Behind the Dolphin Smile: One Man's Campaign to Protect the World's Dolphinsby Richard O'Barry, Keith Coulbourn
Behind the Dolphin Smile chronicles Richard O’Barry’s extraordinary journey from dolphin trainer to world-renowned advocate for dolphin freedom. In his early years, O’Barry trained dolphins to entertain audiences for shows at aquatic theme parks and for roles in movies and television shows, most notably Flipper. His career as a/i>/i>
Behind the Dolphin Smile chronicles Richard O’Barry’s extraordinary journey from dolphin trainer to world-renowned advocate for dolphin freedom. In his early years, O’Barry trained dolphins to entertain audiences for shows at aquatic theme parks and for roles in movies and television shows, most notably Flipper. His career as a trainer came to an abrupt halt when one of the dolphins that played Flipper on television died of stress in his arms. At that moment, he realized that keeping dolphins in captivity and teaching them to do tricks was cruel and morally wrong. He began to understand that dolphins were easy to train not because of his gifts as a trainer, but because they are remarkably intelligent, and he vowed not to rest until he freed every last one of them.
O’Barry’s first arrest in the 1970s for trying to free a caged dolphin in the Bahamas eventually led to his starring role in the 2010 Academy Award®winning documentary The Cove, which exposed to the world Japan’s horrific annual dolphin slaughter. Included in this new edition is a preface on O’Barry’s role in this riveting documentary, which has garnered more awards than any other in its genre, as well as information on his campaigns to stop the slaughter of dolphins.
Share and rejoice in O’Barry’s adventures, from Flipper to The Cove, and discover how the one-time pride of the billion-dollar captivity industry became the tireless dolphin advocate we know and love today.
- Palace Publishing Group, LP
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- 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Meet the Author
Richard O’Barry, founder of the Dolphin Project Inc. and director of Earth Island Institute’s Save Japan Dolphins campaign, is a world-renowned advocate for dolphin freedom. He starred in the Academy Awarding®–winning documentary The Cove and in his son Lincoln O’Barry’s television series, Blood Dolphins, on Animal Planet and Planet Green. He lives in South Miami, Florida.
Keith Coulbourn is a mystery writer and former newspaper journalist. He lives in Miami, Florida.
Susan Casey is the author of The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean, and The Devil’s Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks. She lives in New York City and Maui.
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Book Review: "Behind the Dolphin Smile" by Richard O’Barry with Keith Colbourn (2012 Earth Aware Editions, US, 285 pp) By Mark J. Palmer Associate Director International Marine Mammal Project Earth Island Institute Berkeley, CA Richard (Ric) O’Barry has issued a new edition of his 1988 book "Behind the Dolphin Smile", an autobiography of how he started as a dolphin trainer, including training the dolphins used in the hit 1960’s television show "Flipper", and became the world’s best known activist for dolphin protection and freedom from captivity. (Full disclosure: I am an employee of Earth Island Institute and work with Ric O’Barry on dolphin protection issues. I also helped edit this new edition of "Behind the Dolphin Smile".) This edition includes a new Forward by adventure writer Susan Casey, author of "The Wave" and "The Devil’s Teeth", and editor of Oprah Winfrey’s "O Magazine". O’Barry has also added a new Preface about the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove", which stars O’Barry, and his campaign to end the largest slaughter of dolphins in the world in Japan. "Behind the Dolphin Smile" is well written with O’Barry’s straightforward and very personal style, as if you were having a conversation with him over beers. And his life has been quite a roller-coaster ride. While still in the Navy, O’Barry went on leave one day to the Miami Seaquarium, where he decided he wanted to “be the guy feeding the fish” in the large tank. And that is what he did, using his Navy training in diving in good stead at the Seaquarium for many years. He participated in capturing the five female dolphins that were to play the part of Flipper in the television show, following two hit movies. O’Barry became the trainer for the various Flippers during the five-year run of the show, including his favorite, Kathy. After the show’s end, Kathy wound up back in a tank, and, as O’Barry movingly describes, she died in his arms, committing suicide by refusing to breath anymore. This incident resulted in O’Barry flying to the Bahamas island of Bimini to try to free a dolphin there. It did not work; he wound up sitting in the middle of the sea pen in his boat with the captive dolphin refusing to leave. He was arrested, which began a long history of his campaigning against keeping dolphins in captivity. Captivity, O’Barry tells us, robs dolphins of the two most important things in their lives: Their extended families and their use of sonar, with concrete tank walls bouncing off echoes, rendering their sonar ineffective. Among his many adventures, O’Barry relates efforts to rehabilitate and release captive dolphins back into the wild and his often Don Quixote-like protests against the keeping of dolphins in captivity. The aquarium industry that spawned him, of course, now sees him as a major antagonist, for good reason. O’Barry would shut down dolphin and orca “shows”, rehabbing and releasing captives back into their ocean homes if possible, or retiring them to sea pens, where they can live out their lives in quiet and experience the ocean in real seawater, instead of doing dumb tricks. As O’Barry says in "The Cove", he spent his first ten years of his life building up the dolphin captivity industry, and he has spent his last 40 years trying to tear it down. "Behind the Dolphin Smile" is both very funny and very poignant. It is the story of one remarkable man who is, in his own words, “a dolphin guy.” I think you will enjoy reading about this dolphin guy and his love for marine mammals. You will think twice about buying a ticket to a dolphin show.