Famous animals from television shows are spotlighted, including “Family Guy,” “The Munsters,” “Miami Vice” and “My Friend Flicka.” Also: interviews with Kelsey Grammer, Melissa Joan Hart, Susan Olsen and Clint Howard.
The iconic ape, King Kong, is profiled. Those interviewed include actors Jeff Bridges, Fay Wray and Jeff Goldblum; directors Peter Jackson and John Landis; and special-effects wizard Ray Harryhausen. Also: Kong-influenced films that followed.
Dinosaurs in pop culture are examined over the years, beginning with sculptures displayed at an 1854 exhibit at London's Crystal Palace. From there, the influence of scientific research on artistic imagery is traced. Among the dino movies recalled through clips and interviews are: “Gertie the Dinosaur” (1912); the original versions of “The Lost World” (1925) and “King Kong” (1933); “Fantasia” (1940); “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms” (1953); “The Valley of Gwangi” (1969); “Jurassic Park” (1993).
Cartoon critters are profiled, from Gertie the Dinosaur in 1914 to Itchy and Scratchy; the social commentary offered by anthropomorphic animals is analyzed. Among those commenting: Mark Hamill, Tom Kenny and June Foray.
A look at “Jaws,” the box-office monster from 1975, includes comments from star Roy Scheider, producer David Brown, screenwriter-actor Carl Gottlieb, production designer/director Joe Alves and shark expert Larry Barnes, who debunks the myths made popular by the film. Also: footage of Bruce the Shark as the animatronic creature malfunctioned, stalling production.
A profile of movie-monster icon Godzilla follows the giant prehistoric reptile since his cinema debut in 1954 and explores the cultural impact of large, radioactive fire-breathing creatures. Included: comments by John Carpenter, George Takei, Hank Azaria and Matthew Broderick.
How donkeys and elephants became symbols for political parties; the history of animals as political symbols. Included: comments from George Stephanopoulos, Lewis Black, Triumph the Insult Dog and Ben Stein.