Don’t be fooled by the attempt to put an ecological spin on this hourlong special: The show has “infomercial” written all over it, as Sea World and Busch Gardens aim for young viewers and tease them with glimpses of park attractions. It’s blatant and boring to boot.
John Forsythe, decked out in a safari vest, guest hosts this Dick Clark production, which looks to emulate the recent string of Disneyland specials that use valuable prime time viewing time as a park marketing tool.
In this case, Sea World, a commercial marine park exhibitor and Busch Gardens , a beer-garden-turned-animal-park, join forces to lure little ones into their various folds.
Unfortunately, not only is it done with little panache, but there’s a number of mixed messages hitting young minds.
The underlying message seems to be to save the animals, but it’s a program full of disinformation. An example when Marilyn McCoo giddily remarks that the only feathers she knows about are the kind that grow out of hats.
Other strange examples include one of the child actors getting to view a number of dead animal parts, including an elephant tusk, hairs from an elephant’s tail and a bird’s wing; and McCoo singing a number of songs including “We’re Having a Baby,” while Sea World park attendants show various newborns that are being bred to fill their multimillion-dollar park exhibits.
It’s a clumsily developed program that is peppered with such makeshift scenes as an interview with one of the Busch family members, who gives an obviously rehearsed and hurried speech to McCoo about the Busch history with Clydesdale horses.
The true stars of the show are the animals that live in these commercial zoos.
To its credit, Sea World has begun a sea-animal rescue and return program in its Florida park, and viewers get to see two harbor seals returned to the wild.
Throughout the program, various kid actors get to go on the rides and look as if they’re having lots of summer fun, which is really the show’s biggest sell, not the “let’s save our world” message that is tacked on.
Show was exec produced by Dick Clark and produced and directed by Gene Weed.