Flipper (1995 TV series)

Last updated
Flipper 1995 TV series title card.jpg
Season 1 title card
Starring Brian Wimmer
Colleen Flynn
Payton Haas
Jessica Alba
Whip Hubley
Elizabeth Morehead
Wren T. Brown
Scott Michaelson
Anja Coleby
Gus Mercurio
Tiffany Lamb
Craig Marriott
Laura Donaldson
Darrin Klimek
Skye Patch
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes87 (including one two-part episode) (list of episodes)
Running time43-44 minutes
Production companies Samuel Goldwyn Television
(seasons 1-2)
Roadshow Television
MGM Television
(seasons 3–4)
Coote-Hayes Productions
Distributor Samuel Goldwyn Television
(season 1)
Tribune Entertainment
(season 2)
MGM Domestic Television Distribution
Original networkSyndication (seasons 1–2)
PAX (seasons 3–4)
Audio format Stereo
Original releaseOctober 2, 1995 (1995-10-02) 
July 1, 2000 (2000-07-01)
Preceded by Flipper

Flipper (also known as Flipper – The New Adventures) is an American revival television series of the original 1964 Flipper television series. [1] The first two seasons aired in first-run syndication; Seasons 3 and 4 aired on the PAX network.


The series was set in a town named Bal Harbor that was supposed to be in the Florida Keys region. (There is an actual town in Florida with a similar name, Bal Harbour, Florida just north of the City of Miami Beach.) However, it was largely filmed in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. The show’s first three episodes were filmed in Pigeon Key, Florida and at the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key, Florida, but aired in different time slots during the first season.

The series is unrelated to the 1996 film of the same title which was also a remake of the 1960s TV series and films.


Season 1 opens with the adult Dr. Keith "Bud" Ricks (Brian Wimmer) from the original 1964 Flipper series leading dolphin research at the Bal Harbour Research Institute in the Florida Keys. Dr. Pam Blondell (Colleen Flynn) a naval officer, relocated to the Florida Keys to join Dr. Ricks at the institute to perform dolphin research. Dr. Blondell is accompanied by her son Mike (Payton Haas), a rebellious teen. Mike is unhappy about the move until he meets Maya Graham (Jessica Alba), a free-spirited 14-year-old girl who has a special connection with Flipper and the ocean. On a few occasions, Mike and Maya would get into some trouble forcing a rescue from Flipper, Keith and Pam.

At the beginning of Season 2, Dr. Ricks, Dr. Blondell, and her son Mike are written out of the series by leaving Bal Harbour. Dr. Jennifer Daulton takes over as the institute's director. Maya becomes an intern at the institute, while two new interns, Dean Gregson (Scott Michaelson) and Holly Myers (Anja Coleby), are introduced. Next door to the institute, a new substation for Air Sea Rescue opens, introducing Deputies Tom Hampton (Whip Hubley) and Quinn Garnett (Wren T. Brown). The deputies are responsible for rescuing people in trouble at sea, and perform numerous rescues through the season and even catch crooks and criminals causing harm to the public and environment. Hampton and Dr. Daulton have an on-and-off romance during the season. Edward "Cap" Daulton (Gus Mercurio), Dr. Daulton's estranged father, also moves to Bal Harbour to try and re-establish a relationship with his daughter. Cap is a charter boat captain and owns his own boat, the Maria D, named after his late wife.

In Season 3, Dr. Daulton and Maya are written out of the series by leaving Bal Harbour to perform research in the Red Sea and San Diego. Lt. Alex Parker (Tiffany Lamb), a navy marine, becomes the institute's director, and marries Tom Hampton. Hampton and Parker, along with her two kids, Chris (Craig Marriott) and Jackie (Laura Donaldson), set up housekeeping, and the series begins to focus more on their family. Deputy Mark Delaney (Darrin Klimek) also replaces Garnett as Hampton's partner at the substation. At the marine institute, Holly remains an intern, but Dean leaves. Cap still appears throughout Seasons 3 and 4 but is noticeably absent from many episodes.

In Season 4, Tom's niece Courtney Gordon (Skye Patch), moves in with the Hampton/Parker family after being unhappy living with her mother in Washington D.C. Season 4 is essentially a continuation of Season 3 with no major changes. Most episodes are self-contained and there is very little in the way of serialized storylines between episodes. The series ends on an initially tragic note as Flipper accidentally becomes beached on a sand dune and is unable to free himself. Upon learning what has happened, the entire cast rushes to the scene but arrives too late; Flipper's heart stops as they are trying to save him. The final scene of the series shows Jackie mourning Flipper's loss, then he's shown to be alive and the show ends with them playing in the water and she says "Everything's gonna be just fine".

Cast and characters

Since Flipper was filmed in Australia, producers had to rely heavily on Australian talent. Several regular cast members and most guest stars spoke their dialogue using non-native American accents. During Seasons 3 and 4, Whip Hubley and Gus Mercurio were the only American actors in the main cast. All other main characters were portrayed by Australian actors.

Flipper had many notable guest stars, including Alan Dale, Dwight Schultz, Nicholas Hammond, Jane Badler, Robert Coleby (father of Anja Coleby), and Season Hubley (real life sister of Whip Hubley). In fact, many of these guest stars made more than one appearance, portraying different characters each time. Seasons 3 and 4 regular cast member Darrin Klimek also appeared briefly as a different character in the Season 1 episode "Treasure Hunt".


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
Season premiere Season finale
1 21October 2, 1995 (1995-10-02)May 13, 1996 (1996-05-13)
2 22October 5, 1996 (1996-10-05)May 18, 1997 (1997-05-18)
3 17September 5, 1998 (1998-09-05)February 27, 1999 (1999-02-27)
4 27August 28, 1999 (1999-08-28)July 1, 2000 (2000-07-01)

DVD releases

MGM Home Entertainment released the first season of Flipper—The New Adventures on DVD on June 3, 2010 via Amazon.com's CreateSpace program. [2] This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Amazon.com.

On April 2, 2013, TGG Direct released seasons 2–4 on Region 1 DVD. [3]


The primary setting for Flipper was The Bal Harbor Research Institute, a fictional dolphin research facility funded by the fictional Bal Harbor University.

Between Seasons 1 and 2, The Air Sea Rescue Substation was built next door to the Research Institute when the series began focusing less on ocean and dolphin research based plots. The Air Sea Rescue was located directly on the beach and had access to its own helicopter and hovercraft for rescues. A speedboat was also added in Season 3.

The Shipwreck was a restaurant located between the marine institute and the substation. The restaurant opened in Season 2 and was featured until the end of the series. During Season 1, the Shipwreck's building was the residence of Dr. Keith Ricks.

At the start of Season 3, Tom Hampton married Alex Parker and they moved into a house with Alex's children, Chris and Jackie. The house contained an in-ground swimming pool and large dock.

Filming locations

Initial production on Flipper began in the Florida Keys with the pilot and two other episodes filmed there in Season 1. Three locations were used for the "Bal Harbor Research Institute" including Pigeon Key and the Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key, with a third location used for the beach where Maya first meets Mike. A fourth location, just east of Conch Key adjacent to Overseas Highway 1, was used when Maya meets Keith in a Jeep to inform him Mike is in trouble. This is the same location used in the movie True Lies .

Three different filming locations were used to portray the Research Institute. The pool area of the institute was filmed at Sea World, Gold Coast. The two-story building was notable for being the only set used for the entire run of the series, although it did not appear in every episode. The same set was re-used with little modification for other film and television productions such as Sabrina Down Under . After filming on Flipper wrapped, the building was demolished in order to accommodate Sea World's Imagine Dolphin Show attraction located nearby. Although the area is unrecognizable today, an aerial shot in the Season 1 episode "F. Scott" shows the original configuration of the building at Sea World.

During the first two seasons only, indoor office space for the institute also appears. It is believed that this was filmed on a soundstage at either Sea World or Warner Bros. Movie World.

The exterior façade of the institute's building along the waterfront was filmed in park space abutting the Gold Coast Broadwater located in Southport, Queensland (a suburb of Gold Coast) near Ephraim Island. The Ephraim Island road bridge is visible in many waterfront shots in the latter half of the series. The same location was used for the Air Sea Rescue Substation and The Shipwreck. All three buildings along the beachfront and park space were demolished in the early 2000s to make way for apartment buildings and a small harbour. [4]

The Hampton/Parker family home was filmed at an actual house (now known as McKinnon House) located at 1 Howard St. in the Gold Coast suburb of Runaway Bay. [5] The house was located just south of the research institute, substation, and shipwreck filming locations. The exterior of the house today is relatively unchanged since filming of Flipper wrapped in 2000.

Numerous scenes were filmed in and under the water. Many scenes above water were filmed in the channels and islands of the Gold Coast Broadwater while some diving scenes were filmed in giant water tanks located at Warner Bros. Movie World.

Awards and nominations

Daytime Emmy Awards

International broadcasters

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  2. "Flipper DVD news: Announcement for Flipper - The New Adventures: Season 1 - TVShowsOnDVD.com". www.tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 17 November 2016. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
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