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Diver Dan!

If I had a dollar for every time these two shows were requested by viewers, I could pay my taxes.

Here is a typical request for Diver Dan:

Do you recall a kids show from the early 60's called Diver Dan? I seem to remember a talking fish in a fish tank that I think had a cigarette in its mouth. Diver Dan! Do you have any information about this show - when it ran, who hosted it, etc.?

Thank you,
- Ben Zitomer
New York City

Diver Dan must have made quite an impression on the young people who grew up watching it. From what I can gather, Diver Dan hung out in the ocean in a clunky old-school diver's rig, talking to the fishes floating by. To give the illusion of being underwater, the show was merely shot through an aquarium! Diver Dan and company were on the other side of the aquarium acting out their scenes, and I'm sure no one was really fooled.

Also seen on these NBC produced syndicated seven minute segments from 1961: Minerva the Mermaid (pictured), and the evil Baron Barracuda with his cigarette smoking sidekick Trigger Fish, beatnick fish Gill-Espi, Scout Fish, and Hermit the Crab (all of the fish characters were puppets).

These short segments would run on local kid shows, and as an entire half-hour show.

"We here in Chicago watched Diver Dan on WGN-TV throughout the '60s, usually with Ray Rayner as host of various morning shows.

Dan's friends included a fish named Finley and Diver's love interest, a mermaid named Minerva.

What I can add is the first verse of the Diver Dan theme song:
Below in the deep there's adventure and danger,
That's where you'll find Diver Dan.
The sites that he sees are exciting and stranger,
Than ever you'll find on the land!"
- A Levy, Chicago


Whirlybirds Love your site! I was wondering if you knew anything about the 50's T.V. show Whirlybirds, starring Kenneth Tobey and Craig Hill. Next to M*A*S*H, also with some dandy helicopters in it, Whirlybirds is one of my favorites.
- Larry Walz

 

Whirlybirds ran from 1957 into the Sixties, it was a syndicated show with a big juvenile audience. 111 episodes were filmed between 1956 - 1959. The show centered around Chuck Martin (Tobey) and Pete (P.T.) Moore (Hill), owners of 'Whirlybirds, Inc', and their faithful secretary Janet Culver (Sandra Spence). Actually, Janet left after the first season and was replaced by Helen Carter (Nancy Hale) so I guess she wasn't so faithful after all. (See what I mean about padding.)

Often the boys would be called in to help the police locate an escaped prisoner, or save some stranded fool out in the middle of nowhere. This would inevitably lead to one of the guys dangling at the end of a rope at some point in the episode. When they didn't just outright jump out of the helicopter. Don't try this at home!

"The National Helicopter Service provided all the helicopters and expertise in all but the first 4 episodes of the show. You can visit our website at www.nationalhelicopter.com for a few photos. We will soon have many more photos from the show on-line."
- Regards, R Hart

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