Duo team to develop projects on Dr. Sue Hart

The daktari is in at Magic Lantern Entertainment, which is partnering with family entertainment shingle Fitz Roy Media to develop features, TV series and straight-to-DVD properties around Dr. Sue Hart’s experiences as South Africa’s first female veterinarian.

Under the “Daktari Park” brand, the companies plan to create computer-animated stories based on Hart’s dealings with wild animals in the African bush. Her work previously inspired the 1965 pic “Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion” and spinoff “Daktari” skein, which aired 1966-69 on CBS.

Like a James Herriot of the African bush, Hart chronicled her experiences in more than a dozen books, addressing young and adult readers alike. Magic Lantern and Fitz Roy optioned Hart’s recently republished 1979 picturebook, “Tales of the Full Moon,” and have already begun work on an interactive website that will feature live-action safari footage.

The companies are also developing features around cartoon housecat Heathcliff and other classic characters, and that could help Magic Lantern fulfill its pact with Universal to deliver 20 family-friendly direct-to-DVD features over the next four years.

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