Classic TV shows that featured stories of compassion for animals

I watch probably too much TV sometimes, although of late my work has greatly cut back on that time in front of the screen.

My viewing often takes me to classic old movies or TV shows. One thing I’ve noted over time is the fact that some of these old TV shows used to highlight compassion for animals in selected episodes.

This video I’ve posted here is one of the all-time greats. It’s the ending to the episode of the Andy Griffith Show where Opie accidentally shots a mother bird with his new slingshot. For those unfamiliar with it, Opie raises the baby birds left behind and later has to release them back into their urban habitat.

I consider the scene where Andy and Opie are watching the birds fly to the trees in their front yard as one of the greatest TV moments of all time.

Opie looks at the now-vacant cage and says, “The cage sure looks awful empty, don’t it Paw?”

Andy replies – “Yes son, it sure does. But don’t the trees seem nice and full.”

The message throughout is one of compassion for animals and how wild animals should not be wantonly killed and should live in their natural habitat. I’ll admit it, I get choked up every time I see the scene where Opie releases the birds.

I’ve seen compassion for animals highlighted in shows from Bachelor Father to Daniel Boone and others. Daniel Boone often featured talk of trapping animals, which is a highly cruel practice, although I do understand the depiction is historically accurate. But I’ve also watched episodes where the characters spoke of compassion for animals.

These shows ran in the 1950s and 1960s, yet the message was featured in a direct way. I started watching Bachelor Father on occasion because I’ve seen episodes where the characters saved a dog from a cruelty and were troubled when they thought a family of woodpeckers had been killed.


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