single season. Based, VERY loosely, on the character
of real-life hunter/impresario Frank Buck, who enthralled movie
audiences in documentary expeditions to capture big game for zoos in
the forties, the stocky, middle-aged hunter was transformed into lean,
swashbuckling Bruce Boxleitner (complete with a pencil-thin mustache),
headquartered in his own private game preserve outside Singapore, in
the late 1930s.
The 'Singapore' of the series was no more intended to represent the actual prewar city than CASABLANCA was intended as an accurate representation of the Moroccan city, a fact that some critics have chosen to ignore. Many Asian ports gave Hollywood filmmakers exotic, mysterious locales in which they could introduce shady, multinational characters and stories heavy on intrigue and 'atmosphere'. This was a Singapore of fantasy, a place where a hero straight out of paperbacks and movie serials would feel right at home.
Not that Buck was looking for adventure, in the series. He was content in his life of protecting wildlife, aided by his trusty right-hand man, Ali (the always entertaining Clyde Kusatsu). But his legendary reputation, in a key world trouble spot, made him the logical choice for the U.S. Government to turn to for dangerous assignments. Represented by agent Gloria Marlowe (the breathtakingly beautiful Cindy Morgan, who'd co-starred with Boxleitner in the Disney cult classic, TRON), Buck would be recruited, reluctantly, into missions that only his special skills could accomplish, much to the amusement of fellow adventurer/competitor H.H., the Sultan Of Johore (Ron O'Neal).
Bruce Boxleitner was fabulous as Frank Buck, swaggering and charismatic, obviously enjoying himself, and he was more fun as the adventurer than in his later, more 'traditional' heroic roles in "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" and "Babylon 5". His chemistry with Morgan was reminiscent of Cary Grant and Jean Arthur in ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS; edgy, but with an underlying romantic current always present. Add to this the series' wonderful production values, some fairly decent scripts, and, best of all, a truly magnificent, trumpet-punctuated theme and musical score by Arthur B. Rubinstein, who would also score "Scarecrow and Mrs. King", and you had first-class entertainment!
What a loss it was, that television audiences didn't 'discover' it!
I was only young when the series was shown, but I have fond memories of watching it with my dad and sister, and thinking how exciting it all was. If only TV shows today were like it, the world would be a better place.
I didn`t realise it untill a few minutes ago that Frank Buck was a real life big game hunter . However I don`t believe for a moment that the real life Frank Buck would have recognised himself in this dismal American show that owes more to 1930s cliffhanger serials than it does to real life events . Every week Frank Buck ...sorry " Frank Buck " gets involved in spy rings , smuggling operations and all other types of adventures in Singapore in the late 1930s , and this is the major problem I had with the show - During the time BRING`EM BACK ALIVE is set in it would have been swarming with British servicemen guarding the colony of Malaya against the upcoming Japanese threat . And in every episode we see many servicemen in the background but the thing is they`re always American servicemen ! I don`t ever recall seeing a British serviceman during the entire run of the show . What an arrogant piece of nonsense , it`s as if the makers are saying " If it wasn`t for us Malaya would be speaking Japanese "
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