Rescue at Sea

In the searing documentary The Cove, the man who trained Flipper leads a crusade to save dolphins from slaughter


The TV series Flipper helped create a demand for trained dolphins.

The Cove, a spectacularly compelling documentary that was as well financed as it is well intentioned, starts with a glimpse of seeming paranoia. A man in his late 60s is driving, anxiously checking his mirrors and talking about the people he's sure are pursuing him. He's wearing a surgical mask and gives the impression of Jason Bourne as a possibly batty senior citizen, still dodging bad guys and, maybe, swine flu.

It turns out he's Ric O'Barry, a forgotten face from 1960s pop culture. As a young man, he captured and trained Flipper--or rather, the five dolphins that played that beloved...

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