Budapest-born writer/director/producer Ivan Tors wrote several plays in his native country before moving to the US in the years just prior to World War II. After US air force and OSS activity, Tors turned to screenwriting, at first turning out such non-descript conformist works as Song of Love (1949) and Watch the Birdie (1950). Long fascinated with science fiction, Tors hoped to make speculative films which avoided the "bug-eyed monster" syndrome in favor of storylines founded in scientific fact. In partnership with actor Richard Carlson, Tors created A-Films, devoted to filming the exploits of the fictional "Office of Scientific Investigation." His first films as a producer, including Magnetic Monster (1951), Gog (1954) and Riders to the Stars (1954), made up in imagination and literacy what they lacked in budget and production values. When Tors conceived a screenplay involving a man-made satellite (this was years before Sputnik), he was turned down by every major studio. Thus he turned to television, where he incorporated his satellite story together with several other "unsaleable" sci-fi notions into his first weekly TV series, Science Fiction Theatre (1954-55). Tors' next TV project, the Lloyd Bridges underwater classic Sea Hunt (1958-61), proved to be his most successful. With the 1963 theatrical film Flipper (1963), Tors entered into his "smart animal" phase, which included such films as Clarence the Crosseyed Lion (1965) (which Tors directed as well as produced) and Namu the Killer Whale (1966), and such TV weeklies as Flipper (1964-67) and Gentle Ben (1967-69). In order to keep a variety of animals at his beck and call, and to help preserve endangered species, Tors set up Africa USA, a 260-acre California wildlife preserve. After several unsold TV pilot films, Ivan Tors concentrated on films, and even made an acting appearance, in the
1976 Escape from Angola (which he also co-executive produced).