Famous people & Other Animals I Met at the Zoo

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I came to San Diego inside the ’60s without having a job : and wound way up working in their particular famous zoo, gathering both human plus animal stars through Lassie and Full Tut to Artwork Linkletter, Jimmy Stewart and the world-renowned “chimp lady” by Africa, Jane Goodall.

Being close in order to Hollywood, many actors over the yrs donned dark drinking glasses and popped throughout to visit the menagerie incognito, which include Andy Griffith, Shirley Temple, Jerry Lewis and Cary Grant (who often ceased by if he was within town for a weekend break of tennis).

In the course of my seven many years as the zoo’s PR director, I actually had occasion to lunch with, or personally tour, the dozen or as a result popular celebs. Upon occasion, I involved one, such as radio-TV notable Art Linkletter, a North park native, to be able to cut a ribbon for a fresh exhibit or drive.

Several, including Ciencia Johnson, of the ’60s TV struck, “Laugh-In, ” plus long-time comedian, Phyllis Diller, became private friends. I identified them to end up being warm and honestly humorous people. My partner and i subsequently exchanged phone calls and Christmas credit cards with both. And even years later, they will even endorsed my personal first book of humor.

One mid-day, I drove some sort of zoo car to be able to the airport to be able to pick up TV/radio star, Arthur Godfrey when he landed on his private Lear Jet. An admitted long-time North park Tierpark fan, he had agreed to judge my “children’s zoo skill contest” and present the top prize for the segment associated with our own syndicated TV show, “Zoorama. ” His fellow judges were Linkletter and San Diegan, Ted Geisel, much better known as “Dr. Seuss. “

Typically the controversial Godfrey got once filmed a new “live” segment of his top-rated show from our Children’s Tiergarten. An un-diapered newborn orangutan he held had excitedly moist on his shirt. Robert in hand, Arthur said to his national audience, without absent a beat: “Honey, thousands have desired to do that : but you are definitely the first to be successful! inch

A big name available planet in the ’60s was Dr. Brian Rueben, best-selling source of “Everything An individual Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid in order to Ask). ” This individual called me one particular day, saying he or she planned to help make a ten-grand gift to the tiergarten for a brand new primate exhibit. We managed to get hold of lots of press insurance for his charity – but has been afraid to ask your pet the several individual questions I got in mind.

For exclusive zoo events, We occasionally retained the particular always cooperative Marshall Thompson, star involving the then top-rated Ivan Tors TELEVISION SET production, “Daktari, inch an African experience show. With very much of it shot in Thousand Oaks, northeast of La, Marshall invited me to bring typically the family to go to the particular set.

1 day, all of us drove around notice an afternoon’s recording in a faux-jungle setting. The screenplay called for some sort of menacing black leopard – but a single had not been available. We all watched in shock if the director called for a cougar, which the crew proceeded to spray-paint black.

A couple of years later, some sort of CBS-TV producer asked my eight-year-old child, Gary, appearing throughout a non-speaking field with David Janssen, during a TV-movie, “Night Chase, inches being filmed inside of our zoo. Whilst gary later admitted that was an enjoyable experience but got cured him associated with any latent wish to act. He’d had to wait around for six hours to do the one-minute scene inside the kiddie tiergarten with the star. And further disillusioned when his $35 CBS check arrived.

Janssen, star regarding “The Fugitive” television set show, had fixed the hearts of many of our own female staffers atwitter whilst in the zoo. Upon leaving the park 1 day, he impulsively stopped to give a kiss about an admiring revenue girl’s cheek. Desperately shaken, she inquired to be forgiven to go residence for the remaining regarding the day.


Wild-life buffs Gloria and Jimmy Stewart came out with a special tiergarten dinner one nighttime. Afterward, they informed me that Gregory Peck’s half-brother as soon as drove one of our zoo tour busses during a summer time in college. Therefore , when a zoologischer garten (fachsprachlich) inhabitant called some sort of Peccary, (a swine-like animal from South america and South America), gave birth, we all had our tour guides point out typically the little porker while our new legend, “Gregory Peck-ary. “

Nearby, another past star resided inside our elephant present. Visitors on completing busses were well informed that a small Asian with lengthy, Hollywood eyelashes was “Hatari, ” directed to the tierpark after appearing with John Wayne in the movie of the same name.

Our official zoo greeter since 1951, “King Tut, ” also had stage in addition to screen credits We had been amazed to understand that the particular salmon-crested cockatoo, that whistled and danced for visitors from his special positioned at the entry plaza, once made an appearance at a world’s fair in San Diego using the clean cut fan dancer, Sally Rand (as the girl zipper puller).

Dallas petting zoo -looking Tut got been brought from Singapore by noted animal trader Outspoken “Brink-’em-Back-Alive Buck. ” The people-loving chicken was named after King Tutankhamen, in whose spectacular discovery happened only some years before Buck brought typically the cockatoo to San Diego. I always enjoyed the bird’s roudy greeting while i would likely enter the zoo mornings. Tut occasionally would meow like a cat, cluck like a chicken or play snatches of internet explorer.

Hollywood’s biggest creature star, “Lassie, very well came to the particular zoo one early spring to test the response of our renowned performing seals ahead of an up-coming motion picture scene. The history of how she “attacked” me on stage at our Seal Bowl is detailed in my guide of zoo memoirs.

Looking back, We would have to point out my favorite man celebrity to check out the zoo during my tour seemed to be Jane Goodall, typically the British scientist which studied the life involving chimps in the Gombe Stream Game Hold in Tanzania, Photography equipment. I had the good fortune to meet up with and escort this most-dedicated young girl during the zoo’s 50th anniversary celebration.

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