Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Is The Legend of Mick Dodge a Hoax?

Jenny and I are always looking for something new we can watch on television. Typically we don't follow the trends and watch shows like Game of Thrones, or Breaking Bad, or whatever else is popular during any given season. despite all the quality television we know is being produced out there, we just have difficulty finding anything we really want to dedicated our time to at the end of a day. A few months ago we stumbled across the show The Legend of Mick Dodge on NatGeo. The whole premise of this sixty year old guy living in the rainforest seemed so goofy we just had to give it a few minutes. And a few minutes was all it took. We loved it. We watched the entire season. 

Like many people, I was suspicious that Mick Dodge was a fake. That he had a house he returned to every time the cameras were shut off. Nobody can live in the forest for 25 years as he claims to have. He always seems to run into a "friend" in every episode, and one wonders if he ever spends any time alone after all. He's by far more social than I am, and I live deadsmack in the center of a mid-size American city. He also seems pretty well fed for claiming to survive on a few mushrooms and berries he finds in the woods. After the final episode where he retires to a cave for the winter with little more than his bag of mushrooms I just had to know if this show was a put on. So, I did a little digging.


The Legend of Mick Dodge
Did Mick Dodge and the National geographic Network pull a fast one on us? Is Mick Dodge somewhere in a cushy apartment right now luxuriating and having the last laugh?

No, I don't believe he is. While there appears to have been some fudging of facts, and some finessing of the real story to make it more entertaining for the television audience, the Mick Dodge story is pretty much as presented. he was born in the Hoh Rainforest where the show is filmed, and grew up in Japan, the son of a U.S. Marine. There he studied several forms of martial arts, himself serving a six year as a Marine later. he also spent a lot of time in his youth with his grandfather in the Olympic forest. 


As to how someone supposedly living as a hermit became a reality television star, it seems it happened mostly through a third party, the Olympic Mountains Earth Wisdom Circle. 

So, is Mick Dodge a wildman living his days in the forest completely off the grid? No. He has friends, even a job as an Earth Gym instructor. He eats pizza. Sometimes he stays indoors. He uses modern technology. he even has a Washington state driver's license, with his address listed as 2374 Rain Forest Road. 

Are we really to believe that one day in 1981 Mick Dodge decided to go for a run from his home in Olympia and never went back? 

Believe whatever you want. 


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