Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color:An Otter in the Family
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When nature lover Roy E. Disney was granted permission to produce one of the hour-long episodes of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color TV series, he came up with An Otter in the Family, which made a splash on this day in 1965. The story tells of a young boy who finds an orphaned baby otter and decides to adopt him into the family, but as the otter grows it wreaks all kinds of havoc, including raiding the neighbor’s chicken coop. If the family in the film seems extremely natural around the otter, there’s a reason. As Roy E. Disney once explained, “What we had was a family that really had a pet otter that lived with them. They were really a nice looking couple, he was a sort of jack-of-all-trades up there… and they had this little 10 year old freckle-faced red-headed kid that was absolutely perfect for the part, and of course knew the animals and was easy with them because he had grown up around them. So we just used this family as the cast.” When wildlife film-makers Philippa Forrester and Charlie Hamilton-James adopted an orphaned otter cub as one of the family, they had no idea of the challenges that lay ahead of them.
Separated from her mother in a flood, the otter cub, 'Grace', would depend on them for everything - their mission was to raise her not as a pet, but as a wild otter, equipped for survival in the wild, so that she could be released when she reached adulthood.