Richard (Ric) O’Barry trained dolphins during the 1960s for the television show, **Flipper.** After serving in the Navy, O’Barry referred to his three years on the television show as his “halcyon days.” When **Flipper** aired on Friday nights at 7:30, O’Barry used to bring the television set to the pier and watch the show with the title character. (Actually, there was 5 actresses who portrayed **Flipper.**).
Upon cancellation of the television series, **Flipper** became a hit in syndication and a big part of the South Florida Culture during the sixties and seventies. During the 1978 football season **Flipper* sat in the end zone of the Miami Dolphins. Every time the team scored a touchdown, Flipper would jump out of tub and flip a football through his personal goal post.
While these could be perceived as fun & games for both the performer and the audience, Ric O’Barry learned otherwise when Kathy, his leading lady on **Flipper,** died in his arms. Having lived in captivity for many years, this social creature developed depression and committed suicide. This was a life changing moment for O’Barry, the former dolphin trainer has devoted the last 38 years of his life to freeing dolphins in captivity.
Ric O’Barry’s latest adventure is documented by **The Cove,** which opens tomorrow. This 93 minute documentary reveals the dolphin abuse created by 13 fishing families in Taiji, Japan. If a female is trainable, then a fisherman can earn $150,000 per mammal to sell to the entertainment industry. The vast majority of the dolphins seen in Sea World probably came from this Cove in Taiji.
**The Cove** is not for children raised on animated fare like **Finding Nemo,** however this is must-see viewing for young adults developing a social conscientiousness. The callous behavior of the fishermen in crimson waters is an unforgettable vivid image.
Yet, **The Cove** is a very approachable documentary. There is much humor drawn from character development and eye witnesses. The production techniques used to tell the story is worthy equipment that is probably used by the CIA and the FBI. Unlike most whiney documentaries that wave an accusatory finger, **The Cove** appeals to one’s nobler instinct. If called to action in defense of these noble beasties; take the time to visit the website; http://www.savejapandolphins.org/