The Ark II TV show was a 30 minute Sci-Fi series on CBS' Saturday morning lineup that took place on a 25th century Earth that had been severely damaged by pollution and nuclear war. Three scientists and a super smart chimpanzee used their futuristic rover that was equipped with a scientific laboratory to help people who had managed to survive.
Ark II Cast
Terry Lester .... Jonah (Captain/Driver of Ark II)
Jean Marie Hon .... Ruth (Scientist)
Jose Flores .... Samuel (Scientist)
Lou Scheimer .... Adam the Chimp (Voice)
Ark II Opening Narrative
For millions of years the Earth was fertile and rich. Then pollution and waste began to take their toll. Civilization fell into ruin. This is the world of the 25th Century. Only a handful of scientists remain. Men, who have vowed to rebuild what has been destroyed... This is their achievement: Ark II, a mobile storehouse of scientific knowledge, manned by a highly-trained crew of young people. Their mission: to bring the hope of a new future to mankind!
Ark II Trivia
Ark II was one of the first shows to really drive home the idea that mankind might be able to destroy the environment. The few people who had survived lived on sparsely isolated oases on a world that was mostly an inhospitable desert. Civilization was mostly gone with the survivors living as farmers, struggling to eke out a bare existence. The Ark II rover was created in order to bring a bit of technology back to those survivors.
Helen Hunt, movie actress and star of the TV series, "Mad About You" guest-starred on episode #5, "Omega".
Ark II was a land rover that operated off of hydrogen. You just filled up the tank with water and Ark II separated the hydrogen and oxygen to get its required fuel!
Ark II was built by the "Brubaker Group" on a dump truck chassis and ended out the length of an 18-wheeler. It may have looked fine but it was an operational nightmare! The location of its windows created huge "blind spots" for the driver and it broke down constantly, delaying shooting of the series! Those problems also prevented Ark II from having any night scenes as the visibility of the rover was just too lousy in the dark.
Besides having a laboratory onboard, Ark II also contained a jet pack called the "Jet Jumper". It was used when a fast look at the surrounding area was necessary. Ark II also had a forcefield that could both protect the crew from attackers and, more often, keep others away when the Ark was left unattended.
Each Ark II episode was filmed in only two or three days!
There was another vehicle called the "Ark Roamer" that was smaller (built on a Volkswagen van chassis) than Ark II. It was used for secondary missions. Surprisingly, it had very few operational problems but it had an extremely limited range.
Ark II was filmed at Malibu Creek State Park in Calabasas, California.
The crew of Ark II were pacifists in a cruel world. If they absolutely had to disable some bad guys, they used a device that blinded and somewhat stunned them.
Jim Backus appeared on episode #7, "The Cryogenic Man". Jim is probably best known for his role as billionaire castaway "Thurston Howell" on the series, "Gilligans Island" and for providing the voice of the cartoon character, "Mr. Magoo" but Jim actually had an extremely long and varied career. He was one of the few actors who had numerous roles on the radio, on Broadway, in movies, on television, and providing voices for cartoon characters!
Episodes List With Original Air Dates
Ark II - The First And Only Season
- The Flies (9/11/1976)
- The Slaves (9/18/1976)
- The Wild Boy (9/25/1976)
- The Robot (10/2/1976)
- Omega (10/9/1976)
- The Tank (10/16/1976)
- The Cryogenic Man (10/23/1976)
- The Rule (10/30/1976)
- Robin Hood (11/6/1976)
- The Drought (11/13/1976)
- The Lottery (11/20/1976)
- The Mind Group (11/27/1976)
- The Balloon (12/4/1976)
- Don Quixote (12/11/1976)
- Orkus (12/18/1976)
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