1 9 7 7 – 1 9 7 8 (USA)
37 x 60 minute episodes
Dan Haggerty (not to be confused with Darts nutter Den Hegarty – now *there*would be a series) starred as James ‘Grizzly’ Adams in this American television series about the adventures of a 19th-century farmer forced to flee into the mountains after being falsely accused of murder.
With the help of his friend, Mad Jack (Denver Pyle) and his Native American “blood brother” Nakoma (Don Shanks), Grizzly Adams built a log cabin and lived as a woodsman in perfect harmony with nature.
One day he rescued an abandoned grizzly bear cub that he named Ben, who became his trusty companion and even shared his cabin.
Adams had numerous adventures battling nature and various intruding strangers who passed through the wilderness where he lived.
A frequent visitor to his cabin was the young son of a neighbouring farmer, Robbie Cartman (John Bishop). Robbie enjoyed listening to Grizzly’s tales about life in the wilderness.
The series was based on a 1974 film that also starred Dan Haggerty. Both took full advantage of the fact that Hagerty had been an animal trainer before he became an actor, and his scenes with his costar, Ben the bear, reflected the unusual rapport that can exist between a human and an animal of the wilderness.
There actually was a mountain man named Grizzly Adams who spent most of his life in the undeveloped Sierra Nevada Mountains.
The real Grizzly Adams had toured with PT Barnum’s travelling sideshow.
The real name of the bear who played Ben was Bozo. And 12-year-old Bozo – who weighed 40 stone (560 lbs) – was a she, not a he.
James “Grizzly” Adams