The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams debuted 40 years ago today on NBC. Dan Haggerty starred as James Capen Adams, a man wanted dead or alive for a murder he didn’t commit. He fled into the wilderness, rescued a bear cub, built a cabin, and found a new life for himself. Denver Pyle co-starred as Mad Jack, an ornery trader with an equally ornery mule. Mad Jack brought Adams news and supplies. Don Shanks played Nakoma, a Native American who also befriended Adams.
Charles E. Sellier, Jr. wrote a novel called The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams in 1972. Based very loosely on the life of mountain man James “Grizzly” Adams, the novel became a movie in 1974. When NBC aired the movie in 1976, it earned high ratings. The network then ordered a weekly TV series as a mid-season replacement.
NBC aired 13 episodes of The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams between February and May 1977. A second season followed, with 24 episodes airing between September 1977 and May 1978. NBC cancelled the series but aired a special Christmas episode in December 1978. A made-for-TV movie called The Capture of Grizzly Adams wrapped up the saga of Grizzly Adams in February 1982.
I remember watching repeats on FX on Sunday mornings in the mid-to-late 1990s. Both seasons have been released on DVD, as has the follow-up telefilm. Sadly, the episodes on DVD are edited versions and the quality isn’t very good. The original 1974 movie has yet to make it to DVD. It is available on VHS, though.
Recently, I finished watching the first season all the way through. I’ve yet to start the second season. Some of the episodes are more interesting than others. A few have been a slog to sit through. It’s often a slow show, with bursts of action every now and then.
Digital specialty network getTV began airing The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams on Super Bowl Sunday (February 5th). Currently, the show is scheduled to air Sundays from 9-10AM ET.
Do you remember watching The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams during its original NBC run from 1977 to 1978? Or did you stumble upon the show in local syndication? Hit the comments with your memories.
Support Television Obscurities! Buy The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams on DVD from Amazon.com using the following links: The Complete Series | Season 1 | Season 2 | The Capture of Grizzly Adams | Once Upon a Starry Night.