Norman Read

Name ID 2069

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Arusha Times
Extract Author: Staff Writer
Page Number: 388f
Extract Date: 24 Sep 2005

'Hatari' elephant's daughter returns with old memories

The daughter of the actor who played both 'The elephant' and 'Jackal' in the block busting movie, 'Hatari!' filmed here in the early 60s, was in Arusha this week. She rekindled the dramatic memories of that 'live' set in which real animals were used to wreck havoc in town.

Marylin Porter, formerly known by her maiden name as 'Nee Read,' said her father, the late, Norman Read who was a professional hunter, had been enlisted to play the role of 'animal voice personification,' in which he trumpeted like an elephant and laughed like a hyena.

"Because as soon as the elephants were brought to town, they refused to make any noise." On the other hand though the animals did their best in displaying cross-country skills as they run round the town and into supermarkets, not to mention the Safari Hotel where they caused plenty of mayhem.

During those days, Marylin alias Nee, was attending the Arusha school with her mates. After classes, she recalls, the girls used to cause as much tension as the elephants of Hatari did. "We would normally go into supermarkets and steal candy, sweets and biscuits," she admits.

"Hatari!" is the story of a group of men who lived around the Arusha Game Park and caught animals to be sent for overseas zoos. The actors include; John Wayne, who played the role of Sean Mercer, the head captor. Red Buttons who was "Pockets" the driver and Hardy Kruger, a German known in the film as Kurt.

In the movie, a photographer named Dallas (Elsa Martinelli) comes to spend a season and everyone is surprised (and delighted) to find that she is a woman, and a beautiful one at that. She goes out on hunts with the men and is attracted to Sean; he likes her, too, although he won't admit it. Pockets and Kurt fight over their old boss' daughter, Brandy, who is grown up now.

There is plenty of wild animal action (the actors really did catch the animals), plenty of fun, and innocent romance, too. John Wayne has one of his best roles as the rugged he-man who acts all dopey around a pretty girl. Miss Martinelli is very good as the Italian beauty who falls hard for Sean and is the object of two baby elephants' affections, as well.

"Elsa was horrible!" Said Marilyn, explaining that the actor was as bad-tempered in real life as she was in the movie. After completing school, Marilyn worked part-time as a receptionist at The New Arusha Hotel, before leaving for Zambia then later on Zimbabwe and finally Botswana where she got married. Nee now lives in Australia.

"I constantly come to Arusha to visit my uncle who lives at Ngongongare location of Arumeru, around Momella," she said. Her uncle is none other than David Read, the brains behind the outstanding book titles: 'Barefoot over Serengeti,' ' Beating about the Bush,' ' Waters of the Sanjan' and the recently released, 'Another Load of Bull.'

Marilyn had a few things to say about his uncle as well. "He is always in a hurry, hardly settles." She reveals. But David Read remained unperturbed by such remarks.

Extract ID: 5094