The LA Times called him, "The real life
Indiana Jones" and one of his expeditions, "the most
amazing adventure of this generation."
He is John Goddard, one of the world's
most famous anthropologists, explorers, and adventurers.
Included in his accomplishments are
leading 14 major expeditions into the world's most
hostile, remote areas. Five of his adventures were into
Africa, exploring the last unknown territories of the
"Darkest Continent". John Goddard was the first man to
explore the entire lengths of the world's two most
uninhabited, unexplored and dangerous rivers, the Congo,
and the Nile. Traveling over four thousand miles in
kayaks, his 1950 Nile Expedition has never been
duplicated. Others have attempted, only to fail. A 1995
expedition ended tragically.
"The August 1995 attempt on the river by
the South African, Isabindi White Water Rafters, was
terminated by two crocodile attacks..." J. B. Nuwe, Chief
Park Warden, Uganda National Parks.
Just one year later, another attempt
failed despite being heavily financed with the most modern
equipment available today. John Goddard's accomplishment,
nearly fifty years ago, is truly one of the most
spectacular adventures of our time.
"You're embarking on the kind of
experience that happens once in a generation. If you
succeed, you'll make history. If you fail it'll cost you
your lives." ..... District Commissioner, Urundi, Africa.
This special will profile this remarkable
man, his achievements and the goals he still wants to
fulfill. It is the true saga of danger and adventure most
people only dream about. It is also the story about John
Goddard, the 15 year old boy who one rainy afternoon wrote
on a pad, "My Life List." He then went on to list 127
goals he wanted to fulfill in life. Goddard has completed
all but eight from his original list, while adding
hundreds of others. He has been credited with conducting
anthropological studies of 260 tribal societies from
pygmies in central Africa, head hunters in Borneo,
Australian aborigines, the Ainu in Japan and cannibals in
He's scaled 12 of the highest mountains
and set records as a civilian jet flier, setting a speed
record of 1500 mph in the F-111 and an altitude record of
63,000 feet in the F-106. Goddard's exploits have been
featured in The National Geographic Magazine, Life,
Readers Digest, People, and others. His life was honored
on the new "This Is Your Life" television show.
Today, Goddard is one of the most sought
after guides through Africa. He leads small groups along
paths he carved, an Africa very different from when he
first ventured there. We will follow John on one of those
tours and see the old and new Africa through the eyes of
this extraordinary explorer.
Through never before seen footage taken of
his original expeditions we'll tell the story of Goddard's
historic adventures....... adventures that almost cost him
his life on several occasions. He's nearly drowned four
times, been attacked by wild hippos, rampaging elephants,
crocodiles, and vicious dogs, shot at by Egyptian pirates,
stoned by hostile natives, nearly buried alive in a
sandstorm, survived desert temperatures of over 140
degrees, bitten by a poisonous snake, trapped in
quicksand, crashed in planes, and was plagued by rare
At the beginning of the Nile journey, no
one thought Goddard and his two French companions would
succeed or even live to tell about it.
When asked, what was the most difficult
thing he had to endure? Goddard is quick to answer:
"Keeping from starving to death. We were
emotionally unable to shoot game. And when natives offered
to share their meat, knowing how scarce their supply was,
we were reluctant to accept."
John and his two French companions did
survive. But on his Congo Expedition, two years later, he
witnessed the drowning of his best friend, only 400 miles
from the end. Among the numerous accolades received,
Goddard was one of the youngest ever to be inducted into
the prestigious Explorers Club of New York.
The TV Special will show how movies, wild
animal preserves, and theme parks try to show us what
untamed Africa was like, a discovery only Goddard and a
few other living persons know firsthand. Every day
hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are
indirectly entertained by his African exploits when they
ride the Disneyland Jungle Cruise, that Roy Disney Sr.
said was inspired by the expeditions led by John Goddard,