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Willard Price books

Discussion in 'TV, Movies, Books about Zoos & Wildlife' started by OrangePerson, 9 Apr 2012.

  1. OrangePerson

    OrangePerson Well-Known Member

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    I loved these books as a child. Hal and Roger travelled the world, they were portrayed as the goodies because they were collecting the animals alive for zoos not hunting to kill!!! Somewhat dated now but they gave me an appreciation of gorillas as being not king-kong-type monsters and I vividly remember you can murder someone (or make them v ill) by cutting up an animal's whiskers (big cat I think) and putting it in their food, it would pierce their gut!

    I see from googling that they were commissioning a new book, based on the original protagonists' kids and an Amur leopard adventure!
     
  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    they were leopard whiskers cut up and put in food. I think that may have been from "Lion Adventure".

    I loved the Willard Price books! They were silly and he had a greatly-inflated idea of what tranquiliser darts could do (!) but what fun. And Hal was always punching the villains in the solar plexus! Even then though I was a right little swot and frowned intensely upon the inclusion of king cobras and orangutans in "South Sea Adventure" (New Guinea) [actually it was "Cannibal Adventure; thanks kiang] and the white tigers living above the snow-line (that's why they're white!) in "Tiger Adventure".

    The only one of the books I didn't care for was "Whale Adventure".
     
    Last edited: 10 Apr 2012
  3. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Arctic adventure and tiger adventure were my favourites a huge part of my childhood, never read whale adventure.
    Wasn't the New Guinea based book called cannibal adventure?
     
  4. karoocheetah

    karoocheetah Well-Known Member

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    Yep you have another fan right here! :D

    Love the whole series, read them over and over again - South Sea Island Adventure sticks in my mind as one of my Favorites, but I really did devour them avidly!

    Progressed onto the Gerrald Durrell Books and more textual books from a Willard Price springboard.

    The last time I saw them on the shelf in the bookshop was a few years ago when my local Borders store was closing - I admit to getting all misty eyed and whistful - but they had updated the covers :eek:
     
  5. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    It was to my recollection.

    Another fan here, I loved them as a child and worked hard searching the local library, "bring and buy sales" and book stores until I'd managed to read them all (in totally the wrong order). Each new "find" was exciting for me.

    The things I remember most were the punches to the solar plexus:) and the way they seemed to continuously stumble accross amazingly rare animals (including a white Gorilla if my memories correct, though not sue if this was pre-Snowball). I also remember the Leopard whisker murder method.

    I remember Whale Adventure for what it taught me about the contrast between old-style whaling (complete with Captain Bligh type figure) and the more apalling modern (at the time) factory ship methods.
     
  6. DesertRhino150

    DesertRhino150 Well-Known Member

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    I used to be given these books all the time on my birthday. Absolutely love them! :D

    I currently have Amazon, Tiger, African, Safari, Arctic, South Seas, Volcano, Gorilla, Underwater and Elephant, although I have never got round to reading the Volcano one. They were (and probably still are) great fun to read, even with the zoogeographical inaccuracies (tigers, Bactian camels and red pandas in the Gir Forest, anyone?)

    In fact, I think I might have to dig them out and read them all again at some point soon.
     
  7. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    Hm, I know at least two equivalent series which were my favorites in childhood. Although they were rather better researched.
     
  8. karoocheetah

    karoocheetah Well-Known Member

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    Had to have a google!! - I didn't realise Willard was so old when he was writing them - he was born in the 1883 :eek: so he didn't start this series until his 60's

    anyway a list is always good..

    Amazon Adventure (1949)
    South Sea Adventure (1952)
    Underwater Adventure (1954)
    Volcano Adventure (1956)
    Whale Adventure (1960)
    African Adventure (1963)
    Elephant Adventure (1964)
    Safari Adventure (1966)
    Lion Adventure (1967)
    Gorilla Adventure (1969)
    Diving Adventure (1970)
    Cannibal Adventure (1972)
    Tiger Adventure (1979)
    Arctic Adventure (1980)

    attached images of the old and new style covers - the lion one is exactly the covers I had.
    But...

    Shock horror - they are being revised and updated - with a new adventure being due - see new Leopard cover and the blurb from Amazon says:

    Product Description
    Adventure, animals and action in the first authorized Willard Price book by award-winning author Anthony McGowan, for 8+ readers.
    Deep in the remote forests of Siberia, a mother Amur leopard, one of the rarest big cats in the world, senses danger. Something faster than any human and deadlier than any tiger.
    Meanwhile Amazon Hunt, aged twelve, is recruited from England by Tracks in America, ready to take off at a moment's notice to rescue wild animals under threat - no matter how great the danger.
    Now Amazon and her thirteen-year-old cousin Frazer must brave the Russian wilderness to save the Amur leopard, before a blazing forest fire wipes out the race - for good . . .

    Anthony McGowan is a multi-award-winning author of books for adults, teenagers and younger children. He has a life-long obsession with the natural world, and has travelled widely to study and observe it. He has also written feature articles and travel journalism for The Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard and Mail on Sunday.


    What happened to Hal & Roger?
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: 9 Apr 2012
  9. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    The first I read was in our school library, Gorilla Adventure - always thought Gog was a great name for a gorilla - and not long after I bought Diving Adventure in paperback form, one of the first books I ever bought at age ten. I suspect I still have it, in a box in storage somewhere.

    I also remember Hal punching people in the solar plexus, often followed by an uppercut. And when he was unsure of something zoological, he always "looked in his manual".

    Despite the fanciful nature of the stories, I read about a lot of species I had never heard of before (like Pygmy Marmosets, Green Mambas and Honey Badgers). Next year I'm hoping to see Mountain Gorillas in Uganda and I'm planning on making a sidetrip to the R'wenzori Mountains - the Mountains of the Moon.

    I was also looking for the books in my local Borders last year, I thought it would be fun to read them all again, but there didn't seem to be any available at the time (so I bought the Tintin series instead).

    :p

    Hix
     
  10. karoocheetah

    karoocheetah Well-Known Member

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    Cool - I'm a Tintn & Asterix fan too - I've been collecting Asterix books in the different languages they are printed in for a while now - it's a great way to learn another language - if you want wild boar, magic potion and hitting Romans in your vocabulary :D
     
  11. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    yes you are quite right, "Cannibal Adventure" was the New Guinea one, my mistake.

    I don't remember Hal's manual. I never owned any of the books, they were all from the library...I now feel I must find seek them out and re-acquaint myself with them!

    I'm planning on a Uganda trip as well, but not for another three or four years (its running up into a three/four month trip with what I want to do there); my itinerary will also be including the Mountains Of The Moon -- it's somewhere I've always wanted to visit ever since first reading about it in Willard Price books!!)
     
  12. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't remember a white gorilla in the Willard Price series, but there was a book called "Gorilla Gold" by Major J.T. Gorman (from the 1930s but I think my copy is probably an older reprint from the 60s), which featured a white gorilla. I have a copy of this amongst my boxes but I've been trying to remember the name all day. The most memorable part for me was when the heroes' plane was attacked by a giant pterodactyl (because they live in Africa) which the author likened in appearance to a plesiosaur!!
    GORILLA GOLD Major J.T.Gorman 1930s Super Jacket! | eBay


    I'd forgotten about "Volcano Adventure". I didn't like that one either. As I recall, it didn't really have anything at all to do with animals did it? Stupid volcanoes.
     
  13. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    correcting myself again, the leopard whiskers in the food was in "African Adventure". Yesterday I went to the local second-hand bookshop (there's only one in Hokitika) and found a copy of this one. Sure enough, Hal looked in his manual at one point, and punched someone in the solar plexus at another. Good times.

    The book really has held up to what I remember, unlike some books which you recall fondly but when you read them again as an adult aren't quite the same. I'm going to keep a look out for more volumes now.
     
  14. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad to read that Willard Price was so much a part of everyone's childhood.I loved them all, and read them voraciously. One of my greatest joys of parenthood has been buying a set of all of them, and reading them aloud to my son. They are, frankly, dreadful: the animal information is often dodgy, the portrayal of "the natives" is patronising at best, and the methods supposedly used to catch animals are laughable. But nonetheless they are brilliant!
     
  15. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I wasn't sure if I should post this, but I have in my posession a script for a movie version of this book which answers this question. An excerpt follows:

    TRACKS executive director Felix Saver addressing a room full of cat specialists:
    "I have gathered you all here today to give the grave news that the Amur leopard is about to become extinct in the wild due to a huge wildfire"

    (Outraged murmuring)

    IUCN advisor Arizona Docent:
    "What can we do to avert this tragedy?"

    Felix Saver:
    "There's only one thing we can do. Put them in a zoo!"
    (sotto voce)
    "My zoo!"
    (normal voice)
    "Fortunately we have just the right expert animal-collector to make this happen. And here she is..."

    Arizona Docent:
    "Where? Behind the twelve-year-old girl?"

    Felix Saver:
    "Er, no, she is our expert"

    Arizona Docent:
    "What the...!? You know, I can give you the names of a dozen better qualified people just off the top of my head! And none of them are Dora the Explorer."

    Felix Saver:
    "No, no, its all right. She has a manual. And she got an A+ in biology last week at school."

    Arizona Docent:
    "You do know that Russia has some of the highest paedophilia crime rates in the world right? And would an unaccompanied minor even be granted a Russian visa? At least tell me her parents are going with her."

    Felix Saver:
    "Hal and Helen Hunt? No, they were murdered."

    Arizona Docent:
    "Oh my God!"

    Felix Saver:
    "Yes. Leopard whiskers."

    Arizona Docent:
    "Ah. Well does she have any relatives?"

    Felix Saver:
    "An uncle, Roger, but he's in jail."

    Arizona Docent:
    "Oh my God!"

    Felix Saver:
    "Yes. Leopard whiskers."

    Arizona Docent:
    "Oh I see. Um....so what's your name little girl?"

    Amazon Hunt:
    "Amazon."

    Arizona Docent:
    "Seriously?"

    Amazon Hunt:
    "Yes, Arizona, Amazon Hunt."

    Arizona Docent:
    "That sounds like the name of a Bond girl!"

    Amazon Hunt:
    "I was named by my father after his favourite river."

    Arizona Docent:
    "Just as well he didn't really like the Brahmaputra I guess. What's your cousin's name? Niles? Lol"

    Amazon Hunt:
    "Frazer"

    Arizona Docent:
    "Riiiight"
     
  16. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Very amusing chli, but save the Amur leopard????, if i remember correctly they only ever brought back 1 of everything!
     
  17. OrangePerson

    OrangePerson Well-Known Member

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    Hollywood heavies are beating a path to Hokitika and they're lawyered up!
     
  18. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    if even one person found it amusing then it was worth posting ;)

    The Hunts didn't always bring back just one of each species though. In "African Adventure" which I just re-read they actually caught two or more of quite a few of the animals, and there was passing mention of many smaller animals (honey badgers, pelicans, etc) caught "in their spare time"; for example they needed two baboons which had been ordered by a travelling circus and two giraffes for the Rio Zoo. And the blurb for the new book specifically says the kids need to "save the Amur leopard, before a blazing forest fire wipes out the race - for good". Personally I don't think the Russian government would look too kindly on two children coming over and capturing all their leopards!
     
  19. OrangePerson

    OrangePerson Well-Known Member

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    I'm picturing Bindi Irwin and some hideously precocious American brat!
     
  20. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    Well, this one found it amusing.

    :p

    Hix